I Love Lanikai

I lived the first half of my life in Hawaii in Kahala. In 1990, my husband and my business partner persuaded me that Kailua was a better bet. As it turns out, they were completely right.

When I say I Love Lanikai, I am not just referring to the loop of housing and surrounding environs at the far end of Kailua Beach. I am referring to the whole “thing” of Kailua and Lanikai – and I can do that, because the original post office name for this town was Lanikai.

Living here is truly incredible. I know that a lot of people on the Honolulu side of the Pali think you have to pack a lunch to come to Kailua. Yet our traffic is (so far) nothing compared to traffic elsewhere on the islands. If you work in town, you have the amazing every day experience of coming out of the tunnels (pick a tunnel, any tunnel) to the sweeping views and the incredible peace of the Windward side. It is cooler here, like Hawaii is supposed to be. It is greener here, like Hawaii is supposed to be.

It’s healthy to live on the Windward side. The beaches are long and wide, and a roundtrip walk starting at Kalapawai Market (take along one of their lattes) puts close to five miles under your belt. Kite boarders and windsurfers provide a circus of color and accomplishment, and swimming is a nearby, always welcome choice. If you like your ocean VERY calm, you can swim at Lanikai Beach. It’s smaller than Kailua Beach, but no less beautiful. The sand that makes up Lanikai Beach is particularly soft and gentle – like the water that slides into shore.

People ride bikes here. They walk here. They run here. I know they do that on the other side too – but ours is a small town and exercisers seem like they are having fun. Easy does it.

In case you haven’t been to Kailua lately, it is becoming a walking town. For real. Not a strip mall, not an indoor mall surrounded by a sea of parking, but a small, walking town.

Old time Kailuans and Lanikai residents were resistant to the change, but you can see that they are warming up to their new town, little by little.

Even in the heat of the summer, people are walking all over the place. This in a State where residents surveyed about parking say they don’t want to walk more than a block.

We are growing. We have our share of national retailers -- Starbucks, a Jamba Juice and even a Pier One and a California Pizza Kitchen ASAP. But we also have lots of wonderful local retailers. Places that are worth walking to.

It is becoming a town worth exploring.

I have lived and worked in Kailua for 17 years now. Two years ago, my longtime business partner and I decided to open a retail shop. We wanted to be part of the growth of our town. We wanted to practice what we preach. We named our shop Lanikai Bath and Body. Inside, there are cool blues and greens, a bamboo floor and a stone path. We wanted it to feel like Lanikai. Because we love living here. We love Lanikai.

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