An endless stretch of white silk sand. A crystalline blue sea. The twilight hues of a sun setting over a tropical paradise. Kailua, nestled on the Windward Coast of Hawaii is a dream. A dream chased for the last time by Barack Obama as the President of the United States of America.
A self-confessed island boy, Obama and his family recently embraced the aloha spirit as they celebrated their Christmas holiday at their favourite Hawaiian spots.
Kailua, a town located on the island Oahu, a 30-minute drive from downtown Honolulu, has been home to countless family holidays for the Obama family.
From swimming beneath the Olomana mountains with his grandfather as a child to hiking around Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden with Michelle, Sasha and Malia, it is easy to see how the Paradise Point Estates have become such a drawcard for the First Family.
The northern winter temperatures average 26 degrees celsius which allows locals and visitors to test their windsurfing, kayaking and parasailing skills at Kailua Beach.
For those feeling a bit adventurous, you can take a trip out to nearby offshore islands Moku Nui and Moku Iki (the Mokes) and Flat Island.
For those interested in the below-sea-level action, the best snorkelling happens 26 kilometres down the southeast coast at Hanauma Bay. This nature preserve situated in an old volcanic crater is always a must on the Obama itinerary.
On land there are many attractions to ease into holiday mode including enjoying a round of golf at Koolau Golf Club, surrounded by flourishing rainforests. If it is a challenge you seek, Obama’s handicap is reportedly a 13.
As an environmentally-friendly town, cycling is welcome with trails along Kailua and Lanikai Beach. When it’s time to cool down, a “SnowBama” shaved ice delight is an Obama tradition at Island Snow. The President’s go-to flavour is a combination of lemon-lime, passion-guava and cherry syrups.
Just a short 20-minute drive south of Kailua is Bellows Beach. Located in Waimanalo, the Obamas spent many afternoons residing by eight kilometres of a picturesque, sandy shoreline and sapphirine water. With rows of ironwood trees to shelter under from the afternoon sun and panoramic views of Koolau Mountains, finding a reason to leave is not an easy task.
Behind the beach is the Bellows Airforce Station, a cabin-style resort that provides training, leisure and recreation programs for US military personnel and their guests.
If it is a meal fit for a President that you are after, Nobu Honolulu has regularly entertained the Obamas and serves a new style Japanese cuisine with dishes like lobster ceviche and black cod miso. Hawaii’s master-chef Alan Wong is another familiar host with a delectable “iced mocha” desert at his restaurant located in the state’s capital.
As President Obama’s term comes to an end, the focus of future presidential vacations will inevitably shift elsewhere. But Hawaii will still be a drawcard.
After all, President-elect Trump’s daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner also spent their holidays in Hawaii, reportedly staying with their children at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai on Hawaii island.