This is actually a bit of a retro article, as we first wrote about Lanikuhonua years ago, when they were virtually unknown. I remember back then there was Paradise Cove, Lanikuhonua, Ihilani Hotel, and Lagoon 4 (a public park area). That’s it. No Aulani, no Ko Olina Beach Club, not even a second city, as Kapolei town was fairly undeveloped. Back then, it felt like Lanikuhonua was just a gorgeous cultural estate that happened to have a wedding on it… it was a tropical paradise at what felt like the end of the world, where it could have been 1925 and no one would have known, complete with swaying palm trees and empty white sandy beaches.
Fast forward to today, and infrastructure has built up around the property. Population and tourism is booming, and Lanikuhonua is among the hottest wedding venues on the island, sometimes having multiple events per day.
There are 2 Phases which are available for events. Phase I is closer to Paradise Cove, and Phase II closer to the Ihilani (soon to be the Four Seasons). It is pretty easy to mix up the two, and we always recommend you specify which side you are booking… although they are next to each other, each has very different attributes and it will be a bit stressful if you think you are planning for one Phase when you are actually booked in the other.
Phase I is closer to Paradise Cove. From the parking lot, there is a nice meandering path down through some tropical foliage. Upon reaching the bottom of the walking path, there is a first section to the property, which is rarely used for events. It really just is sort of a visual introduction to the property, allowing your guests to see the natural beauty that the property has. In the middle of the property is a small grove of coconut trees, in two rough rows (each row has sort of a scattered look about it, so it doesn’t look contrived and symmetrical). MOST events end up placing their guest seating between the two rows of trees.
On the right edge of the property is the hula mound, which is not able to be used for anything as it is sacred ground. On the left edge of the property is some open grass area, which often isn’t used for much of anything and beyond that in the distance is Phase II.
To the ocean side of Phase I is more lawn space, a raised grassy area which often acts as a ceremony area or a cocktail/lounge area, and slightly to the left is a little Hale, measuring roughly 20′ x 30′, and is perfect for cocktails, a buffet, or even housing the catering prep area.
My favorite feature of Phase I is actually not part of the usable property, but is the private lagoon down in front of the Hale. It’s like something straight out of a movie, with a small sandy beach and a totally secluded reef rock shelf that protects a small crystal clear lagoon. Little fish area often seen swimming in and about the water, and it’s just a perfect little secret beach.
While weddings are by far the most popular type of event at Lanikuhonua, the most memorable event I’ve done here was actually a corporate event. It was for Lockheed Martin and was an unveiling for the new (at the time) F22 Raptor Aircraft. While the event looked very nice, and was a beautiful layout, using almost every square inch of the property due to it’s large layout, it went open-air, with no main guest tent. The reason was obvious… people wanted to see the plane. The Raptor did make an appearance, doing a very impressive, very LOW fly-over. One of the key features about the Raptor is it’s ability to hover in mid-air, and take off going straight up in the air. It showcased all it’s talent, and just hearing that aircraft fly overhead so close to the ground sounded so amazing that many people said it was the most incredible thing they’d ever experienced.
Lanikuhonua is such a versatile venue, and almost any type of event works great here. But I think it’s heart and soul is the wedding, and a wedding here will always be an incredible, beautiful moment that you will never forget.