Looking for some little-known places to visit within a short drive of Waikiki? The man just voted Oahu’s hotel concierge of the year is sharing some of his favorite spots.
Ryan Tucker, chief concierge at the Modern Honolulu, describes himself as a professional dot-connector. Although he has only been in Hawaii for three years, he quickly learned where to direct people seeking more from their vacation than a mai tai and a suntan.
For guests wanting to witness a spectacular sunrise, Tucker directs them to Koko Crater, about a 20-minute drive from Waikiki.
Only the fit should consider this adventure, since the summit is reached by climbing more than 1,000 steep stairs. For those who make it to the top, Tucker says the view is spectacular.
After some huffing and puffing, the concierge suggests people head to nearby Hawaii Kai, a Honolulu suburb, for iced coffee and a bagel at Island Brew Coffeehouse.
Farther east, along the road to Waimanalo, is Tucker’s favorite beach, Makapuu Beach.
"Although parking can be scarce, Makapuu Beach is one of my favorite little gems on the island," Tucker said in an email. “Pack a picnic for this nice little beach. The great views of Manana Island, pillow soft sand and perfect waves for bodysurfing make this a place to spend the day.”
For hikers seeking stunning sights but without a rugged climb, the concierge recommends the Makapuu Lighthouse Trail.
The mile-long walk ends at a seldom-seen, red-roofed lighthouse. Along the way, there are coin-operated binoculars, particularly useful in winter for spotting humpback whales.
You’ll find the Kaiwi trail east of Hanauma Bay along Kalanianaole Highway, where you can enjoy the Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline without ever leaving your car. There are pullouts along the road with views out to sea.
Readers of Oahu Concierge magazine chose Tucker as their 2015 Concierge of the Year by ballot. The result was announced in early January.