POW! WOW! Hawaii 2018

POW! WOW! Hawaii 2018 kicked off with a much more mellow vibe than last year—partially because, due to a business trip, I couldn’t make it out to Honolulu until halfway through the mural festival. However, everyone I talked to agreed—from start to finish, it felt a little more like the first POW! WOW! festivals six and seven years ago. Between the artists painting and the volunteers putting on the event, it feels like a family affair and it's easy to form a bond with the strangers you encounter day after day.

POW! WOW! Hawaii 2018 with Visit Oahu | truelane
POW! WOW! Hawaii 2018 with Visit Oahu | truelane
POW! WOW! Hawaii 2018 with Visit Oahu | truelane
POW! WOW! Hawaii 2018 with Visit Oahu | truelane

When POW! WOW! started, there were just twelve artists painting walls and crashing at the Mobius House on the North Shore. Now, it’s grown into a worldwide art event hosting a hundred mural artists in Honolulu, hosted by sponsors like The Modern Honolulu, Hawaiian Airlines, Hawaii Tourism Authority, Montana Cans, and more. It’s incredible to see the impact that POW! WOW! has made in the Hawaiian community, and it’s even more incredible to be a part of it.

In addition to mural painting, there are dozens of events throughout the week open to the public. Almost as soon as I touched down on Oahu, I was off to my first event: an artist chat with the legendary Daniel Arsham, with stellar interviewer Jeff Hamada of BOOOOOOOM! Talking through the process of designing and creating with such a visionary, contemporary artist was a wonderfully inspiring way to kick off the week. Check out more of his work here!

One of the best parts about POW! WOW! is the connection you’re able to make with the artists each day. Because the artists are painting public walls on open streets, tourists are constantly strolling by and saying hello, asking about their work, and getting an opportunity to share their own stories. POW! WOW! artists really have a grasp on the idea that a viewer completes an art piece—seeing how the community interacts with their new mural is what brings the piece to completion.

POW! WOW! Hawaii 2018 with Visit Oahu | truelane
POW! WOW! Hawaii 2018 with Visit Oahu | truelane
POW! WOW! Hawaii 2018 with Visit Oahu | truelane
POW! WOW! Hawaii 2018 with Visit Oahu | truelane
POW! WOW! Hawaii 2018 with Visit Oahu | truelane
POW! WOW! Hawaii 2018 with Visit Oahu | truelane
POW! WOW! Hawaii 2018 with Visit Oahu | truelane
POW! WOW! Hawaii 2018 with Visit Oahu | truelane

Kaka’ako boasts dozens of great cafes and restaurants, and no matter where you go, it’s almost guaranteed you’ll run into a POW! WOW! participant, whether it’s an artist, blogger, gallery owner, videographer, or one of the founders. One of my favorite spots to hit up is ARVO, an Australian style coffee shop that is one of the festival’s partners. It’s the perfect place for a light lunch of avocado toast and a coconut milk latte before spending a little time on the beach—you’re in Hawaii, after all!

POW! WOW! Hawaii 2018 with Visit Oahu | truelane
POW! WOW! Hawaii 2018 with Visit Oahu | truelane
POW! WOW! Hawaii 2018 with Visit Oahu | truelane

Photos (of me) by Sunny Golden

 

As it happens, POW! WOW! takes place during the rainy season in Hawaii, so if you find yourself stuck in an afternoon downpour, there are also a few indoor POW! WOW! activities to take advantage of. Thinkspace curates a gallery at the Honolulu Museum of Art School featuring artists participating in POW! WOW!, and it’s always really interesting to see such small-scale works by the same people you watch paint 50-foot walls all week.

However, the coolest thing I got to take part in throughout the week reminded me why POW! WOW! exists in the first place. POW! WOW! artist Prime from 808Urban was invited by the Sheraton Waikiki to put up a really cool piece in their restaurant, RumFire, and I was the first one on the scene. Hotel employees, associates, and visitors from all over the world were invited to share their handprints on the wall. Prime described the process in such a powerful way that I left feeling so inspired—the handprints mixed with the paint creates layers of DNA and stories that will live on for years as people come and go from Oahu. Along with Prime, I was the first set of handprints up on the wall. It was an absolute honor.

POW! WOW! Hawaii 2018 with Visit Oahu | truelane
POW! WOW! Hawaii 2018 with Visit Oahu | truelane
POW! WOW! Hawaii 2018 with Visit Oahu | truelane

The close community that POW! WOW! creates is such an amazing thing to experience first hand. Although there may be a POW! WOW! festival in or near your hometown, I officially invite everyone to pack up your bags and head to Honolulu for POW! WOW! 2019. A week of surf, sand, art, and new friends, all with the spirit of aloha—it feels like such a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, that it's comes as a wonderful surprise to remember that it happens every year.

Thanks to the Oahu Visitors Bureau for supporting my trip.

Home Sweet Hotel: The Royal Hawaiian

If there’s one iconic place to stay at Waikiki Beach, it’s the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, a Luxury Collection property. Located next to and affiliated with the Sheraton Waikiki, it was a dreamy place to spend my last two nights in Honolulu, making me crave a true week-long vacation instead of just the two extra days I tacked on to my work trip for POW! WOW! Hawaii. Pulling up to the property is an iconic moment in itself—it’s stately, elegant, and a brilliant shade of pink.

Home Sweet Hotel: The Royal Hawaiian | truelane
Home Sweet Hotel: The Royal Hawaiian | truelane

I should have known instantly that everything in the hotel would be pink—but it was still a pleasant surprise to enter my hotel room and find a pink striped bathrobe and pink champagne, and pink umbrellas and beach towels on a stroll out to the pools. I was very happy with my oceanfront room and balcony with a view. While on site, I learned that when the hotel was built, most of the guests were traveling to Hawaii by boat and didn’t want to see the ocean from their room—they had just spent days on the water, and preferred the views of the mountains and Honolulu on the other side of the hotel. 

However, next door at the Sheraton Waikiki, 80% of the rooms in the entire hotel are oceanview. It’s a great place to look if you want to guarantee yourself a spectacular sunset each night.

Home Sweet Hotel: The Royal Hawaiian | truelane
Home Sweet Hotel: The Royal Hawaiian | truelane

I stayed in the newest addition to the hotel, the Mailani Tower, which offers an exclusive lounge area that includes free breakfast each morning and happy hour each night. The daily resort charge includes great amenities to enhance your hotel experience; a great option if you’re truly looking to relax.

There is also a smattering of gift shops right in the hotel, where I ended up buying myself an “apres surf” t-shirt that had been calling my name all week. Additionally, there’s a charming bakery in the lobby with plenty of delectable treats to keep your sweet tooth at bay and coffee for those afternoon pick-me-ups when you’ve had a little too much sun at the beach.

Home Sweet Hotel: The Royal Hawaiian | truelane
Home Sweet Hotel: The Royal Hawaiian | truelane

We spent most of our time at the adults-only pool at The Royal Hawaiian, but if you’re into a more active pool scene, definitely check out the Helumoa Pool that sits between the Sheraton Waikiki and the Royal Hawaiian. There are mini and full-size cabanas for rent, and food that you can charge straight to your room, even if you’re staying at the Royal. I would definitely recommend starting your day there early, as the energy ramps up as the day goes on.

Sheraton Waikiki also has a ton of fun little areas to check out and put your feet up. They just renovated all of their lobby areas, and the new furniture is awesome!

Home Sweet Hotel: The Royal Hawaiian | truelane
Home Sweet Hotel: The Royal Hawaiian | truelane
Home Sweet Hotel: The Royal Hawaiian | truelane
Home Sweet Hotel: The Royal Hawaiian | truelane
Home Sweet Hotel: The Royal Hawaiian | truelane
Home Sweet Hotel: The Royal Hawaiian | truelane
Home Sweet Hotel: The Royal Hawaiian | truelane

As the second-oldest hotel in Waikiki, experiencing a stay at The Royal Hawaiian should definitely be on your Oahu bucket list. It’s incredible to picture visitors in 1927, when the hotel opened, wearing their traveling best and a fresh-flower lei. Although it’s dreamy to imagine the hotel in its heyday, the Royal Hawaiian only gets better with each passing year. After finally getting to stay here for the first time, I can definitely say that life on island time suits me just fine.

Home Sweet Hotel: The Royal Hawaiian | truelane
Home Sweet Hotel: The Royal Hawaiian | truelane
Home Sweet Hotel: The Royal Hawaiian | truelane
Home Sweet Hotel: The Royal Hawaiian | truelane
Home Sweet Hotel: The Royal Hawaiian | truelane
Home Sweet Hotel: The Royal Hawaiian | truelane

Photography by Sunny Golden

 

The coolest thing I got to take part in this week happened right at the Sheraton Waikiki. 808 Urban was commissioned to paint an incredible mural at RumFire restaurant on-site. It was such an honor to learn the meaning of aloha from such a passionate island local—it was an incredible moment to be a part of.

Home Sweet Hotel: The Royal Hawaiian | truelane
Home Sweet Hotel: The Royal Hawaiian | truelane
Home Sweet Hotel: The Royal Hawaiian | truelane

Thank you to the Royal Hawaiian for hosting my stay.