After Kauai we made one more two-night stop in Honolulu before embarking on the six-hour flight to Tahiti. Two notable things about this stop:
First, we decided to give another hotel a try. So this time we stayed at Halekulani, a venerable Waikiki hotel that recently went through a huge renovation.So you got the best of all worlds: A great old hotel with a storied reputation and super contemporary design and amenities.
But the best part of our visit was reconnecting with our friends Andrew and Maia Rosen, whom we hadn’t seen in decades. Andrew was one of our classmates at the Kennedy School at Harvard. Maia was his girlfriend back then who went to the Harvard Education School and lived in the same dorm. We’ve kept tabs over the years but just hadn’t managed to connect in person until now — after they’d moved to Honolulu, married, and raised three sons.
Andrew is President and CEO of the Hawaii State Federal Credit Union. He suggested we meet him at the brand new headquarters he just devoted a couple years to building. So we agreed — but had to joke a bit about coming to Polynesia to tour a credit union. As we entered the building, Andrew told us how he wanted to build a space where people would love to work. And he insisted that his staff really liked working there. Of course, we kidded, that’s what they’re going to tell the boss!
The building, which they’d barely just moved into after a long renovation, was loaded with spaces for socializing, relaxing, and doing teamwork. The design was sort of Polynesian, sort of Japanese, sort of Zen. And when we reached the top floor we found a huge kitchen/entertaining space with expansive outdoor patios with really comfy furniture. And lo and behold, we met a bunch of super friendly staff, who were hanging out together after work and cooking, drinking, and having fun. And we heard an earful about how much they LOVE working there. It was all very impressive. In my next life I want to work for Andrew at the credit union!
After enjoying some wine on the lanai there, Andrew took us to the lovely and serene Pacific Club where well-heeled Hawaiians gather for drinks, meals, sport, and mingling. Then on to his home near Diamond Head to meet Maia and finish off a wonderful evening of catching up. It was as if no time at all had passed since grad school.