The secret beaches, the lyrical sunsets, the just-caught fish, and all the fruits you’ve never heard of — we love the Hawaiian island of Kaua‘i for its laid-back vibe, its weather drama, its perennial abundance. And while mainlanders are always flocking to the islands for vacation, many are making the commitment to Hawai’i as a second home. Kukuiʻula, a spectacular development on 1,000 acres of Kaua‘i’s South Shore, is a top contender for those seeking both privacy and access to town, serenity and socialization, fresh food for cooking at home and chef-curated meals — oh, and infinite views.
One thing that’s special about the place, from a residential perspective, is that there are no cookie-cutter neighborhoods. There are nine distinct areas where you can build, from smack on the golf course with closeup ocean views to high in the hills near the coffee farm with panoramas is all directions.
The other huge draw is the on-site farm, a 10-acre parcel of diverse plantings, including local varieties of banana, lilikoi (passionfruit), seasonal vegetables and year-round herbs — pretty much anything you need to go with your protein of choice, not to mention droves of tropical flowers, all lovingly tended by expert gardeners on staff. You can pick what you need or choose from the day’s harvest that’s brought down to the farm stand near the club, which is the social hub of the property. And if you don’t feel like cooking, check out Chef Ben Takahashi’s hyper-local menus that utilize his own special section of the farm’s food garden, from simple poke bowls to full-on omakase dinners.
There’s also a destination spa onsite, Hiʻilani, that I feel confident saying is in the top five across all the Hawaiian islands. And residents have full access to its indoor-outdoor wellness complex, including an elaborate water ritual that will send you into a state of deep relaxation.
The newest neighborhood is Makani Kai, with just 15 homesites tucked into the slop of Mt. Wai‘ale‘ale alongside the 10th and 11th fairways, perfectly positioned for both sunrise and sunset views. Lots range from 14,000 square-feet to nearly 30,000 square-feet. This location is also ideal for capturing the afternoon tradewinds that gently cool even on the hottest summer days.
Homes in the Kahalawai neighborhood are the highest in altitude and the location of some of the most private, exquisitely designed custom residences, while Kaimalino homesites (currently all available for developemtn) give you easy access to hiking and biking trails. If you’re looking for a turkey experience, the villas and bungalows dow by the Club Neighborhood are the ticket, and many owners put these homes in the rental program, which have great income potential.
Whether you’re interested in a fully custom design and construction process or a classic floor plan, there are options currently available across a range of sizes, from a two-bedroom, 1,700 square-foot bungalow for $3,250,000 to a four-bedroom, 4,000 square foot built custom home for $12, 300,000. And, of course, there are homesites for building your own dreamspace, like this 12, 160 square-foot parcel overlooking it all for $1,100,000.
Another compelling feature of the Kukuiʻula ethos, which I discussed with Richard Albrecht, President of Kukuiʻula Development Company, over breakfast: There is no gated entry. When you think about it, this is a metaphor for the brand of residential hospitality the company espouses. Albrecht says, “The style is professional and familial — residents and staff know each other by name, and there’s an easy, laid-back vibe. This is not a pretentious place, it’s a flip-flops and Hawaiian shirt place.” Paradoxically, it’s one of the most luxurious locales on the planet, and it’s this combination of the high-end and the colloquial that had me at hello.
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