Hawaiian heritage informs Wayfinder Waikiki by The Vanguard Theory

Honolulu design studio The Vanguard Theory has created interiors for a hotel on Waikiki Beach that “embrace the brutalist architecture” of the building, while adding tropical touches to the decor.

The Wayfinder Waikiki offers 228 guest rooms just a few blocks from the famous surfing beach of the same name in the Hawaiian capital, on the island of Oahu.

Pair of double beds with boldly patterned headboards
In the bedrooms at the Wayfinder Waikiki, rounded headboards feature a mix of patterns

Local firm The Vanguard Theory waas behind the transformation of an existing brutalist building into a colour-filled hotel that nods to both indigenous Hawaiian and imported traditions.

“Celebrating the rich diversity and multicultural fabric of Hawaii, touches of Hawaiian, Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese, Filipino, and European details are all blended together, creating Kama’aina style,” said the hotel.

Seating area with small table in a blue hotel room
The rooms are decorated in different colour combinations

A variety of different guest room sizes and types are available, from standard doubles all the way up to premium pool house studios.

The rooms feature custom-designed wooden furniture and works by local artists and are decorated in different colour combinations that each reflect the natural world.

Green-painted guest room reflected in a mirror
The rooms range in size from standard double to pool house suites

Green and coral hues are indicative of land, shades of blue and turquoise echo the sea, and gold and grey tones were chosen to represent the sky.

Wainscoting adds dimension to the walls, some of which are painted in colour floor-to-ceiling, while others stop midway and continue in white to make the spaces feel bright.

Round patterned headboards were created as a blend of “Japanese obi sashes, Polynesian-influenced tribal prints and plaid palaka fabric reflective of historic Portuguese ranchers” according to the hotel.

The cords of bedside pendant lamps are laced with pikake and pakalana flowers – both native to Hawaii.

Hotel lobby with a variety of seats on a checkered rug
The hotel’s lobby includes seating areas, a coffee bar and a shop selling merchandise

A similar design language is found in the lobby, where plants and floral prints sit side by side against concrete surfaces and leather furniture.

Connected to the reception area along a counter with a fluted blue front is B-Side, a coffee shop from which guests can also purchase cocktails, light bites and hotel merchandise.

Detail of a stone bar counter with red-framed stools
The Redfish restaurant serves an all-day poke menu

More formal dining can be enjoyed at Redfish, an all-day poke restaurant where highly tonal wood panels cover large expanses of the walls and ceiling.

Next to the 70-foot (21 metres) saltwater “lagoon” pool is a bar called Lost + Found that serves frozen tropical cocktails, plus a range of other drinks and snacks. There’s also an on-site gym.

Aerial view of a kidney-shaped outdoor swimming pool
Guests can swim in a saltwater “lagoon” pool

Wayfinder Waikiki is the second location in owner Dovetail + Co‘s Wayfinder portfolio, following its outpost in Newport, Rhode Island.

It joins a wide range of accommodation options in Honolulu, a hugely popular tourist destination, including the mid-century influenced Laylow Hotel and the brightly coloured Shoreline Waikiki.

The photography is by Mariko Reed, Read McKendree and Surf Please.

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