It wouldn’t be the holidays without strands of multi-coloured bulbs strung on Christmas trees or wrapped around evergreen boughs on mantels. But one hotel is giving guests the opportunity to swap these pretty but artificial lights for luminous ones only found in nature.

The Halekulani Okinawa is a luxury 360-room hotel
The Halekulani Okinawa hotel in Japan's Okinawa Kaigan Quasi-National Park. Photo courtesy of Halekulani Okinawa

The Halekulani Okinawa, a 360-room hotel located in Japan’s Okinawa Kaigan Quasi-National Park, a spot known for its natural beauty, is celebrating its first holiday season with a Firefly Nature Discovery.

Available exclusively to those staying at the hotel, the experience takes guests into Yambaru National Park shortly before sunset. After they climb into a kayak and paddle through mangrove trees they will be rewarded with the awe-inspiring display of luminescence created by thousands of fireflies.

Fireflies giving a luminescent display at the Halekulani
Guests will be rewarded with an awe-inspiring firefly display. Photo courtesy of Halekulani Okinawa

“While there are fifty types of fireflies in Japan Okinawa is home to half of them, due to the lush and natural diversity of the islands,” says general manager Jun Yoshie. “The captivating display of twinkling lights from the fireflies creates a truly enchanting ambience and an experience that guests will never forget.”

The package, one of the Halekulani Okinawa Escapes program, fits in perfectly with the concept of the hotel, whose name translates from Hawaiian to “house befitting heaven.” The Okinawa property is the second location of the brand and opened in July 2019; the first is located on the Hawaiian island of Oahu.

Guests can enjoy spectacular views for the Sunset Lobby
Sunset Lobby at the Halekulani Okinawa. Photo courtesy of Halekulani Okinawa

The holiday experience also includes private transportation, a private tour guide/local naturalist and dinner at Halekulani’s signature restaurant Shiroux. “The experience provides guests with an intimate and unique opportunity to witness the ethereal beauty of a natural phenomenon, serving as a great alternative to ordinary, traditional Christmas lights,” Yoshie adds. “We believe the richest memories are created when one can engage and interact with local culture, cuisine, nature and spirit.” The Firefly Nature Discovery costs $275 per person and can be booked through the hotel’s website.

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© Caitlin Riddell / Lonely Planet


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