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Wondrous on the Water: A Kahala Dream

According to Hawaiian legend, fishermen once spent time up on the hill at Kahala, fishing for King Kamehameha. Seeing regal estates like Punahele, the royal connection comes as little surprise.

Meaning “favorite,” Punahele was named by the Dohenys, its former owners, known for their luxury homes around the world. “This was their favorite home, out of all those they built,” says Beth Chang, who, together with Anne Hogan Perry and Tracy Allen, has co-listed the estate for Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties. “This iconic property is an incredibly rare offering that can’t be recreated, with 165 linear feet of frontage and an unmatched location on a quiet street in Kahala.”

That frontage — and the views it provides — are practically unheard-of today in this coveted area, where many newer lots are only 60 feet wide, and so is the privacy. “Because of the dramatic curve of the coastline and the pie-shaped lot, with the widest part along the ocean, this home feels like it’s all by itself,” says Hogan Perry. “It brings in incredible turquoise water vistas that are unachievable now, because of the 40-foot setback requirements. You can’t get this close to the ocean anymore.”

Nor can you get quite as close to the reef, which offers several distinct advantages. “It creates this nice, calm area, but you can hear the waves breaking,” says Allen. “You have the ultimate in privacy, with great water access and this pretty little crescent beach.” Adds Hogan Perry: “There’s also a natural channel that goes through the reef, through which you can safely get small boats and surfboards. And because the water is always moving near the reef, it creates these vibrant colors that are beautiful.”

The five-bedroom, seven-bath, 6,139-square-foot home was designed to best showcase its unique setting, with a midcentury modern architectural style with “Balinese-like touches,” says Chang, and spaces that invite indoor-outdoor living. The living room is encased in glass on two sides, and the dining room opens entirely to the outdoors with slide-away glass doors.

“The Dohenys were ahead of their time and took the best of what they saw all over the world to build this amazing residence with incredible views, flowing indoor-outdoor architecture, and private yet open living areas,” says Allen. “There are three view bedrooms on the ocean, with a master suite that comprises a whole wing. There’s great separation, and you feel like you’re outdoors because of the configuration.”

The openness converges with island luxury in the courtyard, where an enormous, recently redone lagoon pool and multiple shaded areas, including a private cabana and poolside lanais, create the ultimate resort retreat.

“You look across the courtyard and have this exotic lagoon pool in front of you,” says Chang. “To the right, the tall, oversized sliding glass doors open into the living area and beyond to the ocean. It’s a tropical paradise, with 50-year-old indigenous plants and quiet places to read a book or take a nap.”

That is, if you can take your eye off the views.

“The moonrises are spectacular. It’s almost like someone has a candle out in the middle of the bay, the way the waves are lit in the moonlight,” says Hogan Perry. “It’s truly magical; the whole property is. From the minute you drive through those pineapple-topped columns and see the name ‘Punahele’ in big copper letters, you know you’ve arrived.”

By Jaymi Naciri 

This article originally appeared in Homes & Estates magazine. 

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Wondrous on the Water: A Kahala Dream

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