Hawaii’s Heavenly Heights
First in a series
Homes at the highest elevations of the Tantalus neighborhood look down on the city of Honolulu from an altitude of nearly 1,600 feet.
Although the drive down the hill to town takes only about 20 minutes, this “Community in the Clouds” has retained its rural ambiance over the century since the first homes were built. The fine, old Hawaiian-style residences, many of them owned by or associated with kamaaina families, towering trees, winding hillside roads with views at every turn, acres of protected open space with lush vegetation are some of the features that make it unique.
Straddling the ridges of Mount Tantalus peaking at 2,004 feet in the west and 1,048 foot Mount Round Top in the east, the Tantalus neighborhood, with its approximately 150 homes, is bounded, roughly, by Puu Ualakaa State Park Lookout on Round Top Drive and the 3300 block of Tantalus Drive.
Many century-old homes still stand, a few in their original form but most extensively remodeled. Some, have been razed to make way for new homes designed to take advantage of the spectacular views of the city, ocean, and forested hillsides.
The old estates of the kamaaina families tend to be larger than those in other upscale ridgeline neighborhoods and have attracted affluent new residents, including prominent professionals and a fair amount of celebrities.
The entire upper portion of the mountain, most of which is Forest Reserve, has been administered since the mid 1960s by the Department of Land and Natural Resources and is designated as Conservation land by the State and zoned Preservation by the City and County. Within the area are well maintained parks and hiking trails. The Tantalus Community Association is a group of volunteers with responsibilities ranging from beautification projects to security.
Since so few homes have been built on Tantalus, new listings are infrequent. Currently Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties Realtors Maggie Walker and Frankie Anderson are co-listing a 10-year-old home, one of the newest in the area, for $1,695,000.
“The home was designed and built by the current owners, one of whom is a prominent interior designer,” Walker said. “They subdivided a large neighboring property to create an 11,376 square foot vacant lot where mature trees and foliage were retained.
“The couple has lived on the mountain for many years, but now have decided to return to the Mainland to be close to their children. The layout and flow of the home are masterful, maximizing views of the gardens, the mountain, and the city and the ocean beyond. The home is nestled in lush vegetation, which frames the spectacular view and creates an atmosphere of serenity and seclusion. The location is ideal…a rim lot at the end of a quiet street.”
The two-story home’s living area of 2,416 square feet is augmented by a spacious outdoor covered view lanai, providing additional space for entertaining. The bright, light-filled kitchen is equipped with high-end appliances and finished with granite countertops. Flooring is primarily bamboo with marble and ceramic tile surfaces in bathrooms. One of the three bedrooms and a full bath are located on the first floor. The luxurious master bedroom includes one of the home’s two fireplaces.
Walker and Anderson are showing the home by appointment.