Diamondhead, Honolulu, Hawaii

Living in Diamondhead

Iyna Bort Caruso

The Diamond Head neighborhood of Honolulu, Hawaii, is named for the landmark volcanic crater that is among the island of Oahu’s most famous and photographed sites. The enclave is close to the action but removed from the big city bustle of Hawaii’s cosmopolitan state capital.

Situated on Oahu’s South Shore on the eastern edge of Waikiki, the vibe in Diamond Hood is upscale, and the lifestyle is all about the outdoors. Kaimana Beach is considered one of the best swimming beaches around. Its shallow waters and gentle currents make it especially attractive to families. Kapiolani Park offers tennis courts, an archery range, a jogging course and a historic bandshell. Among the bandshell’s regular performers is the Royal Hawaiian Band, founded by King Kamehameha III in the 19th century. And, of course, there’s hiking right from neighborhood trails to Diamond Head’s 760-foot summit. The entire dormant crater is a monument and national park.

In the Hawaiian language, the crater is called Lēahi, which translates to “brow of the tuna” for the way it resembles the dorsal fin of the fish. In the 19th century it would be named Diamond Head by English sailors who mistook the shiny volcanic calcite crystals on the slopes for diamonds. Later in the early 1900s, Hawaiian businessman and developer Walter Dillingham built an Italian-style villa on the slopes of Diamond Head, which ushered in the district’s era of exclusivity.

For property owners, the celebrated landmark is an extraordinary backdrop to one of the most coveted neighborhoods on the island. In addition to Diamond Head crater, many homes have ocean, mountain or city skyline views. The market offers full-time residents, second-home owners and investors a range of options, from historic cottages and bungalows to modern townhomes, beach compounds and palatial estates.