When JoAnna and Robert welcomed the Hawaiian Goddess Hi’iaka into their home, she reeked of cigarette smoke.
According to Hawaiian tradition, Hi’iaka’s family line is tasked with bearing the clouds, but I’m doubtful those clouds were supposed to be ones of cigarette smoke. JoAnna and Robert took her home and did their best. This beautiful carving of Hi’iaka had apparently had a hard life in a smokey dive bar in South Carolina. They started by giving her space to air out for a few days. Then, she spent a week with an air purifier isolated in a room. Still, the smoke was overpowering. Next, they drenched her in Febreeze (I suspect it was the “Hawaiian Aloha” scent), and finally, Hi’iaka was ready to assume reign over the Enchanted Honu Tiki Lounge, JoAnna and Robert’s amazing home bar in Charlotte, NC.
Hi’iaka is also the goddess of sorcery, so it’s no surprise that Robert revealed that in one of his childhood visits to the Mai Kai, he went prepared to dazzle his parents with a magic trick, literally, up his sleeve. Voila! Flowers appeared out of nowhere. Apparently, Robert’s parents were underwhelmed at the trick. Perhaps they were already under the spell of a Black Magic potion from the Molokai, but that didn’t extinguish the magic that Robert felt when we was in this place. Both Robert and JoAnna grew up in Florida not far from the Mai Kai. Both have childhood memories of special occasion dinners with family at this iconic tiki establishment. JoAnna remembers visiting as a young girl, mesmerized by the hula maidens and fire dancers. It was an entire family vacation packed into one night.
That magic now exists in the Enchanted Honu Tiki Lounge. The Lounge is filled with honu carvings (turtles), tiki mugs, family memorabilia, tikis, Disney-inspired art, vintage wicker monkeys, bamboo rafters, and jade-tile creations. Built in earnest almost two years ago, Robert and JoAnna decided to turn their upstairs bonus room into a tiki paradise after a family trip to Disney’s Grog Grotto. It wasn’t just the two of them that left inspired; the whole family got involved. First, they purchased the mugs. Then, Jason and Jessie, their son and daughter-in-law, started thrifting and remodeling to build a tiki bar in their home. Soon after, Robert and JoAnna decided they’d complement the kid’s indoor bar by adding an outdoor bar at their house. But, after collecting some amazing finds (like Hi’iaka), they quickly realized that outdoor Carolina weather would not be kind to their collection, so they opted for a four season indoor paradise. The family worked together. Jessie helped Robert craft and build. JoAnna collected. Jason mixed up amazing cocktails. The other kids are constantly on the lookout for additions to both spaces. Now, there’s two quite magical tiki home bars in one big happy family.
It’s quite appropriate that Hi’iaka now provides visitors with the opportunity to chant the Oli kāhea as they enter Robert and JoAnna’s Enchanted Honu Tiki Lounge. Hi’iaka is the goddess of chant and hula, and I quickly fell under her enchantment.