Exclusive First Look at Vintage Cave Honolulu Founder Takeshi Sekiguchi’s Gorgeous Penthouse

Too bad "Chateau Sunny" isn’t for sale.
Photos: Melissa Chang 

Last week, when I interviewed developer Takeshi Sekiguchi about his new real estate business, I had to meet him at his grand penthouse in Waterfront Towers. While I was there, his employees took me on a tour of the newly renovated space, which serves as his office on one side, his residence (or one of his Honolulu residences) on the other, and an exquisite, pre-fabricated tea house in between. Sekiguchi is also the founder of Vintage Cave Honolulu and his penthouse reflects the same high-end sensibilities.

Sekiguchi purchased both grand penthouse units on the top floors of the Mauka Tower, creating a three-story, 9,000-sq. ft. property with 360-degree views of Honolulu. We knew we were headed to his place because we had to catch a special elevator to get there, and it was completely redone with the same bricks used in his Vintage Cave restaurant, with the same European feeling.

When you enter the main floor, it is like entering the restaurant, as well. If you’ve never been to Vintage Cave, it’s made of imported, antique-style brick, reminiscent of a European villa. Marble statues adorn various points around the perimeter, all about 400 years old and looking as if Sekiguchi had plucked them straight out of the Louvre. The quality of the marble makes it appear that the figures are painted, when they actually are reflecting the stone’s color.

Around the living room, you’ll find special French antique Galle glass lamps that he purchased for $850,000 each … 13 of them. They’re each different and intricately painted, as you can see above.

There are six bedrooms, one of which he has turned into a mini-workout room. The rest have their own views of the city and the master features more pillars and bricks that reflect the style of the main living area.

There are five bathrooms, all with 24-karat gold fixtures. They’re painted to make you feel as if you are standing in the middle of the French countryside.

Photo: Courtesy Sachi Hawaii Pacific Properties

One of the most beautiful features of the property is the tea house, above. It was built 20 years ago, and when Sekiguchi renovated it, he had some parts specially made in Japan, then dismantled and brought to Hawaii to fit the designated area in the grand penthouse. Each piece of the pre-fabricated tea house is crafted together without using nails in the classic style of Japanese construction.

The shoji screen windows, which can slide open, create a layer that isolates the sun’s heat so the room doesn’t get hot. To save space, the shelves (shown here) are collapsible when not in use. When the renovation was complete, a grand tea master gave it the name Tenkuan, which means "tea house in the sky."

Chateau Sunny took about 15 months to complete, which is mind-boggling when you consider all of the materials — both bulky and intricate — that had to be hauled up the elevators available at Waterfront Towers. They aren’t small, but they aren’t that big, either. Speaking as someone who took six months to renovate a 600-sq. ft. apartment, I would imagine it required the vendors to work around the clock to get it done in that time.

In a rare personal moment, Sekiguchi explains that he had one son, who passed away a couple of years ago, named Sunny. He named this grand penthouse Chateau Sunny after him. Even with all the posh embellishments, the full effect manages to be a nice tribute from a father to his son’s memory.

For more photos, click here.