A November 1998 trip
to Honolulu by slabeaume
Quote: Hawaii is a place I use to dream about and think I'd never see! Seemed so far away and almost non-existant, except in dreams. Hard to believe anywhere could be so perfect! But I finally got to go and was not disappointed!
I'll never forget stepping off the plane and smelling the Plumeria blossoms! It was also the first time I'd been to an open air airport and found that wonderful with the gentle tropical breezes.
You'll also want to spend lots of time walking around Waikiki---to the beach, along the beach, through the International Marketplace, through Fort DeRussey Park and it's free military museum, down the main streets of Waikiki, ... .
Hotel | "Ohana Maile Sky Court"
It was a couple long blocks from Waikiki beach, but it was a very pretty walk through Fort DeRussey park to the beach. It's location may not be the best (off the beach and towards the northern end of Waikiki), but it is a good value.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 10, 2002
Maile Sky Court
2058 Kuhio Avenue
Honolulu, Hawaii 96815
Hotel | "Marc Waikiki Royal Suites"
The 1 bedroom suite consists of a large livingroom/kitchen area, a good sized bedroom with a king bed in it, and a nice sized bathroom with tub/shower combo. The kitchenette is small, but efficient. The bedroom has a sliding door to close it off from the livingroom area or can be left open for a more open layout. It didn't have a table in the room, but there was a deck attached to the livingroom with a plastic table and chair set on it. We brought them into the livingroom and found them sufficient. The livingroom had a comfortable solid colored coach, bamboo and cushioned side chair, and a coffee table in it.
It was nice and clean. It also had an ABC store in it which was convenient. If you're looking for a relatively inexpensive place with a kitchenette, this is a good spot.
Outrigger Regency on Beachwalk
255 Beach Walk
Honolulu, Hawaii 96815
Hotel | "Marc Hawaiian Monarch Hotel"
The rooms are nicely decorated in a tropical theme and offer views of the Pacific Ocean (from a distance), the Ali WAi canal (right below), or the Koolau Mountains (to the east).
Our room had 1 queen bed, cable TV, A/C, in-room safe, and mini-refrigerators, as well as a nice bathroom. And there was ample free parking in its attached garage.
There is a Denny's right across the street, which was very convenient, as well as a Jack in the Box and bus stops on the corner.
I think it's location may have been a bit of a drawback if we spent more than 1 night there, but it was quite nice for spending our first night there from the mainland ---before heading off to Kauai the next day. It was on the far northern end of Waikiki, somewhat away from all the action. But it's location also made it a good value for our buck.
Hawaiian Monarch Hotel
444 NIU STREET
Honolulu, Hawaii 96815
Hotel | "Hale Koa"
The Hale Koa is a huge hotel complex within Fort DeRussey Park. Fort DeRussey Park in in on the Honolulu end of Waikiki, on the beach and next to the Hilton. At the entrances to the hotel complex are military personnel checking IDs. You can't even get on the property without proper ID.
It may not be any cheaper than staying at an average hotel in Waikiki, but this is not an average place. The grandeur, security, and location of this hotel make it worth the rate.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 23, 2003
Hale Koa Hotel
2055 Kalia Road
Honolulu, Hawaii 96815
Hotel | "The Imperial of Waikiki Vacation Club"
If you rent a car, they have valet parking for $12 a day. That seemed like a lot, until we got there and checked a couple of the other lots.
The owners lounge and spa are more nice features of this timeshare. The lounge is on the 26th floor. It is very large and has two computers in it -- connected to DSL and available to use for free. There is also a big screen TV with DVD/VHS players and a roomy couch. There are two bathrooms in the lounge, complete with showers. If you have a late flight out, like I did, they offered a key to the owners' lounge and spa for the day, plus luggage check-in. There are also plenty of tables and chairs looking out over the ocean through wall to wall windows. If you go to the orientation breakfast, this is where it will be. The owners spa is on the third floor, complete with a co-ed workout and jacuzzi area and even a separate workout and jacuzzi area just for women. If you aren't an owner or guest of an owner, there is a pool and jacuzzi on the roof, which we also enjoyed several times. Resort Experience:THere is a hotel between the Imperial and the ocean, so you'll need to be pretty high up for an ocean view. We got a 23rd floor Koa room and had a fantastic view. I don't think you can go much lower than about the 20th floor for a view of the ocean.
Our unit was called a "Koa". The Koas are one-bedroom/two-bath units on the end of the hotel (facing the ocean). The hotel is perpendicular to the ocean, so the higher end units are ideal for ocean views. They also have two-bedroom/two-bath units, one-bedroom/one-bath units, and studios. The Koa has a sofa bed, which I found quite comfortable (or else I was just really tired every night). It also has a full kitchen with a stove/dishwasher unit (never seen one of those before!) and an oven above it. It also has a refrigerator, but it fits under the kitchen counter. It's still large enough for quite a few groceries. Above the refrigerator is a microwave. Ours had to be replaced on about the third day when sparks started flying. But maintenance replaced it quickly. There were plenty of matching glasses, flatware, dishes, pots and pans. The bedroom comes with it's own bathroom (the internet shows it has a tub in it, but ours just had a shower). The other bathroom (behind the kitchen) had a shower/soaking tub combination. There was a wall mounted tv with dvd player in the livingroom (and I think there was one in the bedroom, but I was delegated to the livingroom).
Maid service came in one time for the timeshare units. But we were able to get new towels, dishwasher soap, shampoo, lotion, etc. anytime we wanted by dropping in on housekeeping on the third floor. They even gave us a coupon for a free use of a bathrobe while there with the option to purchase for $75, but we didn't use that. We found all the personel of the Imperial to be very professional and friendly.
In order to help subsidize the timeshare, about 25% of the rooms are rented out. I wouldn't say it's luxurious like the typical resorts, but for the limited space on Waikiki, I found it to be a little piece of paradise.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 19, 2003
The Imperial Waikiki
205 Lewers Street
Honolulu, Hawaii 96815
Restaurant | "Cheeseburgers in Paradise"
With a name like Cheeseburger in Paradise, you'ld expect there to be lots of different kinds of burgers---and there are. Even a pineapple one! But they also serve traditional breakfasts of eggs and pancakes and such. Or you can just enjoy a drink of wine, beer, or fancy tropical mix.
Cheeseburger In Paradise opened in Waikiki on November 1, 1997. With a motto of "Cheeseburgers, Mai Tais & Rock 'N Roll", you can't help but enjoy yourself here.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 10, 2002
Cheeseburger In Paradise
2500 Kalakaua Avenue
Honolulu, Hawaii 96815
Bibas is only open from 3-10pm and only serves dinner from 5-10pm. But they still have quite a selection of pizzas and sandwiches from 3-5pm.
We got the pizza one day and really enjoyed it. The pizza reminded me of a thick crust buttered biscuit with lots of real cheese and fresh ingredients on it -- a rather different taste, but very good. This is also when we had some fresh pineapple, which was the best pineapple I've ever tasted! The server was very efficient -- had our teas refilled several times without having to be asked -- and always smiling.
We had such a great experience here, that we decided to try them for dinner one day, too, and we weren't disappointed then, either. We had a different server, but the same great service. The dinners were also very good -- garlic steak for me, panioli stew for my dad, and chicken fried steak for my nephew.
Whether you're hungry for pizza, appetizers, salads, soups, sandwiches, pastas, chicken, pork, seafood, or steak, you're sure to be able to find something that hits the spot. The problem we had, was deciding which of the mouth-watering foods to order!
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 24, 2003
2055 Kalia Road
Attraction | "Hanauma Bay"
The bay is the result of the ocean's breaching and incursion into two volcano craters. This beautiful place is ideal if you are a new or experienced SCUBA diver or snorkeler; or just for swimming. There are hiking trails with very pretty vistas and the park areas have good picnicing sites.
It closes down all day on Tuesdays; all other days it's open from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. There is a US $3.00 entrance fee if you are a non-resident; free entrance - if you can show valid local identification. The park can comfortably accommodate about 2,000 people at any one time. There is a US $1.00 per car parking fee. You can call +1 (808) 396-4229 for other information about the park twenty-four hours per day.
Efforts to conserve the park's resources have resulted in reduced congestion and a cleaner beach. These efforts even earned recognition and three awards from British Airways in 1998, including its "Tourism for Tomorrow" Award.
UPDATE---I went back here in Aug., 2003, and there were several changes. The entrance fee is now $5 per person (still $1 for parking) and you are required to see a informational movie now before they let you down to the beach. Your ticket will have a time on it. We waited about 30 minutes for our time. The movie tells you not to stand on the reef and what to expect to find there. It lasts about 15 minutes. If you plan to go back with in a year, there's a ranger's hut on the beach where you can sign your name and on future trips you can bypass the movie. We also rented a locker for $5 this time.
Hanauma Bay Marine Preserve
7455 Kalanianaole Highway
Honolulu, Hawaii 96825
Attraction | "Robert's Grand Circle Island Tour"
The bus picked us up from the hotel across the street from ours at about 8:50AM and we got back about 3:30pm. Our guide had a great sense of humor and was very friendly and knowledgeable. The bus was very roomy and comfortable.
This is a great way to get an orientation and some history of the island. There's so much more to Oahu then Waikiki and Honolulu, get out and see it all.
680 Iwilei Road, Suite 700
Honolulu, Hawaii 96817
+1 808 539 9400;+1 8
The highlight of the evening was watching and learning about the dances of the Pacific. The dances and costumes of the Hawaii, Samoa, and Tahiti dances were beautiful. Germaine's Luau dancers were outstanding. They also put a lot of humor in the show by drawing people from the audience up to dance.
The only real disappointment to me was that it was advertised as being right on the beach. I was expecting to be able to sit on the beach, but the beach was roped off. But it was still an evening of enjoyment.
91119 Olai St
Waianae, Hawaii 96707
+1 808 949 6626
Attraction | "Pearl Harbor - USS Arizona Memorial"
The Memorial straddles the sunken hull of the battleship USS Arizona and commemorates the December 7, 1941, Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor where 1,177 crewmen were killed. The Memorial was dedicated in 1962, and became a National Park Service area in 1980. The Memorial consists of a shoreside visitor center (where the tours begin), and the Memorial located in Pearl Harbor. It's open 7:30 am to 5:00 pm, seven days a week except New Years Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas. You will have to get a ticket upon arrival, but they are free. It's on a first come first serve basis, so arrive early, or you group number on your ticket may not be called for quite some time. Bathing suits or bare feet are not allowed, so dress respectfully.
When you arrive at the visitor center, you will be given a brief introduction. Then when your group is called, you'll go see a very good and informative 23 minute film on the history of the Pearl Harbor attack. After viewing the film, your group will be called to board a Navy operated launch for the trip to the Memorial. There you'll be able to look at the sunken ship and read the names on the memorial until the next group comes. The entire program takes about one hour and fifteen minutes.
While waiting for your trip to the memorial or after you get back from the memorial, you'll be able to explore the museum exhibits and displays along the shoreline, or check out the gift shop. In the gift shop, you'll even be able to pick up reprints of the newspaper about the attack and post cards of actual photos.
Pearl Harbor and USS Arizona Memorial
One Arizona Memorial Place
Honolulu, Hawaii 96818
Attraction | "City Tour and Arizona Memorial with Robert's Tours"
The bus picks up from in front of various hotels between 6:45-7:05 AM and returns at approximately 11:15 AM.
Although we had a great experience on the Robert's Island tour, we had a bad experience with the city/Memorial tour. The guide was not very informative and the bus was old with faulty air conditioning. The ride was so uncomfortably hot that many riders were complaining. So the driver turned the bus around and took us back to Waikiki in the middle of the city tour. I was disappointed that we didn't get the whole tour. We contacted Roberts about the situation and it took about 6 days and 2 followup calls to get any comment from them. Their comment was, "Too Bad!". I somewhat recommend this tour because I think the idea is good. But be aware that if something goes wrong, Robert's was hard to communicate with.
Member Rating 2 out of 5 on July 10, 2002
Attraction | "Atlantis Adventures Submarine Tour"
The inside of the submarine is comfortable with bench seats closely facing several windows. We were really amazed at the brightness 100 feet underwater! It was also interesting to see how colors were affected at such depths. Photos taken at these depths will be very bluish, unless a good flash is used. There were tons of fish around the manmade reefs of sunken boats and planes(this tour didn't take you to any natural ones). We even saw a resident shark and a couple eels there, as well as lots of schooling fish. Videos of a tour are available in their gift shop, along with lots of other memorabilia.
2005 Kalia Road
Honolulu, Hawaii 96815
+1 808 973 9811; +1
Attraction | "Byodo-In"
On your walk to the temple from the parking lot, you'll first go over a picturesque bridge. To the left of the bridge is a five foot, three ton brass Peace bell which, when you ring it, is suppose to cleanse your mind of evil and temptation. You're suppose to ring it once before entering the temple. You're also suppose to remove your shoes before you walk through the temple. Inside the temple, you'll find a 9 foot golden Buddha overlooking the koi pond. Quite a majestic site! As you continue along the path on the other side of the temple, you'll find a small gift shop. Aside from the beautiful grounds and temple, there were odd looking birds wandering around, too. We were told they are Japanese peacocks.
As you ride out, look for the interesting Buddhist burial plots and stones along the road.
It is open 8:30am - 4:30pm daily and admission is $2 per person.
Valley of the Temples Memorial Park
Kahaluu, Hawaii 96744
+1 808 239 8811
The summer months bring bigger surf to Waikiki. The water is usually calm and the surf ranges from 1-3 ft. There are occasional 4-6 ft swells. The winter months bring very calm conditions, and the surf is usually smaller; usually not rising above 2ft.
A walk along this beach is a must! The views from the beach, piers, water, are all outstanding. You may not even find a reason to leave the beach since there are ocean front motels all along it with their wonderful restaurants. You'll even find booths on the beach for buying everything from sunscreen to water toy rentals (such as surfboards, body boards, water bikes, lounge chairs, etc,). For the serious volleyball players, there are beach side sand courts located by Fort DeRussey Park and up by the Aquarium. Also a short walk from the DeRussey park beach is the beautiful Marina by the Sheraton. When we walked along here in Jan., we saw hundreds of jellyfish---but didn't encounter any from the beach area. Down by the pier near the south end of the beach, there's a really nice protected shallow swimming area great for families with small children. Being on the west side of the island, it's also a great place to catch a beautiful hawaiian sunset.
Honolulu, Hawaii 96815
+1 808 951 4088
Attraction | "Diamond Head Crater Hike"
If you take a bus there, it will drop you off near the tunnel going into the crater. If you drive in to the parking lot, there's a $5 day use/parking fee.
I rated the level of difficulty here as beginner because of the good paths and steps. But there are hundreds of steps near the top that will give your heart a real work out, so keep that in mind. There are also a couple of long dark tunnels. They suggest that you take a flash light with you. We didn't, and got along ok. There are hand rails to guide you through the tunnels. I did take a bottle of water, though, and am very glad I did. It seemed to be more humid here then down in Waikiki.
Once at the top, the views into the crater and towards Waikiki are amazing. If you plan to take pictures, I'd recommend going up there in the morning so you have better lighting.
Give yourself at least 1.5 hours to make the roundtrip hike! The park closed at 6 when we were there in Aug. I'm not sure how they know everyone is down, or if they just lock you in. We didn't wait to find out.
The first two times we went to Oahu, we didn't do this hike. I'm glad I finally got to. It was well worth the effort.
Diamond Head State Monument
Diamond Head Road And 18th Avenue
Honolulu, Hawaii 96816
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