For years I have been advising friends headed to Oahu to by pass the Ala Moana Shopping Center in favor of the Aloha Tower Marketplace. My theory was based in part because the Marketplace has a terrific view of the harbor and for a free thrill you can take the elevator up the Aloha Tower for a panoramic view of Honolulu. Well those parts are still there, but many of the shops and restaurants we have patronized over the years are closed. The only good restaurant still in operation is Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant. The shops that remain open are sad looking, and there aren’t many shoppers. We did pick up a real bargain on a koa wood and parchment lamp with honu design at 50% off. Perhaps you should go there to look for other bargains. Another reason we favored this mall was the parking lot. We would park there, walk uptown to visit historic sites and return for lunch at the Marketplace where our parking was validated. Now it is hard to find someone to validate.
On the other hand, I have discouraged people from going to the Ala Moana Shopping Center because it is huge. Many of the stores are high end. ‘Tourist on a budget’ stores are few and far between. However, on this trip we were in search of a bookstore and they had one. They had lots of stores and a confusing layout. We did accidentally find a Martin and Macarthur store where Marilyn and I each bought koa wood Christmas ornaments. I stopped people twice to ask for directions. One lady apologized because she lives there and still can’t find the stores she wants! When I finally found the bookstore on a lower level opening into the parking ramp, the clerk found exactly what I wanted. I walked out with two DVDs and a CD. I’m sure you could spend a whole day here.
So which mall would I recommend now?….Victoria Ward Centers, love that place even if it doesn’t have a good view of the ocean.