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We're back! Sort of a trip report enclosed...

B.C. Canada
Level Contributor
247 posts
We're back! Sort of a trip report enclosed...

Well, we had a wonderful time! We were in Waikiki from 3/9-3/16, staying at the Outrigger Waikiki on the beach. It was fabulous...

Just a few thoughts about our time there:

The hotel: we loved the hotel, the location was perfect and despite my worries that it would be too noisy, it was more than fine. We had a city view room but were on the 16th floor facing the city rather than diamond head, and had both a great city view and a great view of the beach and ocean from our balcony. The only thing noisy was the air conditioning unit from next door above the cheesecake factory. But we quickly got used to it. The nice thing was we were on the very end, so had nobody above us (the spa is on the PH level I guess but we never heard a soul) and only one other room beside us. Very nice. The room was fine. Shower area is pretty small, but we managed. Beds were comfy, and the balcony was fine. We loved the beach out front, and being right across the street from the international marketplace.

Eating out: we loved a little restaurant about a block away called Keoni's on Kuhio. Went there for breakfast and kept going back. Very open little restaurant with lots of flowers, birds flying in and out. and absolutely delicious thai food at night and wonderful french toast with coconut syrup for breakfast. In fact, I bought four bottles of the stuff the last night we were there, to take home. It's to die for!!

One of the best meals we had was in the IM when they had a farmer's market there, I think it was on Wed or Thur night. Fabulous food, thai inspired, great atmosphere at a little table by the fruit and veggies. It was so good, and such fun.

We ate one night at Dukes, on the railing. It was good but honestly not GREAT. I had just the salad bar, and it was fine. DH had seafood pasta that was good but he said it was pretty heavy on the oil. The kids meals were terrific though. The girls had teriyaki chicken (and a pretty nice sized piece) with fries. It was great that they offered something other than chicken nuggets. The glass of red I had was lovely though, as was the atmosphere. This was after our first full day there and really helped to set the mood for the trip. I think if we ate there again though it would just be for drinks and appies in the afternoon. They did have great live music in the afternoons starting at 3 pm on Fri-Sun, which you could hear from the beach and was a lot of fun.

The beaches: we had fun on the Waikiki beach, but it was pretty crowded. The water was quite warm, and the waves kept the kids happy. We were so lucky. The 2nd day there someone came by and gave us their boogie boards and the girls had a blast with them. Then a couple of days later a nice family who were leaving the next day gave us their beach chairs and umbrellas (2 of each). We found a family just arriving the day before we left and passed it all on to them with a smile and a suggestion that they do the same when they go.

We went to Hanauma Bay twice, and saw lots of fish. It was pretty windy though, as the trades were blowing through, so the sand was flying all over everything. We took along sandwiches from a great bakery just outside the IM on Kuhio. Our routine was to get pack sandwiches and snacks for the trip, and then pick up a pastry there for the wait at the bus stop. Thanks to suggestions from TA, we knew to walk further up Kuhio to a stop closer to Honolulu and away from diamond head. Doing this ensured we got a seat both times we went, and the stop closer to our hotel was so crowded that some people didn't even get on. I still think they should have the #22 running more often or get a bigger bus! When we came back from our second visit we coughed up the $5 per person to take a taxi van back. The first time we took the bus and ended up hot and tired and grumpy when we got home. The taxi was WAY worth the $$ if you haven't rented a car. HBay was lovely though, and the first were amazing. Wonderful time!

The island: we rented a car one day for a drive around the island. It was one of my favourite days, but I'd do it a bit differently next time. DH surprised us by upgrading to a convertible, but when it came time to get us our car the attendant said the engine light came on so they offered us a jeep instead. One of those new fancy jeeps. So off we went with the top down and no idea how to put it back up. The attendant didn't either so they said we wouldn't have to put it back up when we returned it. We were rained on at times, but it was very fast to blow over and actually felt good. We stopped at the Dole Pineapple plantation for a pineapple ice cream cone (used the coupon from the entertainment book) and just to look around. Then on to the pipeline beach to watch the surfers. Stopped briefly at turtle bay but no turtles, and then on to the PCC. Now here is where I'd change things up for next time. I would skip PCC entirely. We didn't find it that interesting, frankly, and it seemed kind of boring (yikes). We wandered around through some of the villages, but were kind of bored and hot, so we didn't stay that long. We didn't do the luau which is probably a good thing because we would have had to stay around all afternoon to wait for it. After that we meandered around before finally heading back to our hotel.

Odds and Ends: the weather was fine. Yes, it was windy, but the breeze felt great sometimes. It rained off and on but was always warm and it passed quickly. Shopping was fun (anyone seen an ABC store nearby!? LOL) and the aquarium was interesting and a nice walk to get there. We didn't end up climbing diamond head since my hubby and kids weren't too interested. We did do the vow renewal and it was lovely. I recommend calling ahead if you plan on doing it as I didn't think we needed to and we almost didn't get a spot. The concierge worked his magic though and got us in. There was a photographer who took lots of pics and we bought the CD for $75. Well worth it as he included our kids as well and took individual shots of them that were terrific.

Finally, the people: seriously, the people in Hawaii were so warm and kind and lovely, a big MAHALO to all of you there. We felt safe, comfortable, welcomed and received many smiles and helpful advice and suggestions. Seriously, it made the trip that much more enjoyable. We can't wait to go back again, but now are thinking maybe a week in Oahu and then a week in Maui.

Sad to be back, but we had a GREAT time!!

Dallas
Level Contributor
26,962 posts
79 reviews
1. Re: We're back! Sort of a trip report enclosed...

Sounds like a great trip with many of the same things we like to do. We are also staying at the Outrigger Waikiki starting May1, and have stayed there many times before. Our favorite place to stay because of location and we enjoy Dukes, Beach Bar at the Moana and the pool.

When we had young kids, we always left boogie boards or air matresses with someone who was arriving and had kids. They are not hard to find. We frequently would also leave any food we had left with one of the homeless people, and they are not hard to find either.

Glad you had a great trip and it just makes us more ready when we read your report.

Kapaa, Hawaii
Level Contributor
52,739 posts
3 reviews
2. Re: We're back! Sort of a trip report enclosed...

Lovely report, sweetpea, thanks for writing. Hope we can help you with that Maui vacation next time!!

Montreal, Canada
Level Contributor
551 posts
61 reviews
3. Re: We're back! Sort of a trip report enclosed...

Nice trip report sweetpea. Thanks for sharing. glad you all had a good time!

Canada
Level Contributor
9,535 posts
47 reviews
4. Re: We're back! Sort of a trip report enclosed...

Thanks for the enjoyable, well written, upbeat report. It was a pleasure to read.

Sounds like you went with the flow and had a great time.....no need to overplan/schedule.....Just go with what comes your way....always the Best Holiday!

How did you make out with your outbound transfer in YVR?...I recall you were concerned.....all went smoothly I suspect?

Edited: 21 March 2010, 07:23
B.C. Canada
Level Contributor
247 posts
5. Re: We're back! Sort of a trip report enclosed...

Yes, I was concerned about transferring through YVR but it was a breeze. We waited about 5 minutes before they called us over to check the picture of our luggage on the tv screen, then through security but there were very few people ahead of us and it went quite smoothly. We even had enough time to go to Tim Hortons to buy sandwiches and bagels for lunch on the flight. The whole trip went very smoothly. We booked through Westjet Vacations and really enjoyed the lei greeting and the transfers. The people who ran it, (Diamond Head Vacations) were friendly and efficient. They paused for pictures when presenting the kids and DH with their leis and then efficiently took our luggage and we were at our hotel in next to no time. Pick up was similarly smooth. I have no complaints with them or with any aspect of our trip, frankly!

We did go with the flow. We did *not* over plan but instead figured out what we wanted to do that day and then did it. It seemed to be more the Island Vibe that we got into, and the best thing about it is we never felt rushed to go from one thing to another. So it helped make the week seem long, and like a good restful holiday. I highly recommend coming up with a few ideas or "must do's" and then going with the flow, and not beating yourself up if you don't get to everything on your list.

Michigan
Destination Expert
for Alaska
Level Contributor
3,206 posts
265 reviews
6. Re: We're back! Sort of a trip report enclosed...

I enjoyed reading your review and your comments on PCC. I am torn about t his option. We are a group of 4 adults and we do want to see their evening Horizons Show. Just not sure if we want to visit the whole complex and do dinner there too. I know with something like this, you will either like it a lot, or not like it at all. I don't think there is a middle ground. I know in Alaska we went on a Native Village tour that many loved. We wished we had chosen something else. Key is to find out what you would like. Unfortunately, I am still not sure about it. Will keep reading. Thanks for your input.

B.C. Canada
Level Contributor
247 posts
7. Re: We're back! Sort of a trip report enclosed...

About the PCC...my In-laws loved their visit there, so much so that they offered to pay for us to go to that or a luau. I had seen some video on the Internet that looked fun for the kids, so we decided on PCC. I think you're right, some will love it and some won't. I will say we didn't really spend a lot of time there at the various shows put on by each village, so maybe that would have helped a bit. The crowd seemed to go from one village to the next in a big crowd and we just weren't into that at the time. It was also very hot, and the kids were kind of cranky and just not that interested. Many of the villages seemed kind of deserted. I guess I was expecting to go to each village and it would be as if I were walking into a real village in these islands, with people going about their every day business and we could get a sense of what it's like there. Instead it felt like what it is, a set if you will. If you weren't with the crowd going to each show, you were kind of on your own and it's kind of boring.

Also, if I'm being totally honest, the least friendly people we met on Oahu were at the PCC. Everywhere else, and I'm talking from car rental people, to waiters, to shop people, to our room attendant and concierge, were really friendly. At the PCC we got a feeling like we were a nuisance, especially since we didn't go with the flow. We wanted the kids to be able to weave the cool palm frond fish, so left the river parade a little early and wandered to the Samoa village. We finally found where they do that, and it was only people who worked there in the shade, relaxing. When we asked to do the weaving, we were met with a bit of resistance, saying they were doing a show right after the river show and wouldn't we want to wait? We said no, we needed to sit somewhere shady and we wanted to do this. Again, they asked if we wanted to wait to after their show. Finally I smiled and said it was no problem, we'd come back or not seeing how our time there went. Finally at that they said ok and showed us. It was weird, everyone on Oahu is so friendly, but I got a weird vibe there.

All that being said, I have heard their luau show is the best. I would recommend just doing the show, or arriving later in the afternoon to do a quick tour and then dinner and the show. I know my family would have killed me if we had to stay for the show. We arrived around 2'ish and left by 4 pm. We could never have found enough to interest us until 6 or so for dinner.

Also, I really wish this place opened before noon. Doesn't make sense to me, since a lot of people would like to go in the earlier morning before it gets too hot. Opening at noon is such a strange thing to me. Maybe because they want you to stay for the afternoon/show??

Michigan
Destination Expert
for Alaska
Level Contributor
3,206 posts
265 reviews
8. Re: We're back! Sort of a trip report enclosed...

Sweetpea: Thanks for the further details. I will share your post as well as some of the more positive ones with our group and see what they say.

Saint Cloud...
Destination Expert
for Oahu
Level Contributor
29,308 posts
9. Re: We're back! Sort of a trip report enclosed...

"I enjoyed reading your review and your comments on PCC. I am torn about this option. We are a group of 4 adults and we do want to see their evening Horizons Show."

PCC has the best Polynesian entertainment in Hawaii. None of the other luaus come close.

The villages & the canoe pageant are nice. IMAX is nice. The Ali'i Luau (5pm) is nice.

But it is the evening show that makes PCC much better than any other luau venue in Hawaii.

Ha: Breath of Life has replaced Horizons (several months ago). It is the best Polynesian show in Hawaii as was Horizons.

Adelaide
Level Contributor
60 posts
7 reviews
10. Re: We're back! Sort of a trip report enclosed...

Thanks Sweetpea for your report. My wife and I are spending a week in Honolulu in June and we intend to "go with the flow" as well. Sounds like you had a great time.