When booking our trip to the USA I decided to break up the long flight to LA by flying via Honolulu. So we stopped over in Honolulu for one night on the way to LA and again on the way back to Brisbane.
I have visited Honolulu twice before, the last visit approximately 8 years ago, so I was keen to show Olivia some of my favourite places, even if it was just for a short visit.
There is definitely a ‘vibe’ in Hawaii that is intoxicating. The water is beautiful to swim in, the Hawaiian people are just so friendly and everyone is laidback. You can’t but help follow along.
After checking in on our first stop over, I made a beeline to The Cheesecake Factory for dinner. My daughter loved it and still talks about the food. Situated right on the main strip, it was great to sit back with a drink and chillax.
On our stop over on the way back from LA I took Olivia to The Verandah at the Beachhouse (located in the Moana Surfrider). Situated right on the beach and overlooking the Beach Bar, this is one of my favourite places to kick back. This time around I decided on the High Tea Experience, and what an experience it was. The food was
sublime and service impeccable. If you get a chance to visit, please do, you’ll not regret it.Plus those views are to die for!
Make sure you visit the Honolulu Cookie Company, their cookies are shaped like little pineapples and individually wrapped for freshness. They taste delicious and make an ideal gift to bring home.
Hint: if you have dietary requirements do your homework before you visit. Vegetarian/Vegan/Gluten Free food was surprisingly hard to find. The only place we could find was the Cheesecake Factory and it fills up early.
Shopping is plentiful in Honolulu. In fact I would go as far as to say it is better there than LA. The main strip is lined with boutiques such as Sephora, Victoria’s Secret, H&M and Macy’s. And nearby is the huge Ala Moana shopping centre, although we didn’t get time to visit this time around.
Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach
Arriving at the Outrigger after a turbulent 9-hour flight from Brisbane, we were presented with scented warm towels and a cool drink. I can’t tell you how good that was and it really enhanced the Hawaiian experience for my daughter who had never been before.
The room was enormous, we had a partial ocean view room but overlooked a carpark, which wasn’t fun, but we were only there one night and could still see the ocean. There is a Starbucks downstairs which got a tick of approval and there are loads of shops as well, stocking clothing, food and souvenirs.
This hotel is right on the beach but as the name suggests it is on the reef, but the water is lovely and clear.
The only downside for us was the lack of information about room service. We couldn’t find a menu or any information in the room, so assumed there wasn’t any. We found out after we left that it was available.
Sheraton Princess Kaiulani
I have stayed here before and loved the location. It is right behind the Moana Surfrider hotel which is my favourite place to have high tea and champagne at the Verandah restaurant. The view of the ocean is fantastic and the balcony is large.
The room was tiny, barely fitting in two queen-sized beds. Many of the power points were not operational and upon closing the door to the bathroom to shower, I found dark hair all over the door, ceiling and walls. The room itself was dusty and when climbing around trying to find a working power point, could clearly see dust everywhere.
The breakfast buffet, which I remembered from my last visit, was a shadow of its former self. Most of the food was geared towards the Asian market and the choice was small. Also the charge was $30USD, which probably explained the lack of patrons. Apart from breakfast, we didn’t eat in house because there wasn’t much choice if you were vegetarian, vegan or coeliac.
Given the cost was $550AUS, I would not recommend staying here when there are so many new kids on the Honolulu accommodation block.
Warning – flying into the USA via Honolulu is more time consuming than going through airport. The airport at Honolulu is much smaller and disorganised as works continue on renovations to various sections. Signs are confusing, half the airport isn’t used and the airport itself is shaped like a U – so how long it takes you to actually get to customs, really depends on where your flight disembarks, and it’s a long walk from one end of the airport to the other when you arrive. From disembarkation time to getting into our booked transport took two hours and the customs lines were just hideous.
The beautiful islands of Hawai’i are well worth a visit. Their beauty is unsurpassed and there is just so much to see.
What does ALOHA mean?
In the Hawaiian language, ALOHA stands for much more than just ‘hello’ or ‘goodbye’ or ‘love.’
It is ‘the joyful (oha) sharing (alo) of life energy (ha) in the present (alo).’ When you share this energy you become attuned to the Universal Power that the Hawaiians call mana.