Andy was invited to speak at a conference in Honolulu, so we seized the opportunity to get back to Oahu. Our schedules and commitments at home only allowed us five days on the island. Five days zoomed by quickly, but five days in Hawaii still rocks! Know what I mean?
So, what did we get up to this time around? We stayed pretty busy. Here’s a quick summary:
- We spent the first two nights at Ala Moana Hotel by the Ala Moana Shopping Center. The hotel has been newly renovated and was quite nice, especially considering that rates start at $109 per night. We stayed here because the conference was held here. We still found that we were gravitating towards Waikiki Beach, which was a doable walk away. If you need a Honolulu hotel that’s business friendly, the Ala Moana is a great place. If you’re in tourist mode, it’s not that convenient to attractions.
- The last three nights, we headed out to Ko Olina (Oahu west coast) to the JW Marriott Ihilani for some relaxation. It’s a lovely resort where 85% of the rooms have ocean views. We had a great view of the lagoon from our room. The rooms and balcony (lanai) are very spacious and well laid out. This resort is in the middle of a room renovation that’s due to be complete in January. I got a sneak peak at the renovated rooms and they look fantastic. I’ll write more about the resort and renovated rooms in an upcoming post.
Activities & Attractions
- We spent almost an entire day at Bishop Museum in Honolulu. We were particularly interested in the Hawaiian Hall and the planetarium. I’ll share more later.
- One of our priorities on this trip was to see the Polynesian show HA: Breath of Life at the Polynesian Cultural Center. From everything we had heard, we had high expectations of this show. We were not disappointed. We loved it! I’ll share more soon.
- After seeing HA, we took a fun Haunted Lagoon canoe ride at the Polynesian Cultural Center. See my review of the Polynesian Cultural Center’s Haunted Lagoon.
- We’ve been wanting to get out to Waimea Valley for a while. Waimea Valley features botanical gardens, cultural presentations and a 45-foot waterfall for swimming. To be honest, we weren’t that impressed with their gardens. We were disappointed that they don’t provide a map which would help to provide guidance of the features, distances and how to allocate our time. If you want to swim below a waterfall in a safe environment, the waterfall here is great for that. There’s are lifeguards on duty and life jackets. The lifeguards were friendly and helpful. I wish I could say that about the other employees we encountered.
- At the JW Marriott Ihilani, there’s a new Polynesian dinner show, Fia Fia, that’s offered on Thursday nights. It was very well done with an exceptionally entertaining and talented chief who leads you throughout the evening entertainment. If you’re staying out that way, I recommend that you arrange to see it. I’ll be writing more later.
- We indulged in a couples massage at the Ihilani Spa. Actually, the spa facility is closed for renovations, but the staff had set up spa suites for massages. Andy said his massage was probably the best he’s had at a resort.
We enjoyed dining at these locations:
- Hau Tree Lanai at the New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel on Waikiki Beach for dinner.
- Kai Market at Sheraton Waikiki for breakfast.
- Eggs ‘N Things in Waikiki for breakfast.
- Naupaka Terrace at JW Marriott Ihilani for breakfast and dinner.
- Roy’s in Ko Olina for lunch. I had a sweet Asian shrimp, bacon and avocado wrap that was very, very good. Andy definitely had food envy.
So, that’s our trip in a (macadamia) nutshell. I just wanted to summarize it in case it helps you for your trip planning.