Hawaii Vacation Splurges

Last week, we looked at some of the top ways to save money on Hawaii vacations. What will you do with those savings? Stay longer? Stash it away so that you can return to Hawaii sooner? Maybe one way you might allocate those savings is spend it on a memorable splurge.

In my experience, I’ve found that there are splurges that are worth the cost. Why do I think they are worth the cost? I can answer that question in one word — memories. I treasure memories of special experiences in Hawaii far more than any souvenir I’ve ever purchased.

So, what’s worth the splurge in Hawaii? Based on my experience, I can recommend the following:

Helicopter Tours – If you think seeing Hawaii from the ground is amazing, just wait until you get a bird’s eye view of the mountains, craters, cliffs and waterfalls. Most Hawaii helicopter tours hover past remote areas that you couldn’t see from the major roads and trails. A helicopter tour in Hawaii will give you a whole new perspective of the islands.

Na Pali Coast
A view of the Na Pali Coast like this one is only possible with a Kauai helicopter tour.

Private Dinner for Two – Whether you are celebrating a honeymoon, marriage milestone or simply want to celebrate romance with your sweetie, share a special ocean-side dinner for a memorable experience. Many of the 4 and 5-star resorts will offer private dining options in a secluded garden spot or by the ocean. Andy and I have enjoyed a couple of private dinners in Hawaii. One was at a poolside cabana at the Westin Princeville Resort. The other was an oceanside hale (cabana) at the Four Seasons Lanai at Manele Bay. As I’m writing this post, I’ve just caught myself virtually and euphorically whisked off to that oceanside hale dinner. The privacy and scenery along with the delicious dinner was truly exceptional.

Oceanside Hale - private dinner at Four Seasons Lanai at Manele Bay
Our private dining experience at the Four Seasons Lanai will forever been a blissful memory.

Spa Treatments –The Aloha State hosts several top-notch spas where you can indulge in a massage by the ocean or surrounded by tropical gardens. For those celebrating romance in Hawaii, consider a couples massage in one of those special settings. I almost always try to plan in a spa treatment when I visit Hawaii. What spas are worth the splurge? I’ll list my top picks based on my experiences so far. On Maui I thoroughly enjoyed Spa Grande at the Grand Wailea, On Kauai I love Anara Spa at the Grand Hyatt Kauai. The spa at Lanai’s Four Seasons at Manele Bay was delightful. On the Big Island, we like Mauna Lani’s spa. I’ve not found a spa on Oahu that I love as much as the others I’ve mentioned. I must continue with that quest.. Oh the hardships I must endure to be able to tell you what’s the best! 😉

Ocean Hale Massage at Sunset
A massage with a sunset view!

Kealakekua Bay Snorkeling

Snorkel Tours – You can certainly save money by snorkeling just off the shorelines around Hawaii, but in my experience, snorkel tours are well worth the expense. The tour companies can take you to remote areas that you can’t access offshore. The water around Hawaii can appear deceivingly safe when it is not. So, there’s an added component of expertise and safety that tour companies offer versus doing it yourself.  I recommend choosing a tour on a small catamaran for a little touch of luxury.

Andy and I often reflect over our Hawaii travels and fondly remember experiences. Sometimes, Andy will recall the time he held an octopus on a Kohala Coast snorkel tour Another time I might say, “Remember when we had that oceanside private dinner on Lanai?” We have never regretted these splurges.

What other Hawaii vacation splurges have you found to be memorable?

  1. I could really get into this topic. 🙂

    Other than the snorkeling, we’ve indulged in the other items on this list at least once. The private dinner was the Dinner Under the Stars at the Sheraton Maui Resort for our anniversary back in ’07, and was well worth it.

    The only one I could really add to this list (Maui-specific, of course) is when we stayed overnight in Hana. You can sort of call it splurging because it was a sea cottage at the Hotel Hana-Maui and it was in the middle of our trip, so we essentially had 2 sets of accommodations for the same night (but on opposite sides of the island).

    As for most memorable, I’d have to go with the helicopter tours since those are such a thrill for me as a photographer. Really, though, they’re all special in their own way.

    1. Thanks, Kris.

      I agree with your Maui-specific addition. And, really, a stay at Hotel Hana is a splurge in and of itself, without the duplicate accommodations. I really need to splurge on that myself some day. 🙂

  2. love the list of splurges! Our splurge was having the buffet at the Oceanarium at the Pacific Beach Hotel and having the diver hold up a “Happy Birthday” sign for our daughter. Definately a cool memory.

  3. Hi Shelia –
    have you got any suggestions for private dinner locations on the Big Island? My husband & I are going for our anniversary, and I love the idea of a private dinner as one of our splurges (the other will be a helicopter tour). We will be staying south of Kona, but we’ll have a car, so anywhere within a 45-60 min drive would be fine by us.

    1. Check with the Mauna Lani Hotel and Bungalows. I’ve seen their romantic dining by the beach set up and it was dreamy.

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