While my recent visit to Hawaii was not for the sole purpose collecting counties, I used the opportunity to add a few postcards to my collection. After all, I need to visit the four county seats in Hawaii (Hilo, Honolulu, Lihue, and Wailuku) for my collection to be complete. I’ll save the discussion of Kalawao County and why it has no county seat for later.
This journey began with a stay at the Columbus Airport Marriott the night before an early morning flight to HNL via LAX. The idea of rushing to the airport first thing on a Wednesday morning had absolutely no appeal and with a category 1-5 certificate from my MR Visa set to expire, this property was a perfect fit. Despite two lengthy flights and an hour delay in LAX, I arrived at HNL early in the afternoon. About fifteen minutes after the aircraft door opened, I was on I-H1 on my way to Waikiki. Being first off the plane, not having any checked bags, and using my Hertz status all helped speed up the process.
I already knew a day or so before that trip that my city view room at the Waikiki Beach Marriott had been upgraded to a deluxe ocean view. Here’s the view from the balcony.
Needless to say I was thrilled. Our resident Hawaii expert kharada46 has commented extensively on this property, so I refer you to his discussions for more details that I would ever be able to provide.
Here are some good examples
After a long day of travel, the only things on the agenda for the first afternoon/evening were food, drinks (tried both a Waikiki Blonde Ale and the “free” hotel mai tai), and a little swimming. I should mention that two “free” mai tais are included per stay as part of the $30 a day resort fee. One breakfast per room per day (including gratuity) is also covered which at $28 a pop essentially makes the mai tais free. None of the other benefits offered to MR members had any value to me. By 8pm, having been up over 20 hours, it was time for bed. Crashing early the first night made it easier to adjust to the six hour time change during the rest of the trip.
Day 2 began with a heavy downpour which necessitated a change in plans. Instead of climbing Diamondhead, we drove around the southeast coast of the island and on to Kailua. The rain had mostly blown over by the time we reached Kailua Beach Park, so a short walk along the beach seemed in order. The humidity and continued possibility of rain kept the visit brief, but we did get a few photographs including this selfie.
From there we crossed back over the mountains on our way to Haleiwa on the north shore. A quick stop at the tourist trap Dole Plantation included a Dole Whip (essentially a pineapple flavored soft serve). We got crushed pineapple on top of ours. I can’t really recommend a stop there as it is just an excuse to separate tourists from their money, but the Dole Whip was tasty and the bathrooms are clean. On principle I refused to spend any money on the mountain of tacky souvenirs.
Lunch in Haleiwa was at a fantastic vegetarian restaurant called the Beet Box Café. Worth a stop even by omnivores for great sandwiches and smoothies. Maybe next time kharada46 visits the north shore, he can do a full review. I really enjoyed it. After lunch we followed highway 930 along the northwest shore, past the Dillingham airport/glider field to where the road ends and found this rocky, deserted beach.
A trail continues on the shoreline to Ka’ena Point and then around to the leeward shore where it meets highway 93 before heading to the resorts at Ko Olina. I loved wandering the beach and climbing on the rocks watching crabs scuttle for shelter as I approached. Having the place to ourselves and getting a respite from the continual showers made the stop a joy. As busy and crowded as Honolulu is, it’s nice to know that a relatively short drive can take you to a place that feels far away from everything with just the sound of the wind and waves for company.
The return trip to Waikiki took almost an hour with rain and traffic interfering in nearly equal proportions. After a brief rest and a couple happy hour mai tais (sensing a theme yet?) at the nearby Cheeseburger in Paradise (not affiliated with Jimmy Buffett), it was soon time for an Insider dinner (Insiders meet in Honolulu). I tried another local beer, this time the local Primo Island Lager from Keoki Brewing Company. Dinner was only surpassed by the company that evening.
By Friday it was time to say aloha to Oahu and head over to the Big Island of Hawaii. Before leaving, I mailed my postcard from the Honolulu County (county seat Honolulu) and made one last important stop. I’m a huge fan tiki culture, so when I discovered the La Mariana Sailing Club has been operating a restaurant and tiki bar that is virtually unchanged since 1957, I had to drop in for a drink.
I had just enough time for a mai tai before heading to the airport to drop off the rental car and catch the flight to Kona. While the time on Oahu was short, we had a great time. With three islands planned over ten days, we had to make a few tradeoffs. The limited stay in Honolulu was one such example. Over the years, I’ve spent perhaps a combined 10 days on Oahu and have no doubt I’ll visit again, perhaps when I come back to Hawaii to mail a postcard from Lihue.
I wholeheartedly recommend the Waikiki Beach Marriott. Just make sure to ask for an upgrade. The view alone is worth it. The staff is top notch and will do what they can to make any stay enjoyable (Re: Outstanding service - Waikiki Beach Marriott).
Up next will be the Big Island including a most amazing stay at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel.