Relaxing Hawaiian Escapes
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What Are Your Top 5 Local Tips?
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Tips I would recommend for a relaxing Hawaiian escape:
1. Island hopping - find a way to stay on more than one island to experience the full Hawaiian dream. Rent a car so you can take in quite a bit of lush foliage and breathtaking scenery.
2. Kauai is my most favorite relaxing island that I have been to so far. Stay at the Kauai Marriott Resort, Lihue. This resort has one of the largest pools I have ever seen with three whirlpools attached. Grab the non-alcoholic drink package with unlimited refills. Be sure to ask for ocean view room which overlooks the gardens, pool and the ocean view is awesome as you watch cruise ships come into port off your balcony.
3. In Kauai, 80% of the island is uninhabited and mainly inaccessible except by boat or air. Therefore a must-do on this island is a helicopter ride which will take you over Waimea Canyon, Na Pali Coast and Wailua Falls and a spectacular view of the island.
4. If you want to see Pearl Harbor, Oahu is also a great island with the most beautiful hotel I believe I have ever seen, The JW Marriott Ihilani, Ko Olina. Driving to it, one feels as if they are in the middle of nowhere, driving over miles of volcano burnt land and then all of a sudden you are in a tropical paradise. The ocean view rooms are spectacular as each have private lanais to sit on and listen to the ocean roar while taking in the spectacular gardens and infinity pool. There is a private lagoon just for this hotel alone and is very clean and quite big.
5. Next relaxing journey would be on the island of Maui even though it is much more touristy than the other two islands mentioned. The must-do thing here in my opinion is The Road to Hana on Hwy. 36 along the northeastern shore. The road winds around the island over cliff edges and one lane bridges. Keep the camera handy and be ready to give right-of-way to oncoming vehicles. When you reach Haleakala National Park, take the Pipiwai Trail to Waimoku Falls, 4 mile round trip hike through lush forest and over bridges, following the boardwalk through thick bamboo to reach the falls. Quite a site and well worth the hike, but make sure you start early in the day as it is something you won't forget if you come back down after dusk.
Thanks for the tips about Kauai. Headed there next Spring and will be staying at the Kauai Marriott Resort, so it's great to hear your affirmation of that hotel. Also will spend a couple days on Oahu before flying back and will consider the JW Marriott based on your recommendation. Was going to stay at the Marriott Waikiki Beach, but the JW Marriott looks awesome.
The Ko Olina is one of our favorite resorts!!
My top 5 tips:
1. Do the Honolulu Marathon in December. I walked it a few years ago and it was a tremendously fun and has such a happy spirit. Walking through Honolulu and up and down…..and then up and down again…Diamond Head hearing
Mele Kalikimaka while enjoying an palm tree and sea view course is great. And then, when the chafing becomes apparent that night, sitting beachside with a pineapple filled with various liquor drenched concoctions makes it all better!
If you are going to Hawaii only once and have to choose, skip Honolulu in favor of one or more of the other islands.
2. Kauai: need I say more? What a beautiful, mostly unspoiled island. It's simply amazing.
3. The Big Island: from going up Mauna Loa in freezing cold to feeling the latent heat of a years old lava flow under your shoes to waterfalls, black and green sand beaches and new, rocky coastlines…The Big Island is as varied and stark as Kauai is green. Well worth a car rental to tour the island.
4. Maui's Marriott resort is simply ideally situated in the heart of the beautiful western coast on the island. There is so much to do but doesn't seem overly crowded and a sunset from the Lahaina boardwalk is not to be missed.
5. And back to Kauai…the beaches are beautiful, although the sand is soft and hard to walk on for long because you are plodding. The Napali coast is largely inaccessible except by boat or hiking--be in good shape for the latter. And as some of my grad students found out on a camping/hiking trip a few years ago, there is an entire "colony" of folks who've checked out of the the world living in that natural area. You'll meet some interesting people :-).
Aloha! So you want to come to Hawaii? How do you have a relaxing Hawaiian escape?
1) Know what you want to do & how much time you have to do it. Do you want to just lay around the pool or see all the sights there are to see? As small as the islands are, it does take time to get from place to place. Map out your routes on Google Maps and remember that traffic is awful during peak rush hour times, so plan on the time estimate being twice or 3 times as long. So plan accordingly, don't cram your schedule or simply avoid traveling during rush hour. If you do decide to just lounge around, please do it on the beach and not the pool... you can always lounge by a pool at home
2) If your budget & timeframe allows it, see more than 1 island, but again, don't try to cram in too much. You want to be able to take your time and enjoy each island you visit. Each island is unique and offers something different. Oahu is very metropolitan, with Honolulu being one of the largest cities in the nation. Maui resembles Oahu about 20 years ago, it's developing but doesn't have freeways or mega malls and has a lot of undeveloped space left, as well as an amazing national park (Haleakala). If you go to Haleakala for sunrise, do bring WARM clothes. Temperatures above 10,000 ft are VERY cold, even in Hawaii. The Big Island is the largest island with the wet & rainy Hilo side and the hot & dry Kona side. Kona/Waikoloa is resorts, renewable energy, ancient Hawaiian sites, etc. Hilo is the seat of government, Volcanoes National Park, and absolutely no major hotel chains, just small, non-branded Inns/Motels. 2 hour drive between Kona & Hilo. Everything closes early. Same for Kauai, which is super country and very laid back. There are more chickens on Kauai than people, so be prepared! Molokai & Lanai are tiny islands with tiny populations and not much options in terms of hotels. Lanai does have 2 Four Seasons.
3) Eat local. Avoid "mainland" chain restaurants and sketch tourist traps. Want the good stuff? Eat where the locals eat. Want a convenient option? Instead of large chains, try a local one like Zippy's. Want more options? Check out my blog! Hawaii & Beyond! Other good resources are Honolulu, Hawaii Restaurants - Biting Commentary - Honolulu Magazine and Eating | Restaurant reviews, local food and places to eat | Nonstop Honolulu
4) Educate yourself! Having a little knowledge can make things easier. See my blog post on Important Oahu Information: Practical Information - Oahu
5) Ask me! I'm always willing to assist in your vacation planning! If I don't know something, I will dig up information or ask someone I know that might know it.
I know, this wasn't exactly 5 tips, but there aren't really 5 quick & dirty tips for Hawaii. It really depends what you want to do, what you want to see... Hawaii has something for everyone! So welcome, E Komo Mai! I hope to see you soon!
Oahu property reviews with tons of pictures!
Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa - 3 Stays in 1 Review
JW Marriott Ihilani - Presidential Suite Tour
JW Marriott Ihilani - Post Renovation Wedding Weekend Stay
Marriott Waikiki v.s. Courtyard Waikiki
Going to Wailea Beach Marriott Resort and Spa Maui next May...any feedback?
fun2go, I'll be staying there for the first time next month! Will let you know how it goes. However, there's a lot of resources to help you along now. For example, lakersfan has a great album on the property: Wailea Beach Marriott Resort and Spa
Of course, you can always look at sites like this too: Marriott Wailea Resort, Hawaii | Oyster.com -- Hotel Reviews and Photos
kharada46 will give a better answer than any other MRI member! I have to say that Maui is an absolutely amazing place to see.
1. Haleakala - Leave hotel at 2AM and get there by 4AM. Wait in cold windy conditions and you will see the most amazing sight. The sun rises above the clouds. It is absolutely worth the early wake-up and cold conditions.
2. Road to Hana - It is a time consuming drive but doable. Go hiking up to the waterfall. The hike is not overly challenging and the waterfall is beautiful.
3. Black Rock - Lots of places have huge sea turtles but every time I jump in the water there I see at least one and usually several huge sea turtles swimming around. You literally swim up a few feet from them. Amazing.
4. Lahaina - Lots of stores and restaurants. You must see a sunset, breathtaking.
Haha thanks ks77. I'll be better equipped to make recommendations in a month after my trip to Maui, but you've got great recommendations there! Love Black Rock and the Lahaina/Ka'anapali area in general. I like Wailea area too though.
Road to Hana, never been, but it's a very narrow, winding road with amazing views... but, if you get motion sickness, you might want to pass on this one. I've heard from people that said they've got motion sickness while driving.
Haleakala is a must see for not only the sunrise, but also for the natural beauty of the area itself with unique flora like the Silversword. In the nearby town of Kula, be sure to check out the Ali'i Kula Lavender farm for beautiful scenery and great products! Love their lavender dry rub by the way, especially on fish... and even steak! There's even a winery in the area that gives tours and sampling. I believe there's even a distillery somewhere nearby too. Oh, and Surfing Goat Dairy, with all things goat cheese.
In Wailea, be sure to check out Honolulu Eat's - Monkeypod Kitchen, which has a location out there. Honolulu Eats - Sansei Seafood Restaurant is also a great place to dine with a couple of Maui locations I believe.
If you've got any specific questions fun2go, please do let me know. I could go on and on...
Thanks kharada46! We will be in Maui in May...getting closer for sure. A lot of friends staying in Kamole Sands II and looking for things to do! Any good sushi places?
Sansei in Kapalua is a very solid choice, my wife and I love it. I know kharada46 probably has several places he knows!
Another great place in Wailea is 808 deli. For lunch, it can't be beat. Love that place.
fun2go, did you decide on where you're going to stay? Experiences vary, but this is my take on the Wailea Beach Marriott Wailea Beach Marriott Resort & Spa - Unfortunate Stay
But, regarding your question, ks77 is absolutely right! Sansei is a fantastic option and they have locations in Kapalua and Kihei http://www.sanseihawaii.com
There's also a Morimoto at the Andaz Maui in Wailea: Morimoto Restaurant - Maui, Hawaii
I'll look up some more places when I get home tonight. Are you looking for sushi only? Or is a place with good seafood acceptable too?
We just got back from a relaxing trip to the island of Maui. Maui is a nice change of pace from Oahu, not as crowded but lots of things to see/do. We stayed at the Marriott Maui Ocean Club which is right next to the beach & I enjoyed walking/jogging on the beach or path in the early mornings. The resort provided many activities, lovely grounds, clean & the location was amazing. It's a short walk to Whaler's Village with shops & dining options. The sunset was beautiful. The road to Hana was scenic with lush green foliage & waterfalls, however, long & winding. We hiked the Halekaula Crater to the point of the Silverswords & the view along the way was spectacular. We drove to the Wailea side which is more upscale & it had a nice outdoor shopping mall. We stayed 7 days on Maui but I would also recommend if you have the time to also visit another island. You will have a wonderful time if you take time to relax & enjoy the islands!
I'd first have to say, when on Oahu in the Waikiki area, take a morning walk up the beach from the Waikiki Marriott Oceanfront, and have breakfast at "DUKES." Super fun, outdoor dining among lots of Polynesian decor, i.e. bamboo, rattan, Koa wood etc. Food is great, fairly reasonable, and a REALLY fun band. See this link of them playing.My Sunday afternoon at Duke's Waikiki Beach - YouTube
Also, when on Waikiki, to save money on food, go to the Hale Koa military hotel. To stay there, you need to be military, but to eat there you do not. Tired of all the high priced food on Waikiki? Go here. VERY reasonable. We had a GREAT cheeseburger for like four bucks and change and drinks were about the same.
Thanks for sharing tradwick! I had no idea civilians could dine at the Hale Koa. If you want some more deals (thought not $4), there's a few places in Waikiki to check out.
For great Japanese noodles with a great varieties of sides, head to Honolulu Eats - Marukame Udon
You can get out with a bowl of noodles, some rice balls and tempura for $10/person. I usually end up saving 1 of my 2 rice balls for later
You could also check out Honolulu Eats - Sansei Seafood Restaurant at the Waikiki Beach Marriott. They have 50% off most of the menu during their happy hour and late night hours.
Of course there's more than just the 2, so be sure to ask around
We are lovers of Kauai....heading there again for 2 weeks this Friday and the Waiohai! We have found hiking to be a great way to see the island! A totally different way! And Cheap too! My adult children love to drag me around. We love the sunset cruises...using Kauai Sea Tours...and at least one flight in a helicopter should be on ones bucket list.
alrighty fun2go, I've got some more for you. I've never been here, but the reviews look good. I especially trust the one that has dined at arguably one of the best sushi bars in the nation, Yasuda in NYC:
Koiso Sushi Bar, Kihei - Reviews, Phone Number & Photos - TripAdvisor
If you don't mind a drive out to Kaanapali, I'm a fan of Japengo! I haven't tried the Maui location, but recently visited the Oahu location and am looking forward to a return visit! Japengo
This isn't sushi, but they had some great seafood dishes when we visited a few month ago and is now one of my 2 favorite restaurants on Maui: Wailea Eats - Ka'ana Kitchen at the Andaz Maui
If I can think of anything else, I'll let you know. Happy travels and let me know if there's anything else I can help you with!
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