A belated Happy New Year everyone. Thank you all for reading this blog and following along with my travels – you all inspire me to keep posting and I hope I give you some ideas to add to your travel bucket list. I am looking forward to many more adventures in 2016 and I hope you will join me.
During the Christmas holiday season we were lucky enough to go to paradise for some rest and relaxation. I am talking about Hawaii, one of the most gorgeous places on earth. This is our third trip to Hawaii; we had previously visited Maui, Kuai and Big Island. This trip was our first time in Oahu. We spent the first week in Honolulu, the capital of Hawaii and the only real city in the islands.
When we arrived at the airport I was delighted to see a rainbow welcome us. During our stay I discovered this was not an uncommon occurrence as the weather could change minute by minute from sunny and hot in one minute to rainy and cool the next.
We stayed at The Modern Honolulu on Waikiki beach and had a fantastic time. Below are some thoughts and highlights of our Honolulu stay.
Honolulu is not the prettiest city I have been to. The 70’s era, haphazardly placed skyscrapers with no rhyme or reason in design are an eyesore. I will admit I felt a little dismay while driving from the airport to our hotel as there were so many run down neighborhoods that I could not help but think “is this it ?”. However on staying and exploring the city, I discovered a metropolis with a wide range of things to do and a diverse population creating a melting pot of foods, traditions and cultures.
Waikiki is where most of the big hotels are in Honolulu. My favorite time on Waikiki beach is at daybreak when the rising sun creates a beautiful picture of the beach with the mountains in the background.
Honolulu’s main shopping street Kalakaua Av. is in Waikiki. Designer shops, chain restaurants share space with small sushi eateries. Glamorous, busy and touristy is how I would describe Waikiki.
In contrast to the glitzy Kalakaua Ave, little China Town is more real.There is a lively bustling community here with shops, bakeries, restaurants and grocery stores that all look as though they have been in this neighborhood forever. Some of the best food I had during our stay was in China Town. Three of my favorite restaurants were Lucky Belly, Livestock Tavern and The Pig and the Lady.
Diamond Head and Koko Head
I loved the fact that about 20 minutes out of the city you could go hike up mountains and enjoy some of the most fantastic views of the city and the sea.
Koke Head mountain drive was one the most beautiful drives I have ever done. The views reminded me a lot of California’s Big Sur shoreline with waves crashing against the black rocks, creating dramatic scenery.
Asian is the predominant food on Oahu. Japanese, Vietnamese, Chinese it is all plentiful in Oahu. However if sports bars and classic American food is to your liking there are plenty of places to go. We went many times for both breakfast and lunch to Australian chef Bill Granger’s casual diner Bill’s Sydney www.billshawaii.com in Waikiki.
On christmas day we treated ourselves to Morimoto right in the Modern Hotel lobby. The service was not the best. The restaurant had overbooked so even though we had a reservation there was still a 45 minute wait, when we were seated and the delicious food arrived all was forgiven.
After a week in Honolulu I was ready to get out of town and enjoy a slower pace. Part 2 of my Hawaii post will be on our stay in Lanikai.
I want to thank Catherine Scott the founder of a company called Honest Hazel for sending me revitalizing under eye gels to take to Hawaii. They were much used. I especially loved the refreshing feeling after the long 9 hour flight.