Oahu: Route, lodging, dining, and shopping
January 18-21, 2008
This is going to be a little incomplete because we were pretty lazy on Oahu and sort of made Dawn take the lead. Most of the time we were with her, I had only a very vague idea where I was. . . and I loved it.
We spent a couple of nights with friends and then ended our time in Hawaii with a night at the Pacific Beach Hotel (now the Alohilani Resort) on Waikiki. (When I made reservations the property was owned by Ohana, but by the time we left for Hawaii it had changed ownership.) At a little over $200 a night, it was actually pretty cheap for a waterfront hotel room here (frightening as that may sound), so I was a little concerned about what we would be getting. Imagine my surprise to find myself in a fifth floor room with glorious views of the beach and the bay beyond! It was perfect.
The tower we were in was a little dated, but the rooms were good-sized and well-maintained. The deck was small, but big enough to sit out on. I think the other towers are newer, but they are set farther back and I’m not sure they have the same head-on waterfront view. At any rate, I felt really fortunate – were they to upgrade the furnishings and deck, I suspect they could easily charge two or three times what we paid.
There was a charge for internet access and the restaurant with the aquarium was now buffet-only, but beach towels were available for free and you could walk to the beach barefoot if you wanted to. The valet guys (who also handle cabs and other transportation arrangements) are wonderful and will figure out the most cost-effective (and reasonable) way to accommodate any journey you may wish to take on the island. On the other hand, the concierge barely spoke English and was utterly useless.
I really wanted to see the Banzai Pipeline and the coast, in part because everyone says there is nothing wild and lovely on Oahu, and really enjoyed that. Beaches and hiking are free and there are plenty of uncrowded spaces left – you just need to get out of Honolulu.
The Byodo-In temple is located in a large cemetery complex. There is a small fee to visit the temple. It is a lovely, quiet place.
The Bishop Museum is the repository for a huge amount of historical Hawaiian items and ethnographical artifacts from throughout the southern Pacific. It also supports new artists and has a large science program aimed at kids.
Mostly we relaxed and we didn’t see many of the things we had expected to see, including:
Pearl Harbor: As a Political Science major, I’m a little embarrassed to admit that we were ambivalent about the whole Pearl Harbor thing, but I fully expected to get there. I had no idea that you couldn’t just wander over at any time of the day. I should have made Dawn take us there.
Shangri-La: I actually did do a little advanced research into getting into Shangri-La (Doris Duke’s over the top tribute to the middle-east), but the schedule changed between the time I first looked into and when we got to the islands.
The state capitol: I forgot Monday would be a holiday and that the capitol complex would be closed. The same is true of the Iolani Palace, which I also would like to see, but which was both closed for the Holiday and undergoing construction work.