As one of the top travel destinations in the world, The island of Oahu in Hawaii, home of world famous Waikiki beach in Honolulu, offers one of the widest range of hotel and resort options in the world. A couple of good sources for air travel, accommodations, and car rental are www.hotwire.com and www.orbitz.com
While Hawaii has an incredible selection of fine hotels a good alternative worth considering is staying at a vacation rental. These range from studio condominiums to mansions on the beach.
A one-bedroom vacation rental in Waikiki can cost the same or even less than a regular hotel room. Many of them also have kitchenettes or full-sized kitchens and since meals are one of the biggest expenses for vacationers this can be a real value in terms of savings. Instead of needing to eat out for every meal you can keep things in the fridge so that you can grab some breakfast before setting out for the day or even pack a lunch to take with you. No need to run down to the nearest store for a bottled water when you can just grab one from the fridge. There are also house rentals that can accommodate large families and groups, many right on the ocean.
We have found that one of the best, easiest sites to use to find a vacation rental is www.homeaway.com Check it out and you could save a lot of money. Oh yeah, and don’t forget to contact us for a wonderful Hawaii wedding or vow renewal ceremony!
Make the most out of your visit
First the bad news: Honolulu has terrible rush hour traffic so plan your outings accordingly. We are an island so there’s basically just one main highway to go around the island and 3 freeways that cross it. Best tip is to make sure that you are not on the highways between 6am and 8am or 4pm to 6pm. Do that and you will have a much more pleasant visit.
If you are staying in Waikiki you probably won’t need a rental car for your entire trip and hotel parking is pretty expensive. But it is definitely a good idea to get one for at least a day or two. Then you have more options for where to have your ceremony so that you can drive there as well as take an around the island tour on day two.
If you have a rental car be sure to plan a north shore outing to visit the famous surfing beaches at Pipeline, Banzai, Waimea, and Sunset beach. Finish the afternoon at historic Haleiwa town. There you can swim with the turtles at beautiful Haleiwa Ali’i beach park, check out the shops in Haleiwa town, grab some shaved ice at world famous Matusmoto’s, and maybe wrap the day up at Jamison’s By The Sea for dinner.
Check our posting below for tips on the island’s best luau’s for a great night out.
Activities and Dining
Must do’s in the Waikiki area
Have a plate lunch at Rainbow Drive-In. A plate lunch is Hawaii’s fast food staple. 2 scoops of rice, 1 scoop of macaroni salad and your choice of about a dozen different entrees. We highly recommend the pork teriyaki plate or the “loco moco”. Right next door get some delicious Shimazu shaved ice for dessert. Just down the road is Leonard’s Bakery with its world famous malasadas. Malasadas are a Portuguese pastry similar to a doughnut but no hole. Leonard’s offers your choice of the classic malasada, custard filled, chocolate crème filled, and the very special haupia (coconut pudding), all cooked fresh while you wait.
Best Luaus (Hawaiian show and dinner)
The Ka Moana Luau www.moanaluau.com Featuring majestic views from the slopes of the Ko’olau Mountains. Admission includes tickets for the Sea Life Park aquarium attraction at the same location. 35 minutes drive from Waikiki, charter bus transport available for $25 per person. Book with us and save up to 25% on this luau!
Paradise Cove www.paradisecovehawaii.com Located at the 5 star Ko’Olina Resort area in west Oahu. We regularly do weddings next door at Lanikuhonua Beach (Also known as Secret beach), or right there at Paradise Cove, sometimes timed so that the couple and guests celebrate right at the luau right after the ceremony. 45 minutes to an hour drive from Waikiki, charter bus transport available for $35 per person. Book with us and save 10% on this luau!
Dining / Reception options
As a top tourist destination uniquely located between East and West, Hawaii has a very mixed culture and dining options reflect that in the multitude of restaurants to choose from. Here are just a few recommendations:
Casual and festive
Duke’s Waikiki, right on the beach in Waikiki: http://www.dukeswaikiki.com/
Tikis Grill and Bar is another Waikiki beach location at the Aston Waikiki beach Hotel. They offer a variety of dining options and can even host a buffet menu reception in a private or semi-private setting http://www.tikisgrill.com/home
Elegant, 5 Star dining options
It doesn’t get better than the historic Halekulani Hotel which offers several fine dining options.http://www.halekulani.com/dining
Michels at the Colony Surf Hotel is another fine dining restaurant specializing in French cuisine with a beach front setting on the Gold coast of Waikiki. http://michelshawaii.com/
Restaurants offering private rooms for smaller receptions
Also located on the Gold coast of Waikiki, the New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel a number of private reception dinner options for small to mid-size parties. http://www.kaimana.com/banquets.htm
Finally, a good site for general travel information for activities in Hawaii is Trip Advisor at https://www.tripadvisor.com/Tourism-g28932-Hawaii-Vacations.html
More tips coming soon!