What draws us back to Hawaii? We’ve been there many times over the years but we keep longing for our next visit. Back in May, we returned to our second home… Oahu, after a very sad and miserable year.
We were fortunate to have an empty seat next to us on the flight down which gave us a little more room in our economy seats. The view from the window was simply amazing and we enjoyed seeing the sun set over the Pacific.
On this stay, we opted for the Outrigger Waikiki Beach which has direct access to Waikiki beach. There’s really nothing like walking out of your hotel and stepping into paradise. The room had a partial ocean view (in other words, you can see water from certain angles outside your window) but was a good size. I found it strange that the bathtub was so tiny. You’d think they would have just put in a shower instead of the shower/half-bath.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll try to document the rest of our trip so check back as this page gets updated.
Coming in so late into Hawaii had us worried that we’d have difficulty finding somewhere to eat (after all, Waikiki isn’t like Vegas that’s pretty much open for business 24/7). Fortunately, we found M.A.C 24/7 in the Hilton Waikiki Beach Hotel which is, you guessed it, open 24/7. We had some seriously tasty Eleven-Spiced Chicken Wings as well as our first taste of poke on this visit… the Ahi Poke Stack.
The following morning, we woke up to an amazing pink/blue sky. One of the many benefits of being in a hotel that’s right on the beach.
On our last visit, they were still doing construction on the International Marketplace. I kind of miss the old, sketchy International Marketplace… the new place is all shiny and new but it kind of looks like all of the other shopping malls around town.
Right outside our hotel, there’s a narrow access walkway for the public to use to get to the beach. This is a great spot to take a picture of the colourful surfboards that line the walkway.
Our morning started off with an amazing breakfast at Cinnamon’s at the ‘Ilikai. Whatever you do, you’ve got to try their Guava Chiffon Pancakes here!
If you’re a Gilligan’s Island fan, you’ll appreciate that you can see the Ala Wai Boat Harbour from Cinnamon’s. (this is where the S.S. Minnow sailed from for their classic “three hour cruise”)
After breakfast, it was just a short jaunt over to the Hilton Hawaiian Village and Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon (this is where the free Friday night firework show takes place).
Heading west on Ala Moana Blvd, we wound up walking to Ala Moana Beach Park and down to Magic Island. You can get some nice harbour shots with Diamond Head in the background here.
Magic Island is a man-made peninsula that was originally created for a resort that was never completed so it was turned into a park.
Along our journey, we saw countless wedding parties taking advantage of the beautiful setting to take wedding pictures.
We really weren’t planning on walking this far but everything that we wanted to see was just a 10 minute walk away so we kept heading west as we wanted to check out Ward Village which is just on the opposite side of Ala Moana Blvd.
Unfortunately, most of the shops in the Ward Warehouse have been closed. Instead, we decided to get something to eat because we were pretty bushed from our walk in the 28°C heat. The temperature didn’t vary much in Honolulu during our trip (highs of 28°C and lows of 23°C) but the refreshing trade winds helped to keep us cool.
As I was saying, we were looking for something to eat and wound up at Piggy Smalls. If you’re a fan of The Pig and the Lady in Chinatown, you’ll probably love it here too. The menu is similar but more focused on small tapas like the LFC (Laotian Fried Chicken) and the “Chicken Adobo” Long Toast. I was really surprised at how good this long toast was!
After picking up some Japanese pen refills from the nearby Hakubundo shop, we walked back to Ala Moana Center and found ourselves in the newly renovated Shirokiya Japan Village Walk. This place is totally amazing! There’s stalls upon stalls of various Japanese food and plentiful seating to boot. Given how full we were from our earlier breakfast at Cinnamon’s and our lunch at Piggy Smalls, we decided to just grab a small snack from the Musubi Cafe Iyasume.
Later in the evening, after we returned to Waikiki, we decided to do some exploring in the newly opened International Market Place. The third floor is kind of like a lanai with some covered seating areas to provide shade from the Hawaiian sun.
There’s a bunch of restaurants located here and we wound up dining at Goma Tei Ramen.
I do like the fact that they kept some of the large banyan trees from the old International Marketplace and incorporated them into the layout.
By the way, if you’re ever here, make sure to check out the Kula & Ko store and try some of their pineapple-filling cakebars. These are amazing and almost remind me of mooncakes but with a pineapple filling.
There’s a large open-air courtyard where they tell stories about Hawaii’s past. On the second floor, there’s a number of wooden rocking chairs that overlook the courtyard and are more comfortable than the ones you find in front of the Moana Surfrider. They put on a daily torch lighting show after sundown on Kalakaua and then lead everyone back to the courtyard for the stories.
On our first full day in Waikiki, we were treated with a wonderful sunset. Twilight is very short here so you’ll notice that, as the sun hits the horizon, it becomes dark very quickly.
If you’ve just finished catching the sunset at the beach, try heading over to the Royal Grove at the Royal Hawaiian Center where they put on a free hour-long show Tuesday to Saturday.