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Trip Report - September 08

Kaysville, Utah
Level Contributor
509 posts
15 reviews
18 helpful votes
Trip Report - September 08

My wife and I had another wonderful trip to Oahu ending last week. We had a lot of relaxing beach time, got some snorkeling and surfing in, saw beautiful sights, took 9 gigs of pictures, ate good food - had an all around superb time.

Our United flight arrived in Honolulu around 1:00P after a 90 minute delay due to a medical emergency in L.A., paramedics had to come on board and check a passenger out.

They gave us a Chrysler PT Cruiser at Advantage Car Rental. No problems with pickup or drop-off. I waived the optional insurance. I would have preferred a car with a trunk, but the cruiser was fine.

Stopped at Costco for the essentials – coffee beans ($8.99/2.5 lbs.), creamer, milk ($4.53/gal), fruit etc.

We checked in at the Royal Grove. They gave us a corner room with two sliding glass doors and a huge lanai running the length of both exterior walls. The double bed seemed like a king-size without the two big red dogs that we left at home hogging it.

We unpacked and walked down to the beach by Dukes statue, the area looked remarkably like it did this past January.

Day 2 - the a/c in our room wasn’t functioning very well and was going to be a deal breaker for me, but I was able to pop it open and clean the filter, it worked much better. We had coffee, juice and bagels on our lanai, read the local paper.

Beach time again on Waikiki, borrowed a surfboard from the RG. Had a pretty good burger for lunch from the stand there. Shopped at Safeway on Kapahulu for groceries. Prices are noticeably higher than Costco.

Day 3 - coffee and bagels on the lanai, again. We borrowed a cooler from the hotel, filled it, and then stopped at Leonard’s Bakery for malasadas on our way to Waimanalo Bay. I ran in and bought one of each, then got back to the car and realized that my wife wanted some too - just kidding.

Waimanalo Beach was beautiful as always. The warning signs for Portuguese man o wars were posted, and as the screams from my first encounter with M-O-W’s some 40+ years ago are still echoing around the Pacific we opted to just enjoy the beach, it was a perfect day. There was a group of elementary school students on a field trip doing experiments and different beach/ocean activities. Lucky kids. We had a wonderful, relaxing day at the beach, sipping ice tea and reading.

We took our time driving up to the Pali Highway on the way back, stopping to take pictures along the way. We stopped in Chinatown at the Golden Palace for dinner, had several dim sum items along with Kun Pao Chicken and Hot Ginger Chicken, everything was really good and the whole meal was only about $25.00.

Day 4 - we took it easy around the Waikiki area with a cooler of drinks, borrowed surf board and a good book at the beach.

In the evening the Aloha Festival - just us and about 50,000 of our newest friends strolling up and down Kalakaua. All kinds of food booths and entertainment set up. After checking out several booths we decided to walk up to Dukes for dinner, another good meal. After dining we enjoyed the festival activities.

Day 5 - after coffee we went down to see the Aloha Festival Parade, which was ok as far as parades go. We walked over to the park for the Hapa Haole Hula & Music Festival and Competition afterwards. They didn’t get a very big audience for this event, we enjoyed it though. Picked up some burgers and garlic fries at Teddy’s and wolfed them down in the park. Does anyone actually think it’s a good idea to eat a “Monster Double Burger”? We waddled around Waikiki after.

Day 6 - services at Kawaiaha’o Church. I’m kind of a heathen, but always enjoy the friendly people, beautiful songs and nice messages that are presented. Kahu Kekuna remembered us from previous visits.

On to the north shore/windward side drive. We stopped at many spots briefly, taking pictures and taking it easy before arriving at the Byodo-In Temple. It was overcast and raining intermittingly making for some wonderfully mystical pictures of the temple and grounds, different then when you have the morning sun and get reflections in the pond – which are beautiful too. I took around 180 shots. My trigger finger was frazzled.

Then on to Chinatown for dim sum, Szechwan Shrimp and Seafood Platter at Mei Sum Dim Sum, another good meal.

Day 7 - we walked over to the Hale Koa and lounged by the pool all day. Had a few cocktails and did some visiting.

Dinner at the House Without A Key. Good service, food and entertainment.

Day 8 - coffee on the lanai, of course, then off to the Sharks Cove for snorkeling. We went in for a short time, but the water was too rough for us, so we drove over to Waimea Bay to swim and relax on the beach. My wife practiced her cannonball off the big rock. It was pretty crowded: we had to wait a while for a parking place. Another postcard setting. Then off to Matsumoto’s for a shave ice. There were about 30 people in line at Matsumoto’s and only 3 or so over at Aoki’s. We thought we’d give it the “Pepsi Challenge”; wife got in line there and I walked to Aoki’s for one of theirs. We thought they were both good.

It was music night at the Royal Grove. The owner, Mr. Fong and some of his friends play their guitars, ukuleles and sing Hawaiian music in the lobby area. The music and hospitality were amazing. Mr. and Mrs. Fong served everyone cake and ice-cream after the music. They are very nice people and exemplify the Aloha spirit.

Day 9 - Hale Koa pool and beach time

Day 10 – We both seem to forget each trip how wonderful the coves at Ko Olina are. It’s hard to describe the tranquil beauty. It was quite deserted this day, only a few people at the second cove. We spent the day snorkeling and relaxing on the grassy areas sipping ice tea and reading.

We had another fine meal at the Golden Palace in Chinatown again. I could eat there everyday.

Day 11 - Punchbowl Cemetery today, a very emotional place for us. If I’m feeling sorry for myself spending time here is a sure cure.

Drove up Tantalus - tool a bunch of pics.

Day 12 - Breakfast at Dukes, then Waikiki beach today. I borrowed a surf board again. We walked through the IMP, and then made a stop at the Food Pantry grocery store. Their prices are scary i.e. milk $9.49/gal.

We had dinner at a Mexican restaurant on Kapiolani and stopped for dessert at Leonard’s.

Day 13 - services again at Kawaiaha’o Church, then over the Pali to the Kailua area where we explored for photo ops and stopped for lunch at Teddy’s. We then drove on H-3 all the way over to where it merges with H-1 and back. I wanted to get pictures from both sides. Then on to Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden. What an incredible place for picnics and family outings. Took about 200 shots.

This report is getting too long, so to sum up the last few days of our trip – snorkeling at Ko Olina, chillin at the Hale Koa and just taking it easy.

We usually don’t rent a car the whole time if we’re staying the Waikiki area, this time we did and used it all but 5 days.

This trip was incredible, we had absolutely no problems. Everything worked out as planned, everyone was helpful and nice. I guess the only thing that could have made it better is if we’d won free lodging at the Halekulani.

Willis Brothers Surfing
Surfing, Windsurfing & Kitesurfing
Surf HNL
Surfing, Windsurfing & Kitesurfing
Boarding House Surfboard Rentals
Surfing, Windsurfing & Kitesurfing
San Antonio
Level Contributor
77 posts
1. Re: Trip Report - September 08

Shasta, thanks for the report. We leave in 2 weeks for a couple nights at Hale Koa and then on to Bellows. I have a couple questions about the coves at Ko Olina. Where are they and is the snorkeling good there? Thanks.

Saint Cloud...
Destination Expert
for Oahu
Level Contributor
30,273 posts
2. Re: Trip Report - September 08

Very nice.

Honolulu, Hawaii
Level Contributor
255 posts
3. Re: Trip Report - September 08

Shasta, great TR! You guys sure know your stuff! You know where to go and what to do and what to eat. And you had like two weeks to relax. Thats just great!

Your wife is very brave if she practiced her cannonball off the big rock, I have seen grown men take hours before they take the plunge at Waimea Bay.

Have your guys ever tried Kua'Aina burgers? There is a shop on the north shore and at the Ward Center, the burgers are great if you like burgers.

Morristown, New...
Level Contributor
931 posts
25 reviews
71 helpful votes
4. Re: Trip Report - September 08

Loved your report and your writing style is great...wry humor and excellent details. We had only a few days on Oahu and your report makes me want to return with more time to enjoy. Thanks!

Level Contributor
555 posts
2 reviews
5. Re: Trip Report - September 08


Glad you had a great trip. I loved that you didn't pack in adventures every day and left lots of beach time. Sounds like the Royal Grove has some very nice owners. I have a friend from Green Bay who is there right now. Maybe we'll have to try it sometime. So, when are you going back? We have no definite plans yet, but I am thinking our next trip will be without kids!!!!!


Saginaw, Texas
Level Contributor
3,485 posts
3 reviews
2 helpful votes
6. Re: Trip Report - September 08

A well-written trip report with some actual RELAX time. Awesome. Mahalo!

Kaysville, Utah
Level Contributor
509 posts
15 reviews
18 helpful votes
7. Re: Trip Report - September 08

Thank you everyone for your nice comments.

Hi Cibilo, you know there are a lot of places that have more fish. Kahe Point a mile and half up the road from Ko Olina is probably one of the best spots on the island (lots of fish, clear water), but for a nice, beautiful place, hardly any people, with shaded grassy areas or sandy beaches to put your towel on it’s hard to beat the Ko Olina coves. The snorkeling there is very easy and there are quite a few fish. There have been turtles swimming in the coves every time we’ve been there. It has such a quiet relaxed atmosphere (except when the 15AW from Hickam fly over-which I love to see).

It’s about a 40 min. drive from the Hale Koa. Probably the easiest way to get there is to take McCully St. out of Waikiki to H1 west, H1 will eventually become Farrington Hwy/Hwy 93, take the Aliinui Drive exit, stay on Aliinui Dr. you’ll come to a guard house just tell the person there that you’re going to the beach, you’ll go past the Paradise Cove Luau, then past the JW Marriott on the right, then you have your choice of the four different coves. Turn right(west) on the second road - Kamoana Pl will get you to parking for the first or second cove or go to Waialii Pl or Mauloa Pl to get to one of the parking lots for coves three or four. Parking is free but limited; you should be able to find a spot in one of the lots. Its really is easy to get there. If you google the directions you’ll see that it’s a piece of cake.

Bellows Beach cabin area is one of my favorite places on the planet. I’m envious.

Hi Tokyo-Venice, thanks for the heads-up. We’re always looking for a place with good burgers. I’ll be the fat guy with one in each hand.

Hey Terri, we found the people and layout of the Royal Grove to be fantastic. The hotel is showing its age. The only real problem I had was that our room was a bit grungy. I don’t know what I expected in this matter but for $450.00/week I know going into this deal that there may be some issues. So the first day after check-in I walked down the hall to the housekeeper’s area, got a bucket, mop and vacuum along with cleaning products (along with the Lysol wipes we always carry)and cleaned the room myself. It only took about 45min. and we were happy the whole trip.

I’ll be monitoring flight prices daily for our next trip. I owe my youngest daughter a trip to NYC so it might be fall ‘09 for our next trip to the beautiful islands.

Thanks again

Mukilteo, Washington
Level Contributor
372 posts
29 reviews
12 helpful votes
8. Re: Trip Report - September 08

Great trip report. Did you post any of the pictures? I love looking at photos.

Los Angeles...
Level Contributor
66 posts
9. Re: Trip Report - September 08

Shasta, Loved your TR, thank you for the lunch and dinner reccomendations. We will be staying in North Shore next June/July.

I was wondering about Costco, can you tell me where it is located ? In your TR, you said you went there right after arriving in Oahu, it is too far to return to just pick up a few things, ie: milk ?

Kaysville, Utah
Level Contributor
509 posts
15 reviews
18 helpful votes
10. Re: Trip Report - September 08

Mpinsp, thanks for the nice comments. Where on the north shore are you staying? If you’re heading up H2 or the Kamehameha Hwy , there is a Costco located at 94-1231 Ka Uka Blvd in Waipahu, about 13 miles north of the airport on H2. Just take the Ka Uka Blvd. exit. I believe its exit 2. I think it’s about 25 miles from Turtle Bay. If you’re going east first (especially the Pali Hwy or the Like Like Hwy) the Costco at 525 Alakawa St. would be a convenient stop

There is a Foodland in Haleiwa on the Kamehameha Hwy and in Laie.

There is another Costco down by Hanauma Bay (333A Keahole Street)that you might pass while exploring the island

I’m sure Dusty or one of the other locals can help with more options