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Trip Report - 2 days Waikiki - (May 5-7 & 13)

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Trip Report - 2 days Waikiki - (May 5-7 & 13)

Hubby and I spent a day and a bit in Waikiki before heading over to Molokai as well as another half day on the return.

For some reason I felt the need to include every little detail so for such a short trip it's a very long report.

Here is the Waikiki part, I will post a report for Molokai (with TripWow) on that forum.

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1. Re: Trip Report - 2 days Waikiki - (May 5-7 & 13)

This trip was a bit last minute and was decided upon at the beginning of March for travel May 5-14. It was also a bit of an experiment to see how ‘budget friendly’ we could make a trip to Hawaii.

This was the first time using the Alaska Air credit card with companion fare. The process was simple and we ended up flying Bellingham to Honolulu return for $480. After half a day travel to Bellingham (with our carry on luggage) we were able to go straight through to security and were in the waiting lounge in less than 30 minutes. A beautiful afternoon departure got us in to Honolulu around 6:30pm to overcast skies and rain. Who cares? We are in Hawaii...

After locating the bus stop we had about 15 minutes to wait until the bus arrived and we were on the way to Waikiki. By 8:00pm we were checked into the Royal Grove hotel which I will review soon (fantastic location, amazing price @$70/nt and decent, clean room overlooking the pool).

Hubby was hungry so we went for a wander. Came across Cheeseburger in Paradise and since family had raved about this place he really wanted to check it out. Service was indifferent, hubby’s burger was just ok and my yam fries were cold. The only good part was that as soon as we were seated the skies opened up and it really poured rain. If we were 10 minutes later we would have been soaked. Cool to watch it from inside. Rather than sit in a noisy crowded restaurant, we grabbed a giant Corona from the ABC store to share on our lanai, then crashed. So much for fancy drinks at the beach...

Our one day in Waikiki was a walking/bus tour of some sights we wanted to see. First we grabbed a coffee and had a walk along the canal. I loved the fact that it was mostly residents walking dogs or out for a bit of exercise. Back to the Royal Grove to grab the bus directions to Harry’s Cafe for breakfast. The bus took about 25 minutes and it was easy. Breakfast was really good, large portions and very reasonable. Hopped the bus on Ala Moana Avenue and went to Aloha Tower. Not much there for shops but the tower was interesting and a great bit of history. Our transfer was still good so we took the bus back towards the mall then walked across the street and out to Magic Island. Hubby could have sat on the breakwall all day and watched the crabs on the rocks and next trip we will certainly be back here. From the park we walked along the waterfront to the Hilton lagoon and eventually to the Hale Koa Barefoot Bar for a refreshment. From there it was a late lunch at the Cheesecake Factory (just ok) then back to the hotel to rest our tired feet.

Around 7pm I noticed music coming up from the lobby so hurried down to watch and listen to the local music night. It was really great and I am so glad we stayed at the Royal Grove on a Monday night so we didn’t miss this. Afterwards we went for a wander to find a drink on the beach. I had read so much about the Moana and we were thrilled to see empty tables right near the rail. They were empty because they hadn’t been cleared yet. After standing for a few minutes I asked a passing server if we could sit and was shrugged off with a wave in the direction of the uncleared tables. 10 minutes later the table was still dirty, the waiters were still ignoring us and we eventually gave up and left. Wandering along the beach looking for another option we came across an empty table on the rail at the Rumfire. Eventually a waiter actually came and cleared the glasses and wiped the table. We finally got to order a drink and enjoyed our time there. The service here was minimal and barely ok but the Mai Tai was delicious.

I was surprised at the service and thought maybe we were dressed inappropriately or looked like we couldn’t afford the prices but after looking around I am sure that we were well within the acceptable range. Next time I will invest my $25 for two drinks into a bottle of Mai Tai mix and enjoy a delicious drink or two beside the pool at the hotel. Not much to see at the beach in the dark anyways.

Day two in Waikiki was a short one since we had an afternoon flight to Molokai. Up and off for coffee, donuts and fruit from the Food Pantry which we brought back to the Royal Grove to enjoy while we showered and packed up our stuff. The main goal for today was to check out Fort DeRussy park and Museum since it wasn’t open on Monday. It took about 30 minutes to walk there and we spent about an hour wandering around. We chose to take the bus back since our feet were so tired. A quick check out and back to the bus stop to head for Costco. Hubby stayed with the bags while I did a quick shop.

We packed an extra duffel bag and small soft cooler which I filled up at Costco. Mai Tai mix, rum, buns, frozen chicken breasts, bag salad and broccoli all fit nicely with room to spare. By then we couldn’t face the walk to the bus stop so called a taxi and for under $20 were at the airport.

I’m not much of a city tourist but did enjoy our ‘cheap’ trip to Waikiki. I could certainly imagine spending a week just wandering around on foot. Hubby loves to shop and I am quite happy people watching.

On our way back from Molokai we had a 12 hour layover. We rented a convertible from Enterprise through Costco for $43 total which was a great deal and solved the luggage storage/transportation problem. We went to Teddy’s Burgers at Pearlridge Center did a drive out to Ko Olina to check out our accommodations for November and finally made it to Punchbowl (although it was cloudy and raining in the hills so we opted out of the Tantalus drive) and spent the last few hours at Ala Moana Center before heading back to the airport. I asked the security guy where is the best place to eat and he directed us to California Pizza Kitchen/Lahaina Chicken by gate 14. It was actually quite good, real food and reasonable. Flight out at 11:30pm was on time and I managed to sleep. Next time we have to stay longer. 8 nights for 11 hours of flying just isn’t enough.....

Thanks for reading.

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2. Re: Trip Report - 2 days Waikiki - (May 5-7 & 13)

Yam fries - yum - not awesome cold though! :( Looking forward to hearing more about the Royal Grove.

Sorry to hear in just a couple of short days there you had a few bad service experiences and at some places I would not expect that kind of experience.

I mention Magic Island to people all the time and am really looking forward to spending time there on our trip. Could you see fish in the lagoon there? That place is so fascinating to me.

Which Costco? I love the idea of men with the bags while we ladies shop, lol. ;) Though you can't talk my other half into that, especially not at Costco. It is our personal temporal vortex.

Would love to hear more about what you thought of Ko Olina? How many nights to you have in November? Are they all out at Ko Olina or do you have some in Waikiki too? We are going to go out there for a Monkeypod lunch and have a look around.

Budget wise, I know people don't usually love to talk finances, but how did that go overall?

I think you definitely need 11 nights for 11 hours flying. ;)

Adding this to the trip reports on my blog. ;)

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3. Re: Trip Report - 2 days Waikiki - (May 5-7 & 13)

Thanks Jcislanders, appreciate your report. Wow, you really ran into some servers who weren't too helpful. I hope it was an anomaly!! I love Magic Island, that is where we go to watch the Friday night fireworks from the Hilton.

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4. Re: Trip Report - 2 days Waikiki - (May 5-7 & 13)

Sounds like a great, although short visit to Waikiki.

We are less and less impressed with the Moana Ocean Bar each time we go. It is a great setting, but the drinks are getting far too expensive and the service does seem to suffer some lately. I got some bad food there a couple of trips ago, so I don't eat anything anyway. Too bad, used to be our favorite place.

So thanks for the report. Go back and stay longer sometime if you can. It's a wonderful place.

Aloha

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5. Re: Trip Report - 2 days Waikiki - (May 5-7 & 13)

JC

Glad you enjoyed the Royal Grove it's not fancy but love the location and price. Love the music night it is the same people all the time friends of the owners and they are quite good.

We ate at Cheeseburger last trip because hubby wanted too I thought it was only meh..

Our favorite place to have a drink is the Mai Tai Bar at the Royal Hawaiian expensive but good and we've always had good service there we went to the Moana once I didn't like it as much.

Hope you post a TR on the Molokai forum for that part of your trip.

We will be on Maui next month only no Oahu this trip but definitely the next one. I am jealous you get to go back again this year.

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Mai Tai Bar
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6. Re: Trip Report - 2 days Waikiki - (May 5-7 & 13)

Thanks jc.

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7. Re: Trip Report - 2 days Waikiki - (May 5-7 & 13)

Thanks for all the replies, I am currently working on the Molokai report and eventually Trip Wow and if I can remember how I will put a link here.

On a side note, I splurged at Costco and got the Koloa Rum Mai Tai mix and OMG!!!! I have only had a few Mai Tais in my life but that was far and away the best of the bunch. Well worth the extra few dollars. I drank the entire 1.75l bottle all by myself and wished I had more. I'm not really that big of a drinker so actually cut it a bit with some tropical juice and water otherwise I would have been smashed the whole time. It was so good I couldn't stop....

We ended up at Costco in Kapolei and found the Koloa Dark Rum there so put two bottles in our checked bag heading home. It's $85 a bottle in BC and is only available in two stores in Vancouver.

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8. Re: Trip Report - 2 days Waikiki - (May 5-7 & 13)

We plan on buying some Koloa Rum on our trip to Maui next month will have to try the Mai Tai mix thanks for the tip.

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9. Re: Trip Report - 2 days Waikiki - (May 5-7 & 13)

Here's the TripWow link.

…tripadvisor.com/tripwow/ta-079e-44a6-86fd…

I can't seem to figure out how to link my Molokai TR.

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10. Re: Trip Report - 2 days Waikiki - (May 5-7 & 13)

I am surprised that I forgot to mention my 4am wake up on May 11.

We will be visiting Oahu with family in November and I am in charge of planning - with much assistance from the wonderful TA regulars. From reading this forum I learned about the option of reserving tickets online to visit the Arizona Memorial. Our family of 16 was hoping to visit Pearl Harbor on November 11, Veteran's Day as well as Canadian Remembrance Day. I set my alarm to wake up in time for the ticket reservations that will open at 10am EST and allow us to book tickets 6 months in advance. I phoned the group ticket line and got through to an agent around 4:15. At that time I was given only two time slots that still had availability for Nov 11, even though the tickets had only been available for 15 minutes.

So, if you are planning to visit the Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor during your Oahu trip, it is a really good idea to spend the $1.50 and the time to pre-book online. Things are filling up very quickly, especially for specific dates.

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