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Trip Report - May 4th-May11th

Fitchburg...
Level Contributor
660 posts
5 reviews
27 helpful votes
Trip Report – May 4th-May11th

Let me start off by saying that I have wanted to go to Hawaii since I was 12…. I celebrated my 49th birthday in Hawaii on this trip……..so its been a long time coming! This was my bucket list trip.

We started off with 2 flights, both 5+ hours legs from Boston to get there. It was a long long day. We flew United Airlines, which stopped in San Francisco. We had a 4+ hour layover. We arrived in Honolulu at 6:30pm local time. It was cloudy and raining. Our luggage was lost, but eventually found, so it took us a very long time to get out of the airport. Then the car rental company’s computers were down, so that also took a long time. Needless to say it was dark, so we drove straight to our condo (Waikiki Banyan). On our way up the elevators to the 28th floor we saw a paper sign taped on the wall stating that the lanai’s(balcony) would be locked during the construction ( outside repairs) and sorry for the inconvenience. We were not told this by our VRBO landlord. Who wants to be on the 28th floor with no balcony?? NOT me that’s for sure. Well it was locked the entire 11 days. They are reimbursing us $200 for that inconvenient, but really if I had known, I would never of rented it. So no drinking coffee on the lanai in the early morning, no drinking wine on the lanai in the evening….. the view was still spectacular, but it still hurt!

Let me say first, how shocked I was at how big the city of Honolulu is. People, be prepared for this, it’s a major city, and its as big as they come! So many buildings & so many people. I don’t know why this shocked me so much, but it did. The other thing was the shopping. I guess I am the odd one here, because I am thinking, who wants to go designer shops while in Hawaii? There are so many stores, many many high end ones, and that’s pretty much the Waikiki area other than the beach. Don’t get me wrong I loved the ABC store, and the touristy stores with the local stuff, but really a Hermes store? Gucci? People were going crazy shopping, and here I thought we were all there to enjoy the beach, ocean and island life. This was no different than New York City.

The next day it rained all day, but after that it was mostly sunny, but off and on rain the for next 11 days. We went to the luau at the Hale Koa Hotel, it was amazing! So much fun, totally worth it. Loved the food and the show. We hiked Diamond head…wow what a good hike it was. We went to Pearl Harbor, and drove to the North shore, though the waves were not big at all, but its certainly much more relaxed and island like. We went to the Polynesian Cultural Center, and Dole Plantation. We went snorkeling to Hanauma Bay, which was awesome!!! Then a snorkel/dolphin tour with E’O Waianae Tours… the absolute BEST –we swam around dolphins, sea turtles, and so many fish… and then saw whales breaching……. Couldn’t of asked for a better boat trip.

We went to the big island for 2 days, and went to Volcano National Park, it was great. We drove the coast as well; saw the Akaka waterfalls, beautiful, and a great hike.

All in all, it was a great trip. Food and drinks are pretty expensive, but it was expected. Entrées were $20+ and drinks were also $10-15. Would love to go to Maui next time, and maybe find more of that island feeling….

Fitchburg...
Level Contributor
660 posts
5 reviews
27 helpful votes
1. Re: Trip Report – May 4th-May11th

oops it should say May 4th- May 15th.... it was 11 days total.

South Coast NSW
Level Contributor
3,109 posts
93 reviews
50 helpful votes
2. Re: Trip Report – May 4th-May11th

I am so sorry that you were not told this re the Waikiki Banyan beforehand. Ever since I found out about these renovations (via a few of the condos for rental on VRBO) I have been trying to mention it in any threads where someone was asking about the Banyan.

I know you will probably do this anyway, but can I suggest you write a review of the hotel as a lot of travellers do not read the forums, they just read the hotel reviews. Just looking at the recent reviews, I don't see anyone mentioning the renovations. And for anyone who has not heard -

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The Association of Owners of the Waikiki Banyan has begun an exterior enhancement project including concrete restoration, re-sealing of windows, lanai maintenance, and painting of the exterior of the building. Most work will be restricted to Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and is scheduled to be completed by the end of December 2013. All public areas will be accessible.

There will be some periods of noise associated with the exterior concrete repair; all other work will create minimal noise and inconvenience. For safety and security, it is important that guests keep windows and lanai doors closed while work is being done. Lanai furniture will be removed at times as well for surface inspections and repairs.

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Though it does say while work is being done, me personally I would not have interpreted that to mean at all times - I would have thought it was during the hours they were talking about. So now I will make sure to direct people to this trip report when they mention the Banyan. ;)

Glad you had a great trip otherwise! ;) I've added a link to your trip report to the list on my website.

California
Level Contributor
574 posts
23 reviews
69 helpful votes
3. Re: Trip Report – May 4th-May11th

Thanks for your report. Sounds like you visited many of the tourist spots. I would of been upset about the lanai being closed off also. I sure enjoy morning coffee sitting out there enjoying the views. Was the owner aware of the repairs prior to your arrival? Glad you had a nice birthday.

Brisbane
Level Contributor
7,272 posts
73 reviews
51 helpful votes
4. Re: Trip Report – May 4th-May11th

Glad you had a great birthday trip! Despite not being told about the lanai being closed off, it sounds like you still had a wonderful time. Mahalo!

Kapaa, Hawaii
Level Contributor
55,756 posts
3 reviews
5 helpful votes
5. Re: Trip Report – May 4th-May11th

Thanks for the report. Did you go to the International Market Place? Best shopping in Waikiki!!

Yes, Honolulu is a large metropolitan city. With large city woes but, hey, It's "on the beach"!!

Fitchburg...
Level Contributor
660 posts
5 reviews
27 helpful votes
6. Re: Trip Report – May 4th-May11th

The owner told me that he had no knowledge of the Lanai being closed, until I told him. He seemed to be sincere about it. I will see if he comes through with the $200 refund he promised....

We did go to the International Market !!! It was pouring!!! But I did manage to go back and bought a beautiful shell ring and many other things... loved that place!

Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
34 posts
11 reviews
5 helpful votes
7. Re: Trip Report – May 4th-May11th

I'm staying at the Banyan in 2 and a half weeks. Were you in Tower 1 or 2? Like you, when I booked my condo through VRBO, I did not know about the renovations and the owner didn't mention it. So I'm nervous that our balcony will be sealed as well.

Newcastle, Australia
Level Contributor
410 posts
19 reviews
12 helpful votes
8. Re: Trip Report – May 4th-May11th

Thanks for your TR, love a good report.

Fitchburg...
Level Contributor
660 posts
5 reviews
27 helpful votes
9. Re: Trip Report – May 4th-May11th

Hi, fellow Candian here!! From Manitoba originally, now live just outside of Boston...

We were in Tower 2

Good Luck with your trip! If you have any questions about the Banyan, just ask!

Sydney
Level Contributor
88 posts
18 reviews
14 helpful votes
10. Re: Trip Report – May 4th-May11th

OP, assuming you're from the US, all those branded stores are pointless for you. For people from Australia like me, we go crazy in there because the prices are a HELL LOT cheaper than back home. There are probably many other countries who have higher prices for those luxury goods, so people go to the US make the most of it - SPLURGE!