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Family trip report - 3 weeks June/July 2013

Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
82 posts
23 reviews
10 helpful votes
Family trip report - 3 weeks June/July 2013

Thanks to everyone on Trip Advisor that helped me plan our holiday. I hope my trip reports can help other indecisive travelers.

Honolulu, for 4 nights, was our last stop before returning home to Melbourne. So far we had been to Anaheim (5 nights), LA (3 nights), Las Vegas (3 nights), New York (4 nights), San Francisco (2 nights).....a whirlwind tour. We had packed a lot in and looked forward to relaxing in Waikiki.

Our flight from San Francisco with Hawaiian was nice, their seats are larger and a family of 4 can sit together in the middle of the plane. When you board there is lovely Hawaiian music playing, rum cocktails are given out....makes you feel chilled out!

When we arrived in Honolulu it was overcast, nothing of interest on the drive to Waikiki, just some old grey buildings. I had been told that Waikiki was over rated...maybe it was true. Sooooo wrong!

We arrived at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Ali'i Tower, checked in with no wait. Our Ocean View room (facing Diamond Head) was fine but I really wanted a room over the super pool, in case the kids went down to the pool before us we could see them. If you want quiet the Ocean View facing Diamond Head would be perfect but we wanted to feel the energy of the resort. My request to change rooms did not seem to be a problem and our new room ended up being a corner room facing the super pool and the side view was the beach..... Wow!!! Spectacular Views, beautiful renovated room, gorgeous bathroom, large balcony. Our room was over Tropics Bar and you could hear the music at night but it finishes quite early around 10pm so was never a problem, more like a bonus!

The first day was spent checking out the huge resort, loved the pools including the Ali'i Tower pool, the view from there is so amazing....photos don't do it justice. Dinner was take away pizza (round table restaurant at the resort), it was good and not too expensive.

The next day, after a good breakfast at Wailana Coffee House, we headed off to Ala Moana Shopping Centre where Macy's had begun their 4th July sale and again my daughter and I could not resist Forever 21. Our son was not impressed with all the shopping as there were beaches and pools waiting for him at the resort.

Back to the hotel for a swim before exploring the beach and Waikiki. Heaps of restaurants to try, it was hard to choose one. Dukes looked like fun. We ended up just going for snacks and drinks and watched the sunset at the barefoot bar, not far from our resort.

A swim at the Tapa pool and some time at the Tapa bar, these are open later than other bars and pools, until 11pm from memory.

The next day was 4th July, we could see tents set up around the lagoon by 7am for family bbq's and parties. The atmosphere around the place was great. Breakfast was at Snappers Bar and Grill....good value, back to the Macys sale (couldn't resist) and a visit to the sporting authority to get some ASICS runners, a great place to get runners as they know their stuff.

Back to the hotel to get ready to meet up with some friends at the barefoot bar and then off the watch the fireworks with the locals. So many people. Amazing fireworks. A late dinner at Red Lobster, why did we not find this restaurant earlier?

The next day we had the Hilton honours breakfast, just pastries, cereals, toast but it was good and great view, nice way to start the day. No shops today....hung around the beach and the pools, lunch around the super pool. The beach at the resort is huge, beautiful white sand, crystal clear water. The pools were all very busy but we had the Ali'i tower pool as well which had the comfiest lounges and best view. That night there were complimentary snacks served around the Ali pool so we stayed there to watch the Friday night show (very limited view) around the super pool and the fireworks (good spot to see the fireworks). When I heard music "somewhere over the rainbow" and the fireworks started.....wow! so amazing, gave me goosebumps.

The view of the fireworks and the show would have been even better from our room....with cheaper drinks. We would do that next time if we were able to get such a great room again.

The next morning my husband and I were up at 6.30am and walked along the beach. We decided that we would be back. And next time for around 8 to 10 nights. Would love to walk up Diamond Head, visit Pearl Harbour, go back to bars and restaurants missed and perhaps visit another island.

The people in Hawaii have a beautiful friendly calm spirit and it is an idyllic holiday destination, the four of us absolutely loved our visit to Waikiki, it was a perfect way to finish our big adventure.

We will cherish the memories and the photos of our 3 week holiday. Thank you to all the friendly people we met along the way.

Level Contributor
29,289 posts
85 reviews
43 helpful votes
1. Re: Family trip report - 3 weeks June/July 2013

Sounds great !! Thanks for posting. I did get a chuckle out of your assessment of Red Lobster. If you liked it great, it's just not a favorite of mine.

Be sure and go back, it get's better every time. We are going in October for two weeks and can't wait. We stay at the Outrigger Waikiki and make it to Dukes several times for at least cocktails.

So, glad you had fun. It does sound quite a trip throughout the U.S. I'm sure you will have some memories to last you a lifetime.

Thanks again for posting


Level Contributor
7,272 posts
74 reviews
51 helpful votes
2. Re: Family trip report - 3 weeks June/July 2013

Sounds like a fantastic family trip! Glad you had a great time. Mahalo for sharing!!

South Coast NSW
Level Contributor
3,109 posts
93 reviews
50 helpful votes
3. Re: Family trip report - 3 weeks June/July 2013

I'm torn about Red Lobster. The last time we went they had run out of fries. That was the one thing my Dad really wanted, and when the server heard that he had spent most of his trip in hospital (though we did not go into great detail as to why) she went and told the chef and he hand peeled some potatoes and made him fries especially. That is pretty awesome service - but the fact they ran out of fries in the first place is a bit of a worry!

I love the drinks there, I think the Key Lime Pie is fabulous but maybe I have not experienced enough versions of Key Lime Pie.. I am not the worlds biggest fan of the food. I would probably only go for drinks and dessert next time.

OzzieDon - if you liked red lobster, you will probably *love* Bubba Gumps at Ala Moana. It is a theme restaurant based on Forrest Gump. :)

I love Round Table Pizza, it is seriously tasty. I think what makes US pizza so much better than ours is the ground beef, the sauce, and the pepperoni. I am so much looking forward to Round Table Pizza - we have even scheduled the date, our first night on Oahu. ;)

Pretty much all of our "chain" pizza restaurants in Australia have gone way downhill lately in my opinion. I will only buy pizza from actual pizza places - no dominos, no pizza hut, no eagle boys, none of those chains. It is pretty inconvenient to be honest because the good pizza place here closes about 9:30 at night, the others are open till 11 or so. I now keep pizza bases and all the ingredients on hand to make my own if I can't get to the good pizza place.

Thank you for sharing your trip report with us. I've added it to my blog page full of trip report links. :) In case you want to get reading for your next trip, you can find my blog here - http://beedoo747.wordpress.com :)

Waratah, NSW
Level Contributor
254 posts
22 reviews
21 helpful votes
4. Re: Family trip report - 3 weeks June/July 2013


just read all your reports on a whirl wind holiday. I bet you are glad you finished in Waikiki to wind down before going home.

Great tips- many people do the mini US tour, it may be rushed but you get a feel for what you want to go back and see.

Amelia Island...
Level Contributor
1,247 posts
72 reviews
41 helpful votes
5. Re: Family trip report - 3 weeks June/July 2013

Glad you had a nice visit to the U.S. Thanks for the report.

Santa Monica...
Destination Expert
for Santa Monica
Level Contributor
24,239 posts
265 reviews
171 helpful votes
6. Re: Family trip report - 3 weeks June/July 2013

Fantastic! I love that you really wanted that busy, upbeat vibe as most people scramble for the top of the towers to get away from it. I, too, love the music drifting into my room.

Newport Beach...
Level Contributor
2,576 posts
7. Re: Family trip report - 3 weeks June/July 2013

Wow! You guys packed a lot in! I love that!!

Waikiki is such a great place isn't it? It really has it all. I think the beach is one of the most beautiful in the world, and I have been lucky enough to go to some good ones.

I am a big Red Lobster fan...I wish there was one closer to our house here in CA. Oh those cheddar cheese biscuits!

Thanks for posting a great report!

Kapaa, Hawaii
Level Contributor
55,867 posts
3 reviews
5 helpful votes
8. Re: Family trip report - 3 weeks June/July 2013

Thanks for taking the time for the report, appreciate it!!

Level Contributor
2,030 posts
482 reviews
226 helpful votes
9. Re: Family trip report - 3 weeks June/July 2013

That sounds like a busy trip! We did similar in the past without adding Hawaii (back to the UK made it a bit of a detour!) I love the atmosphere on 4th July too. You've made me want to check out the HHV!

10. Re: Family trip report - 3 weeks June/July 2013

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