August 9, 2015
If you want to shop and eat just like you never left the mainland this is the island to go. Waikiki has everything you would find in a mainland America mall... but just a lot closer to the beach.
I enjoy Oahu and I normally end up visiting at least for a few days during a Hawaiian trip. Mainly because it is a little more happening than the other islands and there is lots of shopping and restaurants and as a bonus you don't need to rent a car if you plan to stay in Waikiki.
- Embassy Suites
This hotel is great for a few reasons. The rooms are all suites so if you are sharing a room with family it works out well. It is located in a great location that is close to the beach (beach adjacent). Breakfast. I love a good breakfast and including in your rate is a full buffet breakfast including an omelette station. The pool is quite nice and we have spent days at the pool not evening having to leave the property.
- The Royal Hawaiian
We stayed at this location May 2015. It is an SPG property so you can use your very valuable SPG points on it. The hotel itself is very pretty and pink. It is situated close to shopping which was very convenient. At first we were really disappointed that their pool was simply a boring round pool, but we figured out that guests can walk across the way and use the Sheraton Waikiki pool. A pool that has waterslides and waterfalls. Staying at this hotel also made me realize how great the beach is in this area. You can go out 200 metres and still be waist deep with a sandy bottom.
- Ohana East
Don't expect a great pool. I actually don't even think I went to the pool at this hotel. If you are budget conscious this hotel will do. It is clean, roomy and I think all the suites have balconies.
Waikiki has a lot of the usual American chain restaurants including Cheesecake Factory. There are a few unique restaurants that stand out.
I haven't been for dinner, but I found this restaurant in May 2015 in Foursquare. They have a great breakfast buffet that is very affordable with a great view.
- Shore Bird
You have to cook your meat yourself which is alright, but kind of annoying. The food isn't bad. Aside from the meat, it is a standard buffet.
A few years ago I was in an athletic mode and I went on the hunt for a hike. I spoke to passenger next to me on the plane over and she recommended Koko Crater hike. This hike is not for the faint of heart... It is straight up a mountain and you are literally climbing up an old railroad track. The view from the top is stunning. Going down wasn't any easier!
During this same athletic trip, I took advantage of my jet lag and also climbed Diamond Head. Lot's of stairs. Lot's of tourists. I'm amazed when people drag their grandma's up to see the view. It was nice, but couldn't beat Koko Crater. It is a lot easier of course and definitely something I can check off my bucket list.
One thing I like about Oahu is that you don't need a car. You can be perfectly fine walking and staying in Waikiki. If you want to venture to the other side of the island you can always rent a car for a day or two. We did the drive once over to the north side and it was pretty fun. (Also to note, this is the same day that Whitney Houston died). We went to Turtle Bay resort and there are some pretty cool lookouts on the way.
I haven't ever done Pearl Harbour. One day I'll make the trek, but I have heard that it is touristy and always pretty busy. I have never wanted to take the effort to be stuck in a tour bus to go tour. Maybe next time... October 2015.
I have been to the aquarium. It is fun, but I was with kids.
At first I was not enjoying the beaches in Waikiki. I found them to be so busy with surfers and tourists. But this past trip in May 2015 changed that. The beach by the Royal Hawaiian was so beautiful, I'm now a fan.
If you stay at an SPG property, they have a shuttle that will take you from the airport to the SPG hotels. Much cheaper than taking a taxi. There is a lot of traffic in Honolulu and taxis can run you a bit of coin.
Take advantage of jet lag. Our May 2015 trip, we were up very early every morning since it was a short trip. Walking at sunrise is so calming and beautiful. Most restaurants open at 7AM.
The Sheraton Waikiki has an amazing Koi pond with rocking chairs. Perfect for relaxing in the morning.