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2 weeks in Paradise! DebitNM Hawaii Trip Report part 1

2 weeks in Paradise! DebitNM Hawaii Trip Report part 1

Old Oct 19th, 2006, 08:29 PM
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2 weeks in Paradise! DebitNM Hawaii Trip Report part 1

Part 1 THE BASICS –
I couldn’t decide how to start…there is so much to cover. So I thought I would begin with air, hotels, car rentals in this first part. It’s long! I was a teacher, so I can “talk”!

Airport/Security/Airlines

I packed my 1 quart ziplock baggie with my 3 ounce or less things and that went fine. I also had a prescription medication [a gel in a jar] that was just over 3 ounces and according to TSA guidelines, that should have been no problem. I had it in a separate baggie as the guidelines did not say it had to be part of the other limited gels/liquids.

Of course, the screener had to check with 2 others to be sure it was within guidelines, as it was deemed okay. I couldn’t decide if I should just seal it well and pack it in my checked bags. I worried that if the bag got lost, I would be in trouble. So, putting it in the carry on was the final decision and it all worked out well.

One very important thing I did not realize is that UNEXPOSED film should not be put in checked bags. I found that out after the bags were weighed, tagged and sent on their way. I was really concerned after I read that warning sign…but we were lucky as the pictures came out with only a few having a pink tinge to the side of print.

We flew American from ABQ to DFW and then on to HNL. We were fortunate to have gotten first class FF tickets {big THANKS to Neo for the heads up on the 25% off sale last May}. Wow…what a difference it made. We were so fortunate to be able to stretch out on an 8 hour trip. I took a 5 mg Ambien after lunch and slept for 4 hours. It was great – I was awake for 2 hours, slept for 4 and then was up for last 2 hours. I had tried it before I left home, so I knew how long it would last and what side effects [none] might take place. DH also took one, but he says it really didn’t do much for him {I think he did sleep some, but not as much as I did}.

Landed in HNL at 2:45 pm and walked over to Interisland terminal and caught our 4 pm Aloha Air flight to Maui. Short flight, no assigned seats, but we got good seats on left side of plane and had good views.

We flew Hawaiian Air from OGG to Kona and that too was short and uneventful. We sat on left side and had good views.

We again flew on Aloha from KOA back to HNL and sat on the right side this time to have last looks at BI.

Car rentals:
We had the car rentals as part of each hotel package. On Maui, the car was from Avis. Getting the car was fast, easy and they allowed me to be additional driver with no additional cost. We had a Pontiac G6 with really low mileage and really liked the car.

On BI, the car was through Hertz. The service getting the car was really slow. There were 2 agents working and only 1 person ahead of us on the line when we walked in. Each agent already had a customer and it seemed to take forever for them to finish with them. The agents were being real friendly and chatting up a storm, which I guess is nice, but we just wanted to get our car and go! We got a rather used [abused] Taurus with bench front seat and cloth and coming from that nice zippy leather interior of the G6, we were a bit disappointed. But the worst part was that they wanted $10 a day for me to be an additional driver! I don’t usually drive when we are on vacation [I prefer to navigate] but it is nice to know that if I had to, I could do so legally.

By the time we got to the hotel, the check engine light had come on; the car was hesitating and really was handling very poorly according to DH. Hertz had a counter at our hotel, so the next morning we asked for a different car. We were given a Mustang convertible with no extra charge. So, all in all, it worked out okay!

We also got a car from Hertz on Oahu; same thing with the additional driver. We upgraded from economy to midsize {$5 a day} and got a Mercury Marquis. Could have done with smaller car to save on gas, but it was fine.

Gas in Maui $3.33, in BI around $3 and we saw it on H2 on the way to North Shore in Oahu for $2.79.

Hotels:
Maui – Westin Resort on Ka'anapali Beach

We had been referred by someone who owns a villa there and got a package with a great price and $75 gift certificate. We could use the gift certificate at checkout which was good. We charged lunch and breakfasts and then used the certificates that way. If you use them in restaurant or store, they do not give change. So you either end up losing some value or spending more if the bill is higher than the $25 and $50 certificate. The room was supposed to be a standard non –view room. When we checked in I asked if there were any complimentary upgrades available. They gave us an Oceanside room with 2 double beds on the second floor. The other room had a king, but I was happy to have an Oceanside room. Truth is, it really wouldn’t have matter much, as we were hardly in room. But I think overlooking the parking lot on that low of a floor would have been not so good.

The room was okay, a bit tired and worn. They were in the process of redoing all of the rooms. While were there, they were changing mattresses, furniture, carpets, putting in flat screen tv’s -- so all of the rooms should be really nice in short order. The bed was very comfortable and had 2 white down quilts on it!! Sure didn’t need 1 let alone 2! There was a mini-fridge, coffee maker, in room safe and the bathroom amenities were their own brand and quite nice. They had a lighted makeup mirror which was nice to have.

We got leis when we checked in, and cold towels and chilled fruit laced water was in the lobby every afternoon. That was a great treat after being out in the sun each day.

The grounds are really nice with lots of pools, including an adult only one. There are parrots by the patio and a waterfall you can walk under. All pools but one close at sunset.

Our biggest complaint [and we knew this ahead of time] was the $18.50 daily resort fee. [2 bottles of water a day, workout room, a paper shopping bag, internet access w/ your own computer, self parking]. It really doesn’t give you much, you have no choice and you still had to pay to rent chairs and/or umbrellas on the beach! And they make a big deal of stay at one and play at all of their resorts on Ka'anapali, but the have recently changed that policy to exclude the pools! You can use the beach, ride the shuttle, eat and sign in restaurants, but no pool use except where you are staying.

There was self park or valet. The self park was small and was often full at night, so then you could use the valet park with no charge except tipping.

Big Island – Prince Hapuna Beach
These comments are pre-earthquake, they may not be applicable now (

This was absolutely amazing! Peaceful, serene, tranquil were my first thoughts when we walked into the lobby. A spectacular view of the ocean right in front of you to welcome you!

Again, we were greeted with icy cold guava juice and cold towels. We were upgraded from a partial ocean view to a full ocean view which is their most expensive room except for their suites. The lobby is on the 8th floor of the 9 floor building. Our room was on 7th floor and was huge with a bathroom that was almost as large as the bedroom! There were Neutrogena products and lots of light in bathroom and separate shower and tub. The room had an oriental feel to it [as did the entire hotel] and also had a mini-fridge and in room safe. They had turndown service each night and did a second housekeeping at the same time.

There was no resort fee! There were chairs, lounges and umbrellas on the beach. There was free valet parking. They have a shuttle to Mauna Kea next door where you can use all of the facilities but the pool there is much smaller than and not nearly as nice as at Prince Hapuna Beach.

The bed was super comfortable and was triple sheeted. Very, very clean rooms! Huge lanai with table, chairs, and lounge.

Oahu - Marriott Ko’Olina Resort

I had found a great price online with a timeshare presentation. DH and I talked it over and thought it was worth the 90 minutes for the price we got. More about that later. We checked in and got an upgrade to a penthouse room, but it faced the golf course -- not the ocean. As we had already learned, ocean view was nice, but not necessary. The room was beautiful with 12 foot ceilings! It had a microwaves, toaster, mini-fridge and came with dishes, glasses, silverware, a box of guest amenities [everything from granola bars to coffee to dish soap and laundry detergent], in room safe. The building we were in is only 9 months old, so everything was nice and fresh and new. The colors were soft, tropical and made you feel relaxed. We had a sleeper sofa a chair, end table and coffee table in the little sitting area. The room is actually the lock-off of the one and two bedroom timeshare villas.

There was no resort fee, free chairs and umbrellas on beach, free self park. In the villas, which have full kitchens, there are washer and dryer unit. But for the rooms like ours, there were free washers and dryers available on a couple of different floors in each tower. That was great; since we were in need of laundry facilities by the time we reached Oahu.

There is building going on, but it did not bother us at all. The 2 pools are small, more to come with the new towers. We got two $25 gift certificates which had to be used for food or at shops, could not be used at check out.

Well, I think this is a good start on what seems to be a book, not a trip report.

More to come…
Hope this helps…
Debi

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Old Oct 19th, 2006, 08:58 PM
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Nice start Debit! Oh how I hate those resort fees and add-ons. Can't even believe they are charging for beach chairs and umbrellas. Way out of control. Seems to me, whenever resorts start to nickle and dime you with fee's and parking and coffee and beach chairs, service on a whole suffers dramaticly. Hopefully BI and Kauai will never buy into this bad taste of tourism. I truly think it is the wrong direction to go.

Anyway, thanks for what looks to be a thought out, take you time trip report! Something to look forward to during this continuing hectic weekend!
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Old Oct 19th, 2006, 09:00 PM
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Aloha Debi... no worries! Your reporting is great. I'm looking forward to more.

aloha for now...
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Old Oct 20th, 2006, 09:30 AM
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I left out the flight home!

We dropped off the rental car at HNL at about 11 am, checked in our bags. The airport was a madhouse with all of the people whose flight had been cancelled the night before due to the earthquake.

We hopped a city bus and went into Waikiki to get a brief look see. Stopped at main Hilo Hatties store and did some damage there!

Walked around a bit, had lunch at Cheeseburger in Paradise [so-so] and hopped back on bus. Got a transfer when we got on, so it cost us $2 each round trip! Took a long time to get back with lots of commuters and stops. Got back to airport with time to spare, went through security in a breeze as most of the earlier passengers seemed to have gotten out.

Flight was full, {left an hour late}had dinner, took a 10 mg Ambien and the next thing I heard was...we will begin our final descent into DFW! The only way to fly a redeye of 8 hours!

Got to DFW with less than 30 minutes to make connection to ABQ...ran through airport...got on the rail...and just made it! Landed in ABQ on time, had breakfast with DD's and drove home. It was snowing like crazy as we came through Durango! I know I wanted some cool DRY weather, but that was a bit much! Made it home and pooch was so happy to see. Dog/house sitter did a terrific job. Not even sure if pooch knew we were gone!

Debi

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Old Oct 20th, 2006, 10:18 AM
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Mahalo for the T.R., now when do we get to part 2
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Old Oct 20th, 2006, 11:01 AM
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=D>=D>=D>

Did you bags make it from DFW to ABQ?
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Old Oct 20th, 2006, 11:07 AM
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Thanks Debi! The Hapuna Prince sounds wonderful. Great job.

-Bill
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Old Oct 20th, 2006, 11:16 AM
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Mahalo for a great trip report so far Deb. When you made the reservations for the KoOlina, did they guarantee the dates right away or did you have to wait 72 hours for a confirmation?

i'2
 
Old Oct 20th, 2006, 11:57 AM
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Not only did the bags make it -- they were the first ones off loaded in ABQ!!

When I made the Marriott payment, I told the guy on the phone that I wanted to be sure the dates were good before I did anything and since I was calling in May and booking October he checked and said it would be no problem. I know that is not how they usually work...you pay deposit first and then get dates and pay rest. We paid 100% on the first call and got the dates. I think we were lucky!
Debi
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Old Oct 20th, 2006, 12:31 PM
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Quick question: How many nights did you spend on each island? We are going to Hawaii for the 4th time in August, and are thinking of a similar trip.
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Old Oct 20th, 2006, 12:39 PM
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DNM...you think the baggage handlers ran your bags over to your plane like you guys ran?
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Old Oct 20th, 2006, 01:57 PM
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Beachgirl86 -- we spent 5 nights on Maui, 3 on Big Island [this was added in after others were booked since we had to rearrange our airline tkts. and stay an extra 3 nights] and 5 nights on Oahu.

In retrospect, I would not try to do 3 islands in this amount of time. I would do 7 nights in 2 islands. We would have loved to have more time on BI.

Also, flying interisland wasted a lot of time that could have been spent ON an island instead of packing, flying, getting another car, checking in etc.

I also made a mistake when I first booked flights by going into and out of Oahu which caused another interisland flight. We used FF miles and I didn't realize you could go "open jaw" [into and out of 2 different airports] when I booked.

Experience is a wonderful teacher. As much info as I got on here [and I got lots of terrific ideas], I still didn't do everything quite right. Next time!!
Debi
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Old Oct 27th, 2006, 01:21 PM
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topping for kalunchi
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Old Oct 28th, 2006, 01:33 PM
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Aloha, Debi! Great TR Part I. Especially enjoyed your review of Hapuna Prince BI, which sounds dangerously (cuz my credit cardds are maxed out) enticing!!

Very much looking forward, when you have a chance, to more about Oahu in general and Ko Olina in particular.
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Old Oct 30th, 2006, 10:00 AM
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~~~~~topping for salgal~~~~
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Old Nov 5th, 2006, 09:28 AM
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topping~~
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