Oahu Trip Questions

Dec 13th, 2006, 05:28 PM
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Oahu Trip Questions

I'm in the early stages of planning my first trip to Hawaii and I would appreciate your advice. There are four of us who are traveling and our lodging will be in a condo near Ala Moana Center. Is this a nice neighborhood? I see there's alot of shopping and restaurants at the mall. Is it close to Waikiki Beach, Duke's, and the International Market Place? We've decided to rent a car for the primary transportation. We would like to attend a luau and the options are either Polynesian Cultural Center or Paradise Coves. How are the road conditions from either location back to Honolulu? None of us care to drive on two way roads at night (we're all city girls who's used to 6 lane highways). Also, is there good cell phone service on this part of the island --- in case of an emergency? Should we consider the luau at the Royal Hawaiian because it's closer to the city? Finally, our trip is Memorial Day week. I'm sure it will be very crowded but this is the only time that works for most of us. I read that one of the favorite summer events is "movies on the beach". When does this start? This may be a fun event for us. I'm sure there will be more questions as we finalize plans. Thank you for your insight --- Grouptravel
grouptravel is offline  
Dec 13th, 2006, 06:16 PM
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Wow! Lots of questions. Here are some answers:
1. I’m going to assume you will be staying in the Ala Moana Hotel, which has converted to a condo-tel. Is that correct? If so, yes, it’s a decent neighborhood and convenient to everything. I live in the area and I can tell you that due to the quick development of various businesses (real estate, retail, restaurants, etc.) the traffic is a little congested at peak hours, but the beauty of it is—I can walk to just about everything that I need.

2. It’s not that close to Waikiki Beach. ..here’s a map to show you Waikiki. http://www.driveguidemagazines.com/oahu_waikiki.html At the bottom, you’ll see an arrow that says “To Honolulu” and it will show you the proximity. When I say “not that close” I mean that it’s not right out your door, it’s about a half mile down the road. Ala Moana Beach will be close by, though.

3. Duke’s and the International Marketplace, therefore, will be about 2 miles away on foot.

4. Luau: There are many opinions on this board so you may want to type “luau” in the search box to get a feel for it. Personally, I prefer Paradise Cove over Polynesian Cultural Center. Not sure what you mean by “road conditions” as you need to get on the freeway to get to the luau and back to Honolulu. (This is a city after all!) If you consider the Royal Hawaiian hotel luau, that’s not a bad option since it’s right in Waikiki and not as far to drive. Depends what you want to get out of it.

5. Cel phone service, as with all metropolitan areas of the United States, is fine. We have service for Verizon, Cingular, TMobile, Sprint, Nextel, AT&T, etc.

6. The event you are talking about is called “Sunset on the Beach” and you can get information here http://www.sunsetonthebeach.net/ or here http://gohawaii.com/

Dusty, one of our other Hawaii posters, can give you more information & links. Stay tuned.
MelissaHI is offline  
Dec 13th, 2006, 06:25 PM
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I believe that the price of the luau at Paradise Cove included bus from Waikiki area. It is in a pretty location.

There are, as I remember, 3 main "highways" that transverse Oahu
and it is just like mainland city highways...traffic and all. You should feel right at home on them.

Hope this helps...
DebitNM is offline  
Dec 13th, 2006, 06:39 PM
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Thank you for your responses so far. I should clarify --- when I say road conditions, I mean, do the roads from the luau venue travel through mountains and/or remote areas. Also, one of my co-workers have a condo at the Nauru Tower and we're renting it from them. I've never been to a luau so I would like to enjoy good food/entertainment. Thank you for the links. I'll continue to do research and hear the other members advice.
grouptravel is offline  
Dec 13th, 2006, 06:48 PM
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No remote roads or mountains from Paradise cove. A few local roads for short distance and you are on highway back to Waikiki. We stayed at the Marriott which is right next to luau and drove easily in the area. Don't get your hopes too hight for good food. Luaus seem to be more for the experience that the food.

I have posted info from my trip reports here if you want to see them:


Hope this helps...
DebitNM is offline  
Dec 13th, 2006, 06:55 PM
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Polynesian cultural Center has the best Polynesian entertainment in Hawaii. Their 'Horizons' show is the best in Hawaii.

If you want a Waikiki show, Creation: A Polynesian Journey has the best Polynesian dancers on Oahu.

I think you ought to stay in a condo in Waikiki. Lots of shopping, restaurants, etc, & you are still close to Ala Moana Center.

Ilikai has a lot of time share condos available for little over $100 a night. It is right across the bridge from Ala Moana Center.

Driving back for anywhere at night on Oahu is easy. There are some two lane roads, but they are easy.

Map of most Waikiki hotels & condos:


Lots to do on Oahu:


www.visit-oahu.com free brochure They have over 400 websites for lodging, restaurants, attractions on the site & in the brochure.
dusty56438 is offline  
Dec 13th, 2006, 07:01 PM
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Nauru Tower!! If I win a lottery somewhere, I was thinking of buying a condo unit in there! Very nice.
MelissaHI is offline  
Dec 13th, 2006, 07:56 PM
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Recently we stayed at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. One of the most enjoyable evening activities we experienced was to take in a show by Olomana of Hawaiian Music and Hula dancing at the Paradise Lounge in the Rainbow Tower. The show is free (it is a bar, you can buy drinks). The venue is small and intimate and the music is so good. Here is a link to their website: www.olomanamusic.com
Click on shows and bookings for more information. I see Jerry Santos plays somewhere else on Monday nights.

Get there early to get a good seat or wait until they take a break and someone leaves to move up.
Ronda is offline  
Dec 13th, 2006, 08:03 PM
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When I was in Oahu last week, I rented a car and drove all over the island, even when it was dark. Roads were terrific; I drove past the PCC and can see how easy it would have been to drive there from Waikiki, although that wasn't my direct route. I did have a portable GPS unit that helped enormously in navigating without much extra thought, but with good directions I would have had no problem getting to and from the PCC even at night.

My T-Mobile cell service worked pretty much everywhere I checked all over Oahu.
Andrew is offline  
Dec 13th, 2006, 11:43 PM
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Nauru Tower is very nice! You are right in between Ala Moana Center and Ward Center. Good shops and eating at both. Ward is a bit more boutique. Its also right across from Ala Moana Beach Park.

Easier than finding and paying for parking would be to take a cab into Waikiki. With four of you, it will be cheap.

The road from PCC includes a long stretch on a two lane road with poor lighting. I don't like driving it after dark, and I have done it many times. Cell sevice can be spotty out there too.

If you prefer freeways, Pardise Cove would be better. Better yet, take their bus. Then you can enjoy the drinks without worrying about the long drive home. I've heard good things about Royal Hawaiian's luau. Certainly easier to get to! As stated above, commercial luaus are not known for fabulous food. They have to stike a balance between food to feed a crowd and food that people not accustomed to Hawaiian food will eat. Authentic does not always please visitors.

Sunset on the Beach is fun. don't worry which side of the screen you are on..the backside will have words backside, but has nicer sand and is less crowded.

lcuy is offline  
Dec 14th, 2006, 02:58 PM
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Thank you for your responses regarding the luaus, road conditions and the Ala Moana neighborhood. I'm very excited to stay at the Nauru Tower. The pictures are very nice -- although I'm not sure how my co-worker can afford it Based on your responses, I'll reconsider renting a car for the entire time. As I get closer to my trip, I'll ask for your thoughts on my itinerary. There are so many options and my current itinerary is overwhelming.

grouptravel is offline  
Dec 14th, 2006, 03:08 PM
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Rental cars are very competitive in Honolulu. Although I wound up not using this option, I found a pretty good deal to pick up a car in Waikiki for two days and then return it to the airport upon leaving Hawaii. The site I used is called discounthawaiicarrental.com and they'll make a reservation for you at no obligation; I checked later on my own and could not get anything close to the price they got me. It's worth a shot.
Andrew is offline  
Dec 14th, 2006, 04:33 PM
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Afford Nauru Tower? your friend probably won a lottery. Daaaaang.

Just kidding.
MelissaHI is offline  
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