Oahu Trip Report

Nov 21st, 2006, 08:51 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 670
Oahu Trip Report

Sorry it took me a while to get this posted - I guess it was due to my reluctance to admit the trip is now over and I’m back here in the “real” world!

Anyway - I booked my trip through The Visitor Center.com - Heather was my “agent” and she was great - it was nice to be able to have someone to talk to and still reap the benefits of “online” rates. The total cost of the package was $726.50, which included round-trip airfare from LAX to Honolulu and five nights at the newly-renovated Waikiki Wave (formerly the Coral Reef Hotel) on Kuhio. I was able to pay a deposit and then make payments - paying the balance in full 60 days before my departure which was really nice since I was having a cash flow problem at the time.

I had stayed at the Coral Reef a few times before, so knew it could use some sprucing up. It has now been renovated. Although it IS most certainly better than it was, overall the renovation was sort of sloppy and they cut lots of corners. The lobby seems to be the best - it is very nice, and when they finish with it (they’re building some shops, I think) it will really be nice. But the hallways and the rooms received - basically - not much more than some paint and shiny new hardware (door knobs and such). The rooms also received new marble-topped furniture and shiny compact refrigerators, microwaves and coffee makers which are very nice. The bathrooms have a marble-topped vanity (matches the bedroom furniture) and a crisp new shower curtain and a (sloppy) coat of paint (which is already peeling off in places), but that’s about it. The shower fixtures are VERY old and outdated and the tile and tub are the same they’ve always been. The door had been damaged previously - the ripples from it are visible under the new paint. The worst part (to me) were the vents - not only did they not replace the grates and only painted over the old ones (which look like old ones painted over), they did NOT clean the vents before painting and all the dirt is visible in them. One thing that we thought was odd was that they don’t have any comforters or bedspreads on the bed - they just cover the beds with another plain, white sheet and tuck it in - guess we’re just old fashioned, but it seemed like the bed wasn’t “made.” I never went to the pool, so I can’t comment on whether that received a much-needed renovation or not. I never ate at either of the restaurants so can’t comment on those either. The parking situation is a NIGHTMARE! But - they are well aware of that and promised to be fixing it.

You might think I was not happy with the Waikiki Wave from my previous comments, but you would be wrong. It was a perfect trip -except that it was too short - and the hotel played a large part in that. The complimentary newspaper every day was nice, the staff was great - very helpful and friendly. They upgraded me - at no charge - to a king-bed room on the 4th floor and gave me a small box of chocolate macadamia nuts as a gift for my birthday. The location - right next to Duke’s Lane and directly behind the Int’l Market Place - cannot be beat. This alone is worth staying here. I could clearly see the Royal Hawaiian Hotel from the lanai and the mountains in the other direction. I always travel on a budget and luxuries and resort amenities just aren’t what I look for - especially in Hawaii where I just love being no matter where I stay.

I arrived on November 1st - on a cloudy, showery day. I had a cold so I felt sort of like the weather. But I was in paradise so I didn’t care. My BF (who lives there in Kaneohe) picked me up at the airport - lei greeting no less. After checking into the hotel we ran around doing some of his errands, went to Ward Center and saw Clint Eastwood’s new movie (can’t recall the name right now, but it was excellent), then we stopped at Don Quiote (a local store) for groceries and much-needed orange juice to try and drown my cold. We settled in for the night - sitting on the lanai re-connecting and talking till very late. In the morning he took off to do more errands while I bought post cards at the Market Place and then walked the length of Kalakaua - in the POURING rain, no less - and finally had breakfast at Smorgy’s. Thursday night my BF had to work (he’s a local entertainer) so I went off to see some friends who were performing in the Shell Bar at the Hilton Hawaiian Village, after stopping off for a bite to eat at the Wailana Coffee Shop. The Lava Flows were flowing in good order that night! When my BF got finished working, he met me at the HHV and we all had a nice time - until they closed the bar and kicked us out!

Friday morning he drove me out to the airport to pick up my priceline.com car rental from Hertz. I “named my price” and got a pretty red Mustang convertible for FORTY bucks! We parked his car at a nearby shopping center and took off to explore Oahu. We stopped off first at Dole Plantation so I could stock up on some of their “onolicious” Maui onion salsa. Then it was off to Haleiwa and shaved ice at Matsumoto’s. We continued driving to a beach (don’t know the name, or if it has one) where there were a whole lot of turtles - what a blast to see them and watch how close to people they would come. I took a bunch of pictures, but they sort of looked like large rocks in them! From there we drove up near Waimea Bay and stopped at a nearly deserted beach. BF took off for his daily run while I stayed behind enjoying the beach and the ocean (I think I definitely had more fun!). When he came back we hung out on the beach for quite a while talking stories and then he drove me around the rest of the island which was a wonderful drive. By that day the weather had let up and it was mostly sunny, warm (muggy!) and gorgeous all day long, and my cold was MUCH better.

Friday night BF had some work to do so I ventured over to Duke’s and ate nachos at the bar, washing them down with Hawaiian Island Iced Tea (similar to Long Island Iced Tea) and a Mai Tai. I did some shopping and sat in one of the Moana’s rocking chairs for a while watching people go by. BF picked me up later and we went to see one of his friends playing in a band in the lounge of the Waikiki Sheraton. Saturday morning we took the car back and then had breakfast at the Original Pancake House on Dillingham - the coconut pancakes & syrup were pretty good, but not to be compared with Boots & Kimo’s macadamia pancakes. BF dropped me off at the Ala Moana Center so I could do some shopping and picked me up later at the Ala Moana Beach Park across the street. He was working that night so I went with him and kept the bartender company while BF played music. The place he was working (the Elks Club) is right on the ocean so there was an amazing view of the sunset and the ocean.

When Sunday morning dawned BF took off to do some work - he was going to Kona the next day after I flew home. I had breakfast at Denny’s on Kuhio and then walked all over the place in search of an old album my BF had recorded years ago. I was directed to an antique store on Kapahulu called Bailey’s - and they had the album! I also picked up a couple of other OLD albums and was thrilled! I walked back toward the hotel via Ala Wai Blvd and enjoyed the view of the canal. I finished my shopping and then hit the beach adjacent to the Outrigger. The water was amazing - as always. BF picked me up late in the afternoon and took me to a surprise destination.

He had planned a picnic for our last night and took me to a pretty park by the Kawalo Marine Laboratory. It was a wonderful place - right on the ocean, no beach, just rocks. We got there and unloaded the car in time to watch the sunset together. He had brought a really nice bottle of wine and lots of “finger foods” and we sat out there until well after sunset. We had planned to go to dinner and a movie, but the finger foods filled us up and we decided to forego the movie and just headed back to the hotel. Monday morning I tried to fight it, but the blues got me - I absolutely HATE leaving Hawaii (not to mention the BF!) so my spirits took a beating. After I was packed and ready to go - refusing to check out one minute early - we took a final stroll thru the Int’l Market Place until I had to finally check out and the shuttle bus picked us up to go to the airport. His flight to Kona was later so we hung out in the American Airlines terminal until the very last minute and I had to finally go through security and off to the gate. The best part of the return flight was that they played Toby Keith’s new movie (Broken Bridges)which was pretty good.

Every time I leave Hawaii I start planning the next trip before the return flight even touches down and this time is no different. I’m hoping to be there for the Fourth of July but this time I want to be there a full two weeks and am considering using vrbo.com so I will gladly accept any and all advice on that since I’ve never done that before. This November trip was great - but far too short for me - it seemed like it was time to leave and I’d only just arrived.
bashfulLV is offline  
Nov 22nd, 2006, 11:59 AM
Join Date: Jul 2003
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Enjoyed your report very much. Sounds like a good rate for your package.
Hope you get to return soon.
Barbara5353 is offline  
Nov 22nd, 2006, 04:33 PM
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Even though it was a short trip, it sounds like it was a really terrific pick-me-up! I've taken long weekends to FLA and LAX at various times. I'm in Illinois. Sometimes it's just nice to leave town and see something different, even if only for a few days!

Thanks for your report. BTW, your hotel sounds like the one I stayed in back in 1976 on my first trip to Oahu. Do you think it's that old? I couldn't tell you what the name was that many years ago, but your description sounds right-on!
simpsonc510 is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2006, 12:03 PM
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bashfulLV, would you mind emailing me? I have a few questions about the Waikiki Wave. My email address: portlandbridges -at- yahoo -dot- com. Thanks!
Andrew is online now  
Nov 24th, 2006, 10:32 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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hi bashfulLV- hey did you happen to pass by the Hawaiiana Hotel? I'm wondering if the construction is still going on and/or bad enough to stay somewhere else this coming Jan/Feb? thanks for your report (loved the detail about the venting/painting, you had me laughing out loud). -suze
suze is offline  
Nov 27th, 2006, 07:19 AM
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Yes - short trip but definitely worth every dollar and every minute - am already planning the next one.

Suze- I did go past the Hawaiiana - my BF had told me (before I got there) that I would NOT want to stay there now - until the construction is done - so I had to go by there. I walked by on my way to the HHV and he was so right. The other places that I so enjoyed last time (bakery, fruit store at the end of the block, little shops and restaurants) are all gone now and there was scaffolding in the street and everything around the Breakers and the Hawaiiana was either closed, demolished or under construction. Since it was early evening when I went by there, I didn't hear any noise because they were done for the day but just from the looks of it over there it HAS to be noisy all day long - probably starting early in the morning. I'm considering staying there at the end of June when I go for two weeks - but only if my BF gives me the nod that the neighborhood is back to normal. But I may jusy go ahead and book something through vrbo instead.
bashfulLV is offline  
Nov 27th, 2006, 08:13 AM
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very nice! I hope to see you at Aloha Tower Marketplace next time!
MelissaHI is offline  
Nov 27th, 2006, 09:18 AM
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Hi Melissa - I hope so - I told my BF when he took me by the Aloha Tower (driving) - "I need to go there to find Melissa from the Fodor's board" - but we never had the time. Next time (hoping for the end of June for 14 days) I will have lots more time and lots more free time because he will be working, so I will make it a point to come by.
bashfulLV is offline  
Nov 27th, 2006, 09:30 AM
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Thank you for the up-to-the-minute details. That's so SAD about the bakery, fruit stand, etc. I KNEW that was going to happen. I'm hoping to go within the next month or two and will stay elsewhere (I'm wanting to try both the Royal Grove or Queen Kapiolani perhaps).

Hopefully by another year's time things will be put back together so at least the hotel is back to normal, even if the neighborhood has lost its charm (to our mutual views).
suze is offline  
Nov 27th, 2006, 09:49 AM
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I know - I hate it when something I like changes! According to what "they" (whoever "they" are) say over there - the Waikiki Beach Walk Project will be wonderful when it's finished, but I'm going to wait & see. I liked that whole little area for the charm it HAD then, I'm not so sure that when it's all brand new it will be as attractive to me. Of course it will all cost more by then - the Hawaiiana will probably raise their rates even more once the Project is finished. I'm crying too ...
bashfulLV is offline  
Nov 27th, 2006, 10:06 AM
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People see thru different eyes (but you and I happen to agree!). I was reading in press for the project (I believe "they" is primarily the Outrigger chain) about how Lewers Street was past its prime and sorely in need of upgrading because it was run-down and unsightly for tourists.

To *me* it was one little pocket in Waikiki that still had charm and character. The really elderly folks who ran the fabulous Paul's fruit shack, the lady with no teeth who made cheap delicious sandwiches in the little basement bakery, the excellent Lewers Street Loft & Lania where I'd eat 'plate lunch' along with all the hotel workers on their dinner break... how quickly times change!!
suze is offline  
Dec 8th, 2006, 03:13 PM
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Ditto on the character that Lewers St had. My wife and I always looked forward to walking that stretch from the Reef hotel, down Kalia to Lewers and taking a left. One of the best haircuts I ever had was by a little old Chinese lady in the basement of the Outrigger Edgewater hotel. And Carl's JR was there before Lewers St. Loft. It will be sorely missed. When the construction is completed, it will be like walking down a street in Las Vegas

rexster314 is offline  
Dec 9th, 2006, 08:54 AM
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Rex, also lost Buzz's steak house. loved that place. I'll be there next month and interested to see how things are "progressing". On the up side I'm going with my parents in a few years, and they'll probably appreciate the spiffiness of the remodel.
suze is offline  
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