Songdoc's Waikiki/Oahu Surprise

Old Aug 19th, 2009, 05:56 PM
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Songdoc's Waikiki/Oahu Surprise

As the regulars know, I’m addicted to the North Shore of Kauai. I’m only back a few hours from a glorious month in paradise and it may take several more days for the airline to find my brain … so that trip report will be forthcoming.

When it was time to head home, I had to change planes in Honolulu. As I proceeded to the American Airlines gate at HNL I heard the announcement, “The flight from Honolulu to Dallas is oversold and we need volunteers to give up their seats …” I was curious so I checked with the gate agent and it was pretty good deal. I’d never been to Oahu (except for the airport) … but I’d have to get up at 5:30 AM to get to the airport the next morning. It was already 5 PM so that would have given me a total of maybe 2 hours of daylight in Oahu—so it wasn’t worth it. I asked if there might be a later flight out … and that was the beginning of my adventure!

I was given taxi vouchers; a hotel; a $400 travel voucher – and 27 hours in which to explore before I’d fly out of Oahu. FYI, they needed seven volunteers. Everything worked out better than I could have imagined and I felt as if I’d won a trip to Oahu.

I presented my taxi voucher to the dispatcher and was directed to a stretch limo! I expected a basic room close to the airport. Instead, I got an ocean view at the Marriott Waikiki!! With only a couple of hours till sunset I bought a pair of flip-flops, a disposable razor, and deodorant. Luckily, I had a toothbrush & bathing suit in my carry-on. I strolled along the beach, waded in the warm water, and came upon a free concert with hula dancers at Kuhio Beach. I enjoyed the music and dance while watching a gorgeous sunset. Afterward, I window shopped and checked out the scene.

I’d heard that Honolulu was a big city--like L.A. But I guess I still had it in my mind that it was “Hawaii” – so I could hardly believe how much it seemed like L.A. (where I’d lived for many years) and how much it really did seem like a big city. Waikiki felt like a cross between Venice Beach, Beverly Hills, Vegas, and NYC – with a beach.

From everything I’d heard, I expected to hate Honolulu—and LOATHE Waikiki. With only one full day, I decided to take an 8-hour, “Circle the Island” tour to get an overview. Y’know what? I thought it was great. There were so many beautiful areas once we got out of the city—especially on the North Shore. Highlights included Hanauma Bay, the Halona Blowhole Lookout, and the best shrimp I’ve ever tasted -- at Fumi’s.

Now … would I choose Oahu or Waikiki for a vacation spot? No. It’s not my cup of tea—just like I wouldn’t vacation in L.A. – even though I have a great time every time I go on business. But I had a blast during my one day in Oahu and I thought Waikiki was great fun. I think it would be a perfect vacation spot for people who love Vegas glitz; big city excitement; shopping; and beautiful beaches. But that’s not me—and my heart remains on Kauai’s North Shore. Still I had a wonderful day-and-a-half exploring an island I might never have visited.

Mahalo, American Airlines!
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Old Aug 19th, 2009, 06:14 PM
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Way cool! Sounds like SongDoc's excellent adventure.
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Old Aug 19th, 2009, 06:16 PM
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I am glad to haar that you had a great time in Honolulu.
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Old Aug 19th, 2009, 06:23 PM
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Oahu is a gorgeous island.
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Old Aug 19th, 2009, 11:39 PM
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Wow, what serendipity! It is great to hear a good story about an unplanned change in travel plans!

DH and I love Oahu. We love Kauai and Maui too but we wind up on Oahu often. DH trys to get Marriott points when he travels on business so we have stayed at the Waikiki Marriott many times. I love to wake up early in the morning and sit on the balcony having my coffee while I watch the surfers. We usually spend a couple days at Waikiki and then take day trips to other spots on the island.

I have to bite my tongue sometimes when people talk about how awful Waikiki/Oahu is. Especially when they have told me how much they like Las Vegas!!!

Look forward to your trip report, I can't imagine how awful an entire month in that hellhole Kauai must have been!
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Old Aug 24th, 2009, 08:26 PM
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what a fun experience. I too love Kauai but for the past 3 years I have found myself in Waikiki for family wedding, and then to spend time with my sis who goes over for a month. waikiki kind of grows on you but my heart lies in Kauai. what a deal you got. I took a deal for over booking once just to get the free flight (that's what they use to do) but only got a $75.00 voucher for an airport hotel! 25 days and DH and I are off to Big Island for a few days and then Kauai for a week - the count down has begun.....Aloha
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Old Aug 27th, 2009, 01:25 AM
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Have printed out your notes for Kauai for our trip July 2010.
Seriously considering staying at Sealodge, what do you think about building F, as they have some good deals, and coming from New Zealand with the exchange rate just about double for our NZ dollar. Also in Ohau you mention the Circle Island tour, which company did you use, as there are a few to choose from. Thanks.
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Old Aug 27th, 2009, 05:24 AM
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christraveller: I LOVE New Zealand. I get to work and vacation there every year. The exchange rate has come up quite a bit (to benefit you) in the past several months. When I planned my last trip (in May '09) a NZ dollar cost me $.49--and I could live like a king. It's now up to $.68. Hopefully, it'll keep coming up for you ... but not before my next trip to NZ ;-)

Re: Sealodge ... the buildings are virtually identical. What matters is whether the particular unit faces toward the curving coastline/Anini reef, with the view of the lighthouse -- or straight out to the sea. If you face the lighthouse (and you'd clearly be able to see that in the photos online) you'll get the best views AND terrific breezes. If you face straight toward the ocean -- it will be very warm midday, but will typically cool down at night. All the units have fans. (Of course, most people will be out sightseeing or at the beaches during the day.)

The other thing to decide is whether you prefer being on the ground floor -- able to walk out of your unit, right onto the grass -- or if you prefer a 2nd or 3rd level with a balcony instead of a patio. The upper units are more secure -- but I feel safe there anyway. I always used to book the balcony and enjoy the view from a bit higher ... but the last couple of times, I've really enjoyed being on the ground floor.

If you decide to stay there next July ... I'll be there. This far in advance I'd guess that every unit will be available -- so be sure to pick one with the great view & breeze. But I think the worst unit in the place would still be heaven.

Re: the tour in Oahu ... sorry, but I don't recall the company I used. I saw the ad in a magazine and paid cash -- so I don't have a receipt. (It was only $26.) It seemed that all the tours were identical anyway.

New Zealand's gorgeous ... but Kauai still has me heart
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Old Sep 1st, 2009, 11:38 PM
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Thanks for your reply - Songdoc.
Have booked a unit at Sealodge with great views, facing the reef, and I think on the top floor. Looking forward to being there.
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