Trip report to Oahu & Kauai

Old Jun 16th, 2005, 06:30 PM
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Trip report to Oahu & Kauai

We returned to the islands for 5 nights (5/26 to 5/31) in Oahu and 8 nights (5/31 to 6/8) in Kauai. It feels great to be back "home". I was already planning for the next trip the last few days I was there.

Oahu Eats:
Keo's - so so. Jungle Evil Prince was not impressive. Fried calamari was OK. Overall just OK food. We've been there before and felt the same way.
Duke's - big disappointment. Service was just so so. Salad plates were not chilled well. They were dripping with water instead of being frosted in the freezer storage. My grilled ono was mediocre. Daughter's shrimp scampi was the same. Overall, a waste of money for over $100.
Ba Le Sandwich shop - decent Vietnamese sandwich, although I think the sandwiches in Houston are better. Also good shrimp fried rice.
Todai - lots of great sushi, costs more than Duke's for 4 people but worth it.
Yummy's Korean BBQ (International Mkt Place & Ala Moana Food Court) - very good plate lunches and reasonable prices. We had the $7.55 plate with Kalbi & chicken, 2 scoops of rice, 4 vegetables.
Wailana Coffe House across from Hilton - reasonable prices for breakfast. The $4.99 special does not include beverage, which is extra.
Kua'aina Sandwich (North Shore) - good hamburger, but very crowded, we waited for a while for 2 tables. Not as good as Kalapaki Beach Hut burgers in Lihue, Kauai.
Matsumoto Shave Ice - stood in line for 30 minutes. Good and cheap shave ice compared to International Market Place and the food court at Hanauma Bay. Tile art is cheaper here compared to same product at Walmart.

We bought water, bread, sushi & fried noodle packages at Costco. Mai Tai mix bottle was a lot cheaper here than any Foodland, Walmart, etc. We make breakfast of Portugeese sausages and eggs & toast or went to Wailana Coffee Shop.

Oahu Activities:
Horseback riding at Turtle Bay - nice scenery along the beach, reasonable price, but the guide was not that great. Overall an above average experience. The one-way drive from Waikiki to Turtle Bay was 90 minutes.
Kayak from Kailua to Flat Island - fun, short trip. Ocean was very calm.
Hanauma Bay - typical Hanauma Bay, crowded after 10 AM. Visibility was OK.
Aloha Stadium Swap Meet - we always go here every trip. Nice magnets and T-shirts for souvenir. Decent medium weight T-shirt can be bought for $4.50 each. The really thin ones are 10 for $10. We bought resin fruit picks and coasters for a few bucks cheaper than the same things at ABC Stores. We also bought our slippahs here. The brand name is AJW, Inc. from China. They are so soft and comfortable. No pain between big toe and 2nd toe. The sole has grips. We walked in them uphills and down hills for two weeks without ever slipping.

Oahu Lodging:
We had the Hilton Grand Vacation Club promotion, but they did not require us to attend the timeshare meeting. We did not go. Went to the Marriott timeshare in Lihue a few years ago. We stayed in the Kalia Tower with one bedroom and sofa bed with kitchen, complimentary washer and dryer on every floor. Overall, this is a nice tower. However, it is loud in the lanai since it was close to the street. Do not expect to have your coffee on the lanai in peace. Traffic noise is horrible. With the lanai door close, the room is quiet. It had nice Cuisinart cookware & good silverware. They supply enough dishwasher detergent and hand dishwashing liquid, as well as paper towel and 1 box of detergent. I used the box and it was replaced the next day. We thought the toilet tissues were cheap (one-ply). We also had hair on the bathroom floor the first day and also hair on the sofa bed's sheet, which we called for replacement. I had a massage at the Mandara Spa with a $50 Hilton credit. It was OK. They automatically added 18% tip and 4% tax to the price (the tax I can understand, but 18% tip...I did not think it was worth it with my massage). At checkout, they double-charged my massage. The Hilton check out person said she could not remove it because the Spa is not owned by Hilton. She called the Spa, who insisted they gave me credit already. I had to bring my folio to the Spa to show it to them and had to wait for half hour to have the Head Accountant talked to me and removed the charge manually. I was given 2 small sample of their products as a courtesy.

Friday night fireworks was really nice. We also went to Paradise Lounge afterwards to listen to Olomana. Two nights later we went to the Tapa Bar for music and drinks. Very nice atmosphere.

The Kalia pool is only 3 ft deep and the kids (14 and 12) did not like that...So off we went to the Super Pool. This is a joke. It is so crowded. One morning we arrived at 9:20 and there was no chair left. It started raining. Some people left, so we got our chairs. If you have a morning activity and go to the pool in the afternoon, expect to walk around and wait for about 15 minutes for someone to leave, if they leave.

Overall, Waikiki traffic was bad. It was hard to get in & out of Waikiki at most time. We did not feel "relaxed" there.

We used United mileage to fly Aloha Airline to Kauai. They stopped serving POG about a month ago. It was a disappointment. I think their POG tastes different from what you can buy at the stores. We stayed one night at the Marriott Lihue (stayed here a couple times in the past) using Priceline. We then moved to the North Shore in Princeville and stayed at Pali Ke Kua unit 207 for a week. WOW, Kauai is my favorite island...it is so laid back, green and lush.

Kauai Eats:
Hanalei Mixed Plate for lunch - good special: Tofu Thai Curry. Husband had kalua pork with cabbage, which he loved.
Wishing Well Shave Ice - my son wanted to go here every day. I always have the Hanalei Sunrise with Passion Fruit, Pineapple, Strawberry and something else.
Tropical Taco for lunch - pricey $8 for a fish taco, but they were good. Kids had baby burritos, which they love.
Puka Dog in Poipu Shopping Center - we bought one for snack at the mall. We chose Polish sausage with Spicy Jalapeno sauce and Kauai Mango Relish. This is good, and the dog is $5.95. However, the Spicy sauce was not spicey enough for us.
Kilauea Bakery - what can I say about this place...awsome. The bialys were heavenly (bagels with choices of different toppings such as olives with garlic cream cheese... I think, artichokes, bell peppers, etc. Cinnamon rolls were so yummy, husband fell in love with them. They also sell pizza, called Pau Hana Pizza. We ordered the Hawaiian Pizza, not the traditional one, which was good except there was too much chipotle in it that we thought we had fire in our ears.
Kalapaki Beach Hut for lunch- this place has the best burgers in the whole world. They also have the loco moco sandwich for breakfast which is good, but sure has lots of cholesterol.
Hukilau Lanai for dinner - we spent $132 including 18% tips here for 4 people and the food was very good. This included 2 soft drinks, a glass of wine. Husband had the seafood pasta with Hamakua mushrooms (I tasted it and it was very good). There were lobster, shrimp and scallops. I had Moi ( a very moist fish) and it was VERY good (special of the day). Kids had junior prime ribs au jus and regular meatloaf with Shitake mushrooms. We also had a scoop of Lappert's ice cream in addition to the junior meal's Lappert ice cream (included with the junior meal) and a Lappert's strawberry ice cream pie, which 4 of us shared.
Lappert's Ice cream - good but expensive. Ask for a card which they will stamp for each scoop you buy. After 10 scoops you get 1 scoop free and you can use the card on different islands.
Taco Tuesdays at Duke's - good tacos for $2.50 each. The first Tuesday we had too many drinks and it was $65 for 11 tacos, 2 virgins drinks and 4 Mai Tais, including tips. The second Tuesday, we had to control ourselves since we could not stagger back to the hotel room but had to drive back to Princeville.

Breakfast were cooked at the condo and a few mornings we bought pastries and bialys at Kilauea Bakery.

We went to farmer's market near Kong Lung Center and bought papayas, eggplant and purple potatoes. Most nights, we bought fish at Hanalei Dolphin Fishmarket and shrimp skewers to grill or blacken. We also bought the Cajun Ahi that they marinated but did not like it much. We preferred the Ahi Poke, but not cooked Ahi. We cooked Monchong and Opah. In addition, we bought their seafood chowder, softshell crab rolls and tako poke. All fish products at Hanalei Fish Market are good. We applied for a Makai card at Foodland and bought lots of Ahi Poke there. Foodland's tako poke is not as good as Hanalei Fishmarket's.

Kauai activities:
We bought tile arts at Banana Patch Studio in Kong Lung Center; hiked part of the Kalalau Trail; went to Kee Beach twice (great snorkeling and swimming on the sandy beach); went to Hanalei Bay and the kids boogie board there (my favorite beach); visit Hanapepe town to see the Swinging Bridge, Banana Patch Studio, and had a tour at the Kauai Kookie company; went to Spouting Horn and bought costume jewelry; stopped by Hawaii Trading Post; snorkeled a few days at Hideaways Beach down the path from Pali Ke Kua - this beach has great snorkeling and is much better than Lydgate or Hanauma Bay, with good water clarity in the morning. We also visited the Guava Kai Plantation and took lots of pictures of mountain apple tree, jackfruit tree, lychee tree, etc. We also attempted to find PoPo cookies in Kapaa but they were closed to go visit Mickey Mouse.

Kauai Lodging:
We love the Marriott Lihue. They told us they upgraded us (Marriott member) to a garden view room from the non-view standard room since I used Priceline. Any higher upgraded would require additional payment.

Pali Ke Kua unit # 207 - we got a great deal here and the unit was large enough for us to spread out. Good cooking utensils and silverware. However, the pillows were too soft and the lanai after dark was swarming with mosquitos. We did not expect this and did not have citronella candles, so we had to use mosquitoes spray. In addition, the walls seem thin and outside noises can be heard easily since the louver window had to be opened for the breeze. We would hear the downstairs TV sometimes, but it wasn't overly loud. To make up for that, the lanai view was fantastic. We also saw so many beautiful sunsets here and down at Hideaways beach. A few mornings, we saw rainbows right outside the lanai, and it seemed so close to us. One morning, a red cardinal (fully red, not red-crested one) visited me on the balcony since he was eyeing my papaya. Princeville is a nice area. I do my morning walk from the condo to the gate - the pedestrian walk along the golf course - and return (about 2 miles round trip?)at 5:30 or 6 in the morning. Later than that would be too hot for the rising sun.

There were lots of Aloha from the islands...from the Thai lady who sold me papayas, the Hawaiian man that sold me eggplants, the customer service manager and workers at Foodland, the waiter and waitresses at Duke's and Hukilau Lanai, the Kalapaki Beach Hut cashier... I could go on and on. I miss Hawaii already. Every time I revisit, I feel like it is home. We have so many beautiful memories there and it will always hold a special place in my heart.

PS: My daughter did not want to leave. She say that every time we leave Hawaii. She told me she wants to come back soon. I said that maybe we'd take her back for her high school graduation. Her response was: "You mean I have to wait for four LONG years?" LOL.

Iceeu2, too bad we could not make the Kauai getogether in May. I saw the Kauai pictures from your post.

Aloha,
Hanalei
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Old Jun 16th, 2005, 06:32 PM
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We also attended the annual Lantern ceremony on Memorial Day in Oahu. I thought the entertainment was good and it was beautiful seeing the lanterns float out to sea.
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Old Jun 16th, 2005, 06:38 PM
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So sorry for multiple postings. I did not preview before posting. The medium weighted T-shirts at Ahoha Stadium were $2.50 each, not $4.50.
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Old Jun 16th, 2005, 07:01 PM
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Thank you for sharing your memories with us, Hanalei! I love both of these islands that you just visited ...
 
Old Jun 16th, 2005, 07:06 PM
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Thanks for the great, detailed report Hanalei. LOL about planning the next one while still there. I do that everytime!

I have a question. You mention the Hanalei Dolphin fish market and also the Hanalei Fish Market. Are they one and the same or are they different spots?
We'll be staying in Hanalei in a few weeks (I REALLY like that way that sounds) and will be wanting to find fresh fish to cook while there. I'd heard of the Hanalei Doplphn, but not the Hanalei Fish Market.
mahalo,

-Bill
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Old Jun 16th, 2005, 07:33 PM
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Iamq,
Yes they are the same. It's my typo. It is behind the Hanalei Dolphin Restaurant and the jewelry store. If you are coming from Princeville, it is the 1st building on your right before PostCard restaurant (on your left). Shirts and shoes are required for service.

The business card I have stated: The Hanalei Dolphin Restaurant and Fish Market. Ph: 808-826-6113. www.hanaleidolphin.com & www.hanaleidolphincenter.com.

If you like the Cajun Ahi that they marinate, you need to get there before 2 PM to purchase. They told me it's popular and they ran out before 2 PM one day we were there. But we found out we weren't thrilled about it.
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Old Jun 16th, 2005, 10:49 PM
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Hanalei, can you tell me more about Taco Tuesdays at Dukes? Are they just ground beef or can you order chicken or fish? Do you build them yourself, or do they come out wrapped like Taco Bell's? Are they served in the bar or the restaurant? We are bringing our family to Kauai and that sounds like fun this summer.
8-)
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Old Jun 17th, 2005, 03:32 AM
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Bill,

There's also a fresh fish market on the road out to the Lighthouse. It's on the left-hand side in a little strip mall.
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Old Jun 17th, 2005, 04:16 AM
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Hanalei, just now read your trip report and have the shivers. I'm just like you.."now the next time, we're going to do this and this and that and this again"!!

Sounds as if you had a wonderful time, isn't Kauai just heaven? And the "aloha spirit" is a wonderful experience. The young ladies that waited on us at Hukilau Lanai were so cute and full of the spirit. Too bad you weren't there in time for our GTG..you would have liked us all!!

Aloha...

Billy Boy, you still excited????

 
Old Jun 17th, 2005, 05:49 AM
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Thanks Budman.

i2,

What do you think?

-Bill
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Old Jun 17th, 2005, 06:26 AM
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Enjoyed your report!
I took a couple of notes about HHV and the Eats on Oahu. Any other tips about staying at the HHV?
Do people there tend to wear resort wear all the time or is more casual OK? Belle
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Old Jun 17th, 2005, 07:14 AM
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OSB, We stayed next door at the Hale Koa, and the norm was bathing suits, t-shirts, and flip flops. The over 65 crowd wore tennis shoes w/white socks, shorts, and polo shorts -- the exception rather than the norm.
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Old Jun 17th, 2005, 08:58 AM
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MBnancy, Duke's tacos are fried fish on flour tortilla with cabbage and sauce. I added additional tabasco sauce on mine. They are served in a basket; and this is in the bar area (lower floor). Try to arrive before 5 PM, as the wait is long or no oceanview is available. Some nights they run out of tacos early (per the waitress).

OSB, Budman is right about the norms and exceptions at HHV.

We also had massage at Auntie Angelina in Anahola. Great massage. We had the salt & clay scrub in the cedar steam room followed by massage by 2 people at the same time. I requested 2 women. My husband was massaged by a man and a woman. People are very nonchalant about clothing at this place. The rinsing shower area is at a corner around the outdoor restroom. Shower has no curtain and you are surrounded by bamboo trees or hedges. The gentleman gave us some sweet mango slices straight from their garden while we were waiting for the steam room to heat up.

Budman, what is the name of the fish market near the Light House?

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Old Jun 17th, 2005, 09:46 AM
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Don't remember the name of the fish market, but I did notice it as someone a while back asked about fresh fish on Kauai. It wasn't exactly a strip mall per se. It was one building with 2-3 businesses in it as I recall -- Across the street to the right was the candle shop, pizza shop, and restaurant.
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Old Jun 17th, 2005, 11:23 AM
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Thanks for the great report. Another question about Duke's Taco Tuesday. Do you know what time it starts? All day or just for dinner? Thanks
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Old Jun 17th, 2005, 01:42 PM
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Bons, every Tuesday from 4 PM to 6 PM. One year we showed up at 5:30PM and they were out of tacos. They also have special drink prices on Fridays...I think $5.50 per drink and some other food item, but it escaped me.
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Old Jun 17th, 2005, 01:52 PM
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Duke's Taco Tuesdays!!!!

$2.50 tacos and $2.50 Bud/Coors.

Load it up with the hot chili sauce. Sriracha Chili Sauce...YIKES!

Agree with Hanalei on Kalapaki Beach Hut. Good b'fasts too. Sit up stairs. Ahhhhh...blood pressure just dropped a few points.

on Hukilau. Hard enuff to get seated there sometimes now!

194 mo' days.
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Old Jun 17th, 2005, 02:06 PM
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Coconuts in Kapaa' has some good food.I had the Uno..I very good fish.
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Old Jun 17th, 2005, 02:19 PM
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.........and Coconut's (OK eveyrone... 1...2...3....) "lobster raviolis"!!!!
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Old Jun 17th, 2005, 02:34 PM
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Happy Friday everyone..and Hanalei, I know you are going thru withdrawals as your trip report put me into them!!

If you want some great fish tacos that are not fried go to Olympic Cafe in Kapaa. They are onolicious....Not quite the beach scenery, but you can watch the cars go by and if you wave..people wave back.
 

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