Posts tagged ‘Hawaii’

Hawaii…in style!

I’ve visited Hawaii before. My friend and travel partner took a cruise there in 2011. It was an amazing trip. We visited four of the islands, snorkeling on the Big Island, kayaking on Kauai, swimming on Maui, seeing whales as we sailed into Honolulu, and watching lava flowing into the water as we were departing the islands (check out my blog from March, 2011). But this trip was totally different!

When my son and his wife decided to take a trip to Hawaii, I was thrilled when they asked me to come and join them for part of the time they were there. Now I know that they like to travel in style, but I had no idea how high in style they were going to take me!

Elegant entrance to the Halekulani Hotel

Tuesday, October 30th – When I arrived at the magnificent Halekulani Hotel my daughter-in-law Wendy met me and took me to a private elevator. I should have had a clue then what was in store for me but it still didn’t register. The elevator opened into a foyer where a desk sat for their personal butler (which I’m happy to say they declined to employ) and to the left was a beautiful suite complete with a queen size bed, sitting area, desk area, veranda with a plush lounge and a table and chairs overlooking the water, a magnificent bathroom with a dressing area, soaking tub, cozy terrycloth bathrobe, special soaps and lotions, and the list goes on and on. I thought this was our room. That I would be sleeping on the couch and I was happy! This room was bigger than my studio apartment I live in and I thought, man this is luxury!

My bedroom

After admiring the beautiful room, Wendy walked me through the double doors off the foyer. When I first peeked in I was confused. Here was this huge room with a formal living area complete with a grand piano, a cozy TV area, a full kitchen and dining area to accommodate 6 people, a wraparound deck with a view of Waikiki Beach and Diamondhead. I thought she had taken me to an elaborate corporate conference venue to show me what was available in this beautiful hotel. I was still puzzled at what I was looking at, and why she was showing it to me, when my Son Ben walked out of the kitchen. WELL, this was the rest of the suite! I hadn’t even seen the huge master bedroom off the living room with its grand bathroom with a walk-in closet and dressing room. This was crazy! The “suite” Wendy had shown me in the beginning was MY bedroom. And this was the rest of the Royal Suite, all 3300 feet of it!

The Royal Suite looking towards kitchen and foyer top picture, and TV and dining room bottom

The Royal Suite Livingroom and veranda

Next on the agenda? A spa treatment of course! Wendy had arranged to have massages for the two of us in the room. Soon the two masseuses arrived and set up massage tables in the master bedroom. We lavished in the calmness of a 90 minute traditional Hawaiian relaxation massage while Ben left to explore other things. What a glorious way to start out a visit to Hawaii!

Master bedroom

When I returned to my room, I found a lovely welcome basket of fruit and chocolates waiting for me. I devoured the delicious papaya and rested in my big fluffy robe until showering and dressing for the evening.

Welcome fruit and chocolates

We started out at the elegant L’Aperitif cocktail bar at the LaMer, Halekulanis 5 star, 5 diamond upscale French restaurant. The bar is famous for their craft cocktails paired with high end snacks to compliment the drink. We all ordered something different and sipped on our fancy drinks and snacks while sitting in the richly decorated, dark paneled décor with a view of Diamond Head through the open doors. Afterwards we went to dinner at A House Without a Key enjoying delicious prime rib and lobster dinners while listening to traditional Hawaiian music. As the sun set below the horizon, we finished our dinner with the light and creamy traditional Haupia coconut cake. Pure heaven!

Drinks and high end snacks at L’Aperifif

I returned to my room to find turn down service with a pair of terrycloth slippers by my bed, a small gift, a lovely quote for the day and an ever present orchid flower. I was pleasantly surprised to find that each night I found a new gift and quote. How lovely is that! I sank into my comfy bed with dreams of what a wonderful day I had.

Coffee on my veranda

Wednesday, October 31st (Halloween) I ordered room service to have my coffee on the veranda while watching the beaches come alive with walkers, surfers and sun bathers.

Halakulani Orchid pool

Then we put on our suits and headed to the pool. We spent most of the day lounging by the Orchid pool with the beautiful mosaic design of an orchid on the bottom, created from over a million blue, white and green imported glass tiles. The staff brought by little tidbits every hour…A mini muffin in the morning, a bite of pineapple, frozen grapes, little bites to enjoy while basking in the sun. And of course we had to have a Mai Tai which the hotel says it’s famous for. And I must admit it was pretty good!

Drinking Mai Tai’s at the pool

For dinner we went to Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. I’ve never been and have heard how good it was but really wasn’t convinced that a meal could be THAT good. After all, I’ve had some really delicious steaks in my day. But believe me I was wrong! I have never had a filet minion like I had that night. It was absolutely melt in your mouth tender! Add the creamed spinach, mashed potatoes and side of succulent shrimp and wala! Dinner made for a queen!

Dinner at Ruth’s Chris

After dinner I walked along the streets going through some of the shops and watching all the fun people in their Halloween costumes.

Thursday, November 1st – Snorkeling day! One of my absolutely favorite things to do is snorkeling. There’s just something so magical about being in the quiet, serene waters and watching the sea life below you. And every time I go I think about my cousin Bruce who introduced me to this beautiful activity so many years ago. So of course Ben and Wendy arranged a day of snorkeling! We boarded the catamaran and cruised out to Turtle canyon where many, many resident sea turtles hang out. Not only did I see dozens of turtles up close and personal, but there were hundreds of colorful fish skittering around as well! I will NEVER go snorkeling without an underwater camera again!

Ben & Wendy on the catamaran

I could have kept snorkeling for hours longer, but since everyone had returned to the catamaran except me, I reluctantly made my way back to join the others. We then sailed around the bay having a great view of Diamond Head, the Waikiki beaches and a Hawaii 5-0 helicopter flying overhead as they were filming. SO Hawaii!

A happy snorkeler!

Friday, November 2nd – Our last day…We walked around the area finding the mall and a path to Waikiki Beach. Along the way we ran into some men and women picketing the hotels next to ours. Their grievance was that the hotels wouldn’t hire them full time so they weren’t eligible for benefits. The cost of living is so high in Hawaii and they couldn’t afford to work only one job to survive and pay their bills, most had at least two jobs. We sympathized with the situation and wished them well. And of course my generous kids gave them some money to help with their cause.

Picketers next to our hotel

We then whiled away the afternoon at the Tommy Bahama 2nd floor restaurant enjoying the cool breeze coming through the big open windows overlooking Kalakaua Ave. below. We watched people and birds in the park below, the traffic of tour busses, unique motorcycles, limos, and all kinds of vehicles passing by while enjoying drinks and the best scallop sliders on earth! Wendy re-created them when she returned home and served them as appetizers for Thanksgiving. I have to say she nailed it! SO DELICIOUS!

Last night in Honolulu enjoying scallop sliders at Tommy Bahamas

That evening I listened to the sounds of the ocean as I drifted off to sleep for the last time. What an experience of a lifetime!

Aloha Hawaii!  Mahalo Ben and Wendy! I love you so much!

My lovely daughter-in-law Wendy and son Ben


December 1, 2018 at 12:05 am Leave a comment

Hawaii, part 2

Whales greeted us as we sailed into Honolulu on Oahu the next day.  There were hundreds of them!  What a beautiful sight!  There’s no animal I love better than whales.  They are just spiritual creatures. 

When we arrived at each new island there were dancers greeting us.  Some were older, some young, all were beautiful dancers.  We appreciated all of them, especially when there were good looking young men in the group 😉 

We spent the day on Waikiki beach, doing some shopping and having drinks.  It was a pretty laid back day for us.

Our last stop in Hawaii before starting back to San Diego was at Kona.  We saved the best outing for last.  We took a Zodiac ocean raft along the coast to snorkel at the Kealakekua Bay Marine Preserve.   Along the way we saw pods of dolphins and whales. The water was calm and perfect for snorkeling.   We saw lots of tropical fish and coral formations.  This was Susie’s first time snorkeling and she’s hooked, just like me! 

After snorkeling, we had a snack of fresh local pineapple and other treats and started back.  We stopped at lava formations, sea caves and blow holes as we made our way back along the coastline.  We even saw some kids diving off the cliffs.

Can you see the diver?

 Then he hit the gas and we went speeding back as a pod of dolphins swam along with us.  It was a fantastic trip!

 Back on the ship as we pulled away from the Big Island everyone gathered on the deck to watch the lava flows.  What a perfect ending and a wonderful way to tell Hawaii good-bye!

April 1, 2011 at 7:20 am Leave a comment


Last year my friend Susie and I decided it was time to go on a cruise to Hawaii.  The waters were very rough as we left San Diego and we were both seasick for a few days so our trip didn’t start out very good but it definitely made up for the discomfort once we arrived in beautiful Hawaii.

Our first stop was Hilo, on the Big Island.  The first thing that I noticed was the banyan trees.  They were absolutely huge and beautiful!

Banyan tree in Hilo

We met a wonderful taxi driver who drove us around the area showing us beautiful waterfalls and scenery.  Of course we had to make a stop at Hilo Hattie’s to shop a bit, too!

Waterfall in Hila

He then dropped us off at Liluokalani Gardens, a 30 acre beautifully landscaped Japanese garden with arching red bridges over fishponds, huge turtles in the water, rock gardens and views of Hilo Bay and Moku Ola (Coconut Island).   We strolled around taking in the beauty for several hours until calling the taxi to return us to the ship. 


Our next stop was the historic town of Lahaina on Maui.  Besides the charming buildings that greeted us as we came ashore the first thing that we noticed was the huge Banyan tree in Courthouse Square.  This tree was brought to Maui from India when the tree was only eight-feet tall.  It was planted to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of Lahaina’s first Christian mission.  The tree now is about 50 feet tall and extends over 200 feet from side to side.  What an awesome sight!

Giant Banyan tree in Lahaina

From there we took a bus out to Whalers Village to go swimming on Ka’anapali Beach.  The beach was practically deserted that day so we had a great time having the beach to ourselves.  Then back to Front Street to have lunch at Forrest Gumps.


Forrest Gumps

 That was all the time we had on this beautiful island so back to the ship!

The next day we arrived at Nawiliwili, Kauai.  Susie’s brother and his wife were also taking a cruise around the islands and this just happened to be one of the islands that we were both on at the same time.  We met and went out to breakfast and caught up on our adventures.

Susie, David and me

Then we were off to take our kayaking trip up the Hule’ia jungle stream through mangroves and into the heart of the Kauai island jungle.  We passed the living archeological site called Alekoko, a fish pond preserving the fishing methods of the ancient Hawaiians.  We could see a couple of the gates that were used centuries ago.  Susie had never kayaked before and this was just my second time so we zigzagged a bit as we were going up-stream.  It was the perfect place for us beginners though.  It had a very gentle current and the winds blow inland here so it helped in pushing the kayakers up-stream.  Easy as pie!  The trip was beautiful. 

Lush jungle along the Hule'ia jungle stream

Then we got out of our kayaks and hiked through the jungle to the Hidden Valley Falls and swimming hole as the tour guide showed us native edible plants and nuts as well as the beautiful flowers, plants and streams.  What an adventure this was!  I never thought I would ever get to say that I kayaked up a jungle stream, much less hiking through a jungle.  It will always be a wonderful memory for me!

Tying up the kayaks

Jungle walk

Me and Susie at Hidden Valley Falls

My next post will be the second half of my Hawaiian adventure!

March 19, 2011 at 6:37 am Leave a comment