After our AMAZING trip to Alaska last September I thought we’d by lying low for awhile. Happily, not so! My brother-in-law Tom turns 50 this March and he wanted to go to Hawaii to celebrate, so off we went for our first trip to Hawaii. We spent 3 days on our own in Oahu before heading to Kauai to meet up with Tom and his wife Becky for 5 days, and the four of us then headed back to Oahu to meet up with my other brother-in-law Bob and his wife Kim for our final 4 days.
Our trip got off to a weird start when the flight to DC was delayed by over an hour because our plane needed to be deiced. This is a mighty rare occasion in Raleigh, and I was freaking out because we only had an hour and 20 minute layover and Dulles is a huge airport. At some point I realized there was nothing I could do about it but trust God that whatever happened He would work it out. And indeed, we made our flight, but didn’t have an extra second to buy any food for the 9.5 hour flight to Honolulu. Surprise, surprise. The food options on our United flight were actually reasonably priced and tasty (I had the Tapas box and a Thai Chicken Wrap). I was imagining a dreadful ordeal, trapped on a plane for 9.5 hours, but the time actually passed pretty quickly. I had loaded up my iPad with episodes of “classic” Hawaii Five-O and a few episodes of Charlie’s Angels that were filmed in Hawaii. Full disclosure – I am a massive fan of both shows, and possibly the thing I most looked forward to on this trip was checking out some key filming sites. Much more on that later! I know, weird.
We got into Honolulu about 30 mins early (yay freak tailwinds!) so I had enough light to snap a few shots from the plane. After 5 hours of flying over the Pacific, I was pretty glad to get my first glimpse of Hawaii, and then a few minutes later I got my first of many, many pictures of my new bff, Diamond Head:
I also got my first “Five-O” themed photo of the trip (you’ll recognize this from the opening credits):
John had prearranged a pickup from A8 Hololulu Airport Shuttle and I would highly recommend them. They charge a flat fee of $30 from the airport to Waikiki and $25 back to the airport. You have the van all to yourself (no waiting till it fills up, no stopping all over the place) and the drivers are super-prompt, polite and call you when you land to let you know where to meet. Waaaay better than taking a mega shuttle. Our driver Ray took us the “scenic” way down Ala Moana so I got to see the Aloha Tower and Ala Moana Park on the way in.
I never miss an opportunity to pick a local’s brain about food, sites to see, etc. and our driver Ray was quite obliging. He gave us some great tips on food, which is very important to foodie me. It’s just not a good vacation without good, local food! I literally whipped out an old boarding pass and started taking notes, and Ray was right on with all his suggestions. Thanks Ray!
My excitement was building, for you see, we were staying at the Ilikai. If you are not a fan of Five-O, this hotel was featured in many episodes, and it is on the penthouse balcony of the Ilikai that Steve McGarrett is standing in the show’s iconic opening credits. The Ilikai is a charming older hotel in Waikiki. It is clean, quiet, the staff is very friendly and I thoroughly enjoyed our stay there. Fun fact: They have a tv in the lobby that continuously plays episodes of Five-O. I just loved that!
Here is a view of the Ala Wai Yacht Harbor from our room on the 22nd floor, and a shot of their famous glass elevator.
After checking in we had a quiet dinner at an Indian place Ray recommended and took a walk around. We scoped out the Hilton Hawaiian Village where we would be staying on our return trip to Oahu (a place I not-so-jokingly refer to as Disneyland Waikiki), and enjoyed a surprisingly quiet stroll on the Waikiki boardwalk. The 5 hour time difference started to kick in and it was off to bed to charge up for our first full day taking in the beauty of Oahu.