Dates: September 13-25, 2017
Destination: Honolulu, O'ahu, HI and Kaua'i, HI
Hawai'i: just seeing the name, you already visualize a tropical utopia in your head. The destination sure did not let down on this either! This trip for us was the trip of a lifetime! It all started sometime before our engagement, we had already determined we wanted a sort of destination wedding, so after kicking around the idea of some international locations, we determined everything would probably be much easier domestically. But there's one place domestic that sure does not feel so domestic... Hawai'i! Kyle had already been once, so he knew just what to expect: some hotel ideas, some restaurants to try, some attractions to visit. So knowing our location, we did a quick search and immediately found Weddings of Hawai'i. We had kept on looking at other companies, but every time we ended up back to them. So, we had basically everything planned, in theory, before we were even engaged!
So once the time came around to plan everything for real (much sooner than I realized it would), Weddings of Hawai'i made it super easy for us to plan everything. They have an awesome in-house travel agent, which made it not only easy to book the wedding, but also the entire trip! They provide a turn-key wedding experience! All you have to do is pack your bags and show up! So pack our bags we did, just a few months later, and our journey began.
Previously in the series, we talked about our first two days in Hawai'i: our hectic travel day and our wedding day. Now we'll continue on with the journey to the beginning of all of our exploration!
Day 3 - Waikiki
With our wedding now over, we took the moment to finally enjoy the Waikiki area. So we started the day by going downstairs to the Royal Hawaiian's Surf Lanai Restuarant for breakfast. I had made up my mind months before we left, that I absolutely had to try the Pink Palace Pancakes, and that sure was not a mistake! The dish is the perfect reflection of the tropical and pink theme of the hotel. From the pink guava-raspberry shortcake pancakes to the strawberry and coconut toppings, it was a very well thought out dish.
Kyle ordered the Royal Loco Moco, wanting to try out their spin on a local favorite. Of course since this is more fine dining than traditional, the dish was elevated a bit, substituting short ribs for the normal hamburger patty in traditional loco moco. We both had some Govinda juices to accompany our food.
After breakfast, we started venturing further from the hotel walking a good ways up Kalakaua Avenue exploring all the different shops. We did have to stop by every Honolulu Cookie Company along the way for some free White Chocolate cookie samples (just the best!). One of the main stops was the International Marketplace. Front and center of the Marketplace was the Tesla store, so, naturally being an automotive engineer himself, Kyle had to go check out the cars. We sat in and briefly played around with a Tesla Model X (mostly its giant tablet infotainment system) and "oo'd and ah'd" at the fact that you didn't even have to touch the doors to open and close them.
After a time in there, I dragged him out and we continued our browsing. We finally browsed our way all the way down to our favorite store, Tommy Bahama! We had been out and about for a while at this point, so we made our way to their upstairs restaurant and had a late lunch. Since it was later, it wasn't very crowded at all. We ate light since we had filled up on some shaved ice from Island Vintage Shaved Ice earlier. I had the kalua pork sandwich and Kyle tried the coconut shrimp and we had the Piña Colada cake for dessert. We wrapped up our shopping with a few purchases in the Tommy Bahama store and headed back to the hotel to change into our bathing suits.
We played around in the waves for a couple hours until it was nearly time for sunset and the Friday night fireworks. Seeing that the sun was getting low, we hurried back to the room and got back in dry clothes and rushed out with our cameras. We walked along the pathway in front of the hotels along the beach (which turned out to not be much of a pathway) and got set up on the shore break/pier in front of the Outrigger Reef hotel. Then we waited... and waited... and finally it was time for the fireworks. After a good length show (not too short, nor too long), we, along with everyone else on the beach, made our way to the streets. We weaved our way through the crowd to Giovanni Pastrami for a quick dinner and then headed back to the hotel for the night. At this point, we were ready to diversify and see more than just Waikiki, so Kyle booked us a rental car just up the road for us to pick up in the morning. We'll tell more about that in the next post!
For dining, our favorite of the day was Royal Hawaiian's Surf Lanai for breakfast. It's a pricier breakfast, but everything matches the high quality standards of the Resort.
For shopping, basically, if a brand exists, there is a store for it on Lewers St or Kalakaua Ave. There are also many local artwork, decor, and apparel store chains that you can only find in Hawai'i that are worth checking out. We really liked Island Art and Sole and SoHa Living. Be sure to also check out the Waikiki Christmas Store, they will personalize ornaments right in front of you by hand, true artists! The Royal Hawaiian had some nice stores inside it as well, so be sure to check them out and pick up some pink souvenirs!