Well just got back and here are a few quick thoughts on our Hawaii vacation.
Visit was 3rd for my 16 yr old daughter, and 1st for her friend who came with us , though friend had been to Maui before.
Visit was my 10th.
First off, I have to say I feel it will likely be my last visit to Waikiki.. next time Maui( I have visit Kaui once before also). . I think I am burnt out of the big city beach resort thing..
Accomadation: We stayed at the Outrigger on the Beach, second time. We had a "city view" room ( 709) but ocean view was very good from our small balcony. Room was nice, and we enjoyed our stay there . We loved the pool patio , not the area immediately around the small pool, but the patio that is just a step off the beach,, great view of beach, comfy lounge chairs and pool service whats not to like.
Sightseeing: We enjoyed visiting Pearl Harbour very much. We took taxi there because we slept in , so took taxi to get there by 8:15 . We had no tickets for the Arizona but simply walked in and got some for 9:30, we enjoyed the time before the visit to the Arizona by renting the audio guides and visiting the museum, very very interesting. Audio guides are 7:50 and worth it we thought.
We took public bus back to Waikiki and were back at the beach before noon.
We met some friends who rented a car and did an island loop drive. Stopped at the usual places ( blow hole , north shore , Dole Plantation etc). We had very bad weather that day though so basically just jumped out for quick visits and photos. We did stop on north shore at a random beach and saw a sea turtle on beach. We also stopped at Giovannis Shrimp truck, long long wait for food but it was excellent.. hard to find seating because pouring rain had about 100 people cramming under the covered area..
At Dole we just picked up some snacks and souvenirs, dried coconut, popcorn etc, so yummy.
We took the public bus to Hanauma Bay one day. Arrived late ( its hard getting teenagers up early) at about 11, but had no issues with crowds really. Had a nice afternoon snorkling. Brought our own snacks and drinks.. good idea when visiting Hanauma Bay as there is no concession on beach at all.
Walked to Diamond Head from our hotel , climbed up , from trail head to top and back in 45 minutes, walk there another 45 or so, took a shuttle back to Waikiki. LOL Note , girls got worst burn that day and it was cloudy and even rained.. We love the hike the view is worth it .
Dining in Waikiki: Best breakfasts: Dukes and Shorebirds Buffets, nod to Dukes for the made to order Omlet station. Had a coupon for Shorebirds which brought price down to about 13 dollars each. A good deal as it includes coffee and juices , often expensive extras at some other places. Dukes was 16 dollars but it was so good we didn't begrudge it , Worse breakfast was at Ihop.. Can't serve a decent cup of tea, pancakes were heavy and not tasty.. juice was expensive. We basically thought it was awful.
Best dinners, Dukes, and Chucks.. We had the best meal at Dukes .. but Chucks was a good steak house, limited menu, very basic salad bar, but steaks were perfect. Dukes had a much superior salad bar and so many excellent entrée choices. We had ahi tuna and mahi mahi,, delish. Worst dinner: PFChangs,, too much deep fried stuff for our tastes and sweet sauces, was our worst dinner, but was not horrible,.
Lunches were had at a variety of places, there is a great place for fish tacos on Kuhio, near the Subway. Had good ceasar salads by pool at hotel, Dukes appys a few times.. and Paridise Cheeseburgers. We thought Paradise CB was just ok,, frankly overpriced , and I make better .
One surprise place we went to and I cannot remember name,, but it had the BEST stuffed banana French toast EVER.. we even went back for dinner and it was darn good too.. it was on main drag near the zoo up the stairs, someone must remember the name, maybe lulus or something.
Our visits was nice , but frankly I am a bit sick of ABC stores, garbage on streets( Waikiki was ok but bus stop near Pearl harbour was disgusting, tons of trash piled around. AND WORST of all was the dozens and dozens of water bottles we saw on top of Diamond Head that pigs throw over the top and are impossible for staff to retrieve safely. PIGS. you can carry it up full but its too hard to carry down empty? We are not big shoppers so I think if you are a shopper Waikiki is more your speed now then mine.