We booked two condo units for a week at the end of July 2012 at the Waikiki Banyan. We each had a large one bedroom suite and they faced the swimming pool and Diamond Head view.
We really enjoyed having a kitchen suite, balcony and it was close to the beach and easy access to various sites that we could walk to. We also rented a mini van at the Enterprise car rental since it had the best prices for rentals and booked on the net prior our trip. The hotel was easy walking to the beach and our younger nephew and niece loved the times we walked to the beach for swimming.
On the Wed morning, there was a great little farmers market in a parking lot on the other side of the nearby zoo. About 6 trucks were parked and sold fresh papayas, pineapples, veggies and a table full of $5.00 orchids. Good thing I had a pull along knapsack or it would have been heavy lugging back all the pineapples. We drove to a Safeway and stocked up on groceries so we could enjoy daily breakfasts and snacks in our suites. I'm sure that saved us alot of eating out for every meal.
The pool on the 6th floor was great for the kids, but was cold sometimes in the evenings since the wind chilled us at night when in the pool. The hot tubs were good but were quite hot and the kids found it way too hot. But we did use them a couple of times.
We walked down a couple times to the International market down on the main strip. The children loved picking out a oyster shell and got their own pearl which was about $7.50 with a discount coupon deal. We ate lunch one day at a little sausage house called Huladog on the other side of the International market and also had a big bowl of shaved ice there. We bought alot of little souvenirs at the International Market and found the prices here were good. Also, the Walmart had alot of souvenirs that were at very reasonable prices and cheaper than some of the touristy stores like the ABC's.
We bought a fresh flower lei made and sold on the street for $5.00 . The weather every day was quite nice and hot and often the breezy days cooled us down.
We drove one day to the Dole Pineapple Plantation and took the 20 min mini train ride with the kids through the pineapple fields and walked through the special gardens. Stopped for a break for the yummy pineapple whip sundaes and pineapple floats.
We drove to the North Shore about 10 minutes away and was going to snorkel at Waimea Bay , but the lot was full. We ended up stopping at Giovanni's Famous Shrimp Truck and had to try their famous Shrimp Scampi deal. Very garlicky and tasty! Stopped at Bob's Bakery and shared their famous Chocolate & Coconut Yummy Cream Pie and we ate it outside on the patio area.
Visited rocky tide pools and found sea urchins in the crevices and the kids had fun exploring in the shallow water up at the North shore area.
Waikiki beach area was so busy. Reminds me of Las Vegas with people everywhere at all hours and evenings. It was not uncommon to see lineups of people waiting to eat at Cheesecake Factory on the strip, or at Cheeseburger in Paradise. If you have young kids, go early or you may have to wait up to 2 hours in lineups and some places do not take reservations. It always felt safe on the streets and we even saw a Santa guy playing violin on the streets in July !
Another day we drove up the coast in our van, visited the Halona Blow Hole, past Sandy beach and up the coast to Waimanaio. Then stopped at Haunama Bay to snorkel with all the colorful fish. At 8 am, the parking lot was packed and full so it was only about 2 pm when the morning crowds were gone and we could get a chance to park there. Our 9 year old nephew had his first snorkelling experience with my husband and his eyes were big as saucers seeing the world underwater. He was so excited and his uncle swam with him and he tried yelling through his snorkel mask as many fish swam by him. Our 4 year old niece loved the beach area and was happy digging in the sand and splashing about.
On Saturday, we spent a day at the Polynesian Cultural centre. I've been here the first time we came to Waikiki but went again with my brother and his family. It was about $91.95 for adults but we skipped the $22/person tour bus ride since we drove ourselves there. This was an all day outing with various sites and displays on hawaiian culture and activities. It also included a dinner buffet meal and a fantastic evening show performance. Very enjoyable.
We also found a great japanese udon noodle place just across from the International market, called Maru ka me Udon. Big bowls of handmade noodles for cheap prices and very tasty.
Go early since lineups were common here and it seems very popular dining spot.
We took the free Hilo Hattie trolley to the big Hilo Hattie Store. Check it out for the sales and souvenirs. Mugs at 2 for $5 sold for about $7.00 at other stores on the main strip. Necklaces here for $3.99 sold for $10 at the Polynesian centre or 2 for $10 at the marketplace.
We drove to Pearl Harbor another day and you have to check in all purses or bags. No one is allowed to carry anything in. It costs $3.00 for a locker. Every special site you wish to go in and view charged a fee, so we just browsed the free areas and took photos. Parking was free here.
After, we just drove up the coast and enjoyed the drive. The beaches were less crowded but you sure saw alot more poorer homes and many homeless or tent city dwellings.
We had dinner one evening at the Todai Sushi Buffet. Quite pricey at $32 a person but cheaper for kids.Cab ride was about $10 to here from the hotel since it was about 2 to 3 miles away and there didn't seem to be much parking around the area. I've been to this place in Vegas but it was something new for the other family to try out.
We had a great time in Waikiki and the kids loved the ocean. The hotel was great and it was really nice to have our own condo. The hotel was close to walking to everything from shopping to the ocean. They even had a waterfall and big Koi pond in the lobby area. Parking was great at the hotel and safe as well.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- LOOKING FOR JACKIE'S CONDOS? LOOK NO FURTHER, YOU FOUND THEM! I have several condos for you to choose from! Rates vary depending on condo, length of stay and time of year. FREE PARKING.. FREE INTERNET ACCESS... FREE CALLS TO CANADA AND US MAINLAND FREE USE OF BEACH CHAIRS, BOOGIE BOARDS, BEACH UMBRELLAS, BEACH TOWELS...ALL LOCATED IN EACH CONDO FOR YOUR CONVENIENCE NO RESORT FEES FOR YOUR CONVENIENCE Our condos are impeccably clean and appointed with comfortable decorator furnishings. Full size kitchen with microwave, range, refrigerator, and all the necessary utensils. There is a flat screen TV, DVD player, stereo with CD player and IPOD docking station, phone and A/C. We provide all the necessities for your convenience and also some extras for your pleasure THE FEATURES The resort is simply incredible, featuring a huge waterfall and Koi pond in the lobby. The recreation deck features a large pool, two spas, sauna, tennis court, basketball court, volleyball court, snack bar, picnic/BBQ area, and children's playground...even a putting green! You will also find secured covered parking, a convenience store, a coffee house and a laundry room on every floor THE LOCATION Conveniently located within a very short walking distance to: of course, the famous Waikiki beach, Kapiolani Park, Aloha Shell, Aquarium, International Marketplace, Ali Wai golf course, Honolulu Zoo, Movies on the beach, and the 'Rodeo Drive' of Waikiki, Kalakaua Avenue. Car rentals, a church, a supermarket, a multitude of restaurants, and shops are easily accessed. A bus stop is located in front of the resort which will take you locally or around the entire island of Oahu! All major attractions [Pearl Harbor, Huanama Bay, etc} can be accessed inexpensively by bus. THESE ARE NON SMOKING UNITS PLEASE NO PETS PLEASE I ACCEPT: Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, Checks, Money Order ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Waikiki Banyan Hotel Honolulu
- Waikiki Banyan Hawaii/Honolulu