Hokulani Waikiki by Hilton Grand Vacations
Nighttime View near the amazing Hokulani Waikiki by Hilton Grand Vacations
The 3rd vacation resort by Hilton on this trip is amazing. I was just thinking about the likelihood that no one else would do what I have done on this trip. Go from one resort to another, all within a major brand like Hilton. My previous resort was the Hilton Lagoon Resort.
I have booked the 1 bedroom premium king room at this resort. The rooms here are amazing, they just lack an ocean view. I would not have booked this as my first choice until I have stayed at the resorts. I certainly did enjoy the previous resorts with the ocean view. But now I think about it like I do a room with a balcony on a cruise. Something that is wonderful to have but you spend so little time in your room that an inside room is preferred for the costs savings. Given that the only time I really made full use of the view was the fireworks show last night, this resort and its position seem to make a great deal of sense.
I could have easily been on the beach or at the lagoon bar and watched the fireworks outside. Most people chose those options.
Video by Denny and Nikki
Day One Arrival at Hokulani Waikiki by Hilton Grand Vacations
Again, this has been an amazing trip and included transferring from one resort to another one. For you, if you are coming directly to the resort from the airport, that check in times for all resorts are 4PM and most of the flights that come in are a little after check in time. If you have an earlier flight in, you can stop near the resort and enjoy a restaurant.
Waikiki is the hub for tourism in Hawaii. There’s no shortage of things you can do here. Most people end up visiting and stay in Honolulu/Waikīkī by default just because it is where most people go. So if you’re planning a vacation to Hawaii, make sure you plan to spend some time in Waikīkī.
Waikiki is mostly a tourist destination, and much of it is built up on the most popular beach in the world. The Hilton resorts here have the very best location. The resorts are all in a cluster with a Hilton owned lagoon on site, and direct access to the most popular beach in the world.
I have already stayed on site at several of the resorts here. It has been amazing to take more time and see all that the area has to offer.
My room was amazing and has tons of features.
- Cable TV
- Coffee Maker
- Ice Maker
- In-Room Safe
Then the resort itself offers all of these options.
- Free WiFi
- Outdoor Pools
- Beachfront Access
- Business Center
- On Site Restaurants
- Fitness Center
- Concierge Services
I wanted some dinner before heading out for an early night adventure. For this, I went down to the lobby to enjoy the new Il Tappo Italian. Here you can get pizzas, pasta, and more with a selection of Italian wines. It is nice to not have to go anywhere and still have a great meal. As convenience influences price, the menu items here are about double other local options. So if price is more important than convenience, you can walk to many other options in the area.
After dinner I walked out towards the beach road. I love everything Polynesian, so I headed to Cuckoo Coconuts this fun spot is open 5PM to 12AM and offers live music, drinks, and fun. The live music starts at 7PM and was going when I walked in. This location is a popular one at 333 Royal Hawaiian Blvd. It is very close to the resort area.
Another option even closer to the resort in the other direction is Suzie Wong’s Hideaway. This is a dive bar of sorts if you can really have a bar like that in paradise like this. This bar even has a later last call at 2AM. You can find it in 1913 Dudoit Ln, Honolulu, HI 96815. If you are leaving the resort, this is to your left. For me, it was just beyond the turn to the resort but straight ahead.
After a night of a few drinks, I was moving slowly. One of the things about the Polynesian drinks is the combination of juice and booze, is a slightly stronger hangover. Even when you drink top shelf, this is possible. For me, I think I went off the top shelf at Suzie Wong’s.
What I wanted was some fresh sea air and then a light breakfast. Sometimes I like the familiarity of a chain restaurant. There is an IHOP near the Hilton resorts just a few blocks up the road. It was a nice morning walk, and I had the country fried steak and eggs on my mind.
I do not know why, but most of my life if I feel a bit off from having too much fun the day before, my body wants something salty and fat for the first meal the next day. The country fried steak and gravy hit the spot.
The breakfast helped, but I think I need a little hair of the dog, as they say, so I am headed to a spot close to the beach as they open to get some kind of fun drink in a coconut. Preferably something with some rum. It will certainly taste better than the alternative which would be to drink something after taking some headache powder.
That brought me back to life. I now feel up for my kayak trip. You can see the Kayak tour I am about to take in the first part of the video on this blog page.
I have a car picking me up to take me to Kailua, which is not far as it is just on the other side of this part of the island. You drive around the side of the island to get there or you would be there in just minutes.
My tour will come with a kayak and lunch, as well as about 5 hours on the water and the land of the island. I love to kayak it must go back to when I went to camp during my preteen years and earned a number of YMCA certifications with kayaks and canoes. Kayaks (especially sea kayaks) feel more stable to me than canoes, and they are easy to paddle since you have a double ended oar made just for kayaking.
Once you get down the motion, you can make good progress on the water in a sea kayak, and it is fun.
The half day of fun on the water was great and the lunch they provided hit the spot. I did the self-guided tour because even though I am not in great shape these days, I felt confident in a kayak. I did fine but I will be feeling the rowing for 4+ hours tomorrow and for a week or more.
Funny how instead of feeling like you are growing new muscle in your 50s, it feels more like you wake up sleeping, or even dying muscle and it is grumpy.
I felt the resorts tub in my room calling my name. Although I did not make it past the lagoon to get back to the room. Instead, I crash landed on a lounge chair and had a few more drinks to prevent my old muscles from locking up. Then I hit the lagoon itself for some lazy man floating time. There is something very soothing about floating weightless on the water. Between the water salinity and my buoyance it all worked out.
I can literally float these days without any effort and keep part of my chest and full face above the water. It kind of feels like almost any body of water can become a float room for me these days.
I fell asleep for a second at one point and woke to find myself rolling to one side. Hopefully, I was not out long enough to start to snore.
After that, I knew I just needed to get some dinner and then some rest. I was tired from the day so I chose to eat on site.
I chose to return to Aoki Grill which was doing good earlier in the trip. It is very close to the lagoon and made things easy for this tired kayaker. I had a local Tuna Steak and the sides this time with a few house drinks instead of the sake. I was hungry from the day, so I also added a lobster tail to the meal.
Byodo-In Temple was my choice to start the last day of my epic Hawaiian vacation. This temple site was attractive to me as a destination because for over 20 years of my life I studied martial arts. Two of my first styles were from Japan, so I have a love for the culture and the temples and buildings here remind me of much of the lore, and architecture you find in books, and art all around your Dojos when you train.
If you are a fan of the older versions of Hawaii Five-O and Magnum, P.I. TV shows, you have seen this temple in several episodes. Younger TV fans also have seen the temple in the Lost series during the first season. This makes your mind think you may have been here before and that is a neat feeling of familiarity.
Admission here is almost free at only $5 per person, and it is one of the most affordable places to visit on the island. You will also find a gift shop here with unique items.
Manoa Falls is one of several amazing waterfalls in Oahu. Taking the trail to the falls is a fairly easy hike of about 1.6 miles round trip. Years ago you could jump in the pool here, but in 2002 there was a rockslide, and they installed a cable to prevent access.
Waimano Falls were next on my list, and I allotted most of the rest of the day for this visit. Since it is 3 miles each way to the falls and a bit of a tricky approach, it will take about 1 hour in each direction. When you reach the falls you can cliff dive, or just swim in the two pools below the falls.
This gives you a sense of what wild Hawaii was like hundreds of years ago. Long before it became a state and people from around the world flocked here for the amazing natural environment. This is what the islands looked like.
This was the ideal location to finish my amazing Hawaii vacation. It gives me the view of Hawaii that most can never see. I have been to the islands before and I thought I might not get to return. Now at 51 this may indeed be my last trip who knows. But this is the perfect place to end a vacation. It feels like you are connecting with the islands themselves, and with the Hawaiian people.
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