I travelled to Honolulu, Hawaii in October for my 2nd year wedding anniversary. We stayed in the heart of Waikiki at the Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel. One of the best perks with this hotel is the location. You have beach access just steps away from the hotel, including nearby shopping, restaurants and activities.
The hotel is causal and with a contemporary resort atmosphere -- from the colorful surfboard-studded lobby to the retro Tiki’s Grill & Bar. The rooms are designed with natural colors with conveniences including mini-refrigerators, large flat-screen TV’s and most rooms have a partial or full ocean views with private lanais.
We ate at the Tiki’s Bar & Grill every day for breakfast (included in our rate) and a few times for dinner. The restaurant has indoor and outdoor sitting with beautiful views of the beach and, of course, the sunsets. Breakfast had a nice selection of items to choose from, such as fruit parfait, eggs Benedict and strawberry shortcake pancakes. We tried something different every day and enjoyed all the different selections. They also offer a great happy hour everyday with live music on certain days.
While in Waikiki, a rental car is not necessary. You can walk anywhere, or hop on the local trolley for $2.00 per person each way, which we definitely took advantage of. However we did rent a car, just for one day, and drive up to North Shore. What an incredible drive along the coast line, with beautiful views of the ocean. It’s very easy to navigate through the island, not to mention the lack of road-rage drivers.
We went to the Paradise Cove Luau, an experience everybody needs to try at least once while in Hawaii. The luau starts off with traditional Hawaii dancers, Mai-Tai’s and of course unveiling the roasted-pig from the ground. Lots of fun activities through the night and all-you-can-eat buffet, including chicken, fish, pork, salads and desserts.
We also got to experience snorkeling at Hanauma Bay, which is a must for anybody traveling to Waikiki and likes to snorkel. First time visitors are required to watch a video before entering the park so they can learn about the marine life, preservation, conservation, and safety rules for the State Park. The bay has millions of fish of all colors as well as sea turtles; it’s a huge attraction and you should arrive early if you’re driving yourself as parking is limited. But they do offer shuttle service from selected Waikiki hotels.
Overal,l Waikiki is a very happening city. Lots of restaurants, shops and activities for the active adventure types. I would suggest traveling to two separate islands, such as Oahu, where you can experience shopping and a variety of activities, and then fly to Maui or Kona for some relaxation on the beaches, and a different landscape altogether.