January 6, 2020

GETAWAY | Aloha! Honolulu x Waikiki Beach Bum x Oahu, Hawaii

Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve | East Honolulu | O'ahu, Hawaii

Waikiki—(November 19 to 22, 2019) Aloha! For four gloriously tropical days and nights, I visited the scenic city of Honolulu on the third-largest island of Oahu (aka the "Gathering Place") in the remote Hawaiian Islands—squarely located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Let's relive a few sunny highlights.

Sunrise Shack | Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort, Honolulu | O'ahu, Hawaii
Bullet coffee and smoothie bowls from Sunrise Shack (inside Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort)
Staying at the Hilton Waikiki Beach Hotel, only a few blocks from the beach and adjacent to Waikiki's fabulous entertainment strip, it was a tropical getaway for the ages on my very first visit to Hawaii. As always, I make an effort to try, eat, drink, and generally consume or experience a variety of local fare when travelling abroad.

Bills Hawaii | Waikiki, Honolulu | O'ahu, Hawaii
Full Aussie (with scrambled eggs, sourdough toast, back bacon, miso mushrooms, pork and fennel sausage)
On that note, one of the more memorable meals was a very nice brunch at the hip Bills Hawaii, an Australian-style eatery, located a the northeastern end of Waikiki's luxury strip. Bills was full of pleasing tastes wrapped in a vibrant surrounding and contemporary decor.

Most of what you've heard about Waikiki and Honolulu or any of the four main Hawaiian Islands, in general, feels true. It's an endlessly beautiful, friendly place isolated by location to attract a host of interesting people and things to enjoy or take in.

Far and wide, Honolulu has plenty to offer inside and outside of the Waikiki tourist bubble. A short trip to the Hawaii Kai neighbourhood of East Honolulu showed us the luscious beauty of Hanauma Bay's sandy beaches full of protected sea life and coral reefs. It's a truly stunning setting carved out by a happenstance volcanic occurrence many years ago.

Full of tourists and international travellers (mainly Japanese nationals), Waikiki proper has a ton of dining and entertainment options from quirky Hawaiian cuisine (hello poke and açaí bowls), popular imported dishes, and a healthy amount of tasty Japanese restaurants in addition to the famous luaus or street food.

Fun fact: Did you know Hawaii (specifically, the Kona District on the Big Island) is the only developed place on Earth (and American state) that produces its own coffee? Furthermore, all of the coffee harvested from Hawaii comes from this specific region before its roasted and distributed elsewhere.

Honolulu (and Hawaii in general) is a remarkable, anomaly of a place. Its unique wonder lies in both its seclusion and welcoming nature. You can get lost the beauty of where you are. Think of it as a location of purely splendid nature surrounded by water meets modern conveniences at a price.

Waikiki Beach, Honolulu | O'ahu, Hawaii

Outside of Waikiki and in any of the many less densely populated areas, there are even more opportunities for small moments of awe to be found and discovered. No wonder its such a popular and idealized vacation destination spot for those who can afford it.
    Bills Hawaii | Waikiki, Honolulu | O'ahu, Hawaii
    ricotta hotcakes (with banana and honeycomb butter) from Bills Hawaii
    Additional Honolulu destinations and recommendations:
    As part of the trip, we visited Honolulu Coffee Kona roaster headquarters to learn all about Hawaiian coffee production and local caffeinated culture. It was a highly interesting and informative visit learning about how the brand and coffee in Hawaii is grown, harvested, picked, sorted, roasted, transported, ground, brewed, and enjoyed in all its taste.

    Waikiki, Honolulu | O'ahu, Hawaii
    Kalakaua Avenue + McCully Street
    Like any tropical locale, Honolulu/Hawaii has its usual attractions and drawbacks including any extra effort or expense to get and stay there. Seeing all of its glory is an enjoyable race balanced with the relaxation and fun it offers. Plan ahead, travel far, get lost, see everything, and have a good time. Mahalo!

    Disclosure: Airfare and accommodations for this trip to Waikiki were provided courtesy of Honolulu Coffee Vancouver through SMC Communications thanks to a random draw chosen for a recent media promotion. All coverage is my own.

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