Aloha! Today, the Tiki Travels series is bringing you to the gorgeous Hawaiian island of Oahu. Personally, this is my favoritest (I am well aware that is not a real word) of the chain and not just because Lost was filmed there (okay, that has a lot to do with it). Oahu is home to the state capital of Honolulu and some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. In my humble opinion, Hawaii as a whole has the nicest people, greatest views, best weather and most ono food. *Ono is Hawaiian for delicious. See, you learn something new everyday!
Let’s check out a few of my favorite places on Oahu!
Royal Hawaiian- This iconic resort hotel situated on the gorgeous Waikiki Beach was built in 1927 and has played host to celebrities, heads of state and even acted as a recouporation house for those who served in World War 2. Its beauty has been redefined by extensive renovations over the years and has now been restored to its original grandeur.
Ihilani Spa and Resort- If you are looking for a
little major R&R in paradise, The Ihilani is the place for you! Located on the west side of the island, this sprawling luxury hotel boasts a full spa, breath-taking views and one of the top ranked 18 hole golf courses in Hawaii. You’ll never have to leave the grounds!
Haleiwa Town- This should really be in its own category. Full of shops, restaurants and tons of things to do- Haleiwa is an incredible place to truly experience Hawaii. Catch a traditional luau at the Polynesian Cultural Center, snorkel in the crystal clear Pacific Ocean water, learn to ride the waves of the famous Sunset Beach or just kick back and enjoy a delicious shave ice from Matsumoto’s. Be sure to dedicate an entire day – if not more- to this gem!
Ala Moana Shopping Center – If you are looking for every store under one big beautiful blue sky, try Ala Moana Center. With over 290 shop and restaurants, including high end fashion houses such as Prada, Gucci and Hermes- Ala Moana is a shoppers dream! Don’t get this confused with your local mall, Ala Moana is an open-air center complete with koi ponds, entertainment stage and hands down the absolute best food court in the history of food courts. (Don’t knock it til ya been there!). I know you’re thinking, why would you spend your vacation at the mall? Just check it out…. and don’t say I didn’t warn you!
Tokkuri Tei- I can’t stress enough how much I love this restaurant. I would never consider myself a foodie by any means, but this local spot is a gastronomic mecca. Authentic Japanese cuisine in a way you have never experienced. Any menu that describes a Squid Pancake as “tastes like pumpkin pie- not quite” and still manages to get me to eat it up with unbridled gusto is a winner in my book!
Duke’s Waikiki- This is one of my favorite spots to bring first time visitors for breakfast/brunch. Duke’s is located inside the Outrigger Waikiki hotel and faces out toward the Pacific Ocean. Enjoy fresh fruits, a mixed plate buffet and exotic juices while the sound of gentle waves plays in the background. People watching here can be fun too – check out all the beach goers!
Pearl Harbor- You can’t go to Oahu without stopping by the extraordinary World War II Memorial at the site of the infamous December 7th, 1941 attacks. An impressive and moving place of US history, Pearl Harbor is a must!
Lanikai Beach – Lanikai is the Hawaiian word for “heavenly sea” and this picture should give you more than enough reason to go there. You’re welcome.
Hike Diamond Head Crater- This is kind of a “DUH” attraction. To me, the Honolulu skyline wouldn’t be complete without Diamond Head. You can hike inside the crater (wear gym shoes!), climbing to the very top and take in, quite possibly the most picturesque view of the island. Photo Op!
My Favorite “tourist” thing to do:
ATV Riding at Kualoa Ranch- When I was living in Honolulu, a friend came out to visit and this was on our list of things to do. I would have never thought of doing this as a resident, but since I was playing tourist in my own city, I thought what the heck? SO. MUCH. FUN! Having never operated an ATV, I found a whole new world of thrill! For two hours, we were on a guided tour around the Kualoa Ranch property, which is home to many famous movie and television locations, wild animals and lush greenery. If you aren’t into ATVs, Kualoa Ranch has plenty of other cool tours and activities to offer!