There are things about Hawai‘i that you can’t help but daydream about. Those certain features that set this beautiful island paradise a part from anywhere else in the world. And best of all, they’re completely free.
1- Rainbows - Hawai‘i no doubt lives up to its nickname, the “Rainbow State.” On any given day, there’ll a beautiful spectrum of colors stretched across the Hawaiian skies. In fact, there may be two – if you’re lucky, that is. And whether you make it to the end of the rainbow or not, just know that the pot of gold lies in the simple blessing of seeing one at all. (more…)
May 3rd, 2013
After years of disrepair and neglect, the Waikiki Natatorium War Memorial will crumble into the sea no more. The city and state announced their plans to replace the 86-year-old complex with a new public beach (to be called Memorial Beach). The site’s famous archway will remain intact but be moved inland, according to a news release.
The debate on what to do with the decaying Natatorium has been going on for years, so it’s a welcomed relief to hear that some action will finally be taken. Since the structure’s closure in 1979, the Natatorium has received no regular maintenance whatsoever. It not only became an eyesore of the pristine Waikīkī shoreline but a disgrace to the World War I veterans it was meant to honor.
To do nothing at all would have not been an option. And to build beach volleyball courts – as Gov. Neil Abercrombie had once mentioned – would have been a waste of taxpayers’ money. I’m glad the city and state were able to find a happy medium out of all this. Preserving at least a portion of this structure is better than nothing at all. (more…)
May 2nd, 2013
Have you met the First Lady of Waikīkī?
A veil of classiness drapes over her sleek white facade, like the gentle morning rays over a quiet Waikīkī. Although she’s more than 110 years old, there’s still a youthfulness about her that continues to play a significant role in Hawai‘i’s history to date. As the very first hotel in Waikīkī, the Moana Hotel opened up the isle gates for visitors from near and far – marking the beginning of tourism in the state.
Amidst the bungalows and beach houses of Downtown Honolulu, the Moana Hotel became a welcomed addition to the then-neglected Honolulu area. It boasted 75 guest rooms, a billiard room, saloon, main parlor, library and the first electric-powered elevator for Hawai‘i that’s still used today. The very first guests paid only $1.50 per night for their rooms.
While you probably won’t find rates like that nowadays, you’ll still find the Moana Hotel standing strong – as one of Waikīkī’s premier hotels today. It is one of three buildings that make up the Moana Surfrider, a Westin Resort & Spa. In addition to having almost 800 rooms, the Moana has a freshwater swimming pool, three restaurants and beach bar. (more…)
May 2nd, 2013
When you think of Hawai‘i, swaying palms and ocean breezes come to mind. The thought of your toes buried deep in the sand sends an instant wave of warmth throughout your body. But how about giving even deeper meaning to your Hawai‘i vacation?
There’s a nonprofit that hopes to do just that for visitors. Yet another opportunity of voluntourism, Travel2Change aims to turn trips to the islands into ones that make a meaningful impact on the community through volunteer efforts. Travel2Change connects travelers and locals who want to lend a hand in the community, by cleaning up public parks or preserving native plants, for instance. (more…)
May 1st, 2013
Sunsets in Hawai‘i never get old, as there are so many places to see them. Whether it’s from atop a mountain or down at the beach, the saga of the sunset can unfold in a multitude of ways. Here are my top picks of places to watch the sunset on O‘ahu. Stay tuned for best places on neighbor islands. Diamond Head
Diamond Head offers two spots perfect for viewing the sunset; one would be at the top of Diamond Head Crater, while the second would be right below, at the sea cliff lookout. The lookout has a lot more room to sit and stretch out than the bunker at the top of the crater. It’s also easier to get to because the only way to the top of the crater is to hike. Nothing wrong with hiking, but if you spontaneously decide to watch the sunset with your honey, a sweaty race to the top is far from romantic. (more…)
May 1st, 2013
My heart is happiest when my stomach’s full of naan. It’s that buttery hot clay-oven bread served at Indian restaurants or found in the bread aisle of most grocery stores. Because Hawai‘i’s a blend of many ethnicities, naan can be easy to get your hands on – if you know where to look, that is.
There is a nice variety of Indian eateries scattered throughout the islands. Off the top of my head, I can think of two nestled in the Kaimukī district. Himalyan Kitchen
and Cafe Taj Mahal
are right down the street from one another. On Kaua‘i, there’s Shivalik Indian Cuisine
. While most all specialize in Tandoori (clay oven), it’s the naan that really makes all the difference. For me, naan is that make-or-break deal determining whether I’ll be back or not. The three previously-mentioned eateries have some of the best naan in the islands. (more…)
April 30th, 2013
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg “likes” several Kaua‘i businesses, giving his unofficial stamp of approval while on vacation with his wife.
The couple has been spotted strolling through Hanalei, according to several national websites. One of their first stops included the world-famous Kaua‘i burger joint Bubba Burger Hanalei. The business serves up more than burgers and fries but a piece of Kaua‘i’s history as well. Bubba’s has been in Hanalei since the 1930s.
I love that while there’s no doubt this power couple can afford fancy dining and luxurious resorts, they choose to vacation low-key instead. National websites show the couple eating burgers with friends under a shaded picnic table. They stroll through the town in shorts and sandals before heading to a beach house also in Hanalei. (more…)
April 29th, 2013
May Day is not only Lei Day in Hawai‘i but in other places around the world as well. Like Las Vegas, for instance, which comes as no surprise to most locals. Many spend their vacations in Sin City, while some end up making it their home away from home.
But Lei Day in Vegas is always just as festive as in the islands. Hundreds of visitors pack the California Hotel Casino, which has – for some reason – become a favorite among Hawai‘i locals. The hotel hosts the weekend of island-style fun – from music and dancing to Hawaiian arts and crafts.
The tasty food is what everyone’s really hanging around for. There’s usually a ton of Hawaiian food available for sampling. Laulau (pork dish wrapped in taro leaves), kalua pig and poi! Save room for dessert because the event is known for serving up fresh, homemade malasadas. Mmm…
Second best to the free food is that the event itself is free. Most people will try their luck at the craps table or slots in between sampling savory Hawaiian dishes abroad. There are, however, two special events that require ticket purchases. These include the Tahiti Taurua Nui Las Vegas Dance Competition ($20 admission) and a concert featuring Hawaiian recording artists ($20 tickets, $25 at the door).
LEI DAY IN LAS VEGAS / Weekend following May 1 at the California Hotel Casino / 702-385-1222
Posted by Alyssa S. Navares Follow me on Twitter @Uamalie87
April 29th, 2013
The abrupt BEEP BEEP BEEP’s coming from a pack of cruising mopeds no doubt captures the spirit of a Hawaii vacation. It’s that carefree, wind-in-your-hair sort of attitude that screams a good time.
It’s no surprise, then, that one of the first things on a Hawai‘i visitor’s to-do list is to rent a moped. Whether it’s zoom-zooming through Waikīkī or to the top of Mt. Tantlus, visitors manage to cover quite some distance on just two wheels.
Every so often, I’ll hear the BEEP BEEP BEEP’s and elongated ALOOOOOHA’s whiz past my house, which is on the way to the popular Tantlus lookout. Those welcoming sounds never fail to make me smile because I know someone out there is having a good time in Hawai‘i! Other vastly popular lookouts on O‘ahu include the Pali Lookout and Diamond Head lookout. Otherwise, you’ll see mopeds riding through the North Shore or Kailua. (more…)
April 29th, 2013
As Hawai‘i embarks upon its 100th anniversary of filmmaking, four movies will be rolling into the picture. Jurassic Park 4, Godzilla, Deep Tiki and a fifth installment in Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean are the latest Hollywood movies planning to film in Hawai‘i, according to a Pacific Business News report.
This means more revenue for the state, and for visitors, it means more opportunities to see Hollywood stars roaming the islands, like Johnny Depp or Emma Stone. Jurassic Park and Godzilla will be filming on O‘ahu and Kaua‘i, according to the report. Both films are set to hit the big screen sometime next year.
Hawai‘i’s vast beauty and warm weather continue to make the state a hotspot in the film industry. Movie makers from around the world travel to the islands in search of the perfect locale to shoot. The island’s film industry has always been a win-win circumstance; movie makers get the shot, while the state gets increased revenues and additional jobs to add to the economy pot. (more…)
April 28th, 2013