I just received an email from a customer who has a lot of questions. Of course I answered them and the email was as long as a blog so I thought I would share the information from my email with you!
He wanted to know where “locals” go to party, where are the best restaurants and where the powdery beaches are located. Please know that the information is my personal opinion and my opinion isn’t necessarily the voice of authority. It’s just “me.”
Nightlife— There are eight main islands in the state of Hawaii. Seven of the islands are for the most part, rural. Nightlife and the bars close very early. Where do locals go when they want nightlife? They go to Honolulu. Oahu which is where Honolulu and Waikiki are located is the place to be if you want nightlife and great food.
Restaurants— I used to be a TV news reporter and news anchor for nearly 20 years. Many of the chefs in Hawaii are longtime friends of mine. I’ve traveled all over the world and Hawaii has some of the best chefs who are up there with some of the top chefs in the world. Roy’s (Roy Yamaguchi), Sansei (DK Kodama), Peter Merriman, Sam Choy, 3660 on the Rise (Russell Siu), Alan Wong’s, Morimotos and the list goes on. Chef Mavro is probably the most creative and worth the price. His restaurant is less than 1 mile out of Waikiki and Alan Wong’s is nearby. All of the restaurants and hotels have amazing pastry chefs, many of them are trained in Europe. Hawaii also has an exceptional culinary school that has produced some top chefs! Kaimuki which is an older neighborhood about 1.5 miles from Waikiki has some exceptional restaurants with upcoming chefs and unique menus. The restaurants I’m talking about include places such as “Salt Bar and Kitchen” and “Town.” Town has been featured on the Food Network and has received “Green” awards for re-purposing just about everything in their restaurant. Chef Ed Kenney was featured in Conde Nast and even spent time with first lady Michelle Obama.
Beaches— Hawaii’s beaches are different from most around the world. Our sand is very different from what you will find in other coastal beaches. It’s fine but not necessarily powdery. There is also no dirt mixed in with the sand like you would find in California because our islands evolved from volcanoes and reefs. There is little to no dirt mixed into the sandy beaches in Hawaii. The customer made sure to ask about dirty beaches. That’s a great question! I seriously can’t think of a dirty beach in Hawaii and I would never ever send you there. There is ONE powdery beach I can think of on Oahu and it’s in Lanikai (lah-nee-kye) on the Windward side of Oahu. Lanikai is an award winning beach. It’s been at the top of Dr. Beach’s best beaches for many years. It’s about a 25 minute drive from Waikiki. Speaking of Waikiki, the beaches in Waikiki are beautiful but in some areas it can get crowded. Walk a little farther and you won’t see as many people. Nearby San Souci beach at the very end of Waikiki is where the local tourism and restaurant workers go. It’s known locally by several names including “Kaimana” and “Dig Me beach.” There are a lot of pretty people there. The rest of the locals go to Ala Moana Beach Park. It’s right next to Waikiki beach but most tourists don’t even know it’s there. I always tell people the best part about Waikiki is you get the top flagship luxury stores (Chanel, Fendi, Prada, Tiffany’s, etc.,) beautiful resorts, nightlife, restaurants and you can drive less than five miles and already be out of the city and standing near a water fall in a tropical rain forest. That would be Manoa Falls trail.
The customer also asked me about rental cars. Traveling without a rental car is nearly impossible on the neighbor islands which are a bit rural. When I say neighbor islands, I mean places like Maui, Molokai, the Big Island of Hawaii and Kauai. Lanai is tiny, there isn’t even a stoplight. It’s small enough that you can walk most places or take the free shuttle. There are some situations where we can assist a traveler who doesn’t drive by making sure they have activities that transport them to and from their hotel. For the most part, I highly recommend a rental car on the neighbor islands. You can definitely survive without a car in Honolulu/Waikiki. We equip you with round trip transfers which are very affordable and often include a lei. Use the money you would have spent on a car to go on tours like our Jeep Tours. The Jeep Tours are intimate and fun! However, if you want to go to Lanikai where the powdery beach is, I suggest you have a car.
I’m not a travel consultant for the money. I do it because there’s no feeling like sending someone to Hawaii equipped with the best prices, information and the trip of a lifetime. Imagine if you could give away a lottery ticket every day! That’s what my job feels like and that’s why I love sharing the aloha!