Sunday, 24 August 2014

Hawaii - The Food (and Drinks)

 I'm struggling to write about my favourite meals in Hawaii. I don't really need to say much. The pictures say it all. I'll just tell you where they were taken.
Blood Orange Mimosa & Superfood Wrap for breakfast (with ocean views) at the Verandah Cafe, Moana Surfrider by Westin - our first meal in Hawaii
An All-American meal complete with Mac & Cheese on the side at the Hard Rock Cafe
We loved it so much, we went back a second time - Hot & Spicy Korean Style Chicken & Rice at the Steak Shack on Waikiki Beach (and it was only about $8)
A "Healthy" Food Truck we stopped at when driving around the island of Oahu - we had a shrimp salad thingy with a side of rice that you could swap for quinoa if you were so inclined
Full Aussie Breakfast at Bills Sydney in Waikiki! 
Bircher Muesli with Pinapple, Melon & Shaved Coconut at Bills Sydney
Yummy Tuna Salad at the Tropics Bar & Grill, Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort
Strawberry Smoothie also at the Tropics
Eel Avocado Roll at Morimoto, The Modern Honolulu (must do!)
Shrimp Tempura Two-ways: with Spicy Kochujan Sauce & Wasabi Aioli and Ranch Sauce (still can't decide which was better). Morimoto at The Modern.
Angry Chiken with Finger Peppers and Spiced Jus that made us very Happy. Morimoto at The Modern.

NY Style Pepperoni Pizza Slice on our last day there, because I couldn't leave America without having one of these! Food Court at the Ala Moana Mall 
My pool-side companions: a Lava Flow, my sunnies and an easy-read
Another variation of the Lava Flow at Duke's Barefoot Bar at the Outrigger
 Highly recommend Morimoto which is a great place for dinner before a night-out on the town with its trendy vibe and contemporary food with manageable portions (seriously, the portions in Hawaii were way too big for me). The Steak Shack was the best place to grab a bite on the beach. And of course we went to the Cheesecake Factory and while the Cheesecakes were great the food and drinks there were nothing to write home about (even more disappointing after the one hour wait). Oh and yes, we did go to Leonard's Bakery for Malasadas, a portuguese doughnut-type thing (absolutely divine) aaand we got a Red Velvet Cupcake to go (don't judge us, we were on a holiday!) Sorry, we scoffed those down before even taking a photo.
Hopefully this post has satiated your appetite for foodie must-dos (or should I say, must-haves) in Oahu.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Hawaii - The Hotel

We aren't usually the kind who spend too much time in the hotel while on holidays. We usually don't worry about paying extra for a view that we're not going to look at because we're out sightseeing anyway. And we only do the token dip in the pool on the last day to just kill time before flying out. But this time we knew we wanted a relaxing holiday where we would lay by the pool and wake up in the morning and have a coffee (or a Mimosa) whilst enjoying the view from our room as we plan what to do (or not do) the rest of the day. So, when I came across the Hilton Hawaiian Village Resort and read that they had not 1, not 2, not 3 but 5 pools on the property, I knew we had found the perfect retreat. And with the ocean in their backyard, we were spoilt for choice as to where to spend lazy afternoons. And don't even get me started on the view from our room on the 32nd floor of the Tapa Tower....

View from the Lobby
Our Room
The colours of the ocean we woke up to every morning
The view from our room on the 32nd floor
The view
Sipping cocktails on the balcony

Panoramic shot of our view at dusk
Lunch at one of the restaurants in the hotel by the beach
Hotel Grounds
Pool 1
Pool 2
Pool 3
Pool 4
We didn't get to try Pool 5 because that was always the busiest one as it had water-slides and was filled with kids the whole time. And there was also a man-made lagoon on the property which we didn't get to try. But you know, there's only so much relaxing you can do on a 7-day trip. Plus it's a good excuse to go back. Although, the hotel is very crowded and busy most times, this is just a sign of how popular it is and because of the beautiful view and great location right on Waikiki beach and close proximity to everything you'll need during your stay and the 5 pools - I'd highly recommend staying at the HHVBR if you plan to go to Oahu. We booked our hotels and flights on Expedia, we got great rates so I also recommend you try researching your next holiday on Expedia to compare prices. They have great deals year round specially if you bundle flights and accomodation. Bon Voyage!

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Hawaii - The Shopping

No holiday is complete without great shopping! Specially for a shopaholic like me, that's number one on my agenda. Hawaii has amazing shopping whether you go to the Ala Moana Mall or if you prefer a shopping strip like the Kalakaua Avenue where shops are open till 11pm every night (H&M till midnight) for post-dinner shopping - win! But one place that's a must-visit for bargain-loving shoppers is the Waikele Premium Outlets Centre. Even though its a fair way away from Waikiki where most of the hotels are, its definitely worth setting aside an entire day to go here. You won't be disappointed. This is where I did my best work as you can see below ;)...

Waikele Outlets house outlets for brands like Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Gap, Calvin Klein, Kate Spade, Banana Republic, Michael Kors just to name a few and also larger specialty stores for Sports goods, Perfumes, Sunglasses etc. Something for everyone.

Change-rooms at Kate Spade New York
My shopping from the Outlets
Inside the shopping bags- From top Left to Right: Prada Sunglasses at 50% off, Kate Spade cos bag $11.79, Kate Spade Bangle $17, Kate Spade top (as seen in photo above) $62, Michael Kors Gold Watch at 50% off, Bobbi Brown Shimmer Bricks (not from Outlets - bought at Nordstrom) $40 each (price is Aus $76).
Some more shopping -Turquoise & White Striped Maxi Dress $12 and Paisley Print High-waist Shorts $17 from Forever 21, Grey & White Sequins Striped Tank and Cream with Gold Sequins Tank from Banana Republic $7 each (Waikele Outlet), 2 for 1 Body by Victoria Fragrance Mists from Victoria's Secret $15, Daisy by Marc Jacobs 100ml perfume from Duty Free shop at Hawaii Airport $75 (comparable price in Aus $120) 
Given that I had just 2 hours at Waikele (because we had to make it back in time for the last shuttle out to Waikiki) I think I did pretty well, although I do recommend taking the earliest shuttle to get there and the last shuttle back so you can take your time because there is lots to see. I was pretty chuffed with the bargains I got. My new favourite shopping destination ;). What I would give to go back!

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Hawaii - The Sights

We flew to Hawaii for a week last week. It was absolutely wonderful! The weather, the shopping, the relaxing by the pool and beach - it was all perfect. A much needed break. And I hear we avoided some really cold days in Melbourne, so that was a bonus. I'll be putting up some of our photos from the trip in a series of posts. I thought instead of a travel diary by day, I'd do posts by theme, so this is the first - The Sights of Hawaii.

Waikiki Beach

Driving around Oahu Island

Turtle Bay
Turtle Bay Resort

Chinaman's Hat
 Arizona Memorial & King Kamehameha's Palace

Battleship Missouri
"The Ultimate Surrender" Statue
King's Statue & Palace (as seen in opening credits of Hawaii 5.0)
Atlantis Submarine Tour
Heading to the Submarine in a Ferry - Diamond head Crater in the background
111ft deep in the ocean

  Such beautiful sights! Day or night, Hawaii doesn't disappoint. I miss it already!

Coming up next posts on Shopping, Our Hotel & Food, My Outifts....