I’ve always envied people like Cathi who are able to visit Disneyland on a whim. “Hmmm . . . what should we do today? How about going to Disneyland?” No planning, no packing, just get in the car and go. Well, today was kind of like that for Kaila and I.
I was at home trying to find our Disney Trading pins for our upcoming Disneyland trip when I realized it might be pretty cool to add some Aulani pins to the collection. I searched online and found that people were selling them at an outrageous price! However, I was desperate and even considered buying a few. But then I remembered, “Hey, I live 20 minutes away from Aulani! Why don’t I just go there and buy them myself?” Within 15 minutes Kaila and I were on the road headed to Ko’Olina.
Here we are pulling up to the hotel.
The beautiful “Rainbow Wall” behind the Registration Desk in the Maka’ala Lobby. These photos were taken by Hawaii students, grades K to 12. Their mission was to take a photo of something that they feel showcases our beautiful islands. Each submission had to focus on one color.
The view from the Maka’ala Lobby. Here you can see most of the property as well as the property’s Waikolohe Valley. This Valley includes various water activities. You can see a partial view of the Waikolohe Stream where visitors can take a relaxing tube ride along the 900-foot-long path.
The 3,800 square-foot Rainbow Reef where guests can snorkel with beautifully colored fish that live in the waters around the islands.
Or how would you like to get up close and personal with some friendly stingrays at the Makai Preserve?
Here’s the 2,200-square-foot Menehune Bridge where kids will have a blast playing on the bridges, slides, and waterfalls.
Or take a swim in the hotel’s main pool
You can even take a stroll to Ko’Olina Lagoons and spend the day on the beach.
I mean, who wouldn’t love to sit under these beautiful cabanas?
Back in the lobby is where we found this cute little area for the kids.
And of course, our visit wouldn’t be complete without meeting a few Disney characters. Stitch decided he was hungry and tried to eat some of Kaila’s cereal. She was definitely NOT happy about it and started to cry. He tried to kiss and make-up which brought a few smiles and in the end Kaila threw kisses to him as we left.
Mickey was another story. She just would not look at him!
The Aulani is a beautiful resort showcasing the largest collection of contemporary Hawaiian art in the world. At every turn, you’ll see beautiful Hawaiian flowers, artifacts, photos, painting, statues, and music. What I really liked was the laid-back feel that the hotel promotes. You just can’t help but relax as you slowly stroll through the property as the cast members greet you with smiles and Hawaiian greetings. It’s truly paradise.
Living in the islands, it’s easy to forget about the mainland sometimes. That is, until you start thinking about how dependent we are on the rest of the country and world for so many things. The cost of living is extremely high here due to the high volume of imported goods, sky-high rent and expensive utility costs. Of course, we stay here because of all the wondrous benefits it offers us: gorgeous natural setting, the sparkling ocean, wonderful local produce and a welcoming spirit. To preserve what’s great about Hawaii, I’ve been on a mission to live as locally as possible. From frequenting farmer’s markets to buying locally made products like clothing and furniture, it’s all about making a lower impact globally while directly affecting your local economy.
Of course, many people only experience Hawaii as a visitor. This can mean getting swayed by tourist traps and chain restaurants out of convenience and familiarity are often the case. Experiencing a true taste of the islands is best achieved through visiting smaller towns, local organizations and family-owned restaurants.
Stay Local, Shop Local
Posting up in Honolulu is a natural choice for many. The large selection of Waikiki hotels, numerous beaches, shopping and nightlife make it a go-to spot for many travelers. Within the chain stores and imported goods vendors, there are many local spots to give your business. One of my favorite ways to do this is by visiting the three main farmer’s markets of Oahu – the Ala Moana market, Hale’iwa market and Hawaii Kai market.
The network of the markets makes creating a meeting place for the community its main priority, as well as becoming Oahu’s premiere green market. Along with locally grown, sustainably farmed produce, the markets boast zero waste stations and ask that all vendors use only bio-compostable utensils and plates. Produce from the mainland, China or anywhere else are strictly prohibited at the market. Vendors are scoped out well before being allowed to sell at the market, so locality of the produce is ensured. Experience the literal fruits of their labor and help benefit the entire island! And it’s not just fruits and vegetables, either. Numerous artists and musicians display their work here, offering a well-rounded, original experience.
Visit a Local Farm
The locavore movement heated up along the coasts of the United States, and it’s never been more popular in Hawaii. Oahu’s climate is great year-round for producing a variety of fruits and vegetables including Kahuku corn, mangoes, papayas, pineapple and Waimanalo greens. Not only are farmers markets popping up in all neighborhoods, you can also follow the entire farm to table process by taking a farm tour.
Throughout the islands, farms support a wide range of renowned restaurants with local produce. Top Hawaiian chefs are an integral part of this partnership and have gotten behind the Hawaii Regional Cuisine movement in earnest. Many Oahu hotels feature local cuisine that can make your stay an exercise in local investment.
Courtesy of Leslie To of Aqua Resorts
Before I became a flight attendant I used to work for the Sheraton Hotels in Waikiki which included the beautiful Royal Hawaiian Hotel. Also known as The Pink Palace, The Royal Hawaiian Hotel has been holding court on the shores of Waikiki Beach for 85 years. It’s one of the most beautiful and historic hotels I’ve ever stayed in and it’s currently being featured in the new film entitled Here.
Here has reunited Waris Ahluwalia with Luca Guadagnino, the director of their Golden Globe-nominated film, I Am Love, to create a cinematic experience that offers a glimpse into the hidden treasures of some of America’s favorite destinations. The short film, starring Agyness Deyn, co-written by Tilda Swinton with music by Jason Schwartzman, was shot at three of The Luxury Collection’s most iconic properties across the United States, aiming to inspire global travelers to explore and discover destinations in a unique and authentic way.
This haunting indie film is about a woman who is sent to three of the most beautiful resorts in the United States through mysterious notes and clues and arrives at her final destination in beautiful Hawaii. From the first note to the last scene, I was hooked. I couldn’t wait to see what the next property would look like or how it would all end. See it for yourself!
Stop by the Here website to find out more about these featured properties. You can even book the entire Here experience and visit these Luxury Collection hotels in person! What an experience of a lifetime!
Courtesy of The Luxury Collection
In the heart of Poipu on Kaui’s sunny south coast is Poipu Kai Resort, 70 acres of beautiful meandering grounds nestled between Poipu Beach Park and Shipwreck beach. Poipu Kai Resort is home to several condominium developments, each with its own distinct style. It also has a very nice tennis facility with 8 courts.
Which Kauai condo complex to choose for a vacation depends on several factors: which beach do you want to be closest to; would you like an ocean view condo; how many bedrooms do you need, your budget, and whether you need air conditioning.
The table below will help you chose a condo complex at Poipu Kai. All the developments offer large and comfortable units. Oftentimes the choice may come down to price and what’s available. With Hawaii’s cooling trade winds and mild temperatures air conditioning is considered unnecessary but there are people who find it a needed comfort.
The above information was compiled from HawaiiGaga.com, the Hawaii vacation rental directory.
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