We chose Hotel Renew, a chic and modern alternative half a block away from the beach with windows facing the sea. The hotel staff was friendly and helpful. They offer complimentary beach towels, folding chairs and boogie boards to borrow so you can hit the beach fully equipped. What we liked most was the location. It's within walking distance of all the designer stores, restaurants and souvenir shops but they are far enough away to allow peace and quiet at night.
A trip to Honolulu would not be complete without seeing Pearl Harbor. Seventy-two years ago, World War II began for the USA when the Japanese attacked the U.S. Pacific Fleet anchored at the harbor, as well as other military outposts. The USS Arizona Memorial is an unforgettable and solemn reminder of the 1,117 crewmen who lost their lives that fateful day. It is only accessible by a short boat ride from the visitor center, allowing approximately 15-20 minutes per visit. The deck of the USS Arizona is still visible below the surface with parts of the wreckage still leaking oil, some 70 plus years after she sank. They call this layer of oil the "tears of Arizona".
Eating by the beach is one of my favorite things to do.Queen's Surf Cafe and Lanai came highly recommended and I'm glad we went. It's a popular spot; there was a very long line when we arrived! The food was unpretentious and tasty. For less than $10, you get a plate of Kalua pulled pork with rice, a side salad and a cold bottle of beer. What more could you ask for?
At the top of my must-see list was Doris Duke's Islamic-style Shangri La mansion. Nestled in a residential subdivision near Diamond Head and on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, it is filled with treasures and artifacts from the Islamic world. I would call it my dream home! It is an eclectic mix of Syrian, Indian and Moroccan decorative elements as well as actual rooms constructed from torn down palaces and assembled in Hawaii. It was luxurious, yet fittingly relaxed for a summer home.
WHAT I LOVED MOST
Crashing waves, white sand beaches, Hula dancers and Hawaiian shirts will forever be ingrained in my memory, thanks to a childhood spent watching Jack Lord in Hawaii Five-O and Tom Selleck in Magnum P.I. Ever since, I've been drawn to Polynesian inspired prints and have collected my own stash of vintage Hawaiian shirts. I was hoping to catch a glimpse of Laird Hamilton in action but I had no such luck. When I come back, maybe I'll even learn how to surf. Aloha!