Saturday morning we set off on another adventure to Hawaii!
Visiting Hawaii has been on our radar for years. Pete and I said that we would spend our 15 year anniversary there, which didn’t end up happening because we were invited to Turks & Caicos instead (which we were thrilled about), but we still wanted to visit Hawaii! Growing up in Southern California I had already been twice before, but Pete never had….nor had the girls. When I sat down to map out our travel list for 2016, I put Hawaii at the top of the list and I am so glad I did. We’ve been here less than 48 hours and we already are planning a trip back. It’s that amazing! With non-stop flights from many different areas, it is really easy to travel to.
Our go-to airport is San Diego, and since we were visiting Hawaii, I started researching airlines with non-stop flights from SAN to Honolulu. I immediately thought of Hawaiian Airlines, and I reached out to them to see if we could feature them during our trip. We are so happy to be partnering with them to share all about our experience flying to Hawaii. I have a whole separate post all about our flight… until then here is a little bit about our travel experience getting to the island.
The minute you get to the airport, your vacation begins when you fly Hawaiian Airlines. See that lady above. She was everything Aloha! It was like your everyday life just melts away, and that was just the beginning. This is the friendliest airline we’ve ever flown on.
They also serve a meal, even in economy class. And the meal was vegetarian! That’s not always the case, but we were thrilled that it was on this flight. They also offer a complimentary glass of wine to those over 21 in economy too. Instead of a “rushed flying for 6 hours” feel, we had a relaxed “we are on our way to Hawaii” feel the entire time.
Our flight left at 10:30 am and we landed around 2:30pm Hawaii time at Honolulu International Airport.
The airport is well laid out and there is signage everywhere, but if you feel a little lost, there are friendly airport staff everywhere to help you. We decided to rent a car on this trip because we plan to see as much of the island as possible. We took a shuttle to our rental car facility to get our car. There was a bit of a wait since a few planes landed at the same time, but the weather was so perfect that we didn’t mind. Plus the adrenaline was going, we were so excited to be on Hawaiian soil!
Just about 20 minutes after we loaded into our car, we pulled into our hotel for the next two nights, the Aston Waikiki Beach Tower.
We are partnering with, and staying at, three Aston-Aqua hotels during our time in Hawaii and we will be sharing each one in a full write up…..but, I couldn’t help but share a bit of our first impressions with you all now…
Starting with the cold welcome towel, with hints of almond scent…. Emmy and I were in love this the welcome ritual. In the Caribbean, you are greeted with a rum punch (which is awesome) and an almond-scented ice cold towel is just as welcoming. We had to pry it from her arms before we headed up to see our suite!
And then the suites…. I can’t wait to share all the pictures, but look at this bed! The girls had their own room and Pete and I had a master suite with truly forever views! It also had a full kitchen, washer and dryer, and two bathrooms. The location is amazing! As I type this, Pete and the girls are all down in the lagoon less than 100 steps from the hotel. Emmy said that when she is older she is going to live here all the time and we can visit her. I don’t doubt that she will do it either.
After we settled in and got refreshed, we went for a walk through Waikiki. It has changed so much since I was last here that I barely recognize it. I felt like I too was visiting for the first time! There is entertainment around every corner!
The one thing Emmy was waiting for the most was to try real Hawaiian Shaved Ice. We checked that off our list right away!
Back in our room, we spent time just relaxing and taking the views in. We could see all the way down Waikiki Beach and up to Diamond Head. I don’t think it’s possible to have a better view.
One thing I remember so well from my previous visits are ABC stores. They have them now in Las Vegas, but it’s not the same. We took Emmy in to buy a flower clip for her hair and then she hula danced the rest of the day. Seriously!
The next day (Sunday) we did more casual exploring. We ate at restaurants with street views…
Drank fruit smoothies beach side on the benches that line the beaches…
Went swimming in the hotel pool (on a very windy day)…
And before we knew it, it was dinner time.
We had heard buzz around that today was a big day, we just didn’t know how big until we saw the streets filling up. We happened to be visiting during Honolulu Festival time. This happens once a year during March. It is truly a cultural extravaganza! With a parade and then firework at night! As luck would have it, the fireworks are shot off from boats directly in front of our hotel. I have never seen a fireworks show like this ever before!
Dinner was hosted by Duke’s Waikiki and it was fabulous. I’ll be sharing all about it in another post, especially their new vegetarian and vegan menu launching today! It was a remarkable evening and the ambiance was totally “Hawaiian getaway”. We loved it!
We got back to our room just in time for the night to be lit up with bursts of bright colors. Poor Emmy slept through the whole thing, but the rest of us were in awe! It felt like life just stopped for a few minutes and really it did! The whole area went silent as the fireworks were propelled into the air… and then all of a sudden thousands of people all started clapping and cheering together.
Here is a video recap of day 1!
I couldn’t imagine a better start to our Hawaiian adventure! Check back tomorrow for day 2!