I had the pleasure to revisit Hawaii recently with Hilton Hotels and Hawaiian Airlines. Hawaii is one of my favorite local destinations and everytime I visit the islands I feel like I come back with a totally different experience ! This time I went to the islands for a week and spend 3 days in Oahu and 3 days in Kauai (my fave!). In this post I will be recapping my wonderful time in Oahu and I will be sharing posts from Kauai all through next week! Don’t forget to scroll all the way down after the post for an awesome sweepstakes for a chance to win a free vacation to Hawaii!!
My favorite way to get me to paradise has always been Hawaiian Airlines ; with direct flights from San Jose, Oakland and San Francisco (and a bunch of other airports from all over the country) it is the most convenient flight option for me. Besides the convenience, I must mention it is one of the only domestic airlines to provide a complimentary meal in economy! I also opted for the extra leg room seat and the it was so spacious – all in all I had a smooth and perfect ride to the islands. And of course the winning view of opting for a window seat – gorgeous views to die for!
Hilton Hotels has 11 properties on all of Hawaii – 1 in Kauai, 1 in Maui, 3 in the Big island and 6 in Oahu alone! I stayed at the beautiful Hilton Garden Inn in Waikiki Beach. The hotel has a refreshed modern design and is conveniently located just 2 blocks from gorgeous Waikiki Beach. Make sure to walk over to catch a beautiful Hawaiian Sunset at Waikiki , you will not be disappointed.
I stayed in one of the suites on the 19th floor, I had the most magnificent views of the mountains to wake up to everyday! Besides the view, my room was comfy, clean and basic. Also loved the ease of walking down every morning for breakfast to TR Fire Grill which is attached to the hotel property. The rooftop pool was also a great place for a lazy afternoon.
It is super close and pretty much walkable to all the fun tourist attractions that Waikiki has to offer including the International Market Place (which is right across the hotel and is an amazing outdoor shopping mall- see below!), Honolulu Zoo, Diamond Head and shoppers paradise Kalakaua avenue.
Things to do in Oahu :
Here are my fave things to do if you are ever on the island of Oahu.
1 ) As I mentioned earlier, catch a sunset at Waikiki beach. You can walk/shop along Kalakaua avenue or the International Market Place all afternoon and then head to the beach to catch an unforgettable sunset. There’s something about a Hawaiian sunset y’all sigh !
2 ) Try your hand at traditional Lei Making. I am always so fascinated with the beautiful lei’s (flower garlands) that is so reminiscent of Hawaiian culture. This time I took a Lei making class at Hilton Hawaiian Village and learnt how to handmake a beautiful Lei as well as a floral crown! What do you think :)?
Coverup : c/o O’neill
3) Watch a traditional Luau ceremony. Hilton Hawaiian Village has the wonderful Waikiki Startlight Luau ceremony with dinner right on their property!
4) Be adventurous and give a shot at water sports. Unfortunately it was raining the entire time we were in Oahu :(, so I really couldn’t do any water sport. But if you are ever on Oahu you can try a bunch of water activities – like stand up paddleboarding (so easy to do in the lagoon at Hilton Hawaiian Village as the water is SO calm!), surfing, canoeing, underwater submarine adventure (also available right at Hilton Hawaiian Village!) or snorkelling.
5) Visit USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor. I did this the last time I was on Oahu and it was very insightful to visit this historical landmark that is one of the most pivotal moments in US history.
6) Adventure sail and snorkel with the spirit of Aloha. This catamaran starts right from Hilton Hawaiian Village and takes you to Turtle Canyon Reef, which is a site inaccessible from the main beach. Again we were unable to do this cos of the weather, but I definitely have this on my itinerary for the next time. Another favorite place I love to go snorkelling in Oahu is Hanauma Bay. This marine reserve is voted as one of the best places to snorkel in all of Hawaii! I went here the last time I was in Hawaii and the plethora of fish and marine life that I saw here was absolutely phenomenal.
7) Hike Diamond Head Crater and enjoy the scenic lookout. Diamond Head State Monument offers breathtaking views overlooking the Pacific Ocean and Honolulu. In fact the view is so good, it was used by the US military as a post for preventing attacks against Honolulu.
8) Visit Lanikai Beach – one of my absolute favorite beaches on Oahu! It has been voted several times as one of the best beaches in the world. It poured rain the day I went here haha, but that didnt deter the inner mermaid in me to wear my handmade flower crown and be in my element in this beautiful paradise. Big thanks to Sam Horine for being a storm trooper with me and for these beautiful photos from this rainy beach day. It was as magical as the first time I visited it years ago. If you ever go to this beach on a clear day you will be treated to azure calm blue waters and soft white sands.
Suit : c/o Triangl
9) If you have an entire day to explore the island I highly recommend you take a tour with Blue Hawaii Photo Tour company. Our guide was absolutely amazing and so knowledgable. We made our way all around the island and made several stops along popular tourist spots as well as hidden locations and favorite local spots that only our guide knew of! A few of my favorite highlights and stops along this tour were :
- Lanai point – This lookout point was one of my faves. The blue waves crashing against the lava rock formations was absolutely breathtaking. And of course eating malasadas for breakfast from Leonard’s bakery made it all the more sweeter!
- This was another spot we stopped at along the way, it was right after Hanauma Bay. Again gorgeous views all around! (Photos from here by Sam Horine)
- Turtle beach – we were so lucky to spot George here! George of the ocean :).
- Sunrise Shack at Sunset beach in the North Shore – Ok how cute is this fruit shack?! Im obsessed! Do try the papaya bowls if you go here.
- Matsumoto Shave Ice – The best place for shave ice on the island! So so good, you cant really go wrong with any flavor; but try the rainbow for the most instaworthy pic ;).
- Food truck hopping at Sharks Cove in the North Shore. We stopped here for lunch and there were so many good lunch options! I had some delicious fish tacos and this yummy tiki pineaple drink.
Bracelets : Pura Vida Bracelets
Hope this helps you in some way or the other if you are ever on Oahu. Stay tuned for all my posts from Kauai next week.
Starting today, Hilton Hawaii and the HVCB have launched a “Let Hawaii Happen” sweepstakes and are giving away 5-night stays and roundtrip air on Hawaiian Airlines for two. There will be 11 winners! Contestants can enter once a day and share their entry on Facebook to increase chances. Contest ends April 6. Enter the contest HERE.
Thanks for stopping by! xoxo
*this trip was sponsored by Hawaiian Airlines and Hilton Hawaii but all thoughts and opinions are my own.