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Great Maple, Libations and Seasonal Plates – Newport Beach, CA USA ☆☆☆☆☆

April 23, 2012

Great Maple is indeed a new favorite of mine amongst all eateries within or immediately surrounding the confines of Fashion Island. Their seasonal plates are created using farm fresh produce which makes for exceptionally delicious cuisine; Emphasis placed on the Healdsburg salad, creamy polenta small plate (minus pancetta for me) and market soup of the day (all of which have been outstanding so far, especially the butternut carrot and spinach soups). Seafood dishes are prepared to perfection and the Spicy Grilled Shrimp Prawn starter is positively piquant in its distinct flavor, somewhat reminiscent of my south of the U.S. border culinary experiences. Complimentary hot bread and sea salted, herb infused butter make for a magnificent addition to the experience. One note: It would be nice if gluten free items were available amongst the array of menu selections.

A diverse range of imaginative cocktails, many of which utilizing organic juices and liquors are available for those of us seeking a refreshing spirit or two. As much as I love organically grown anything, I’m not sure if something as toxic to the human body as liquor will benefit from certified pesticide-free ingredients. Does it reduce hangover intensity? Feel free to knock a few organic tequilas back and inform me as to whether there is a difference.

On top of the delicious food, you’ll typically spend far less time waiting hungrily for your table than a few other favorites such as R&D and True Foods. We’re always warmly greeted by the manager (or owner, will have to find out) at some point during our lunch which adds to the overall charm.

The inevitable cessation of our meal always results in prompt table clearing by friendly bus staff, followed by our bill shortly thereafter. I for one can thoroughly appreciate this. When any restaurant claims to be at all European, I immediately visualize wait staff neglecting me post initial seating process and sedately returning every thirty minutes or so. Did that make any sense? I really am trying to put it lightly that I don’t find slow service admirable. They may serve European dishes, but the service is far superior to much of what you’ll experience in Europe. Do ignore this aspect of my review if you are one who relishes a relaxing, laid back approach from your inattentive waiter; I do know that a lazy afternoon of conversation works for many.

Please eat here. Hope to see you there amongst the merry glut of organic liquor enthusiasts.

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Update

April 13, 2012

What culture shock being home for once, living out of my closet instead of my suitcase is a novel concept indeed. Jetlag-less-ness is both refreshing and unfamiliar. For those who don’t know me, yes, I tend to fabricate the occasional word or two. My precious E and I are both experiencing strange new worlds and I couldn’t be happier. Just visiting Hawaii twice has given me reason to stay away from airports as much as humanly possible. What era are we living in where certain aircrafts have no changing tables? Using the toilet seat as instructed by the flight attendant is far less than satisfactory for a lengthly and hefty 6 month old tipping the scales at 21 lb.’s. Need I mention the blatantly apparent hygiene issue?

The time we spent in Kona was most enchanting though. E had fun with grandpa Jim and tutu Bar Bar whose house was decorated in a plethora of baby necessities courtesy of Baby’s Away Big Island. Thank the Lord I didn’t have to cart my entire nursery and play area with me to the islands. I would have had a far lower level of sanity without their help providing clean and modern baby equipment.

Although for the time being you’ll see less of me and my worldly travel moments, please know that I will do my best to provide as many restaurant, product, and attraction reviews as possible here in my home state of California.

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Four Seasons Resort Hawaii, Lana’i at Manele Bay ☆☆☆☆☆

January 6, 2012

I’m back… Finally recovered enough from my c-section to take a little trip. Welcome Elijah to my chaotic world of travel! (The Birth announcement is really low res., but it says: August 29th 2011, 3:38am, 8 pounds 12 ounces, 20.5 inches long!)

For baby’s first ever trip my husband decided to take us to my second favorite Hawaiian island, Lanai. We had stayed at the Four Seasons Koele twice in the past and now chose to experience the coastal resort, Manele. Upon check-in we were greeted in typical Four Seasons style with kukui nut lei and a cold fruit beverage. Both the upper lobby and lower sitting room/terrace area were beautifully decorated with Christmas trees and festive holiday decor perfect for your Christmas card photo! Soon we were escorted to our room where we found the crib and microwave (for bottle sterilizing) as requested. 
We soon discovered that vacationing with an infant was hardly a vacation at all! We made the most of our time at the resort nonetheless. Buffet breakfast was included in our rate so that is where we headed each early morning when E decided to jolt us from our ever so thoroughly savored slumber. Needless to say I had never fully appreciated my precious delta stage of sleep prior to the birth of my gorgeous little boy.
The resort grounds were just as beautiful as the prior two visits we had made. The pool staff assist in setting up your pool/ocean side chair or cabana and periodically come by throughout the day with fruit infused water, fruit shish kabob, sunglasses cleaning services, Evian mist, cucumbers for your eyes etc. The poolside bar and restaurant offer nice, light lunch options and delicious, exotic cocktail choices to be ordered whilst seated in the outdoor dining area or brought to your makeshift poolside retreat.
The white sand beach just a short walk down the trail is a nice place to introduce baby’s toes to the warm ocean water.
Although I didn’t have time to experience the fitness room, my husband commented on its cleanliness, new equipment and ample size. Buffet breakfast was a beautiful display featuring traditional breakfast items, Mexican cuisine, island cuisine, a few Japanese breakfast staples and an omelet and Belgian waffle bar with chef. The waffles were those doughy, succulent ones the size of your fist… not ideal for my post pregnancy weight loss mind frame. I had 8 pounds to lose but after that I’m sure its back up to 10. I loved how they had almond milk available upon request unlike most places these days.
 
In room dining was outstanding and both restaurant choices featured absolutely delicious dishes. Fresco, the Italian style restaurant located in the same dining area as the poolside lunch place had small yet fabulously flavorful menu options. The steakhouse Hulopo’e Court located in the breakfast area had nice food as well but I became slightly nauseated when my Kauai Shrimp showed up with eerily lifelike black eyeballs staring at me. If you’re an appreciator of that type of fanciful cuisine I’m sure you’d be more than delighted.
All in all we had a magnificent time at this accommodation considering our circumstances. If you have a little one, do try to bring a nanny or perhaps convince your mother in law to tag along. I still love the Four Seasons Lodge at Koele up on the mountain, but this resort was much more convenient if you plan on basking in the Hawaiian sun for a majority of your stay.

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Waikoloa Beach Marriott – Hawaii ☆☆☆☆

June 17, 2011

Thats right. Two months later and we’re back to Kona for another leisurely visit. This time we decided to see how the Waikoloa Beach Marriott has held up over the years. I was 14 last time I stepped foot on this property (when my agent had booked me for my first ever fashion show). Oh how I wish that I could find the ridiculous photos of me working the catwalk sporting the latest in Speedo swimwear and adolescent casual island wear for merchants such as Ross and Macy’s. Don’t you miss 1990’s fashion… maybe I’ll find some comedic images later and post them for added viewer amusement. The resort looked fine to me back then, but the convention/conference area was the extent of my Marriott experience, so I was curious to see the new and improved grounds.

We were pleased to be upgraded to a pool view room with a lovely, just through the trees panorama of A-Bay. The room and hotel grounds had obviously been recently renovated as everything has been noticeably refreshed. The only thing that needed upgrading in my opinion was the TV. A flat screen would have been nice. The room was a little on the small side and became hard to navigate when my husband utilized the desk area to do emails. Other than that, we were delightfully surprised by how nice of an accommodation it really was. Our room (2294) was right next to the fire escape which gave us easy and convenient pool access. The infinity pool was quite aesthetically pleasing but the water was freezing. The rest of the property grounds are absolutely beautiful. Inevitably, this part of the island is very windy, so that does get a little irksome at times. Pool staff are rather strange when it comes to the process of picking up and dropping off towels. All other hotel staff were magnificent though.

We did make use of the gym facility during our visit. The fitness equipment is amply stocked and everything has obviously been kept current and is rather clean.

The King’s Shops are right across the street (and Queen’s shops just a little further up the road), so you couldn’t ask for a better location with regard to shopping and dining selection. The Marriott offers the choice of an a la carte menu or buffet breakfast. Both were good but the buffet wasn’t worth the $29 in my opinion.

Overall we couldn’t believe how great this accommodation was for the price paid (approximately 40% cheaper than other 4 star resorts in the area). We almost gave the Waikoloa Beach Marriott a miss after reading a multitude of negative reviews. We’re glad to have given it a chance… it was surprisingly exceptional in almost every aspect and we’ll most likely return to this financially feasible hotel in the future!

In addition, we set off on an around the island drive to perhaps evoke a multitude of childhood memories. My husband’s patience was effectively tested as he endured the approximate 5 hour drive with me conducting an almost constant narrative pointing out every place I’d ever lived or spent any significant amount of time. (e.g. Annoyingly I can indeed point out every health food store from start to finish.) We had lunch at Cafe Pesto in Hilo and then stopped in at Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park for a quick hike through a glorious lava tube. If anyone has experienced the Volcano Mist Cottage please let me know how it is. I hope to book in with them next time we’re in the area.

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Mauna Lani Bay Hotel – Hawaii ☆☆☆☆☆

April 14, 2011

Our three-day stay at the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel was a pleasant and memorable one.  A warm welcome and brief resort overview by Zelda and Bree was preceded by an orchid lei greeting accompanied by cool hand towel and refreshing tropical juice beverage. This impeccable customer service continued when Danny delivered our luggage to the room in great time.

Mauna Lani Bay Hotel

The Mauna Lani has been one of Big Island’s leading accommodations for almost 30 years. The grand entrance leads into a tropical atrium brimming with vegetation and flowing junction of serene water features. As we walked the resort grounds we found ourselves mesmerized by an array of marine life habitats home to endangered green sea turtles, juvenile sharks, moray eels and the list goes on. The Mauna Lani is known for its annual honu (turtle) release program earning it high regard within the marine life conservation community.

Our fifth floor room looked out over a densely vegetated lagoon area (to the left) and the pool area was to the right. Just beyond was a panoramic view of the pacific ocean. Our room was beautifully renovated, clean and very well-kept. Counter space in the bathroom was ample and toiletries were of very good quality. The shower was spacious featuring floor to ceiling travertine tile creating a spa-like feel.

We attempted to make a dinner reservation at the Canoe House Restaurant, however, they were completely booked for the evening. Consider calling ahead if you’d like to make the Canoe House part of your Big Island dining experience. We ended up having our evening meal at The Bay Terrace which offered a relaxed atmosphere, prompt service and good food. 

Although I spent most of my time at The Fairmont Orchid assisting in my friend’s wedding (click here for my review of The Orchid from a previous stay), my husband gave me good feedback regarding the Mauna Lani’s pool area and Lunch Grill. He appreciated how much more of a relaxed atmosphere this resort offered than many of the others we’ve experienced. In addition to that aforementioned serenity, pool staff brought by complimentary Melona ice cream bars which were a very nice addition to his sweltering sunbathing experience. Lunch overlooking the waterfront at Ocean Bar & Grill featured fresh menu items and yet again, great service.

The gift shop/convenience store on the lobby level was open 7am to 10pm which proved to be most convenient on more than one occasion. Although neither of us had excess time to visit the gym, we overheard some fellow guests raving about how pleasantly surprised they were with the fitness facility. My husband did make use of the breathtaking ocean front trail for his morning jogs though.

We found time to dine at The Bay Terrace for breakfast on the day of our departure and were happy to see that in addition to the buffet, an a la carte menu was an option. Food in Hawaii is inevitably overpriced but the Mauna Lani didn’t exceed the usual price range for resort quality cuisine.

However brief, our time at the Mauna Lani was relaxing, enjoyable and we’re looking forward to another visit in the future. I’d also like to point out that a few of my personal items were unintentionally left in the room and I didn’t detect their absence until we were already out of town. When I contacted the hotel to see if these items had been collected by housekeeping, indeed they was safely in the possession of security. Every time I’ve ever left something in a hotel room in the past I’ve never been lucky enough to retrieve the lost articles. It’s nice to know that not only are the staff at Mauna Lani friendly and personable, but honest and trustworthy as well.

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Mauna Lani on Dwellable

 

Northern Ireland

April 13, 2011

Please accept my sincerest apologies for failing to record my December Euro trip. Three months plagued with constant lethargy rendered me quite useless. Oh how I’ve missed you all and thank God I’m now able to think straight enough to produce a post reflecting on my more recent trip to Europe (end of March).

This being our first visit to Ireland, we scheduled an extra day to explore a portion of the Irish coast. As we drove up the coastal A2 road, we stopped in historic Carrickfergus to explore the town’s oceanfront castle. I just so happen to love castles, so any pile of medieval blocks and mortar proves to be a worthwhile spectacle for me. I’d recommend a quick look around if you harbor a similar level of exuberance for rustic architecture.

The Irish weather was atypically pleasant according to spring time standards (mostly clear skies and around 50 degrees fahrenheit). Although freezing in my opinion, local teenage girls roamed the streets excited to display their pasty white midriffs. Meanwhile, torrential down pours and thunderstorms engulfed Southern California. I’m thankful to have experienced this relatively good European weather, yet I hate how I always miss those momentously rare  back home weather patterns. Nothing new, this happens just about every time I travel.

As we continued along northern Ireland’s coastal road, we came upon the seaside town of Ballycastle. We had lunch at the Cafe Boyles which offered a selection of pastries and a nice menu of salads, sandwiches and a few other ‘wee’ menu specials. As you drive further you’ll come upon the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge which links the mainland to a small Carrick island. We didn’t make the stop, but the concierge at our hotel had recommended it.

Eventually we arrived at the Giant’s Causeway. Being a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this natural wonder offered a shuttle service for 2.00 GBP per person (I think) which takes visitors to and from the ancient volcanic rock display.

As we traveled on we stopped for a photo op at the Dunluce Castle ruins. Try to get there at a decent hour so you, unlike us, can explore the ruins during business hours.

From there we made our way back to Belfast on the A26 and joined onto the M2 into Belfast. Not an enormously scenic way to go, but much quicker than the way we had come.

Fitzwilliam Hotel – Belfast ☆☆☆☆☆

There is a very small turn out on the street beside the Fitzwilliam where you can pull over and check in. Sometimes this area is occupied, so driving around the block a few times can become necessary until space is available. Valet was 17.00 GBP per day. Front desk staff were very friendly. The room was quite lovely and the bathroom was relatively spacious. No notable counter space though. When the mirror got fogged up after taking a shower, they had made a little no-fog spot on the mirror so you’re able to continue getting ready. Strangely it was way too high for me to reap any benefit. I’m not that short so… it was weird. Also, for you female readers, the lighting in the bathroom is extremely bad. 

The doors to the hotel room slam so incredibly loud even if you try to shut them carefully. That little design flaw needs to be addressed because when other people would come in and out on our floor during the night it would wake us up every time. Other than those couple of flaws, the hotel was really nice.

The restaurant had some good vegetarian choices at dinner, and breakfast was pretty good yet pricey.

We had a chance to walk around town and beside the city hall is a busy shopping street if thats what you’re into. Before leaving to the airport we had traditional English “Tea” for lunch at the Merchant Hotel. Be sure to make a reservation as it is a very popular place in a beautiful, historic building formerly a bank now converted into a hotel.

As usual, let me know if you have any questions at all. We loved Ireland so much! The people are so warm, friendly and we’re hoping to return again someday to explore this island more thoroughly!

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24 Hours in NYC

December 30, 2010

Our decision to visit NYC was yet again purely motivated by our need to accumulate United points toward our elite status (which has now triumphantly been achieved after our most recent business trip to europe and a visit to Hawai’i!)

We settled on The Lucerne Hotel because of its close proximity to Central Park, The Museum of Natural History, generalized shopping and the annual Christmas Market. $260 per night sounded pretty darn good to us considering the typical rates in that area. Our arrival into JFK around 10pm rendered a relatively short taxi-stand line. $45 flat rate anywhere within NYC is a much better and safer option than bothering with public transport.

Our room was spacious for city standards. Everything was very clean and operational. The place may be in need of a little face lift regarding choice of decor, but it worked for us. Earplugs came in handy as expected in a busy city atmosphere.

 

The meal we had been offered on the plane was pretty sad, so we headed to a deli/convenience store right across the street for something to snack on. On our way out of the market we couldn’t help but be drawn to the luscious picture of an oversized cookie reading: Insomnia Cookies. A freshly baked dark chocolate chip cookie oozing with gooey, delicious morsels of sugary goodness was perhaps a poor choice at 11:30pm and right before bed, but we inevitably gave in to the emanation of doughy fragrance.

The next morning, breakfast at Nice Matin downstairs was delightful. Friendly staff and surprisingly good food. The coupon we had received upon check-in made for a very affordable breakfast.

We had planned a leisurely shopping day in Soho, but the rain and monsoon caliper winds put a damper into that novel notion. We decided on the more sheltered option of exploring the Museum of Natural History. An Imax featuring some galactic, NASA type documentary killed a good 45 minutes of our day. After that we traipsed through taxidermic animal exhibits taking cheesy photos all the while. Do yourself a favor and do not eat lunch at the museum. Not good at all.

Heather Atkins

We took a cab to Cafe Freida for dinner. They had barely any vegetarian options but what I ended up with was delicious.

By the time we had finished dinner the rain had let up and the winds had died down. We took a walk along Broadway and soon arrived at the Christmas Market (at Central Park West and Broadway). We then had a look in a nearby mall decorated with dangling star like lights that colorfully twinkled along with instrumental Christmas carols.

Soon enough we had walked back to the hotel, collected our bags and were off to the airport… after a four-hour delay, we were officially on our way home!

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A Day at Auckland Zoo – New Zealand

December 22, 2010

Recollections of boycotting Sea World as a child were forefront in my mind, but hey, we had a little time to kill before our flight… So why not surround ourselves with the presence of a few beautiful creatures.

If you have any questions regarding travel to North Island New Zealand, I’d love to be of assistance! (Full range of photos can be viewed in the slideshow below.)

 

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Queenstown, Milford Sound, Invercargill – Sojourn in South Island New Zealand

December 16, 2010

Our flight from Auckland to Christchurch, Christchurch to the southern most tip of South Island (Invercargill) was uneventful with the exception of a painfully cheesy, kiwi-ish in-flight aircraft safety video featuring nude flight attendants covered in body paint.

I’ll do you the favor of reviewing our Christchurch accommodation in a future post.

Hotel Quest Invercargill – ☆☆☆☆

Darryl dropped me off at our little Hotel Quest Invercargill and drove off into the distance to attend his meeting. I checked into a spacious room with high, almost cathedral spaced ceilings. Nothing fancy, but the apartment style quarters were equipped with convenient kitchenette and large bathroom. A large window looked out over the main street and before long Invercargill’s annual “American Auto Parade” had completely engulfed the streets of this small city. I sat in the window sill watching oversized US flags pridefully evinced out open convertible tops of mostly classic Fords, Chevys, and Caddys. I even witnessed a first generation Escalade being paraded by some dignified, jolly ol’ upper class kiwi owner. An unexpected spectacle like absolutely no other.

(Photos of accommodation can viewed in slide show below).

Beach near Invercargill

The next day Darryl and I visited a nearby beach location famous for having been motored on by Burt Munro and featured in The World’s Fastest Indian. The rolling sand dunes opened up to a sprawling white sand beach packed solid enough to drive our rental car along for miles.

Soon enough we were experiencing the awe-inspiring drive to Queenstown. Although we had driven from Christchurch to Queenstown a time or two before, coming in from this opposite direction was completely different. Now that I’ve experienced both road trips, I’d have to say that the drive from Christchurch to Queenstown is profoundly more visually impressive than that of Invercargill to Queenstown.

Desolate country roads of flourishing vegetation gradually lead into sparsely vegetated, arid landscapes. Occasional clearings abruptly widen visual perspective. At one highly memorable point, a massive circular lake casted mirror images of towering mountain ranges beyond. These sights are what inspire me to give thanks for my God-given 20/20 eye sight. Do yourself the ultimate favor and make South Island New Zealand a must-see on the brimming vertex of your proverbial Bucket List. You will not regret it.

St. Moritz – Queenstown – ☆☆☆☆☆

The St. Moritz Hotel was located up a steep street off the main road we had come in on. It was a little tricky to find, but once we had arrived, we were more than happy with this chosen accommodation. A chic, contemporary mountain, ski lodge theme greeted us as we made our way through the lobby. Cow hide pillows and floor coverings complimented sizable hearths and walls accented with earthy, intricate river rock stone work detail throughout.

Our room and bathroom were relatively spacious with very modern, up to date furnishings and fixtures. Our lake-view balcony offered immaculate sunset observances of the hills and mountains opposite Lake Wakatipu. Sunset was a particularly exquisite time to appreciate the ever so beautiful body of water and towering mountains. 

Dining at the St. Moritz’s restaurant is rather expensive, but worth the panoramic views that accompany a window side table. Most nights we dined at Bombay Palace and Freiya’s in town. Both very good Indian food choices. Most other restaurants in New Zealand offer gluten-free menu options, but not all that many vegetarian choices.

The concierge service was very helpful and arranged a flight for us aboard a cessna caravan en route to New Zealand’s famed Milford Sound. Milford is not easily accessible and hotels are hard to come by in the area, so the flight was our most cost-effective and least time-consuming option. After disembarking the small aircraft, we made our way to a boat that steadily motored through the Milford channel displaying towering rock faces littered with waterfalls and the occasional fur seal. According to most locals, Milford isn’t as impressive as Doubtful Sound, but beautiful none the less. The aerial scenery experienced on the flight was well worth the 500.00 NZD per person.

When you’re back in Queenstown, take a stroll/jog along Lake Wakatipu. A path will lead you to a protruding point dense with towering forestry on one side and the tranquil lake on the other.

Be sure to take the scenic drive to Arrowtown. After a quick stop at The Shed Ice Cream Parlour, drive north-east toward Lake Wanaka and you will find an array of ravishing wineries to choose from for tastings and dining. Drive an additional 40 minutes or so and you will reach the little town of Lake Wanaka.

We had taken a helicopter tour over Lake Wanaka in 2004 for our honeymoon, and after weighing up that experience against our more recent tour of Milford Sound, we’ve concluded that the Wanaka trip was more to our liking. Our Wanaka helicopter guide had given us a scenic tour of landscapes utilized for scenes from LOTR, and landing on the hill overlooking Rivendale was overwhelmingly spectacular. This is my utmost recommendation to you.

Our 2004 trip

Well… Bob’s your uncle. That’s about all I have for you at the moment. Should you have any inquiries regarding your visit to North or South Island New Zealand, please let me know. Either myself or my NZ born husband will do our best to produce some recommendations for you!  Also, if you have a favorite place/thing to do in New Zealand, please do share. I’d love to hear your thoughts for our future visits.

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Hilton Waikiki Prince Kuhio – Oahu – ☆☆☆☆

November 24, 2010

Yet again we embarked on a journey to visit Honolulu with the sole purpose of inching ever closer to our goal of 100,000 miles. it’s always nice traveling with one small carry-on rolly bag as opposed to the usual four to six large Ogio stealth suitcases and/or boxes filled with motorcycle parts. Upon arrival into HNL, we took a taxi to our hotel – an expense of 40.00 USD per way (tip inclusive) was a far better option than taking that hindrance of a shuttle bus (Robert’s Hawaii). We would only be in town for approximately 20 hours, we wanted to make the most of our time.

We entered the lobby and were soon presented with a girly pink lit up bar area with Moroccan style cushion furnishings and lounge seats. This insta-Barbie illuminated visual protrusion was a bit blatant in its fluorescent glory, but at least it appeared to have been recently renovated and was designed contemporarily.

We were greeted by a friendly member of the front desk staff whom willingly upgraded us to an ocean view room upon our casual request. Although it was 1:30pm, and this upgraded room wouldn’t be available until 3pm, we decided to get some lunch to kill time. We were advised to visit the Prince Kuhio’s own Mac’s 24/7 restaurant, as staff members pridefully disclosed the fact that it had been featured on an episode of Man Vs. Food. We proceeded over to Mac’s to peruse the menu, but decided to head into town to find something with a slightly better ambiance. I was famished (after receiving nothing flavorful enough to consume on our flight), so after a short 5 minute walk to the main street, we sat down at a little sushi restaurant by the name of Furusato Sushi Bar. It turned out to be some fairly decent sushi, but nothing to be entranced about.

We then made our way back to the hotel and collected the keys to our 19th floor ocean view room. That scintillating bright pink color scheme adorning the lobby’s blaring Barbie bar area had carried their way into the elevator and down the hallways leading to our room number 1902. As I sauntered warily upon the leopard print/floral/pink and tan toned carpeting, I feared for what sort of decorative catastrophe I may have waiting for me within our assigned room. Although the fusia-hued door didn’t offer much consolation, it opened into a very sheik and well-appointed room that was without the slightest hint of neon pink to be found. A bright yellow palette had replaced the pink, but I was very appreciative of this yellowness after being berated with an arbitrarily sporadic palette of pink for the entirety of my journey from lobby to room 1902.

Really, I don’t mean to be so negative in regard to the color pink. It’s just that this excessively pink atmosphere was upon me and I’ve never been much of a Barbie theme fan… this place was really barbie-esque and brought me back to a bygone era. Basically from birth my mother had taught me to rebuke Barbie for her unrealistic standard of beauty. Mom was overly adamant about wanting me to have absolutely no expectations of turning out anatomically faultless or of reaching America’s level of indispensable physical perfection such as that which miss Barbie displayed. Perhaps this has something to do with my Barbie intolerance? I do remember receiving Barbie dolls as gifts at my 5th birthday party. I would wait until the celebratory festivities were over to decapitate and dismember them before housing them in old shoe boxes and shoving them under my bed. Very strange behavior for a child, but for some reason this place brought back those memories!

Now that I’ve got that out of my system, yes, indeed the hotel room was really nice. It was a little overly yellow, but that worked with the tropical Hawaiian theme they had going. Pink in the hallways, and yellow in the rooms, it wasn’t too bad at all. The fixtures and electronics were all modern and very clean. Honolulu is a very loud city at night, so even though this hotel wasn’t directly on Waikiki Beach, the traffic noises resumed throughout the entirety of the evening and early morning.

In addition, a nice, moderately sized gym is conveniently located on the second floor.

To compare the two hotels we’ve recently stayed in on Oahu, I would say that the Holiday Inn Waikiki Beachcomber Resort was situated in a better location and really was in the heart of shopping and dining central. The Hilton Prince Kuhio was slightly more of an upscale establishment, but it’s location was off the beaten path and required a small walk to reach the beach and shops.

Lastly, we had dinner at the Hula Grill over in the Outrigger Waikiki Hotel. We were seated at a table that had a spectacular view of the ocean. An absolutely perfect place to watch the sunset. They didn’t have as many vegetarian menu selections as their branch on Maui, but the food was still very good and the proportions were enormous!

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