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  • Writer's picturethetravelingartemis

Hawaii...Here We Go Again!

Trip Occurred: February 2020 Blog Written: August 2020

This time our island of choice is Oahu!

One of the fun things about traveling with my husband, who hadn't been Hawaii until last year, is that we get to choose islands I've never been to. This makes it a new experience for both of us. Last year we choose the Big Island given my husband's interest in Captain Cook. This year we choose Oahu to see Pearl Harbor.

Now before I get into this trip, I want to mention something that has been on our minds a lot lately, COVID-19. This trip occurred in early February and while COVID-19 was around, it wasn't as widespread as it is now and, obviously, there weren't the same travel restrictions. I did notice more masks going through the airport, and my husband and I did Purell more than we normally would, but that was about it. As time has no concept anymore it honestly shocks me when realize this trip occurred just a few months ago.

Anyway, on with Hawaii!

We once again flew first class to Hawaii via Hawaiian Airlines, our now preferred airline for Hawaiian travel. We didn't get the pods like we did last time but still a good experience.

This trip we were able to stay at the Four Season Oahu for the entire week and man was that a special treat! Pretty much all 5-star hotels are insanely priced and the Four Seasons is no exception. In fact, they tend to be among the most insanely priced; however, what I've learned is that the extra cost you're paying for is service. With the exception of maybe Hotel 41 in London, the Four Seasons has most consistently provided exceptional service. They're not just nice rooms, they're full of competent, friendly workers.

The images above are of our room, our view, and some of the free goodies the Four Seasons gave us on arrival since it was my husband's birthday. Like I said, the service here is pretty much unmatched. The room was also super comfortable and spacious. Loved the shower.

That night we ate dinner at Noe, the Four Season's Italian eatery. I liked it but it wasn't my favorite. One thing interesting about our timing to this property is they were doing location auditions for American Idol next door at Disney's Aulani. This meant that also eating dinner at Noe that night was Luke Bryan. I will admit that I had no idea who the guy was (I looked him up) but he was obviously famous based on the way people reacted to him.

Day 2

So today was a pool day and the Super Bowl. I had already booked us a Cabana for the day and it came with a TV so we were able to watch the game even though neither of us really cared who was playing or who won.

As you can see, this was a seriously nice cabana. We ended up spending multiple days here it was just so comfortable and peaceful.

Much like the Four Seasons Hualalai, the staff every so often comes around and provides free little goodies like smoothies, melons, Mai Tais, etc. Like I said, comfortable and peaceful!

So totally, totally random BUT this is the pool table they had in the hotel lobby. It was too cool not to share.

Day 3

This was an early morning as we were heading to Pearl Harbor. Starting at 7:30, though they open at 7, you can get tickets to take the boat out to the USS Arizona Memorial. It starts with a 23-minute film and then a ride out to the Memorial. You get 15 minutes at the USS Arizona Memorial and then they take you back. You can pre-buy tickets for this. This is normally something I recommend (pre-buying tickets) but I did not do it this time because I believe the first opening time was 10AM. I knew by that time Pearl Harbor would be way more crowded than I would like so to avoid that getting up early won!

While obviously starting your day at the USS Arizona Memorial is not the happiest way to start a day, I'm really happy to have finally visited. It's important to remember our history and those who sacrificed to keep the rest of us safe.

At this point in the day my husband and I are pretty hungry as we'd skipped breakfast so we stopped at a little outdoor cafeteria thing to grab a quick bit. Full disclosure, I'm pretty sure I only got a water because they sold hot dogs and something else I don't eat. Anyway, I'm only bringing this up because they had numerous signs up like the one on the left. This sign blows my mind. What is happening with the quotes? Do they not really mean "please"? Are they not actually talking about the "birds"? What does this mean????

Next on our stop was the USS Bowfin Submarine.

My husband enjoyed a brief stint in the Navy working on subs so he was particularly interested in visiting the USS Bowfin and telling me stories about his time on a sub. It was very fun to experience this with him.

From there we caught the bus over to Ford Island to see the Battleship Missouri. To say this ship is large is to undersell it. It has a snack shop, a large cafeteria, class rooms, and dentist facilities among many other things. It's amazing how much they can get on one ship. And while the Captain's Quarters were rather spacious, you can see from the image above the beds for most of the crew on the ship were not quite so large.

The USS Missouri was the last battleship commissioned by the USA (interesting!) and it offers two daily tours. For those of you who are less into tours, you can explore the ship at your own speed if you would prefer, which is what we did.

Our final stop of the day was the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum. While I'm not that into planes, this may have been my favorite of the sites (with the exception of the USS Arizona Memorial). There is both the indoor more official museum site, if you will, and then there's a separate outdoor space with helicopters and another warehouse full of planes. I highly recommend you include this in your visit to Pearl Harbor. I just thought it was a very well done museum.

One final note on Pearl Harbor, the only way to access the Battleship Missouri or the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum is to catch a bus from the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center. Both of these sites are on Ford Island, which is an active military base and therefore requires military ID unless you take one of these buses. Oh! And it's not uncommon for them to run out of tickets to the USS Arizona Memorial so if you want to see this on your visit (and I recommend that you do), be sure to get their early in the day. One of my biggest tips on travel is to get up early and visit the sites you know will be crowded because no one wants to get up early. Just plan on napping later in the day. Trust me! Your sanity (and ability to see the things you actually want to see) will thank me later!

After spending about 4-5 hours at Pearl Harbor it was back to the hotel for room service lunch and a nap. For dinner that night we walked across the street to Monkeypod, a chain restaurant in Hawaii that has a fantastic reputation. I am not a Mai Tai girl but I was told theirs was to die for and no joke THEY ARE!!! I think all three times we went here I ended up having three of them! They are delicious! I highly recommend when you are in Hawaii to find yourself a Monkeypod and have yourself a Mai Tai.

Day 4

Not much to say about this day. After an early morning the day before we opted for another relaxing pool day. Same thing as I mentioned before. We got a cabana and spent the day with fabulous views and service and random free little treats coming around every few hours.

Day 5

Today was another early morning as we headed out to Kualoa Ranch on the other side of the island from where we were staying. We hit a bit of traffic so even leaving with ample time to arrive I feared we were going to be late. I think we arrived with 10-15 minutes before our tour left.

Kualoa Ranch, for those who are not familiar, is a particularly beautiful spot of land on Oahu that is often used in film and TV. We took the Premier Hollywood Tour, which is an almost 3-hour van tour. There is a shorter movie tour if you would prefer as well as a zipline tour, a bike tour, a jungle jeep expedition tour, a horseback riding tour, and an ATV tour. While I knew they did all this, I was still surprised when we arrived to see how many people were there. It was just a mess of people; however, once our tour started, we were just in our own smaller group and everything was fine.

The pictures above show both the sites where some TV and films were shot but also just how beautiful this property is. I honestly recommend it for the drive over and the views alone. Gorgeous! Simply gorgeous!

Now, just so you know what you're looking at - The first few pictures are of the Indominus Rex cage from Jurassic World. Next is a helicopter from Kong: Skull Island followed by an ancient fishpond used as the filming location of the cafe in 50 First Dates and the Mosasaurus feeding scene in Jurassic World. Next beautiful ocean views, my husband in a jeep from Jurassic World, a skull from Kong: Skull Island, props from the TV show Lost, and the Gyrosphere launch pad from Jurassic World (which is also the last picture in this group). Finally, you have my husband and me getting attacked by a dinosaur next to tree used in Jurassic Park, the spot of Hurley's golf course on Lost, and just a beautiful shot of the valley that National Geographic used in place of Easter Island.

Like I said, worth trip. It was fun and beautiful.

Day 6

Today was another pool day. If you can't see the pattern yet, I tend to have a low-key day after an early, long day. Great way not to overdue oneself. It helps create a nice balance of having a relaxing trip while also seeing things.

On this day we were supposed to get an Ocean Front Daybed but it had rained early in the morning and the Daybed was soaked (one of the guys who works at the pool picked up one of the throw pillows and a fountain of water came off it). We decided to just have our regular cabana and the Four Seasons was so nice they gave it to us at a discounted price and gave us a free bottle of champagne. Like I said, the best service!

We had dinner this night at Roy's, a Hawaiian institution. It was a lovely dinner and just down the street from our hotel.

Day 7

Today we explored the North Shore.

Our first stop of the day was at Laniakea Beach; sometimes called Turtle Beach given the common appearance of sea turtles. I highly recommend you begin this journey early in the morning to avoid parking problems. We were able to easily park across the street from the beach, strategically wait to cross the highway, and make our way down to the beach.

We weren't swimming or even lounging. Just looking at a beautiful beach and the ocean. We were able to see a few turtles in the surf.

Next stop was Pipeline, which is known for its legendary waves and surf competitions. While we didn't actually see anyone surf any waves this was a phenomenal beach. The waves make it particularly beautiful. If we return to Oahu, which I suspect one day we will, I think taking a picnic or something to this beach would be a perfect day.

After starring at the ocean for a bit, we got back in the car and headed towards our final stop of the drive, Romy's Kahuka Prawns and Shrimp. The North Shore is known for shrimp trucks and stands. We ordered butter garlic shrimp and edamame. It was freaking delicious and I say that as someone who does not like seafood. I would absolutely go here again!

Oh! Word of advice! This place, at least when we went, was CASH ONLY. We were barely able to order what we did because we don't normally have much cash on us.

Day 8

Today was my husband's actually birthday and our last full day of the trip.

We started the day at the pool, then went back upstairs and changed for brunch. Brunch at the Four Seasons occurs on the weekends at their restaurant called La Hiki. It showed up in my Google research as one of the top brunches on the island so we had to check it out.

This brunch has a cold seafood bar featuring shrimp cocktail, oysters, and snow crab legs, a poke and sashimi station, an Asian cold noodle bar, an omelet station, a grill station that grills assorted meats and lobster tails, a carving station with prime rib and crispy roasted pork belly, an Italian fresh pasta station, a Bloody Mary bar, traditional American breakfast items, fruit, salmon, salad, cheese and charcuterie, and assorted pastries and desserts.

To say we overate at this brunch is an understatement. I'd also do this again. Nice big brunch with a good variety of food for everyone!

After brunch it was back to the pool for a day of relaxing.

We ended our trip having a nice dinner at Mina's, also located at the Four Seasons. This restaurant has a spectacular view. I enjoyed the meal but it wasn't my favorite of the trip.

Day 9 - Home

And that was the end of our trip. Our plane was changed to one that has the pods so we flew home very comfortably and watched Parasite.

Another great trip to Hawaii is in the books!


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