We woke up on Memorial Day, and headed down to breakfast on the third floor Executive Lounge to have breakfast. We just missed the end of the Memorial Day parade, which the end was just passing by as we arrived. They had blocked off Kalakaua Avenue for the parade, but I thought it went by around 10, and actually ended at our hotel around 9:30am.
We had nothing special planned other than getting some exercise strolling around Waikiki, but alas it turned out to be an overcast and rainy day. We were going to walk the mile and a half, but ended up taking the number 8 public bus down to the the Ala Mona Mall due to the rain. It was actually clean and comfortable, and for $2.50 each way, it sure beat walking a couple miles in the rain.
The Ala Mona Mall is an oddity of sorts for a mall. It’s an open-air mall with beautiful landscaping, and has a variety of shopping from low to outrageous price levels. Normally, you have a mall at one extreme or the other; i.e. high priced upscale, middle America, outlet, or lower end strip mall. This mall seemed to have a bit of it all, although not on the low end. Ala Mona Mall has both ultra upscale shops such as Gucci, Cartier, Neiman Markus on the main two levels, while on the top level and ground level, there are more ‘regular’ type stores such as the Gap, Bath and Body Works, ABC stores etc.
We had lunch in then nearby food court which was huge, and had an amazing collection of eateries to choose from. I had a heavy lunch of prime rib and veggies, while Steve (DOS) was still full from his big breakfast, and just had a bottled water. There were lots of tourists, but also locals including construction and other workers as well.
While we didn’t buy anything at the mall here, it was fun walking around and peering in the overpriced stores. It got to be a game for us to see how many high-falutin pocketbook-type stores we spotted – they were everywhere! There were large stores with hardly anything displayed in them, but what seemed like a dozen or so pocketbooks, and maybe a half a dozen garments hanging in the store, and of course the ritzy high-heel shoes. I told DOS the less that’s in the store, the more it costs – shoppers are literally paying for the empty spaces in these upscale stores with the overpriced merchandise. The rent must be astronomical, and I’m sure the prices are to match.
To each his own, but we didn’t see many shoppers in these stores, but did see lots of Japanese shoppers stocking up on purses at a bargain purse store on the basement level!
Of course no stop at one of these ‘chic’ malls would be complete without a stroll thru Neiman Markus (i.e. Needless Markup). I guess if you have money to burn on overpriced junk it’s a fine store, but honestly I wouldn’t wear much of anything I saw if you gave it to me, while the house furnishings didn’t have much appeal either. Oh well, something for everyone I guess, and we saved thousands by not buying anything! But we did get a free ride on the escalator with the fancy ‘snow flake or dove’ murals hanging from the ceiling!
By the time we left the mall, the weather had cleared up considerably, so we walked back to the hotel, taking our time along the way. We walked by the marina with lots of boats and yachts anchored there, and wondered if this was where the opening scene of Gillian’s Island was filmed. You could almost hear the song; ‘Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale . . .’.
Overlooking the marina was the enormous Ilikai Hotel, and we took a walk thru the property. DOS said the llikai Hotell had been around for years, and remembered seeing this featured recently on reruns of ‘Let’s Make a Deal’ (on the Game Show network), where it was often given away as a prize trip to Hawaii years ago; especially for honeymooners i.e. in the 60s and 70s. The hotel features rooms and suites offering nice views of the marina, city, and nearby beach (at the Hilton). There is a rooftop restaurant named Sarentos we wanted to check out, but the exterior express elevator to the top was out of order. We ventured in the hotel, and took a guest elevator up, and then transferred to another elevator, and took a peak in the restaurant. It seemed nice enough, but honestly didn’t offer the best views from many of the seats the way the seating was laid out, unless you were in a large group. As we wanted a table for two, we didn’t see any with good views here.
We already had reservations for tomorrow night (our last night in Hawaii) at a revolving restaurant near our hotel, but as always, we look for alternatives. We decided to keep our existing reservation at the Top of Waikiki for tomorrow after comparing the two restaurants.
After leaving the Ilikai we continued our walk back to the Hyatt Hotel, and again stopped by the Hilton Hawaiian Village for some photos since the weather was nice. As I said in a previous post, the Hilton Hawaiian Village has probably the best stretch of beach in Waikiki, and although a huge resort complex, it is spread out over several acres and doesn’t feel crowded at the beach.
I stayed here several years ago, and don’t remember the huge beach to the rear of the property that was relatively empty – quite a change from the midtown Wailiki beaches. If you are a beach-lover, the Hilton Hawaiian Village would be a top choice to stay, while if you like being in the heart of Waikiki with it’s many hotels, restaurants, shops, oceanfront bars etc, the area where we stayed at the Hyatt is a great choice. It’s a comfortable walking distance to either, but the Hilton Hawaiian Village is a bit more further down the Waikiki stretch than the other hotels, and is a self contained resort with many dining, shopping, and drinking venues.
As we headed back to the Hyatt Waikiki, we stopped in briefly at the Hard Rock Cafe to look at T-shirts. DOS had already gotten me one from there on his last trip, and I really didn’t see any others there I liked; the selection was not very extensive or exciting.
I did want a Harley Davidson T-shirt, so we went to the Harley store in the nearby Royal Hawaiian shopping center. I actually got three different shirts, including this one showing the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor. I put that shirt on as we left, and wore it the rest of the day in honor of Memorial Day.
For dinner we once again at an Outrigger Resort, this time at the Outrigger Reef hotel. Although we didn’t plan on this ahead of time, we so much enjoyed the Outrigger Hotel’s restaurants (in quality, service and value), we had dinner at a different Outrigger restaurant each night, now 3 for 3, with each restaurant offering a different but unique and memorable dining experience. Tonight we ate a different Outrigger, but it too was walking distance from the Hyatt where we were staying. As I said in the last post as well as this, we were very impressed with the quality of food, ocean front location, and very reasonable prices at this chain, which has serviced Hawaii for decades.
After dinner, we headed back to the hotel, on this our last full night in Waikiki.
Aloha and Good Night!