Archives Hotels Travel

Two Luxury Hotels in Waikiki

The Royal Hawaiian
The Royal Hawaiian
The Halepuna Waikiki
The Halepuna Waikiki

I recently stayed at two luxury hotels in Waikiki a mere month apart: The Royal Hawaiian and the Halepuna Waikiki. The two hotels, though located mere blocks apart, couldn’t be more different. The Royal Hawaiian, one of the oldest hotels on Waikiki Beach, evokes the elegant past, while the Halepuna, one of the newest hotels in Waikiki, has a contemporary Zen-like vibe. Both provide respite from the bustling sidewalks of Waikiki even though they sit just steps away from the crowds.

I cannot choose between the two as my favorite (the Moana Surfrider also competes) because much depends on my mood. I love the Polynesian decadence of the Royal Hawaiian, but I also love the contemporary décor and serenity of the Halepuna Waikiki. And, of course, neither is perfect.

If You Want to Stay Where Famous People Have: The Royal Hawaiian

Best For Modern Appointments: Halepuna Waikiki

Most Comfortable Bed: The Royal Hawaiian

For a Couples Retreat: Halepuna Waikiki

Best for Families: The Royal Hawaiian

Easiest Beach Access: The Royal Hawaiian

Archives Hotels Life in the Time of Coronavirus Travel

Fairmont Orchid, Near the End of the Pandemic

Fairmont Orchid, Near the End of the Pandemic

After a long year, my husband and I, both vaccinated, visited the Fairmont Orchid near the end of the pandemic. Of course, the spread of the coronavirus has necessarily changed how things work. Still, all is not lost if you choose to visit paradise.

Out of all the states, Hawaii strikes me as most like a foreign country – and it often acts like one. For most of the pandemic and to a lesser degree now, each island has its own set of entry requirements. Study them well because you will be tested. Literally.

Best Room With a View: Oceanfront

Room With Best Value: Garden View

Most Memorable Dining: Brown’s Beach House

Biggest Pandemic Change: Limited Dining Options

Archives Travel

Best Things to Do on the Big Island (Hawaii)

Best Things to Do on the Big Island:  Sunset on the Kohala Coast
Best Things to Do on the Big Island: Sunset on the Kohala Coast

The best things to do on the Big Island of Hawaii depend, in part, on where you stay and how much driving you’re willing to do. Yes, you can lie on the beach or by the pool all day and do absolutely nothing. Or you can do some low-key sightseeing or high-intensity outdoor activities. Whatever your interests, you’ll find something to do. Or to not do.