Post by: Joseph Mains
January 30, 2020
We felt like the cliche was coming true: we were missing the forest for the trees. Schedules and routines can even get in the way of paradise. With so much to do in Waikiki Beach alone, we decide to spend a weekend “away” at ‘Alohilani and take in Waikiki from a fresh vantage.
After dropping the little ones off at ‘Alohilani Monkeypod Kids’ Club for the morning, we stroll down Kalakaua Avenue for stand-up paddle boarding lessons with Waikiki Beachboy. Our lesson begins on the shore, where we pick up a few tricks and tips for standing up on our boards once out on the water. After a quick paddling demonstration, we head out to hit the waves. When the instructor had told us Waikiki Beach was the best place to learn paddle surfing thanks to the shoreline’s gentle, rolling waves, we’d had high hopes for our abilities. But almost immediately, our
visions of gracefully paddling across the water give way to the realities of wobbly balancing acts and awkward belly flops. The laughter we share— along with the cheers that follow our eventual successes— sets a positive and upbeat tone to our day.
We return to ‘Alohilani and pick up the kids for an early lunch at Swell Bar. Gathered around the edge of the saltwater infinity pool, we relax against our loungers as the kids share tales from their Kids’ Club morning. Silence falls as our plates arrive, the kids digging into their grilled cheese, the adults into ahi nachos and fresh-caught fish tacos.
Then it’s back to the beach for a few hours. We lay out our towels on the golden sand of Kuhio Beach, where a long pier protects the shore from the waves, creating a pool of clear, glassy water. The small cove quickly becomes a family favorite: our five-year old finds it the perfect location to practice the strokes she’d learned in swim class, and our 10 and 14-year-olds love paddling around in one of the many outrigger canoes set up along the beach.
As the afternoon wanes, we walk north toward the Kuhio Beach Hula Show, a free performance every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 6 to 7pm. The show opens with the lighting of tiki torches, and a performer blowing a conch shell in farewell to the setting sun. As the hula dancing begins, we all sit transfixed as we take in a piece of traditional Hawaiian culture.
The next morning, we head downstairs to ‘Alohilani’s Lychee restaurant for banana bread French toast and chia bowls before departing for the Honolulu Zoo. We follow the kids as they race from one exhibit to the next. All of us take special interest in the species native to Hawaii, like the Pueo and Nene birds. The lush tropical landscape of plants and flowers offers a glimpse of Hawaii’s indigenous flora.
On our way back to ‘Alohilani, we stop at the best malasada spot on Oahu Leonard’s Bakery. We’re always drawn back to the bakery’s famous Malasada Puffs. The perfectly fried dough is crisp and still warm when we bite into it, its pillowy soft interior filled with delicious chocolate and creme filling. Soon, sugar-coated fingers and ear-to-ear smiles on our childrens’ faces are all that’s left of our favorite Hawaiian treat.
After a late lunch in front of ‘Alohilani at Momosan Waikiki, we end our day with a long stroll through the shops on Kalakaua Avenue. As we stock up on Hawaiian specialties like macadamia nuts and Kona coffee for our friends back on the mainland, we know we’ll be searching for Honolulu hotel deals as soon as we get home so we can return to Waikiki.