Hawaii help!

Not for a honeymoon but just considering a future anniversary trip to Hawaii.

What are some good resorts? Do any include food and alcohol? How much should I expect to spend on a 5 to 7 day trip?

Re: Hawaii help!

  • I really liked both the big island (Hawaii) and Kauai. The others are bit resort-y for me, personally, but my vacation style is exploring and hiking and adventuring.

    We stayed in the Waimea Plantation Cottages when we were in Kauai and really liked it. Very simple, but private, full kitchens to do your own meals and right on the beach with amazing views. Extremely reasonable prices too. It was a bit far from the things we wanted to do though - we ended up driving a lot. If you go to Kauai though, you HAVE to go to to JoJo's Shave Ice. You can get macadamia nut ice cream with coconut shave ice on top - it's what dreams are made of.

    We stayed in a couple different places on the Big Island - the Waikoloa Marriott on the beach and then somewhere inland, I can't remember where, but it was bed and breakfasty and way off the beaten path. Both places were really wonderful.

  • WinstonsGirlWinstonsGirl The Cold North member
    Ninth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    There aren't a as many resorts in Hawaii, at least not like in Mexico and such.  There are no All-Inclusives in Hawaii.   We usually get a condo, to be honest, and hit up Costco/Walmart/grocery store to grab food.  Cheaper to do breakfast and lunch that way, and we usually go out for dinner then.  Hawaii is always more expensive than Mexico, I've found, at least from Canada.  But so worth it.  There is something about Hawaii that you just can't find elsewhere and we love it 

    We've stayed in Oahu, Maui and the Big Island, and we've visited Lanai.  The resorts on Lanai are super expensive.  What are you looking for?  Each island is different and will offer a different thing.  

    Oahu - big city feel, department stores, shopping, beaches.  It's busy

    Big Island - more isolated, but we found more to do in terms of hiking, volcanos, waterfalls.  We spent time at the beach, time sightseeing, hiking, etc.

    Maui - Considered by many to typical Hawaii.  It's quieter than Oahu, there's a tourist town in Lahaina.  We found Kihei windy, especially in the afternoon with the trade winds.  Feels more retro and not as city like

    Kauai - Very quiet, green.  Lots of hiking, river kayaking, whale watching and such.  No major towns, but there is a Costco

    Lanai - Very small.  Only 2 resorts (both 4 Seasons).  Very quiet and lots of cool back road stuff to see, but takes forever to get there cos it's all dirt road/sand to get there.  Most people stick to the resorts
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  • CMGragainCMGragain member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    edited August 2017
    You need to give us a time of year.  Prices do vary.  There are no all-inclusive resorts in the USA because of liquor laws.
    Most people I know get a condo rental for a week and get their own food.  Hawaii is a popular vacation destination from the west coast.  If you want to see volcanoes, they are only on the big island.  Maui is the most popular resort island.  There are no private beaches in Hawaii by law.  All beaches are open to the public.
    I think Oahu is way over developed, and I can't wait to get out of Honolulu once I have toured the museums.  Just another big city.
  • Time of year would be summer or fall. I could see us doing a hike but not every day. We don't want to be exhausted. Like a beach and drinks; good dinners. Want to see Pearl Harbor memorial. 
  • SP29SP29 member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    edited August 2017
    We just came back from Maui- 8 days. Went for a friend's wedding. We really enjoyed it, particularly DH.

    The memorial is in Honolulu, which is on Oahu. I've not been, but I'm told (the bride is from Honolulu) that it's a very large city, very busy, shopping, etc.

    The other islands, much less commercial. I would love to go to Kaui, but we stuck to one island. From what I'm told, travel between the islands is easy and you can get a flight for around $100.

    So anyway, Maui. In the centre of the island is Kahului, which is the largest "city" on Maui (where the airport is) and it is quite developed, but still, the largest/tallest building is the Target box store!

    The west coast of Maui is more touristy, but Lahaina is the "Royal City", where the royals lived initially before moving to Honolulu, so there is some history there. West coast is more touristy because it's on the leeward side of the mountains (dormant volcanoes), so less rain, more beaches (that are calmer). East side of Maui is the winward side, where the rain forest is, the ocean is a bit more turbulent on that side, and there are not as many places to stay, although you can find them. The old town of Hana is on that side, and what many consider to be "true" Hawaii. Many who drive the road to Hana will make an overnight trip to stay at a BB&B, as the drive is long and there are lots of natural sites to see in that area. You can also stay in Kihei, beaches and condos there as well. Wherever you go though, Hawaii is expensive. I would recommend going with a VRBO, then you can make some of your meals at your rental place.

    We stayed just outside of Lahaina in Kahana (west Maui). Found a VRBO condo. The condo was right on the ocean with a small beach, as well as having a swimming pool. When we chose to go swimming/snorkling we drove 10 mins up the road to go to a larger beach area (you can find beaches everywhere, some more recommended then others, depending on what you want- surfing, paddle boarding, snorkling, swimming, etc). We had a small kitchen in our condo, so we bought some groceries to cover a few meals.

    We of course wanted to try some restaurants so we did that too- we were quite happy with what we found. Best sushi I have ever eaten- San Sei in Kapalua. Holy expensive- but like I said, best sushi I've ever eaten. There is also a brewery on the island that also has a restaurant where you can order flights. Since you are potentially going for an anniversary, the Kapalua area is quite posh and there are some nice restaurants there (Merriman's is where the wedding was held). In Kahalui we went to Poi by the Pound, which is traditional Hawaiian food. It was more reasonably priced and you got a lot of food. I also tried Poke there! Definitely get fish tacos. Oh!!! Leoda's Kitchen and Pie- AMAZING pie!!! (I ate a lot of fish there, but there is also beef, pork and chicken as well).

    DH and I like to DO things on vacation, and we did. Everyday we did something different. Whether just going on a drive to find some of the natural wonders of Hawaii (there is a blowhole if you continue to drive north on the west side of Maui), going to the Hailiimaile distillery (there are a couple distilleries and one winery), bought Maui coffee direct from the grower, we drove the road to Hana (lots of waterfalls, trails and beaches you can stop at and hike to) and hiked up the Pipiwaii trail in the national park in that area, and did a tour to the Haleakala crater to watch the sun rise and then bike down. Oh, another recommended trip to do is snorkling in the Molokini crater. We did not go, but most of the other wedding guests did and raved about it.

    Friends of ours who also went to the wedding said they were more interested in relaxing and enjoying the beach, so they found it an expensive trip to sit on a beach (versus going to Cuba, the Dominican, etc). But for DH and I it was a great trip because we tried to do/see as much as Maui had to offer, and there really are things you can only see in Hawaii. Recommend!

    P.S. Our VRBO condo (which was a bachelor studio style) was $125 per night, and most places went up from there. Car rental was ~$300 USD for the 8 days (but you may want to splurge and get a convertible). Airfare will vary, food will vary, excursions/gas will vary depending on how much you want to do, but you're looking at least $3K.
  • OliveOilsMomOliveOilsMom South Jersey member
    Seventh Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers

    I've been to all 4 major islands. Winston's description of them is pretty spot on.  And having been to Pearl Harbor, I will probably never go back to that island for more than 1 night - when DD is old enough to understand the history behind Pearl Harbor.  Oahu is very overdeveloped.  Consider flying into Oahu for 1 night, go to Pearl Harbor the first morning (you can reserve your spots online - it is free for Pearl Harbor, but you must pay to visit the Missouri.  It's optional, but worth it.)  Then fly out to the island you want to stay at for the remainder of your trip.

    My advice is to get a Hawaii tour book and read about the different islands and find the right one(s) for you.  If you are only going to be there for 5 or 6 nights, I recommend sticking to 1 island or do the first night in Oahu and then the rest of your stay at another island.  Any island you stay at will have a good mix of hiking and beaches to explore.  You will also need a car, as their public transportation leaves a lot to be desired.

    H and I are looking to go back in 2019 before DD turns 2.  We will do a week on the BI and a week in Kauai.   And the BI is BIG!  Kailua-Kona and Hilo are the two major towns there and it is a 3 hour drive from each to get to the volcano.  It also get pitch black on the drives back.  There is a hotel at the National Park.  Our plan for the week will be to fly in and spend a few nights in Hilo.  Go to the Volcano for 1 night (to see the Caldera glow - we missed it the first time!) and then the remainder of our week will be in Kailua-Kona.

    Kauai is our favorite island.  I almost couldn't get H to come back from our honeymoon there!  It is also the most expensive island.  When we have gone, we always pack enough sunscreen for our entire trip.  We also pack a bag of cereal and some rice for meals.

    Once you find your island, come back and let us know!  I'm sure we can help you plan out the rest of your week!

  • So much great information. Thanks!
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