It was the 5th of December as the plane lifted off into a rainy predawn sky en route to a sunny and balmy Hawaiian landscape of mesmerizing blues. I Pulled into the Kaimana Beach Hotel (New Otani Group) in time for a sunset dinner at their renown Hau Tree Lanai.
I won’t tell you how many years we have been staying at this boutique hotel, into the decades, and we remain steadfast fans. It is a smaller property than most and its location cannot be beat: at the base of Diamond Head, on Sans Souci Beach, facing Waikiki, on Kapiolani Park and near the Aquarium and Zoo. The water views (below) are taken from room 617’s wrap around lanai: facing makai (ocean) and Waikiki and looking to the right Mauka (mountains). The fountain is merely steps away along Kalakaua Avenue which wends up Diamond Head Road. Special shout out to our many friends at the Hau Tree Lanai (you know who you are Jay, Hedy, Donna, Andy etc.) where the dining experience is enhanced by spectacular beach views and sunsets. Not to be missed, Miyako restaurant serves authentic Japanese fare and Gerry makes perfect a Mai Tai at the Sunset Lanai Lounge. Also on location is a small spa, Juju’be, located on the second floor: acupuncture and adjustments with Dr Kamei were phenomenal, Cleopatra wrap, Suina foot treatment and massages with Yuko were exactly what I needed … a must if you have time
Daily exercise: a minimum 6mile/10k walk but my favorite was early on the 75th Anniversary of the day that has “lived in infamy”: December 7, 1941 the attack on Pearl Harbor. Digressing for a minute, one of the passengers on my inbound flight was one of the last surviving men from the USS Arizona: he received a sustained ovation of clapping and cheers! Anyway, the walk up Diamond Head Road and around to the “tunnel” into the crater and hike to the rim summit was (over 9 miles round trip) totally awesome and exhilarating!!! BTW, you can drive to and park in the crater or take the trolley from town.
Imagine the anxiety of the servicemen who were assigned to the bunker: not knowing the fate of their Pear Harbor brothers and scanning the horizon expecting a full scale attack.
This day, however, was punctuated by an entire high school band from Morgantown West Virginia trekking up the crater. They were in Hawaii to perform during one of the commemorative events and their red tee shirts formed a ribbon along the paths leading up the summit.
Generally, today’s visitors are carefree, joyful and spellbound by the views …
I often finished my daily walk with a quick swim followed by a leisurely plate lunch at The Barefoot Cafe: there’s nothing like fresh mahi, 2 scoops of rice and salad i.e. plate lunch while enjoying the views …
Throughout the week the city was full of excitement. Prep was in full swing in anticipation of the holidays and the Honolulu Marathon.
Many folks have club memberships and it is worth checking whether yours may have reciprocal agreements with those in Hawaii. Ours did and we enjoyed another facet of travel. Shout out to the Outrigger Canoe Club and their exceptional hospitality!
One of my walks was into town to the Runners Expo held at the Neal S. Blaisdell Convention Center to pick up my bib for the 10k & Honolulu Marathon, December 11th. What a riot – great energy!
A few details: start time 5AM with convenience shuttles running continuously from 2-4AM. The race, 30,000 strong, is launched with full fireworks! Average finish time for a marathon is 6 ish hours and in Honolulu they do not have a time limit: 40% were first time marathoners. I swear there were folks limping across at 9 PM a full 17 hours after the 5AM start! They do not hold the half marathon (Hapalua) concurrently (that one takes place April 9, 2017). Next year’s full marathon is December 10, 2017
The course is one of the most beautiful: from Ala Moana heading Eva (west) past Aloha Tower, up through Chinatown, eastward along King past Iolani Palace, King Kamehameha statue, city Christmas lights displays,
down Kalakaua through Waikiki to zoo at Kapiolani Regional Park (where the 10k ends), then up Diamond Head Road to Kalanianole Highway out to Hawaii Kai at the base of Koko Head crater then back along the same route to the finish at Kapiolani Park where the Runners Village tents were overflowing with food, drink and services read medical and massage, for finishers.
Mr Lawrence Cherono of Kenya set a new course record of a blistering 2:09:39!
Anyway, that is how we ended our Hawaiian adventure this year … and so I leave you with Hawaiian holiday wishes of Aloha …
May all your travels be adventures and may you welcome 2017 Happy, Healthy, and with excitement at the prospect of a brand spanking new year!
… It is also wonderful to be home for the holidays with family, good friends and familiar places …
The New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel http://www.kaimana.com
The Barefoot Beach Cafe barefootbeachcafe.com/
The Honolulu Marathon www.honolulumarathon.org/
The Hapalua Marathon thehapalua.com/
The Outrigger Canoe Club https://www.outriggercanoeclub.com/