My First Hawaiian Experience

by Emma Hackwood
View through the trees of Hawaii

Does the “Aloha State” live up to its welcoming nickname? We sent our Flightie, Adelle McIntyre to the beautiful island of Hawaii and she gave us a first-hand look at this Polynesian paradise:

I recently travelled with WestJet Vacations to the beautiful state of Hawaii and did not know what to expect. Almost immediately, I had noticed that it was unlike trips I had taken to the Caribbean.  I was amazed at all the activity, shopping, and restaurant choices in its capital, Honolulu.

For the majority of my trip, I had roomed at the Outrigger Waikiki. Located on the beach, this fantastic 4-Star Hotel is right in the middle of all of the hustle and bustle. Duke’s Canoe Club, located in the lobby of the hotel, is my recommendation for the best daytime bar in Waikiki.  The cocktails are amazing and the Ahi Tuna Tacos are to die for!  If you have a sweet tooth, try their ‘Hula Pie’.  It’s ice-creamy and delicious!

If you’re looking for a more modern experience, I’d recommend The Modern Hotel in Honolulu.  It’s hip, chic, and overtly cool.  There’s a nightclub called Addiction in the lobby that’s a very popular place for locals as well as celebrities.  As a hotel guest, you are eligible for VIP entry into the club. The hotel also offers an amazing pool deck area and outdoor bar with great views of the fireworks at night.

There are a couple of 5 star hotels that are totally worth the luxury they offer.  The Moana Surfrider, (a Westin Resort and Spa), and The Royal Hawaiian (aka, The Pink Lady) are two of the most outstanding properties in Waikiki.  The Moana Surfrider is the only hotel in Waikiki with it’s own beach area (all other beaches are public) and therefore allows alcohol service on the sand. The historic Royal Hawaiian has been recently renovated and has both classic and modern accommodations. Check out the Tower Wing for the rooms that were renovated this past year.

If you are a traveller on a budget,  there are many great 3 and 3.5 star options that are suitable for your budget. The Ohana Properties are not only affordable and clean, but they also give you complimentary access to the Pink Line shuttle – a street car service that runs the length of Waikiki Beach.  The Aston properties are also a fantastic option for people looking to hold on to a little spending money.

When travelling, I always look for some sort of cultural souvenir to take home. There’s no better place in Honolulu than The International Marketplace.  It’s full of shops and kiosks with everything from shell and silver jewelry to hand-carved wooden statues to full-sized surf boards.  

Just remember to look around before you buy as all prices are negotiable. Definitely put those bartering techniques to good use!

As for the cultural experience, just being around the friendly Hawaiian locals was an experience in itself! I would recommend checking out the Polynesian Cultural Centre as well as taking the stroll up Diamond Head in the morning to watch the sunrise.


It only takes about 45 minutes to hike up, but the experience is not one to go unnoticed.

The food is a wonderful mixture of classic Hawaiian, Japanese and Plantation style cuisine. The fish, pineapple, and macadamia nuts are a worth the trip alone; don’t forget to pick up some Coconut M & M’s as souvenirs!

I have definitely been enlightened to what Hawaii is all about.  I cannot wait to get back there and do some more exploring; especially on the other islands!

Aloha, and Mahalo!

Adelle McIntyre is an International Travel Consultant at our Market Mall location in Calgary, Alberta and can be reached by E-mail or calling 1-866-295-4405.

Hawaii is highlighted on the Flight Centre map.

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