HAWAII Travel Guide
We try not to judge or debate legalities when it comes to weed use in the celebrity world, but damn if it hasn't seemed like a trend lately. You've got Justin Bieber photo'd puffing (but seemingly not passin'--duuuude), Rihanna being unapologetically blunted in various Instagram and Twitter feeds, and then there's Lil Wayne who doesn't GAF about anything except "Good Kush and alcohol". And these are just the new jacks. We won't even talk about Snoop
Dogg Lion, Willie Nelson, and other celebs who celebrate Mary Jane like a Rick James track.
But what about this gal Jennifer Lawrence? The 22-year old gal who's been the darling of the screen lately, and especially the film awards circuit? She recently won an Academy Award, took a spill at the ceremony, and then days later, the picture above comes out of her drinking red wine and smoking a "hand-rolled cigarette" while relaxin' at a Hawaii hotel.
Naturally, everyone went batshit crazy with this info. HC? We just wanna know the hotel where this downtime took place. We stay in our proper gossipy lane! So, we got a bit nosey (that we don't apologize for) and went on the hunt for the location.
It's getting more and more expensive to visit Oahu, and, for once, it has nothing to do with the cost of coladas or airline tickets. This time, it's actually the hotel industry that's pumping up prices by turning budget-friendly accommodations into luxury lodging. Grr.
Now, don't think this is malicious -- there's a lot of good work being done -- but the fact is that budget-friendly hotels are disappearing. Smith Travel Research reports the number of budget rooms on Oahu and Waikiki has decreased by 10% over the last ten years.
In 2006, Oahu had 33 budget properties but by the end of last year there were only 27 (less than 700 budget hotel rooms in total). Because of the high cost associated with building new on Waikiki, developers are deciding to renovate older buildings, turning them into newer, nicer, and pricier properties.
Despite that trend, you can still find a cheap hotel on Oahu. For our purposes, we consider anything under $200/night in Waikiki during high season a "budget property." Here's a sampling of some of the options we found, based on guest feedback as well as our own. Keep in mind it's currently the high season in Hawaii, meaning you can get even lower prices (and less crowds) if you visit in the late spring or summer...
Name This Caption / Hotel Snapshots / Have You Ever Done This / Hawaii Hotels / Hilton Hotels / → All Tags
It's Monday and just the right hour to take a minute and play Witty Wordsmith with us, whydontcha? That's right, it's time to Name.This.Caption!
Check this photo taken during a visit to the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Waikiki. There was something going down as a Japanese film crew commanded part of the beach to capture a pop-star's video.
But this couple sunning on the beach here? Didn't raise an eyebrow. Didn't move their backpack not one bit to see what all the fuss was about.
We were torn between watching them bake (and ignore the boom) and figuring out who was was being filmed. We're so nosy, we admit it!
So do we name this photo "Jaded in Oahu"? "The Nap Trumps All"? Or can you do better?
Help us out! Have a humorous hunch about what's happening here? Let us know in comments below!
London Olympics 2012 seems so last year but Kerri Walsh brought back the buzz in Waikiki. Along with US Olympian Kevin Wong, she hosted the Hilton HHonors Beach Volleyball Challenge at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort & Spa. The free event pitted Team USA vs Team China, with familiar Olympic-volleyball-medal-winning faces like Todd Rogers, Phil Dalhausser, Jen Kessy and April Ross.
While it was super hot with the Hawaiian sun glinting off plenty of glistening eight-packs (and those wrap-around, polarized sunglasses athletes seem to love), Kerri signed autographs, waved Miss America-style to hundreds of fans and got behind the camera at a VIP tent with that big personality she's known for. You would think with all the gold medals the 6'3" preggers diva has racked up she would bounce quickly out of the 2,800-room Hilton. But, it turns out Kerri Walsh loved it! "I've never stayed at this property before and it's so beautiful. I love the village aspect of it: it's kind of a one-stop shop. It's basically my dream come true that Hilton would do something with beach volleyball."
Due to her busy schedule, short three-day stay and the fact she's in-the-family way, Walsh didn't get to try out many of the hotel's amenities. But she told us she'd eaten several times at the hotel's signature Tropic restaurant and was weak for thier coconut-crusted shrimp, ya'll!
A Hawaiian vacation is notoriously expensive, especially at the tony resort town of Wailea in Maui. So when we heard about all the free amenities at the five-star Four Seasons Maui, we were impressed, but skeptical. Had they just built the cost of all their freebies into the hotel rate? And how do other Maui hotels rate in comparison? We broke down the amenities to analyze the savings, if any.
First, the Four Seasons Resort, which costs around $465 per night, doesn't charge a resort fee and tells their guests to “put away your wallet” and enjoy their extensive complimentary services and amenities.
Here's a sample of what they're giving away gratis:
· Fitness classes including Pilates mat class and yoga
·Internet access throughout resort
·Kids for All Seasons Club (5-12 years) 9am - 5 pm daily (nominal fee charged for lunch)
·One-hour use of snorkel equipment
·Cabanas at Fountain Pool and Waterfall Pool (limited inventory)
·Introductory scuba clinic twice daily
Fairmont Hotels / Hotel Restaurants / Luxury Hotels / Maui Hotels / Revamped Restaurants / Ko / → All Tags
With most of the culinary attention in the Hawaiian islands drawn to "Hawaii Regional Cuisine," we were fascinated to learn that Kō, the newly renovated signature restaurant at The Fairmont Kea Lani derives its flavorful dishes from humble beginnings--the food of the various ethnic groups that came to work Maui's sugar cane plantations.
The Hawaiian word Kō means sugar cane, a large un-branched grass brought to the islands by the early Polynesian settlers, later hybridized to increase variety and yield and forming at one time Hawaii's largest industry. Native Hawaiians for the most part did not work the cane fields. So the Portuguese were sent from the Azores, the Chinese, Japanese and later Filipinos, Puerto Ricans and Koreans came.
Everyday in the midday sun they'd break for lunch, sometimes sharing a dish and teaching the other nationality about a new vegetable or method of preparation.
Even the poshest of properties need to refresh every so often which is why it didn't surprise us that one of the most genteel dames of Hawaiian hospitality in Waikiki, The Halekulani, has had a facelift.
For the past year, the hotel has carefully been refreshing all of its guestrooms and suites as well as refining the guest experiences, services and amenities. They've also added a new swanky French bar, L’Aperitif at La Mer, and a newly-styled Afternoon Tea experience.
Although most of the existing Halekulani building dates back to 1984, it has always been a place of relaxation and a fond aloha most welcoming to travelers. Allow us to divulge a little of its history:
Nothing says "I heart you boo" more than a romantic getaway, but sexytime isn't just for Valentine's Day. So if you don't have time to catch one of the V-Day packages we're profiling this week, we're also presenting you with some year-round sexy options. Whether you're into raunch, roses, or Rosé, every day this week, we’ll pick a different property that we think will knock your socks—and who knows what else—off.
The Hotel Hana-Maui is the prize after a long, sometimes hair-raising two-hour drive along the twisty, turny Hana Highway to the island’s east coast. Many visitors arrive shaken from the one-lane bridges and narrow roads, but nearly all agree it's worth the temporary trauma. HHM is the type of place two overworked Type A’s could learn to love with its radio, TV, and clock-free rooms (though it might take a minute to adjust to the super-laid back scene and turn off the BlackBerry).
The hotel, on a bluff fronting the Pacific, is considered a Hawaiian classic since its 1946 beginnings. It has survived near-ruin from previous neglect, and picked up again after a much-needed renovation. Now the apartment-sized plantation-style cottages and suites have bamboo flooring, patios (some with their own hot tub!), and a traditional island kit of spirit-warding plants,kapa cloth-draped teak furniture and fresh baked banana bread to make you feel at home.