Monday, January 24, 2022

Ohana means Family - ALOHA!

This vacation was so very special for me. First, I was able to take my mom to the beautiful island of O’ahu in Honolulu, Hawaii and my husband was also able to join us. In addition, my brother and sister-n-law flew in a day before us. Although all of our siblings were not able to make it, we made the best of this birthday trip for my mom (she's spoiled 😊). I visited Honolulu in April of 2021 and I knew they both needed to see and experience the most peaceful and beautiful island I’ve seen. Hawaii feels like an international vacation with American freedom. I am so glad it’s a US state and if I had the option I’d visit every year!


Our flights were booked in October of 2021 when Southwest advertised a sale on flights to Hawaii. The total price of the flight was $325. Fortunately, D’Andre and I had flight credits available to cover the cost of ours. So grateful! I love Southwest for so many reasons and they are my preferred travel airline.

Thanks to a friend of mine, I was encouraged to apply for a Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card and I did! This card allows me to earn points on purchases. This year I’ve been able to book 3 round trip flight off my points alone! Southwest currently has a Limited-time offer with any Southwest Rapid Rewards personal Credit Card. Earn up to 100,000 bonus points with any Southwest Rapid Rewards personal Credit Card. Business owners can earn up to 80,000 bonus points with Southwest Rapid Rewards business Credit Cards. I can be rewarded too, learn more:


We used Travelzoo to book our hotel stay at White SandsHotel, but Expedia is just as good and commonly used by me! Travelzoo won this race simply because you have to pay resort fees at hotels in Hawaii, similar to those you pay at hotels in Vegas. The Travelzoo deal we received waived all resort fees! You all know by now that I love a good sale! This was good!

White Sands Hotel offered great nightly rates, a vintage walk-up with the personality of urban island culture, two and a half blocks from Waikiki beach, and steps to world-class shopping, dining, and nightlife. This was a perfect location to access everything! We literally walked everywhere, even to dinner. Every room at the White Sands Hotel features a private balcony with pool or city views. All rooms are nonsmoking and feature a 37-inch flat-screen LCD TV, a microwave and a small refrigerator. It also has an outdoor pool surrounded by a garden and is home to the most beautiful restaurant with the cutest cocktails. Although our resort fees were waived, we were able to access it’s inclusions and make use of their free pool deck amenities: chaise lounge covers, sunscreen, aloe, portable power bank, GoPro camera, beach gear including beach chairs and boogie boards, Wi-Fi and more.

Things to Do:

1. Each day the Sunrise and Sunset times are shown on a board at the front desk. Check out beach chairs and towels and spend at least one morning watching the sunrise. It is so beautiful and you’re joined by many on the beach as well so please, don’t be afraid to go out early. The sunset is just as beautiful and a great way to conclude your last evening in the city before dinner.

2. The North Shore and more: to avoid a day long tour by a tour guide whose stops are only 15-20 minutes each, you can rent a car on Turo for a day and drive around yourselves but you definitely want to start early. Here are the stops I suggest:

  1. Diamond Head Halona Blowhole lookout/ Scenic point
  2. Laniakea Beach - Turtle Beach
  3. Waimea Bay Beach Park
  4. Macadamia Nut Farm
  5. Fumi’s shrimp truck
  6. The Dole Plantation (closed on Wednesday)
  7. Matsumoto Shaved Ice

This will give you a full ride around the island. Download the Route4Me app and you can put in each location and it will arrange your route to make the drive efficient. This will allow you the ability to enjoy each stop at your own pace. Most spots close between 5:00-6:30pm which is why I suggest getting out early. We left around 1pm and was just making it for everything so leaving at 11am should be perfect.

3. Waikiki Beach: It’s so beautiful as mentioned before and feels like walking the Magnificent Mile in Chicago. So many shops and great places to dine. My recommendations are below:

  1. Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck – featured on Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives”
  2. ShoreFyre - Saturday & Sunday brunch in the International Marketplace. $5 Mimosas starting at 10am (Get the 50/50 Loco brunch dish it’s so fye!)
  3. Roys Waikiki for Dinner

 You can walk to each of these from your hotel.

4. I’d also suggest going on Groupon to book a Luau. They are a beautiful experience, but the food isn’t the best (banquet food). I did it once and didn’t need to go again, but it is nice to experience and learn about the culture. 

5. SHOP!!! All the luxury stores are cheaper and taxes are 4%. On Sundays the luxury stores have 10% off!

This trip not only gave me clarity, but joy! My mom basked in the peace and joy of Hawaii and even after a lengthy flight there and back, she can’t wait to return! As for Dre, which is most surprising, he too, cannot wait to return! We had the time of our lives!