With all the tropical juices, infused vodkas and exotic garnishes inundating the Hawaii drink scene, some vacationers might be asking, “Where’s a good place to get a glass of wine around here?” Drinks with dinner don’t always have to fall under the hard liquor category. In fact, many more people are starting to enjoy a glass of wine paired with their meal to bring out the flavors, and a lot of restaurants even have this as a menu option for guests.
Thinking about ordering the grilled mahi mahi? Try pairing it with a glass of buttery chardonnay to compliment the smooth texture of the fish for only $7 extra. It’s common to see ‘ask your server about our wine pairings’ at the bottom of restaurant menus- which makes being a wino easy- but what about just grabbing a glass of wine and relaxing at the local lounge?
This post details a variety of wine bars across Hawaii for the traveling wino, so you can enjoy a complex glass of red or white instead of the usual mai tai during your tropical vacation.
My first mention might shock some of you, especially if you know anything about viticulture. If you’re traveling to Maui and want a unique wine experience, check out Tedeschi Vineyards, Maui’s winery located at the Ulupalakua Ranch in the southern interior of the island. The number one way to grow successful grapes for wine is to have the proper climate, and it’s easy to see how Hawaii’s climate differs from the wine countries of Napa or Sonoma. But Tedeschi Vineyards has successfully created not only wine from grapes, but also wine from pineapples. What better way to expand your sommelier practices than to experience pineapple wine!
Next I’ll give you a couple worthwhile mentions for wine on Oahu. The first is located in Honolulu, right across from Hawaii Theatre on Bethel Street and is called Brasserie Du Vin. French inspired, this restaurant wine bar offers a casual yet rustic ambiance with interior decorations (and an outdoor patio) reminiscent of an evening in France. So do like the French do and pronounce ‘vin’ (French word for wine) like ‘von’ and ask for your bottle in a decanter.
Featured wines change weekly and you can expect to find a reasonably priced glass of wine and great service here. Du Vin also offers a variety of cheeses and appetizers to pair with your wine, and the bartenders are very knowledgeable about combinations and compliments.
The next mention on Oahu is located in the North Shore’s historic town of Haleiwa. Bonzer Front is a wine cellar that is an extension of Café Haleiwa, located only a door away and offering breakfast, lunch and dinner. You can purchase bottles from around the world at Bonzer Front and enjoy them at Café Haleiwa, or taste wines and enjoy a relaxing afternoon lounging with friends in Bozer’s outdoor patio.
Shifting over to Kauai, there is a new wine bar on the south side of the island called La Spezia. Known for its rustic Italian ambiance and cuisine, there’s nothing like pairing a great pasta dish with a glass of bold red. With a bar separating the restaurant, you can choose to either make this a dining experience or simply wine time. La Spezia specializes in pairings and also offers exclusive events and dinners that feature special labels and varietals. Stop in for happy hour, which happens Tuesday through Sunday from 5:00-6:00pm and then walk to the next shop over and purchase a bottle or two to take home! This next spot is called The Wine Shop and offers bottles for purchase ranging in price from $10 to… beyond. Check out their website at www.thewineshopkauai.com for special events and wine tastings that are happening during your vacation on the Garden Isle.
Lastly, the Big Island’s Waikoloa (located on the South Kohala Coast) offers a wine bar featured within the Island Gourmet Market. Called the Aloha Wine Bar, this cozy spot provides a nice selection of fine wines, as well as other spirits and Kona coffee. They also have a generous happy hour, lasting from 3:00pm till 7:00pm, and the wine bar is open till midnight every day. It’s a great place to enjoy a glass of wine and mingle, since there is a variety of residents and tourists that typically stop by.
Other Wine Bar Mentions:
- Vino. Honolulu, Oahu
- Amuse Wine Bar. Honolulu, Oahu
- Stuey’s Wine Bar. Wailea-Makena, Maui
- Iti Wine Bar. Hanalei, Kauai
- Manta & Pavilion Wine Bar. Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Big Island
February 13th, 2014
Often times the flight to Hawaii will offer a feature film that evokes the aloha vibe. Pair this with a complimentary mai tai and traditional Hawaiian music as you prepare to land on island soil and you’ll be beyond ready to embrace your vacation. But in case you want to gear up for Hawaii prior to the flight, I’m giving you a list of the top movies to watch before your vacation, to get you in the Hawaii mood.
- 50 First Dates
- Featuring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore, this movie was filmed mostly on Oahu and provides the viewer with scene after scene of romantic comedy taking place in the tropics. While the premise of this film is dramatic, the acting and storyline is hilarious, and several Oahu landmarks make appearances. Sea life Park is a large part of this movie along with the islet Chinaman’s Hat, Heeia Kea Harbor in Kaneohe, Makapuu lighthouse and Sandy Beach. Even though this movie was filmed primarily on Oahu, you won’t see a glimpse of the city’s high rises or Waikiki’s crowd. It paints a very country-esque image of Oahu and uses local actors to really set the tone.
- North Shore
- Filmed in the 80′s this movie is an ideal representation of Oahu’s North Shore surf scene. For anyone interested in learning to surf, be sure to watch this movie! You’ll get pumped to ride the waves of Hawaii, even if it’s just the beginner waves of Waikiki and not world renowned Pipeline or Sunset. With a variety of famous surfers in this movie including Gerry Lopez and Laird Hamilton and with cameos from the likes of John John Florence’s mom to publisher of Freesurf Magazine and pro surfer Mike Latronic, this movie was filmed almost entirely along the 7-mile stretch of the North Shore. It really gives you a feel for what this area was like back in the 80′s, when professional surfing was just starting to become an industry and surfers were traveling far and wide to experience the famous waves and lifestyle that the North Shore had to offer.
- Blue Crush
- Another movie filmed around Oahu’s north shore surf scene, this movie follows the lives of three surfer girls trying to make a living in Hawaii and a name in the male-dominated professional surfing world. light-hearted and fun, the actors in this film range from A-ddster Hollywood names like Kate Bosworth and Michelle Rodriguez to Hawaii locals like Kala Alexander and Sanoe Lake. This is a glimpse into the lifestyle of North Shore living from the perspective of a local girl and is actually depicted quite well for its time. Hot beach days, bikinis and surf lesson scenes will help you get into the laid-back culture of Hawaii.
- The Descendants
- The newest movie on this list, The Descendants is a serious film starring George Clooney and is very telling about the topic of dwinlidng open land in Hawaii. Sometimes humorous but actually quite tragic, the reason why I mention this movie to get you ‘in the mood’ for your Hawaii vacation is because of the cinematography. It’s stunning. Filmed between Oahu and Kauai, you really get to witness the incredible beauty of Hawaii’s wild landscape. The plot sheds light on the reality of Hawaii’s land and the dichotomy between the monetary and cultural value that often goes overlooked by those just passing through.
- Blue Hawaii
- Following the newest cinematic mention is of course the oldest. Blue Hawaii is a musical romantic comedy filmed in 1961 and depicts the aloha spirit that made Hawaii so famous. Featuring Elvis Presley, Blue Hawaii is full of ukulele strumming and soft melodies that will make you think that lounging in a hammock by the beach is the only way to live. The movie takes place mainly in Honolulu with familiar scenes from landmarks like Waikiki Beach, Diamond Head, Mount Tantalus, Haunama Bay, the Hilton Hawaiian Village and the Dole pineapple fields. Blue Hawaii also made the Coco Palms Resort on Kauai’s east side famous, which has since been abandoned after it was demolished in the 1992 hurricane Iniki. A classic Hawaii style film, this movie depicts Oahu as it was in the 60′s for tourists; welcoming, wholesome and a cultural, musical experience bursting with Aloha spirit.
- Forgetting Sarah Marshall
- This comedy was filmed at North Shore Oahu’s only resort, Turtle Bay and includes a cast of rising comedians such as Jason Segel, Jonah Hill, Russell Brand and Mila Kunis. The plot of this movie follows a music composer’s recent break-up from a five-year relationship, and his decision to vacation in Hawaii to try and mend his broken heart. However, his ex and new beau end up vacationing at the same resort in Hawaii, and thus comedy and small-time raunchiness ensue. Views from Turtle Bay are at the forefront of this film, including the beachfront restaurant Ola, the resort’s lobby and beach areas, nearby Laie Point, Keawaula Bay, Mokuleia Beach and Haleiwa Beach. It really depicts the ‘typical’ Hawaiian vacation complete with luaus, surf lessons, local mingling and lots of tropical cocktails.
- Lilo & Stitch
- This one is for the keiki! This Disney animated science fiction movie takes place on Kauai and illustrates two sisters living together after the recent death of their parents. Sisters Nani and lilo struggle to get along, until finally Nani decides maybe a pet will help lilo cope with loneliness. Stitch is actually an alien but the adventures he and lilo have together bring out a Hawaiiana theme of the movie. With surfing scenes, luau scenes, hula dance lessons, beach days and Elvis impersonations, lilo & Stitch is a great way to introduce Hawaii to your kids before your family vacation together.
By Lauren Rolland
February 13th, 2014
Here’s a new entry into the adventurer’s dictionary: surfari, the art of adventuring in search of surf.
Going on surfaris has been a long-lived tradition in my family. We often went on seemingly aimless missions up the long and windy road to the north shore, checking spots and making stops here and there. Entire weekends were spent in search of ‘ono pupus and epic surf; but that was the point – to search.
There is no other way to experience an island on a more personal level. You’re not following a brochure’s plan but maybe a couple good recommendations from friends. When on a surfari, there’s no rush as you’re just following your curiosity. Somehow, we always find the best little shops, though, and somehow sniff out the local secret eatery.
My fiancé and I always end up revisiting past surfari finds. We are known to frequent The Coffee Gallery, Waialua Bakery or the Foodland at Shark’s Cove. There’s something about cappuccinos brewed with locally-grown coffee, pesto chicken sandwiches on home-baked bread and spicy fried chicken strips and potato wedges that just complete a trip to the Country.
But the Country makes it easy to surfari. Maybe it’s the distance, or maybe it’s just magnetic. North Shore surfaris are a commitment. You are likely to get voluntarily stuck at a beach, so plan on spending at least the majority of your day adventuring.
This past weekend, I found myself in this very predicament. I was at Pupukea, watching my fiancé surf and playing with my dog in the sandbar tide-pools. We had some things to do, but somehow just could not part with the scenery. It’s like my legs were sunk in the sand; I was planted on beach and would have had it no other way!
Eventually, we had to face reality and return to our regular lives – bills, chores, responsibilities and all. However, my soul was relieved and rejuvenated. Surfaris are like R & R for the spirit, my weekly dose of adventure. And you bet I will be checking the weekend surf forecast to see what our next surfari may bring!
February 13th, 2014
A getaway to Hawaii isn’t always just for a honeymoon, family vacation or special occasion, it can also be a place for business, meetings or corporate events. In this instance, we like to think Hawaii is the premiere location for group travel, not only because it provides companies with meeting space opportunities and group strengthening activities, but also because we can offer suck great rates on this type of travel. Hawaii Aloha specializes in planning successful and unforgettable group trips to all of the Hawaiian Islands.
Because planning a group trip can be time-consuming and stressful, Hawaii Aloha offers specialty and personal services in this precise area of travel. We make the planning easy! And the best part of booking your group trip through us is we can get the best prices on airfare, accommodations and activities for your group- not to mention we beat the competition.
There is a flip side to group travel however. Is booking a vacation as a ‘group trip’ always the best way to save money? Not necessarily. Traveling in a group of 20+ people will often times grant you the most discounts and amenities. However, group airfare is still recommended for 15+ people. But if the number of travelers drops below 12, we don’t suggest booking airfare together. Unfortunately there is no price advantage with a group of less than 12 people. So as a rule of thumb, for group travel bookings, the more the merrier and the more you save!
From choosing your island destination to finding the best hotel rates to booking the most successful group activities, Hawaii Aloha Travel can provide nearly everything that’s involved in your group travel trip. Does a team building canoe ride sound like a good way to introduce coworkers to one another? Or how about a private luau to impress clients? We can also book meeting and convention space at resorts for an impressive impression. Whatever your group travel purpose is, we can plan it successfully!
Also, if you’re stumped on which island to visit for your trip, let us give you these recommendations. Oahu is our first choice and Maui is our second. Oahu has more restaurants, activities, hotels and accommodations and meeting spaces than any other island, and it tends to be more cost effective. Hawaii’s largest city and the capitol are located on Oahu and is a well-known area for visitors to have daytime and nighttime fun. Maui provides similar amenities but with less options, only because Honolulu (on Oahu) is the business hub of Hawaii. Maui is equal in beauty and high-end resorts however, so it really is a choice based on preference.
To get you started on your group travel, here are a few more rules-of-thumb to follow:
- Create a budget: anyone participating in this group travel needs to know the financial expectations. Unless of course, the boss plans on expensing the entire trip! But it’s a good idea to know what the budget is for the trip and the members included, so you have a starting point for things like where to stay, how long the trip will last and what type of activities will be part of the vacation. If you’re on a tighter budget, you might want to consider saving on a resort so you can maximize team building activities. Or vice versa. Especially if meeting space is more important than activities. Food is also another aspect to plan for during the detail hammering of a group trip. It’s something that tends to get overlooked, but often times costs the most money.
- Book in advance: We recommend booking at least one year in advance. Which means the planning needs to happen even earlier. Booking airfare and accommodations ahead of time is the best way to save money on group travel. Most airlines and hotels require a small deposit for group travelers, refundable up to a certain point. Planning well in advance makes it easier not only for you, but also for your travel company, airline, hotel and activity management as well.
- Appoint a leader: Large groups tend to work more efficiently when there is an appointed leader. Usually there is a natural leader that emerges, but we recommend appointing one ahead of time to help with all the planning details for other members. Questions on budget, accommodations, time frames and expectations will typically fall in the leader’s lap, so this person needs to be organized, responsible and a good communicator. The team leader is also responsible for creating a name list of the travelers, emergency contact and other important information for each member.
- Register with a local travel company: Again, this is the most efficient way to save money on group travel. Because of our local knowledge and connections, Hawaii Aloha Travel can get the best group rates available. Plus our agents like to get creative when planning a group trip and can help with any and every aspect of the vacation. We make your job easier in a number of ways; group members can register directly through us, we provide dedicated toll free numbers for your event, and also personalized interactive websites for your guests to make the planning and follow-through simple. Easy, personal and inexpensive, consider booking your next group travel with us!
February 11th, 2014
It seems the Japanese kissaten culture has found its way to Hawai‘i, sort of. Back in the day, kissatens were a place to get coffee or tea. They were happening spots that eventually evolved into something more specialized – where people went to listen to music or to have business meetings. The original hipsters?
Today, kissatens have seemed to come full circle – focusing strictly on coffees and teas. They can be found throughout most of Japan, and now, there’s a kissaten in Hawai‘i. The small coffee bar on the skirts of Ala Moana Shopping Center is actually named Kissaten. For a long time, I thought it was a play on words, “kiss-a-ten.” But eventually found out exactly the meaning behind its name. Through a friend, I believe.
Like me, many customers would probably not make the connection to Japan. There are no cultural indications whatsoever – not a flag nor a kanji. It looks like a typical coffee shop to me, with dim lighting, quaint seating areas, spunky hipster music. I kind of wish the owners would have made the meaning behind the name known. But maybe that wasn’t their intention?
Either way, Kissaten is a pretty rad place. There’s an assortment of baked goods, unique breakfast, lunch and dinner dishes and – of course – coffees and teas. The prices are on the higher end, though, because one mocha latte costed me almost $5! But it was a really good mocha, so I can’t really complain, I suppose – being the coffee snob that I am. A good latte is hard to come by!
There seems to be a nice mix of locals and tourists that come through their doors. Most likely because the coffee shop is near Ala Moana Shopping Center and Waikīkī. My sister and her college buddies study there almost everyday! In fact, she was the one who told me about Kissaten and raved about how the shop is 24-hours. Take that, Starbucks!
KISSATEN COFFEE BAR / 88 Pi‘ikoi St., Honolulu, Hawaii 96814 / Opens 24 hours, Mon-Sun / www.kissatencafe.com / 808-593-1200
Posted by Alyssa S. Navares Follow me on Twitter @Uamalie87
February 6th, 2014
Every year, people get excited for the Punahou Carnival. The event raises money for the private schoolʻs financial aid program, but the real hype is about those melt-in-your-mouth malasadas, fried noodles and, well, let’s just say people really look forward to the food.
But the real question is – not whether there will be enough food or whether the kids will have fun on the rides – but if it will rain! For some reason, the first weekend in February seems to be very popular with those Hawaiian tradewind showers. It’s like they mark their calendars to pay us a visit on that weekend, specifically a visit to the Mānoa side of O‘ahu. I would say out of the 10 or so carnivals I have been to while growing up here, it has rained more than half those times.
And we all know that carnivals and rain do not make a good combo; in fact, they make mud. Lots and lots of mud, everywhere – on the sidewalks, on the carousel ponies and on your favorite pair of flats. That doesn’t mean you should not go to the carnival, though. It just means, come prepared. Wear shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty/muddy, bring an umbrella and maybe an extra pair of clothes for the little ones.
I must admit, though, that it breaks my heart when it rains during the carnival weekend. Many do not realize that the school spends months setting up and preparing for the big day in February. Parents, students, teachers and alumni put countless hours into making the Punahou Carnival a success. I know this because I drive by there everyday. When it rains, it’s almost like all of their hard work goes to waste.
Luckily, Hawai‘i people are used to those rainy days. We see it as a blessing, and as the popular saying goes, “Without rain, there can be no rainbows!” Metaphorically speaking, the rainbows come in the form of laughter and smiles, full bellies and adrenaline highs. There are many positive that come out of the carnival weekend, including the nice contribution to Punahou’s financial aid fund.
Photo Courtesy: Punahou Carnival 2014 Facebook Fanpage
Posted by Alyssa S. Navares Follow me on Twitter @Uamalie87
February 5th, 2014
Probably the number one thing people come to Hawaii for is relaxation. To get away from the stress of everyday life, work and the monotony of schedules, and relish in some much needed R&R. And what better place to get into this mindset than the tropics? A warm breeze carrying the scent of fresh flowers, the hypnotic sound of waves lapping sand and an aloha environment. Sounds nice huh? Well since spa days are so important (especially when you’re vacationing in Hawaii!) for rejuvenation of mind, body and soul, we’ve decided to highlight some of the best on the 4 main islands.
Hawaii is notorious for having some of the best day spas in the country, since there is so much natural beauty already embedded in the outdoors. Features like open-air rock showers, oceanside massage tables and coconut scented oils are just a few of the ways that Hawaii spas utilize the islands’ natural characteristics. Add some indoor ambiance, a licensed masseuse and an extensive services menu and you’ve got yourself a day dedicated to your personal well-being… enjoy! And as a way to determine value for each spa, we’ll give you the price of the traditional (and most popular) spa treatment in Hawaii, the Lomi Lomi massage.
Starting with Oahu spas, the first on our list is Mandara Spa at Hilton Hawaiian Village in Waikiki. Why? Well first off, it’s the largest spa in Waikiki, and second, it offers unique local ingredients to really add some Hawaiiana into your experience. Mandara Spa incorporates indigenous Hawaiian products like tropical coconut, chocolate macadamia, papaya, vanilla, island coffee, Hawaiian sea salt, limu kala (seaweed) and Pikake flowers on their spa menu.
Mandara Spa offers the traditional Hawaiian Lomi Lomi massage, (a unique healing massage derived from the ancient Polynesians) plus a plethora of other techniques and services. Enjoy a day at the Hilton Hawaiian Village and pamper yourself at the Mandara Spa. For a 50-minute Lomi Lomi massage the price is $135, and an 80-minute massage is $195.
Our next spa mention is the Spa at The Modern Honolulu in Waikiki. Not as pricey as Mandara, this one offers similar services but with a twist. Book a ‘Fire + Ice’ facial and stimulate your pores with icy cooled marble stones and warm Organic Blueberry Firming Peel add-on, which oxygenates and tightens the skin for a more youthful appearance.
All massages at The Spa at The Modern Honolulu include therapeutic grade aromatherapy oils including congestion clearing eucalyptus from Australia, uplifting lime from South Africa, and floral yet refreshing peppermint of India. Another great massage unique to Hawaii and this particular spa is the ‘After Sun Aloe Healing Treatment’ which is specifically designed to help the inevitable and dreaded sunburns. Lomi Lomi Massages start at $135 for a 50-minute treatment, and $185 for an 80-minute version.
On Maui, The Spa at Travaasa Hana in the lush northern town of Hana is touted as one of the best. An array of massages, healing rituals, beauty treatments and personalized services are available, using only organic, bioenergetic products. The Hawaiian Lomi Lomi massage is priced at $130 for a 60-minute treatment and $185 for 90 minutes. You can also include an ‘Add-On Therapy’ such as ‘Hnainai Pa’akai Sea Mineral Salt Scrub, which was traditionally used in Hawaiian culture to cleanse and purify the physical and energetic planes of the body (30 minutes is $65). The Spa at Travaasa Hana is a deeply relaxing sanctuary of peace and tranquility enhanced by Hana’s natural tropical beauty and we highly recommend it if you’re vacationing on Maui and need some deep R&R.
Makena Kai Day Spa is located in Wailea-Makena on Maui and is a reflection of Maui’s tranquility. With a sincere respect for the Aina (the land), Makena Kai (kai means ocean) offers
guests the opportunity to restore, rebalance and rejuvenate their body, mind and spirit. Makena Kai is a haven for peace and relaxation, providing spa services in magnificent cabanas (Papa’i) with an exclusive ocean side shower. There’s nothing like washing away the stress with a warm shower and the tropical Pacific as your view.
Offering the traditional massages and spa treatments and packages, Makena Kai Day Spa also gives guests the option of a 25, 50 or 80-minute massage service. Hawaiian Lomi Lomi massages start at $70 for 25 minutes, $115 for 50 minutes and $160 for 80 minutes. Exclusive services unique to Hawaii also include the ‘Sunscreen Application with Reflexology’ and ‘Sunburn Relief’ treatments, ideal for those looking to relax before or after some serious sunbathing.
Our next spa mention is on Kauai’s south side, at the Grand Hyatt Resort & Spa in Poipu. Anara Spa honors a culture rooted in the balance and wisdom of nature by weaving traditional healing customs to inspire lokahi, which is the Hawaiian word meaning unity, harmony and balance. The 45,000 square foot spa is the largest on Kauai and includes a 24-hour StayFit gym and open-air yoga and fitness classes.
Offering the classic massages along with other Hawaiian-inspired ones like ‘Pohaku Massage’ (warm stones trigger the relaxation of muscles as they soothingly glide over the body with organic Hawaiian oils) and ‘Lokahi Massage’ (which takes place in your own private garden hale, and is a massage that induces deep relaxation and profound harmony), Anara Spa is an incredible experience.
This spa boasts private lava rock showers with open ceilings and features co-ed spaces, treatment rooms that open to their own tropical gardens and extensive services which include nail, hair and make-up. A 50-minute Hawaiian Lomi Lomi massage runs $160 whereas an 80-minute massage costs $230.
Tucked away in Haena on Kauai’s eastern rainforest is Luana Aloha Massage. We’re recommending this little hideaway because of its value. This clean and bright massage studio has a very relaxing, airy and local atmosphere with the sounds of tropical birds just outside your window. Founded by Lana Shea, an experienced massage therapist and body worker, Luana Aloha Massage offers guests a chance to get away from it all and enjoy a nurturing massage or pampering facial.
Specializing in acupressure, lomi lomi, shiatsu, reiki, reflexology, Swedish and deep tissue techniques, you can enjoy a spa-like experience for half the price. A 60-minute Lomi Lomi massage is $70, 75 minutes for $85, 90 minutes for $100 and a 2-hour massage for $140. Lana is also touted for her great couples’ massages!
On the Big Island, Spa Without Walls at The Fairmont Orchid in Kohala is an award-winning luxury spa. Living up to its name, Spa Without Walls lets you enjoy the splendor of Hawaii’s tropical climate with eight private outdoor waterfall hale (huts), six rejuvenating oceanside hale and four indoor treatment rooms. This spa also integrates Hawaii’s natural therapeutic environment and ancient healing arts into every experience, offering unique treatments and packages to suit any guest.
Enjoy the ‘Pohaku-Wela’ hot stone massage therapy where warmed lava stones and balancing aromatherapy are used to bring the energy of Hawaii to your body and mind. Or try Kona Coffee Exfoliation treatment, Limu (Seaweed) Body Wrap or a Coconut Luxury Pedicure. With quite the list of services, Spa Without Walls will surely exceed your expectations. With their Hawaiian Lomi Lomi Massages, you can choose your setting to be indoor, near a waterfall or alongside the ocean. For a 50-minute massage, prices range between $159-$179 and an 80-minute massage ranges from $239 to $259.
Kohana Ili in Kailua-Kona on the Big Island is on our top spas list because the products used for all treatments are not only locally made, they’re organic too! We also like this spa because it was born out of the desire to make skincare affordable and accessible enough to make treatments a necessity, rather than a luxury. (Doesn’t that sound nice?) The owner believes in using natural products to perfect the skin, and vacationers who want a real, local treatment should look into this spa. Devoid of any high priced pampering, Kohana Ili is great for the vacationer needing affordable treatments
February 4th, 2014
After a long flight to Hawai‘i, what better way to unwind than with a little bit of yoga?
The ancient Indian practice will surely loosen those stiff necks and get the blood flowing after sitting for hours in those cramped airplane quarters. In fact, yoga has become so mainstream that it’s not uncommon for travelers to seek out ways to continue their practice from back home or to try something new during their vacay.
Luckily, Hawai‘i offers plenty of opportunities to find your inner yogi. Visitors will come across numerous studios on each of the major islands, as well as several outdoor classes at the park or beach. Even hotels and airports have been adjusting to the trend. Some hotels offer yoga at their in-house fitness centers, while several airports nationwide opened a room dedicated to the practice.
The best part (aside from feeling amazingly relaxed and rejuvenated) about yoga in Hawai‘i would have to be that it doesn’t break the bank. Yoga classes in the Aloha State costs about half as much as classes on the mainland. That’s thanks to the plethora of instructors, studios, co-ops and pop-up classes taught in backyards, houses and community centers. Also, there are quite a few studios that run strictly by donations, so travelers pay what they can afford.
Practicing yoga while on a vacation doesn’t need to take up much space in your suitcase either. All that’s needed is a mat or a towel, both of which may be easily rented from various studios and hotels. Otherwise, practice completely equipment-free on your hotel room floor or on a sandy beach. Some poses and stretches can even be done while sitting in an airplane seat or at the airport gate.
Here is a list where visitors may get their yoga on in Hawai‘i. Namaste!
Power Yoga Hawaii / Honolulu & Kahala / Donation based / www.poweryogahawaii.com
Turtle Bay Resort / Kahuku / $10 for guests and non-guests, $6 punch cards also available / www.turtlebay.com/oahu_spa/wellness
Sunset Yoga Hawaii / Waikiki / Donation-based for locals, $65 for visitors via a 5-class pass / www.sunsetyogahawaii.com
Kahala Hotel & Resort / Stand-Up Paddleboard (SUP) yoga, yogaquatic, yoga with weights, vinyasa yoga / $25 to $35 / www.kahalaresort.com/activities_events/fitness_center/
Lumeria Maui / Luxury educational retreat center in Pa‘ia / www.lumeriamaui.com
Hotel Wailea / Package includes 5 days of private 1-hour yoga sessions on the beach, personal yoga mat to take home, water, towels, yoga equipment, 5-night accommodation / $795 per person / www.hotelwailea.com/hotel-specials/maui-yoga/
Mauna Kea Resort / Various yoga classes offered at the in-house fitness center
Yoga Oasis / Pahoa / To see various retreats and classes, visit www.yogaoasis.org
Sheraton Po‘ipu / www.sheraton-kauai.com/property/activities/fitness
Photo Courtesy: Power Yoga Hawaii Facebook Fan Page
Posted by Alyssa S. Navares Follow me on Twitter @Uamalie87
February 3rd, 2014
If you’re looking to escape the snow and chilly weather of winter, then Hawaii is the perfect retreat. With delightfully mild days of sunshine and rainfall, Hawaii is the ideal winter vacation destination and offers visitors respite from snow shoveling and wind chapped lips. Wintertime is high season for tourism- up and up with summertime- so if you haven’t booked your tickets and accommodations yet for this year then you might be in trouble… Hotels book up fast and airfare becomes criminal so unless you have money to burn, a last minute vacation to Hawaii this winter might prove difficult.
But not to worry! We’re always ready to find the best possible deals on airfare, car rentals and accommodations, even if it IS last minute. While we definitely don’t recommend last minute planning, this doesn’t mean we can’t make it happen. We’re here to scour out the best prices for your Hawaii vacation this winter, but we have to act fast, so call us today to book!
Continuing on about today’s topic, I’d like to talk about winter in Hawaii, what it’s like and what the highlights are. There is much to see and do during the Christmas season and Hawaii is usually ideal weather for any activity. While the beaches, swells and waves change drastically from the summer months, the outdoor adventures are still plentiful.
One of the most incredible activities to witness in the islands during this time of year is whale watching. The very first sightings are usuallyin October, but the real whale watching begins in late November and lasts through mid-April. Each year over 6,000 humpback whales migrate to the islands to mate, give birth and care for their young, traveling approximately 5,000 miles from their feeding grounds in the waters off Alaska.
Maui is touted as the best island for whale watching due to its shielded, shallow and clear waters and thus has the largest concentration of the mammals. However whales can be seen from every island during migration. Each island has various landmarks that are ideal for whale watching, but it’s on the boat tours where you’ll really get an up-close-and-personal experience of these incredible creatures.
The Hawaiian word for humpback whale is ‘kohala’ and many native Hawaiians believed the creatures were ‘amakua’ or family guardians, making the whales a highly respected creature of the islands. If you go for a swim during whale season, be sure to listen for the deep and eerie songs of the male humpback whale. These melodies can be heard underwater from up to twelve miles away!
Another popular sport of Hawaii during the winter months is surfing. From November to December, Oahu’s north shore plays host to the most prestigious surfing events of the industry, the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing. This is a fantastic display of the world’s top surfers testing their mettle in the relentless ocean conditions of the famed north shore. Surf breaks like Pipeline, Sunset and Waimea are heralded as being the best waves in the world, and visitors come every year to watch the show unfold before their very eyes.
Something to keep in mind about Hawaii’s big wave season is that is happens on west and north facing shores and often times presents ocean conditions that are too hazardous to swim in, for tourists and residents alike. If ocean activities are what you pine for this Christmas, consider booking accommodations on the south and east sides of the island. But this doesn’t mean you are doomed out of beach activity if you stay on the north shore. Long swell lulls are common, which means the ocean returns to a flat and relatively calm state. But you can guarantee that the undertow will still be pretty strong. In any conditions, it’s always a good idea to check with a lifeguard before entering the water.
Another great (and extremely unique!) thing about Hawaii is you can snowboard the mountains and surf the Pacific all in a day! Well, if you’re vacationing on Big Island that is. Bet you didn’t even know that is snows in Hawaii! Mauna Kea (Hawaiian for ‘white mountain’) is a 13,796-foot volcanic mountain whose summit gathers enough snow in the wintertime for decent ski conditions. Temperatures range from 25 degrees to 40 degrees Fahrenheit, but with the wind chill and high altitude, it often times feels much colder!
There are no lifts, no grooming and no resort, but a road goes to the summit (must have 4-wheel drive) which serves as your “lift” to the top. Mauna Kea is the tallest sea mountain in the world and stargazing is another incredible activity to enjoy at this summit on the Big Island.
Hawaii is a popular winter vacation destination mostly because it offers respite from the mainland chill, so seeing snow on your Hawaii getaway might not sound ideal. Winter temperatures in the islands are around 78 degrees in the daytime and drop around 10 degrees in the evenings. Remember though, trade winds are a classic characteristic of Hawaii winters and can make 75 degree weather feel much cooler, which is why we always recommend packing a light sweater or two when vacationing here during this time of year.
Water temperatures are around 74 degrees so swimming is a year round activity here in Hawaii. If you’re looking into boating, snorkeling, surfing or any other Hawaii activity this winter, be sure to book as soon as possible! These popular activities fill up quick, but luckily we have the insider connections to get you in at the last minute. The ideal Christmas vacation destination, the Hawaiian Islands offer all types of R&R for any type of traveler. Whether it’s spa days and lounging poolside or adventurous activities and enjoying the outdoors, Hawaii is a great getaway for anyone.
February 3rd, 2014
There’s nothing like a hot bowl of chowder on a rainy day in Hawai‘i.
We had been looking for a late-lunch spot in the Ward area when a sudden downpour hit. Thankfully, we found Tango Market. The little cafe not only offered us some much-needed shelter from the rain but also some hot food to keep us warm. The menu is somewhat limited and includes sandwiches, salads and soups. However, the choices are fresh, healthy and affordable. Just the way we like it.
I ordered their soup of the day, which happened to be my favorite – clam chowder. Of course, I couldn’t pass up the fresh array of breads on display near the register. I got a slice of Finnish rye bread to go with my chowder. We also got the Market Salad, a mix of greens with roasted beets, goat cheese, egg, cucumber and tomato. My sister ordered the turkey avocado sandwich with a side of salad.
The food turned out to be very delicious and just the right amount for a late lunch. I liked that the soup had lots of fresh veggies in it, with each scoop full of potatoes and clam. I guess you could say this has become my way of gauging the heartiness of a soup (or any dish, for that matter). The more goodies, the better! The turkey avo sandwich is by no means an original combo, but it was really the freshly-baked bread that made it stand out.
If you’re looking for a quaint and quiet place to have breakfast/brunch/lunch, then Tango Market will definitely fulfill that. It has a similar ambiance to a coffee shop with a small seating area and soothing music playing in the background. There is also seating outside on the patio; however, most customers will order and take their food to go. As a side note, and probably for another review, Tango Market is also very well known for its Italian sodas and coffees. I have not tried either yet but definitely plan to in the near future!
I also just learned that Tango Market is actually an extension to Tango Cafe, located just a block away from the Market. That one is more of a sit-down restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch, dinner and alcoholic beverages. For now, I am pretty hooked on the simplicity of Tango Market and will definitely be a repeat customer.
TANGO MARKET / Ward Center, 1200 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu, HI 96814 / www.tangomarket.com / 808-596-4888
Posted by Alyssa S. Navares Follow me on Twitter @Uamalie87
February 1st, 2014