I’ve been meaning to write more about our recent experience in Hawaii. Lately I’ve ranted about bad customer service, but I want to share a good experience we had recently while staying at the Hilton in Waikiki. The Hilton Hawaiian Village on Waikiki in Honolulu is absolutely fabulous! It is the only full-fledged resort on Waikiki. If you’re planning a trip to Hawaii in the near future and aren’t sure where you should stay, definitely take a second look at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. (The Hilton at Waikoloa on the Big Island is even nicer.) Although it’s expensive, you won’t regret paying more. If you’re heading to Hawaii on business and your company will pay for your stay, don’t pass up the opportunity the stay there.
The resort is located on 22 acres at the edge of Waikiki. It lacks the urban feel of Waikiki, and Hilton successfully managed to design the resort to feel like a commercialized Hawaiian village. It offers all the amenities you could ask for–restaurants, shopping, massage therapy, you name it. The resort features prime Pacific Ocean views and a great panorama of Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head. We stayed in the Ali’i Tower. The view from our hotel suite was the most gorgeous we have ever seen. Be sure to ask for an ocean view suite when you check in. The resort is probably the only place in Waikiki where you can feel like you’re getting away from it all.
We arrived at the resort during NFL Pro Bowl weekend when it was absolutely packed. Check in was a bit chaotic. We could not park our car at check-in for more than a minute. However, after check-in we settled in and enjoyed our visit immensely. On the night of our arrival we dined in style on our balcony overlooking the ocean. We spent some time on the beach, and my son played with his cars in the sand. My brother and his wife joined us for dinner the night before we departed for Korea. I wish we could have enjoyed it even more than we did. One evening while I walked around searching feverishly for baby diapers I walked past a lounge in the resort filled with people dining on fine cuisine and Spanish guitar in the air. I wish I could have stopped for a drink, but I needed to get back so my son would have diapers. Spending a few days at the Hilton Hawaiian Village was just what we needed before heading to wintery Seoul. Hawaii is a great half-way point between Asia and the United States. We hope to stop there often during our trans-Pacific travels.
Today we stayed home and relaxed. It’s Korean Independence Day today. On March 1, 1919 hundreds of thousands of Koreans took to the streets to demonstrate against Japanese colonial occupation and to declare independence from Japan. Although formal Korean independence was not achieved until after World War II, the day is highly symbolic of Korea’s struggle for freedom and independence. We thought about going to Namdaemun Market today for the first time, but after our experience at the COEX Mall we thought better of it and decided to avoid the crowds. Instead, I hung pictures up at home and went to the local dry cleaners. Sometimes peace and quiet is the best way to celebrate.