Waikiki: Beach, Shopping, Sheraton Princess Kaiulani Resort

Oahu – Day 1 – Part 2140827a__Waikiki1233

Waikiki Beach is probably one of the most famous beaches in Hawaii and also known as the birth place of modern surfing. When in Waikiki, you really don’t need to leave. You’ll find almost everything there and if it’s not in Waikiki, the resorts will probably offer some sort of tour or mode of transportation for you to get there.

Beach

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We didn’t really spend much time at Waikiki Beach although it was less than a block away from our hotel. We walked along the beach-ish (we stayed on the sidewalk instead of walking on the sand) in the evening after dinner and saw how busy and lively the beach can be even at night, and walked out to the beach early in the morning and played in the sand for a little bit.

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Random couple on the beach early in the morning.

California is three hours ahead of the Hawaii and because of that we were a little jet lagged. That kind of forced us to wake up super early in the morning and allowed us to slowly get ready in the morning. We were finally all ready to go out by 6 am, and made our way out to a nearly empty beach just after the sunrise.

The second I stepped on the beach, I was actually a little disappointed. The white sand beach was actually not as soft as the San Diego beaches I’m used to.(I know, I’m spoiled). BUT the water was amazing! Clean clear blue green waters out the Pacific Ocean just made it worth while and I almost forgot about the relatively course sand.

Now that I think about it, I think it would be fun to check out the beach during the say to see people learn how to surf, etc. We saw a little bit of that when we had breakfast at the Hula Grill (a restaurant looking out to the beach), but we didn’t actually go out to the beach.

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All surfboards on the beach ready for surf lessons

Shopping

The stretch of shopping along Kalakaua Ave. covers everything from ABC stores to Forever 21 to Kate Spade to Chanel. The shopping area is busy throughout the day and in the evening there are plenty of artists out on the street performing etc. Though people say things are more expensive in Hawaii compared to the mainland, I enjoyed the fact that the sales tax was much lower than California. That just makes the shopping at some stores better than California.

Nature Republic is a South Korean cosmetics/skin care store and now has stores outside of South Korea. After going crazy shopping in South Korea, we found a few products from South Korea amazing and one year later we’re ready to re-stock. It’s just no fun trying to find these products online at a slightly higher price and paying for the shipping. Check out my post about South Korea Beauty Product Shopping (withs) List to see what I fell in love with.

1410558597247Most of the things at the O’ahu Nature Republic are indeed more expensive than what you would buy directly in South Korea, but things are still priced relatively reasonably and some things were on sale making it almost the same price as South Korea. The biggest downside is that they don’t have very much of each thing and if they don’t have it out, then they don’t have anymore. I was sad cause I really wanted to get a specific face wash and they didn’t have it any more. There are two Nature Republic stores in O’ahu, the Waikiki location is almost double the size of the store in Honolulu (at Ala Moana Mall – which is a very big mall).

Hotel: Sheraton Princess Kaiulani Hotel (via Hotwire)
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The “ocean view” from our hotel room. Do you see it?

We booked our hotel through Hotwire because it kind of takes care some of the thinking. So here is how Hotwire works. You enter in city you are planning to go to and from their they pull up a map of the city with part of the city highlighted and of course there is a pricing list on the side. For Honolulu the areas available are as follows: Downtown Honolulu area, Waikiki Marina area, Waikiki Beach area, Central Waikiki area, and Waikiki Near Beach South – Diamond Head.

Once you decide on the area and the price (based on the number of stars, type of place, and amenities), you pay, and they will tell you where you will be staying. Some say it’s risky because you just don’t know what you will get. For me, I find that you really pay for what you get (or a pretty good deal for what you get), you just don’t know exactly what what you’re getting. We also booked the condo on the Big Island via Hotwire. Has anyone else had a good or bad experience with Hotwire?

Through Hotwire, we paid $105/night at the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani Hotel, less than a block away from the beach. When I checked the official hotel website to see how much we saved, I think the actual posted on the website was over $200/night. We had a City View room with two double beds. Though the room was small, it had everything we needed and a little balcony with a view of the King Marketplace across the street (and if we look really hard toward the coast, we’ll see a tiny snippet of the ocean).

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Me dipping my feet into the Pacific Ocean

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