Always dreamed of the perfect Hawaiian escape? You’re not the only one. Hawaii always conjured up images of sipping cocktails on pristine, white beaches – and much to my delight – the reality was just that, and more!
After a short journey from the Honolulu airport, I arrived at the Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort. This blissful retreat is perched in the heart of Waikiki with an oceanfront pool and deck looking out to breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean.
With only a short stay to immerse myself in the culture, I took to the streets to explore this vibrant beachfront town. It’s easy to see why the celebs flock to Oahu – everywhere I looked were glamorous fashionistas as they shopped along the 14-mile designer brand mecca, Kalakaua Avenue.
For all visitors to Oahu, the hike up Diamond Head is a must-try. This 760-foot extinct volcanic crater will take about an hour to reach the summit, but it’s well worth the wait for the jaw-dropping panoramic views of the island.
After the hike, we made a stop by Dukes Bar for a well-deserved cocktail. It’s the place to be seen on Waikiki Beach – it was late afternoon and the place was pumping. This ‘barefoot bar’ has a great vibe and delicious cocktails, but if you’re willing to shop around you’ll find cheaper drinks elsewhere.
When in Hawaii, make like the locals and indulge in the traditional Hawaiian dish ‘Loco Moco’ – white rice, hamburger patty, fried egg and gravy plus a choice of meat or seafood. After one-too-many Duke’s Mai Tai specials, this was the perfect hangover cure!
Our next stop was to be whisked up the beach to the Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort. This stunning hotel really was a highlight of my stay, offering a perfect location for exploring Oahu, unobstructed views of Diamond Head and the 639 spacious rooms have all the luxuries you could ever need from complimentary Wi-Fi to 24-hour gym access.
I kicked off the day with a taste of home at Bill Granger’s breakfast nook and trendiest café in town, ‘Bill’s’. This light and airy spot is inspired by local tropical produce, yet injects a laidback Aussie vibe into the local scene. Be sure to try the coffee and fresh squeezed juices for that Vitamin C hit!
If you’re after that secluded island vibe, take an hour’s drive to the other side of Oahu to the North Shore – you won’t regret it. Not only is the drive picturesque (it reminded me slightly of country New Zealand), the beaches are unparalleled. I made a pit stop at Sunset Beach, home to pro surf competitions and known for its famous winter waves. Catching the tail end of the season, the water was fairly flat and perfect for stand up paddle boarding. Dotted along the beach you’ll find many food trucks, which are a quintessential part of Hawaiian culture and great for a post-surf bite.
But my experience wouldn’t have been complete without pulling up stumps for the day at a beachfront bar to watch the sunset. With coconut palms swaying in the breeze as the orange glow lit up the gentle waves – it was a spectacular end to an amazing Hawaiian stay. Aloha!
Must do’s in Oahu:
• Stand up paddling boarding.
• Visit Pearl Harbour.
• Attend a Luau (a traditional Hawaiian party or feast that is usually accompanied by music and entertainment.
• Watch the sunset at the North Shore.
• Shopping for designer brands at Kalakaua Avenue, Ala Moana Centre and Waikele Premium Outlets.
• Hike the Diamond Head summit for panoramic views of Oahu.
Must do event: Duke’s OceanFest, August 22-30, 2015
Duke’s OceanFest is Waikiki’s premier ocean sports festival that draws ocean enthusiasts of all ages to compete in 9 days of challenging events including a 1 mile open ocean swim, stand-up and paddleboard races, tandem surfing, beach volleyball and more. The events honour ocean sports that were dear to legendary Duke Kahanamoku, an Olympic gold medalist, Hawaii’s Ambassador of Aloha, and one of the island’s most accomplished watermen. Outrigger Resorts is a proud sponsor of this exciting festival.
Just a quick note: This post is sponsored, but we only write about things we reckon you’ll think are awesome. We’re all about sharing the love here at Style, and it’s the love from sponsors that helps make that happen. Thanks for the inspiration Outrigger!