I spent a week in Honolulu seeing what’s new since I was last there two years ago.
What’s New in Waikiki
– Continental Surf Hotel is being renovated (lobby is a construction zone) from 2011 to 2012
– now 2 ukelele shops, one on Kuhio and one on Kalakaua
– Whaler’s General Stores (Foodland) has opened several convenience stores to compete with ABC Stores
– the iconic Food Pantry Kuhio is expanding into a former Whaler’s location
– The Apple Store opened 3 years ago on Kalakaua. Great place to check your email/fb for free.
– Two other stores I noticed on Kalakaua are the Disney Store and the Ferrari Store. Trolleys also feature advertising for Disney’s new Aulani Hawaii Resort.
– Many hotels managed by name-brand companies are now charging a mandatory hotel surcharge called “a resort fee”. For example, the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani charges $18/day for use of the pool, WiFi and parking. hotels.com does not indicate that, so call ahead if you plan to book a fancy hotel.
– macadamia popcorn is no longer sold, just macadamia chocolate.
What’s New near Ala Moana
– the huge former CompUSA store at 604 Ala Moana that was empty for years has become an AutoMart USA car showroom for now. Later, condos will likely be developed on this lot, or possibly a Safeway or Whole Foods. (This property is owned by KSBE – the Bishop Estate – so likely will only be leased to tenants.)
What’s New in Pearl Harbor
– Ford Island multi-lane access road done
– Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor has expanded (2 hangars plus simulators)
(To get there, take the 42 bus to the Pearl Harbor ticket office and then take the shuttle bus to the museum.)
Free Entertainment in Waikiki
– Hula show on Kuhio (Waikiki) Beach at 6:00 pm or 6:30 pm nightly depending on season
– Waikiki Shopping Plaza has a whole calendar of hula, polynesian and other shows
– Hula show from 6 pm to 9 pm in Sheraton Princess Kaiulani pool area (might have to buy a drink)
– collection of street entertainers on Kalakaua includes Silver Man, Silver Couple, Gold Man, Gold Pirate, Fortune Teller, Roy the Ukelele master, 2 portrait artists, and more.
Most APs in Waikiki are password-protected, so check in advance whether your hotel charges or not.
– Sheraton Princess Kaiulani lobby has free WiFi, but room access requires the $18 resort fee
– Starbucks Kuhio/Seaside (free WiFi with drink)
– Apple Store has free demo notebooks with Internet access.
Hawaiian Airlines mainland flights use the Overseas Terminal, so beware that checking in at the Interisland Terminal will take additional time for the airport shuttle.
Hawaiian serves turkey sandwiches for dinner. Sounds minimal, but tasted pretty good.
I overheard Delta employees at the gate in San Jose Airport haranguing passengers about carry-on bag fees. (Each bag, whether luggage, purse, camera bag, etc. counts toward your cabin luggage quota of 2 items. Beyond that, fees are enforced.) Delta is #1 in bag fees.
Hana Hou!: 2002 article on Pacific Aviation Museum
wikipedia: Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor
travel-hawaii.com: Hawaii Resort Fees
U.S. airlines see decline in revenue from baggage fees
10 things to do on Oahu for $10 or less