I hope you all are safe and healthy, this pandemic has totally changed our lifestyle and probably no trip in 2020; already canceled our Greece trip in June and Japan & China trip in September 🙁 I really wish that we can at least travel in 2021 and back to our “normal” lives soon! The only good thing is we get to work from home so we can spend more time watching our little girl grow, she’s 5 months now! She finally sleeps through the night (feed her at around midnight and she usually wakes up at 5-6 AM) so I can get some extra sleep….still nowhere near the 8 hours uninterrupted sleep but I’ll take 4 hours straight instead of just 2! I have more energy during the day now to do my stuff whenever she sleeps and Jason reminded me days ago that I still need to edit our babymoon in Hawaii photos! So for the long Memorial Day weekend where we can’t travel this time, I spent the time to edit the photos and write the blog post 🙂
Last September, we were supposed to go to Croatia but since I was on my 3rd trimester, I didn’t feel comfortable traveling internationally so we decided to cancel that trip (we lost $1200 of the flight cost as pregnancy is not covered under the credit card’s travel insurance benefit) and headed to Hawaii instead. We made it a babymoon trip with my mom and her boyfriend. It worked out nicely because we had $600 of United vouchers that we need to use up (that covered almost half of the flight cost), Hawaiian Airlines launched a nonstop flight between Boston and Honolulu and the price was reasonable at $300 one way per person, I had a Marriott free night certificate (from my Ritz Carlton credit card’s annual certificate) to use up, and Jason had enough Hilton points to cover our Honolulu stay. We have been to Hawaii multiple times so I am not going into details of everything (see my previous Hawaii posts) but I will point out helpful tips 🙂
We arrived Honolulu at around 4:30 PM and got our rental car at Alamo, great reviews and thanks to AutoSlash where the site continuously monitors the price and email me once a lower price is found so I can cancel and rebook the car. Our car rental was $206.64 for 5 days! Having a rental car gave us more flexibility, convenience, and comfort for the 4 of us but the biggest headache of having a rental car in Waikiki is where to park the car without paying the outrageous rate at the hotel/resort. Parking used to be covered in the expensive resort “fee” when we visited Honolulu years ago but that has changed; most of the resorts’ “fee” doesn’t cover anything useful anymore. Luckily, I read recommendations at TripAdvisor to park at Waikiki Banyan Parking, their weekly rate is only $80!
We stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn Waikiki, a block from the famous Waikiki Beach and an 8 min walk from the parking garage, and great use of our Hilton points is that the resort fee is waived, no extra charge for the 3rd and 4th person, and we also get the 5th night free which saved us a lot of money staying at Waikiki! Our room’s furnishing looked modern and decent size for the 4 of us. Sorry for the mess LOL, I forgot to take the pictures when we first entered the room!
I like that the vanity sink is located outside of the bathroom so if someone is showering or using the toilet another person can still use the sink. With 4 of us, this is tremendously helpful.
Being a Hilton Gold member, we were “upgraded” to a higher floor room but the view was destructed by the construction next door. You can barely see Diamond Head on the back and the ocean on the right.
After we settled down, we walked to Sweet Home Cafe Waikiki for dinner. On our first trip, we loved their hot pot broths and their free Taiwanese shaved ice dessert so we have been looking forward to returning. I was super happy to see that they have opened a branch at Waikiki so we don’t need to take the car out. I was surprised that no wait when we arrived 🙂
Their broths were as good as before but the meat plate was expensive for the quantity.
The free Taiwanese shaved ice, it was so good! The hot pot cost $108 including tips.
After dinner, we took a stroll down the busy and famous Kalakaua Ave where we visited a few ABC stores to check for the prices of our favorite Macadamia nuts and dried mangos and bought drinks. It was a good way to burn some calories! We went back to the hotel and we were super tired after a whole day traveling to Hawaii. My baby was having jetlag and kicked me to wake me up in the middle of the night to eat (morning time at Boston so she wanted breakfast LOL). We brought buns for our flight and we still have some leftover so I microwaved the bun, eat, and get back to sleep.
The next morning, we woke up early for dim sum at Fook Lam Seafood Restaurant then head to Aloha Stadium Swap Meet. The dim sum at Fook Lam was as yummy as before and cost $55.
Aloha Stadium Swap Meet:
I got some Hawaiian style baby dresses for $9 each 🙂 After we were done with shopping, we drove to Byodo-In Temple but it was raining there…same island but having different weather; it was sunny at Waikiki!
We drove back to downtown for lunch, we went to Mian where we had spice beef noodle soup. It was flavorful!
My mom couldn’t take spiciness so she got a non-spicy noodle soup and the broth was good.
We like that they served free mug-bean “cold soup” as a drink instead of iced water, their cups were so cute too. My mom wouldn’t let me drink the mug-bean drink because it is considered “too cold” according to the Chinese belief that having “cold” food is bad for the baby. Jason was happy to take my cup -.-
The delicious lunch was quite affordable at $59.57 for 4 noodle soups plus free drinks.
After lunch, we tried our luck again at Byodo-In Temple and the rain had stopped 🙂
Next, we headed to Lanikai Beach and it is always a struggle to find parking there! We made a quick visit for photos and leave.
When traveling with my mom, I tried not to overpack and make it as relaxing as possible for her so we headed back to Waikiki and she can just relax and enjoy the world-famous Waikiki Beach. Someone told her that seawater is good to relieve the arthritis pain so she took it seriously and make an effort to dip in Waikiki Beach each day 😀
We were too lazy to get our car to head out for dinner so we stayed at Waikiki and went to Kirin Restaurant, a Chinese restaurant and all I can say is that it’s a tourist trap!
Leftover duck meat after shaved off the skin and some meat for Peking duck. It was not that good.
Their so-call Toishanese style shrimp with black beans…it is really the lobster sauce LOL
Beef with pepper:
The total cost of our no so good dinner: $121. One lesson learned – if you want good Chinese food, you need to get out of the Waikiki area!