My husband and I love Hawaii… we’ve been there several times, since Hawaiian Airlines makes it so easy with direct flights from as far away as New York, where we live. This time around, however, our trip was extra special, as it was our 5-year wedding anniversary.
We started our trip in Honolulu… normally we rent a car and do a little island exploring on the North Shore and various spots along the coast. This time around, however, we decided to just stay in Honolulu… Waikiki to be exact. We stayed at the centrally located Marriott Waikiki Hotel and found ourselves dining in one of their hotel restaurants that first night, Sansei, where we enjoyed an incredible sushi and Japanese dinner at happy hour prices!
The rest of our time in Honolulu, we met up with some friends in some of the nearby gay bars, including Hula’s, Bacchus and Scarlet, all within walking distance in Waikiki. We also met up with some friends at the gorgeous Swell Bar, on the 5th floor of the Alohilani Hotel, overlooking their pool and a gorgeous sunset. Coincidentally, this hotel happened to be the hot spot just a week before, hosting the Honolulu Pride pool party with the folks from GayIslandGuide.com and some Andrew Christian models from LA.
For a unique dining experience, we took the advice of a friend and headed over to the Ala Moana mall the next day for lunch, where after a few escalator trips down, found the Shirokiya Japan Village Walk… a series of small restaurants all together, with every type of Japanese food to be discovered!
We wrapped up our Honolulu trip by taking an Uber out to Roy’s original restaurant in Hawaii. Roy’s is something of an institution in Hawaii, and their first restaurant in the Hawaii Kai neighborhood on Kalanianaʻole Hwy is unique among their other locations, with a seafood menu to die for!
The next day we flew to the Big Island, staying at the Fairmont Orchid resort, just north of Kona. This time we rented a car, and although we were able to spend a lot of relaxing quality time at the Fairmont, including trying yoga for our first time, we decided to take some mini-road trips around the island as well. Our first jaunt took us north to Hawi, where we enjoyed some of the best sushi anywhere in the world at a little hole-in-the-wall restaurant called Sushi Rock. Their unique rolls are a culinary treat!
Post lunch, we HAD to have a Kona iced coffee across the street at the Kohala Coffee Mill, to fuel us up on our short drive across the hills to the Waimea Valley, home of the world-renowned Waimea beef. We didn’t stop for a steak dinner just yet, reserving that for another night at our hotel later that week.
In addition to road tripping, we also took a hike to check out the Puako Petroglyph Park, which took us from the coast into a dry Hawaiian jungle to a field of ancient petroglyphs. We also decided to explore just south of Kona, near the town of Captain Cook, where we found a number of Kona coffee plantations and stops along the way. It’s like wine tasting in Napa, but with coffee, Hawaiian style!
We ended our trip watching the sunset in Kona, at the Mi’s Waterfront Bistro, enjoying Hawaiian-influenced Italian food and watching a cruise ship head to its next port.
Hawaii is truly a magical place… we look forward to our next trip, exploring yet again the beauty of this tropical paradise!
Matt Skallerud and Richard Brower enjoy eating well and traveling more! They met while they were both an active part of the IGLTA team, and are married and now live in New York City. Richard’s talents are finding incredible flight deals from JFK to points all over the world, as well as locating the best eateries along the way. Matt is part of Pink Banana Media, Pink Banana World and the #ILoveGay network, and enjoys merging his personal and professional worlds along the way on these trips.