Hawaii is the new Fiji

IMG_8311Fiji has been the family bolt hole for as long as I can remember.  3 hours and 40 minutes and you are poolside, cocktail in hand and a world away.

Particularly with under 5’s in the party, Fiji is the obvious go to place for the New Zealand mid winter getaway.  That is, it was.  We have had years of fantastic holidays in Fiji but now, there is no going back.

Enter Hawaii and suddenly the game has changed.  Increased costs and taxes in Fiji teamed with increased flights to Hawaii and decreased costs getting there, the magic of Hawaii has shunted Fiji into a distant second place.

IMG_7860For not much more, you have all the summer warmth in the middle of winter, shopping, great hotels, fanastic service, lots of activities and for the small person – a Disney store.

If you love the vibe of Denerau, you’ll feel right at home in Ko’Olina a small lagoon based community 30 minutes West of Waikiki.  Condo’s, hotels, safe swimming lagoons, local shops and restaurants, a sprawling golf course and a short trip into the heart of Waikiki.

Then there are the seemingly endless islands to discover, each with a distict personality and vibe.

If you have toyed with the idea of Hawaii, go.

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My top tips

  1. First timers stay in Waikiki for at least some of the trip.  It’s madness but its part of the vibe and island life.  For a quieter haven try the Haleklani right on the beach.  Bang in the middle of the action but a world away.
  2. Definately explore the islands if you have time.  You’ll struggle to beat swimming with turtles off Wailea beach on Maui, especially if you are lucky enough to be staying at the Four Seasons.  Each island has its own unique vibe.  Pick the one that suits you best.  For us, its Maui.  Safe swimming beaches, easy with kids and still lots to explore.IMG_7868
  3. For a Denerau feel – head to Ko’Olina 25 minutes West of Waikiki.  Think rolling golf course, lagoon style beaches (man made but still beautiful), great options for food and accomodation and perfect for children.  Pick of the hotels would be the Four Seasons, but if you have small people then it will be hard to go past the Disney resort.
  4. Pay the money to stay in the top hotels.  It’s worth it – the Four Seasons have 5 properties in Hawaii and every one is as fantastic as you would expect.  Watch out for the additional tax and valet carparking costs and yes, you’ll have to tip.   We book in the cheapest room and ask for an upgrade.  If they can, they will and how much time do you spend in your room anyway?IMG_7888

5.  If you have kids and you are in Waikiki, the Disney store in the Ala Moana Mall has a neat little opening event each day at 9.30am.  If your small person is first in line, they get to “open imagination”.  Its a whole lot of fuss, lead by a team member, a massive key and a lot of singing, and then  your little person gets to open the store.  You don’t need to be that early to be front of the queue (think 15 -30 minutes tops) and they get a little momento and their own special moment in the sun.

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