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Bellows Field Beach Park in Waimanalo is arguably Oahu's best beach for surf-and-sand lovers.
O'AHU VISITORS BUREAU
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BY GEORGE HOBICA
I'll state right away that Hawaii is one of my favorite places.
I'm pretty much over the Caribbean, and although the Maldives and Fiji have beautiful beaches, getting there is expensive and time-consuming. So when it comes time for balmy weather, surf, sand and relaxation, it's the Hawaiian Islands.
I'm often asked by first-timers which island(s) one should visit. I say visit them all. They're all uniquely beautiful. If you're flying all that way, you might as well make the most of it, especially if it's your first visit.
I love the Big Island with its varied ecosystems: peaceful Lanai (recently purchased by software billionaire Larry Ellison and home to two outstanding Four Seasons Resorts, the Lodge at Koele and Manele Bay); gorgeous Kauai, with some of the best hiking in the islands; and Maui, especially the idyllic town of Hana.
But on my recent visit I confined myself to Oahu.
Some Hawaii repeat visitors advise to shun Oahu, where Honolulu is located, because it's a bit too bustling and "urban." But if you haven't visited Honolulu lately, you might be in for a surprise.
Sure, some things never change, such as the iconic Halekulani Resort. (Well, that's not exactly true: Oahu's best hotel has undergone a massive renovation and looks better than ever).
As is true about all of Honolulu's top hotels, the Halekulani is all about relaxation. I had one of the best massages in my life at the spa, and I can't think of anything more relaxing than sipping a Mai Tai at the House Without a Key, listening to the sounds of Wayne Shishido and his Sunset Serenaders as waves lap against the shore. But you don't have to spend a lot to sleep comfortably.
I also stayed at the budget-minded, centrally located Holiday Inn Beachcomber, and was perfectly happy there as well, and was also impressed by glam and stylish Modern Hotel (originally developed by hotelier Ian Schrager but now under new management). Another fairly new entrant, the Trump Hotel Waikiki, is winning rave reviews over at TripAdvisor.com. (tripadvi
On my recent June weeklong stay I also visited, but did not stay at, Aulani, the new Disney resort on Oahu.