Carrie and I opted to upgrade our breakfasts to the “full American breakfast” and had custom omelets made while we had some fresh fruit and coffee. The pineapple in particular was spectacular!
We talked to the hotel concierge and arranged to get a rental car from a local agency. We didn’t realize that the cars were all SmartCars, though, which was an adventure in and of itself. Our entire drive only took a gallon and a half of gas. After making arrangements for the rest of the stay, we went to get our car.
The first step on our exploration was the Dole Plantation. It was only an hour drive from Waikiki, which was not bad at all. Though the car lacked Bluetooth, the rental agency provided GPS devices with all their vehicles.
The plantation offered a guided train tour, the Pineapple Express, as well as a self-guided garden tour. The train tour was very informative and offered a brief history of the plantation as well as pineapple production in general. Unfortunately, they had recently picked the last crop so we weren’t able to see any ripe fruit in the plantation itself.
The last stop for the day was the Haleiwa on the north shore of Hawaii. The beach here was wonderful, and though it was in the low 80s, the breeze coming from the ocean made it feel much cooler.
This is the first post of a series so bear with me!
For Christmas this year, I wanted to do something special, so I used two of my regional upgrade certificates to fly my girlfriend and myself to Honolulu first class. These certificates are available from Delta after reaching Platinum or Diamond Medallion status as Delta Choice Benefits, and can be used on most paid fares. The tricky thing is that it does not guarantee your upgrade, but you do get a higher priority than others (including those with the Delta Reserve SkyMiles card).
RDU → LAX
The first flight on the way to Honolulu was on a Boeing 737-800, and we managed to get cleared for first class well before the day of departure. The great thing about that is that we were able to request special meals for our flight.
The omelet that came with our breakfasts was full of spinach, and the asparagus was cooked well. The only questionable part were the potatoes which were severely dehydrated.
Though we didn’t have in-flight entertainment on our first flight (outside of Delta Studio, which doesn’t work on most Android phones), the ride was smooth and the flight attendants were excellent.
LAX → HNL
Our second flight was on one of Delta’s 737-300s using their “Hawaii” configuration. Our upgrade certificates didn’t clear us until we were about to board, so we weren’t able to request a special meal in advance, but we were surprised by Mai Tais!
The flight crew really made the trip wonderful. They were extremely attentive and made sure my girlfriend and I were always comfortable.
The meal choice was between stuffed ravioli in a red sauce or grilled chicken with cheese on a bed of rice. I went with the chicken and Carrie went with the ravioli. The chicken was surprisingly juicy for an airplane meal, but the ravioli was mediocre.
First class on this flight had individual screens, and we were able to watch the original Ocean’s Eleven (with the Rat Pack!) as we ate, which was a treat. The AmazonBasics tangle-free headphones[affiliate link] I always travel with was much better than the prepackaged headphones offered. It’s an added bonus that you never have to feel bad about misplacing a pair thanks to their pricing! 😉
Though there wasn’t a shuttle offered by the hotel, they did have an arrangement with SpeediShuttle to transport guests at a reduced rate. I checked in online prior to arrival at the DoubleTree Alana so all we had to do was pick up our keys (and cookies!).
As a Hilton Diamond, Carrie and I were given free breakfast vouchers with the option to upgrade to a full breakfast for only $8. We were also given premium internet access codes.
When checking in, I opted to upgrade for only $60/night to their one room penthouse suite. Though Hilton points are not the most valuable, if you book early enough, you can get some very nice deals! The final cost for me was 50,000 points and $60 per night for the penthouse suite.
More posts to come as I move pictures from my phone and get readjusted to home!