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aulani

Discussion in 'DVC Resorts' started by 3 DD love princesses, Feb 6, 2017.

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  1. 3 DD love princesses

    3 DD love princesses Elite Member

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    ok so anyone who has been what is a must do and if you have time try to do for a first and only trip to Hawaii? going in a couple weeks and just trying to see what are must dos and if you have time try to do.

    keep checking and availability tool says there's availability but when you go to book it its not available. where would you stay if you couldn't get into Aulani?
    thanks for any suggestions
     
  2. Russ

    Russ Site Administrator Staff Member Site Administrator

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    This is a really hard question - even harder than asking "what should I do at Disney World" :) - there are so many things to explore in Hawaii, making it especially hard if you only have one trip to experience it. Given that context, as much as I love Aulani (it's our favorite DVC resort), I would suggest minimizing your stay there. There are simply too many other things to do in Hawaii, and Aulani will suck you in and you'll never leave. At a minimum, I would split your stay between two islands, e.g. fly into Oahu, stay at Aulani for a few nights, then do an intra-island flight to another island and fly back home from that island (intra-island flights are about $90/person + baggage fees). As far as what to do while on Oahu, I would do a trip to Honolulu, stopping at Pearl Harbor, then going on to Diamond Head, and ending up in Waikiki for a day at the beach or dinner (e.g. Duke's). If you are early risers (parking lot fills up early), you can get to prime snorkeling at Hanauma bay past Diamond head, then work your way back to Diamond head, Waikiki for lunch, then Pearl Harbor. Another day trip would be heading north, stopping at Dole Plantation, then on to the North Shore (shopping, surfing). I've heard great things about the Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC) which you could do as part of this trip, but would probably take most of the rest of the day, ending in a Lu'au at PCC. I'd spend the rest of my stay on Oahu enjoying Aulani. As far as other islands, it depends what you want to do. Kauai is a beautiful, lush tropical island and is very driveable (can cover the entire island in half a day). The Napali Coast and Waimea Canyon alone are worth the price of admission. Kauai is the best island to do a Helicopter ride given the lush, tropical rainforests and waterfalls which are largely inaccessible by foot. Kauai also has some of the best local food -- e.g. diners for breakfast, plate lunch, etc. The downside to Kauai is its size. After 2 days you've pretty much covered it. It also doesn't have great beaches IMO. They are scattered throughout and can be a bit choppy in winter since they aren't very protected. Maui is the most popular island, largely due to it's plethora of nice beaches and resorts, but as a result, it's also the most crowded, which means lines at restaurants, traffic, etc. The road to Hana is often sighted as one of the main attractions, but if you don't like driving behind slow people, you'll end up feeling like you were stuck in traffic for 2 hours, only to turn around and come back (there is no destination - the journey is the destination :)). Big Island is our personal favorite Island, because unlike Maui and Oahu it's not busy and crowded, and unlike Kauai it's big enough to have plenty to explore for a week. That said, you have to get out to find sights at Big Island. You land in a lava field in Kona, and think OMG this is desolate and barren, and this puts a lot of people off. However, just north of Kona is the Kohala Coast, which has the nicest resorts and beaches in the world IMO (e.g. Mauna Kea Beach, Hapuna Beach). We stay at Waikoloa (not a great beach, but only timeshares in Big Island, and plenty of restaurants, etc.), then typically head out to Hapuna or Mauna Kea beaches and day trips (Waipo Valley, Pololu Valley, Akaka Falls, Waimea, Hilo, Mauna Kea Observatory, Volcano, Kona coffee planations, etc.). Perfect beaches, lots of nice resorts with ocean side dinner (Fairmont Orchid, Mauna Kea, etc.), lot of day trips. Pretty much everything you can see on all the other islands are on the Big Island, but spread out. So, if you like the slower pace, less busy, and meandering then Big Island is for you. At the end of the day, you can't go wrong. I would suggest the blue "revealed" books (e.g "Big Island Revealed") for planning your adventures.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2017
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  3. luaulei321

    luaulei321 Veteran Member

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    If I couldn't get in to Aulani, I'd personally go to Maui. ;) If you want to visit the Ko'Olina area, you can check out the Marriott property next door. Waikiki is way too crowded and not very Hawaii-like for me, so I have no desire to stay there.

    Diamond Head, Pearl Harbor, Hanauma Bay, and Waikiki (for sightseeing) are all popular options to visit. Ala Moana has a new Japan Village Walk food area that was fun to walk around and was a little reminiscent of a Japanese pavilion-type of place. Lots of food stations cooking up all kinds of Japanese cuisine with open seating that is themed to look like you could be in Japan.

    Leonard's is a must-do for malasadas (Portuguese donuts). The malasada trucks are great if you can't make it to the real location in Waikiki. Only buy what you think you will eat right away as they don't taste the same later.
     
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  4. 3 DD love princesses

    3 DD love princesses Elite Member

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    flying into HNL DH has work for a few days then we will have fri - sun and fly out sun evening. may have thur if they get done early. right now we are staying at a hotel in waikiki beach for his work part. still looking at where to stay for the end of our trip.
     
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  5. 3 DD love princesses

    3 DD love princesses Elite Member

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    flights are cheap it was almost 1300 for this flight so want to make sure we can experience as much as we can this trip plus not sure if mom would be willing to watch the girls again last trip was a lot for her and somehow talked her into this trip :)

    it was hard paying for one flight knowing that all 5 of us could have flown round trip to DW for half of my flight to HI.
     
  6. luaulei321

    luaulei321 Veteran Member

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    For work stuff I certainly wouldn't dissuade you from staying in Waikiki. You can certainly find enough things to keep busy while he's occupied with work stuff, and the buses should make it relatively convenient to get around. Ala Moana on its own is a huge shopping mall that can eat up a lot of time. They have a massive food court that is completely separate from the Japan Village Walk that I previously mentioned. Dukes in Waikiki offers decent food. I recommend the Hula Pie dessert there. :)

    Aulani is a beautiful property. If you see any availability open up there, I do not think you would be disappointed. Their spa consistently gets great reviews. If paying cash, the Marriott next door is likely to be a lot cheaper. It would be an easy walk to get to Aulani, but you'd be blocked from using the pool if staying elsewhere.
     
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  7. 3 DD love princesses

    3 DD love princesses Elite Member

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    yeah Aulani has been showing an opening but when I click to get it its not working. by the time I get MS on the phone its gone again. so the one person said its a glitch in their system on my end which is odd to me.
     
  8. luaulei321

    luaulei321 Veteran Member

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    I completely missed Russ' post earlier. Lots of excellent information, some of which I unintentionally overlapped on. :tu:
     
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  9. luaulei321

    luaulei321 Veteran Member

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    Have you tried a different browser or device?
     
  10. Russ

    Russ Site Administrator Staff Member Site Administrator

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    If you are staying in Waikiki, that's a good base to explore Hanauma Bay (snorkeling), Diamond Head, and Pearl Harbor. Then, staying at Aulani makes perfect sense for the rest of the trip (to enjoy Aulani, the beach, and a day trip up to Dole Plantation/North Shore/PCC). If Aulani is sold out, you can do VRBO, Redweeks, etc. at the Marriott's Ko Olina Beach Club (Marriott Vacation Club, which unfortunately doesn't use RCI, so you can't exchange with DVC). Speaking of RCI, you can exchange into HGVC, but those are all located in Waikiki.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2017

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