This year I have been traveling a lot more and watching my elite qualifying dollars and miles go up quickly. My airline of choice is American Airlines. By the end of the year, I was going to be so close to executive platinum status. Due to the systemwide upgrades offered with EP status, I decided to take an extra couple of trips in the hope of achieving top tier status. If you would have asked me about this a year ago, I could tell you very little. It wasn’t until this year that I started looking into what the different levels meant and how each level differs. Below, I am going to share with you my weekend in Honolulu. I flew in Friday evening and left early Sunday morning …. so I had to make the most of it. I have been to Honolulu a couple of times in the past, but this time I saw some new sights that were amazing.

Our hotel: The Laylow Autograph Collection. This is a part of Marriott. Since our stay was just two nights, we opted for this inexpensive property. Our rate was $177/night. It was not beachfront, but it was within walking distance to prime shopping and about 2 blocks from the water. For a short trip, it was great. The crowd here was definitely younger, and it did seem to be more of a “party” hotel. The first night we arrived around 11pm. They gave us the “only room available” which was on floor 3. I was not happy with this and requested a room change for the next evening. Our view on floor three was a roof and into a parking garage. The next evening we moved to floor 11, which I thought was much better. We had a nice view looking down onto the pool. My travel mate has status with Marriott, and we had a welcome basket waiting in the room with flip flops, sweet potato chips, candies, chocolate, etc. It was a nice addition of local products. This hotel was great for an abbreviated trip. If you are looking for a more lengthy relaxing trip, I would suggest a larger beachfront property.

The next morning, we woke up early and took a Lyft to the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve. There is a shuttle service that is offered as well with snorkeling gear. Shuttle cost is $25/person and leaves at three times in the morning. You have a specific return time. We wanted freedom to leave at any time and were not necessarily interested in snorkeling. The price of our Lyft was about $28. When you arrive, admission price is about $8 and you are required to watch a video prior to being escorted to the path that you walk down to get to the bay. It was beautiful and a nice relaxing way to spend the morning. Not too far outside the bay entrance, you will see koko head crater. There is a hiking trail that runs straight up the side. We felt it was a little hot out, but it may be something enjoyable earlier in the morning when it isn’t as warm.

Our next stop was Manoa Falls. A friend of mine visited the falls when she was on a trip the week earlier and enjoyed it, so we decided to give it a try. There is no admission price. At the beginning of the trail before the parking lot, there is a snack stand and public restrooms. It rained the day before and we read the trail does get muddy. This is not a joke. It was very muddy and at some parts extremely slippery. Be careful. I had on my Golden Goose sneakers, and they looked pretty disgusting by the time we were finished. My recommendation would be worn in shoes that you feel comfortable getting dirty. Fortunately, after some time in the bathroom with hand soap and paper towel, I was able to get my shoes clean. I think that beach or workout attire with some tennis shoes is the best for this hike. There were multiple people in flip flops, which I think would have made things difficult.

Lunch time! We did some restaurant research ahead of time and decided for lunch at Piggy Smalls. After hiking Manoa Falls, we were both starving. I was ready for a cocktail as well. The drinks were great and the food was fantastic. I think this is a great casual spot for lunch or a laid back dinner. I had the quiche and my travel mate the pho-strami dip. For an appetizer, we had the “breads and spreads”. Get this! It was the perfect appetizer. We tried all of the spreads. I was a little worried about the watermelon rind, curry, and mustard seed, but it ended up being one of my favorites.

After lunch, we went for a walk along Waikiki beach. It was nice to have some exercise after the meal. Our next stop was at Duke’s along Waikiki beach for a cocktail. I have been here previously and enjoyed sipping drinks and looking out at the water. On this particular Saturday, the place was absolutely packed. We were able to secure a spot at the bar after some standing and enjoyed a cocktail. Because of the crowd, we stayed for just one. We left and browsed some of the shops close by. It was getting pretty late in the day, so we headed back to the hotel to move hotel rooms and relax before dinner.

We made a last minute decision to try Fete for dinner. The menu looked appealing online; however, I cannot recommend this restaurant. The cocktail list was brief, and my drink was okay. The first part of meal was the deviled eggs and then coconut lime prawns. Both of these were actually good. They were out of a couple of menu items that we wanted to try, which was disappointing. The biggest disappointment turned out to be the entree that we chose to split. It was the twice fried ludovico chicken. In cutting into the chicken, it was undercooked. The waitress took our plate and brought back a much smaller plate with just a chicken breast and minimal side accompaniments. When we cut into this, it was undercooked even worse than the first dish. At this point, I was really over the experience. The wait staff was generally unfriendly, and we didn’t even seem to have a designated waitress. She took the dish away and said it would be no charge. After sitting a little longer, a manager finally came over and offered us another dish at no charge. I did appreciate this. We decided on the risotto. It was rather underwhelming as well.

Due to an early flight the next morning, we headed back to the hotel for bed to be up around 5am for our flight back. It was overall a great day in Honolulu!

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