Sunday, March 29, 2015

Hawaii Trip Report Part 11: Last Day in Hawaii

Trip Report so far:

Vacation Video
Part 1: Getting There
Part 2: Hiking Diamond Head Crater
Part 3: First Day at Aulani 
Part 4: Tuesday in Hawaii (Girls Version)
Part 5: Tuesday in Hawaii (Boys Version)
Part 6: Dole Plantation and the North Shore
Part 7: Out to Sea
Part 8: Friday at Aulani
Part 9: Kualoa Ranch
Part 10: Picnic on the Beach and Waikiki

Part 11: Last Day in Hawaii

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Our flight didn't leave until 3:10 p.m., so we still had a good chunk of the day to spend in Waikiki. We requested a late check-out and got it. We had $40 of hotel credit that we could use towards breakfast, and we were able to get all of us fed for that amount at the Starbucks in the lobby of our tower.

What to do on our last day in Hawaii? I really wanted to take the Hawaii Duck Tour or visit the Bishop Museum (it would be free for us since we were members of the Perot Museum in Dallas). But we decided to just enjoy the pools and beach near our hotel.

We definitely did not want to go back to the freezing pool from yesterday, so we walked a few blocks (still in our hotel "village") and went to the Paradise Pool. This pool is the kid-friendly pool with water slides.

The kids posed for a few photos on our way to the pool:

We asked at the front desk for the hours of the pool and the slides, and the employee told us that both opened at 8:00 a.m. We arrived at 8:00 a.m. since of course we had already been up for a few hours.

Unfortunately, the front desk was wrong, and the slides didn't open until 10:00 a.m. The pool was also not heated and was very cold.

So we enjoyed the hot tub for a bit:

The employee at the towel check booth at this pool told us that our middle son was too short to ride the slides unless he had arm bands or a life vest. He said the slides dumped into 8 to 10 feet deep water. They didn't have any life vests to rent or borrow, we had to buy him some arm bands. Which is why in subsequent photos he is wearing those.

Also, the pool towel attendant was really stoned and was smoking weed in the hut by the pool. Nice.
Brian went to check out the "super pool" in a different location to see if it would be better for the kids, but it didn't seem to be. We got bored waiting for the slides to open so we walked to the beach. We walked around Duke's Lagoon.

I was surprised it had fish in it!
And we spent some time at the beach:

Around 10 a.m., we went back to the pool so that the boys could try the slides. And at the end of the slides it was only 4 feet deep. This enclosed tunnel slide was the most fun since it was faster.
More hot tub time after the cold water:

We headed back to our room around 10:30 so that we could shower and change and check out by noon. It took us a while to get back to our room because an employee gave us wrong directions. Honestly, we were not overly impressed with the Hilton Hawaiian Village. Compared to Aulani, it was much less kid-friendly (no zero-entry pools, longer walk to other towers for food and pools). And we much preferred other parts of Oahu over the Waikiki/Honolulu area. But the hotel had a lot of amenities compared to other hotels in the Waikiki area.

We made it to the airport on time and had no issues with our flight. Our return tickets were on Hawaiian Airlines. Our plane was so much more comfortable than our American Airlines airplane that we had going to Oahu. The Hawaiian Airlines plane had more legroom, we were served a meal and each seat had a video screen with on-demand movies. I paid $4.99 for Alyssa to have the keiki movie package, which included several Disney movies and shows.

We had a good view of the island as we departed:

Farewell, Hawaii! Until next time!
We had a layover in Las Vegas. Our flight landed around midnight, but our luggage was delayed due to airport issues. Alyssa fell asleep while we waited for our luggage.
We took a taxi to a nearby Hyatt Place that I reserved on Hyatt points. It was a big room for the 5 of us, and it had a free breakfast. Our final flight from Las Vegas to Dallas was on Southwest.

On this final 3 hour flight, Alyssa finally slept on the plane.

Sigh....I guess this vacation is really over, now that I've finished the trip report. :(
I think I have the post-vacation blues. I spent so much time and effort to make this trip happen--the miles and points strategy, researching what we should do with our limited time on Oahu, etc. And the anticipation from my entire family of traveling somewhere new to all of us--it's hard to adjust to the current time when we don't have a big trip to Hawaii to look forward to!

During one of our date dinners, Brian and I discussed how we now understand what attracts people to Hawaii. It's beautiful (stunning, actually), has a lot of diverse activities, the locals are super friendly...and it has the familiarity of being part of the USA (same traffic laws, language, money, no passports required, etc.). Before our trip, we didn't really "get it."

We'd like to go back to Hawaii in 3-5 years. My ideal Hawaii trip would be 5-6 days in Maui (for a smaller-town feel) followed by 4-5 days on Oahu (at Aulani).

Thanks for reading about our Hawaiian vacation, and let me know if you have any questions about our trip. :)