August, 2010 Archives

I mentioned that our Gold status got us free breakfast every morning. I LOVE when hotels feed you for free. It’s especially fun when you get to go in the special VIP area – something we have never done before.

People were looking at us weird when we were taking these pictures, but that made it even funnier.

Breakfast was nothing fancy, but it was still awesome. I can’t tell you how much it thrills me to start the day with fresh pineapples and pineapple juice. The muffin was a bonus.

Darek, enjoying his morning coffee:

A different day:

We very much wondered what these were:

Eating breakfast with a view like this = how I want to start every day:

The aquarium:

Toward the end of the trip, we finally walked around the grounds and found all sorts of cool stuff around our resort:





Penguins and turtles:

A blue bird:

A red bird:

Other people taking pictures:

And a Darek:

Hawaii | our hotel

August 30th, 2010

I decided to post our Hawaii pictures categorically rather than chronologically. I thought that might make more sense. And I’ll be posting them in several chunks instead of all at once. For your benefit as well as mine.

I figured it made sense to start with the hotel. But first, some back story:

About 5 years ago, we got a Costco membership. But Costco only accepts American Express, so we got one of those too. I did lots of research and decided to go with the Hilton Honors one. We’ve always loved Hampton Inns (part of the Hilton family) for their consistent quality, free breakfast, and free internet, so earning points to stay at those for free sounded good (yeah I know that sounds like an ad, but honestly, I recommend them all the time. We are that pleased with them). We started putting all of our purchases on the AmEx, big and small – bills, groceries, gas, home repairs, car repairs, surgeries, etc. (I realize this is potentially sounding bad, so I’ll state right now that we have ALWAYS paid off the balance every single month, so we have never paid interest on any of it. I do not believe in credit card debt, AT ALL. So we don’t have any.)

But, 5 years of large and small purchases added up to a lot of Hilton points, and our goal was always to save up for 6 nights at a Hilton resort in Hawaii. We actually made it to that goal a few years ago, but couldn’t afford the airfare (seriously, you could almost fly to London for what it costs to fly to Hawaii). Then our photography assistant decided to get married in Oahu, the same island of one of the 2 Hiltons we had the points to stay at for a week. And I could write off the plane tickets as a business expense. So, after 5 years, we were finally getting our Hawaii trip! We could barely believe we were finally going after so many years of planning but not being sure how to pay for the rest of the trip.

By this point we had made our way up to Gold status with our card, so upon check-in we were upgraded from the back of the very large resort to the front, with an ocean view instead of a view of the city. SO EXCITING. It also got us free breakfast every day. This was all a pretty big deal for us, because this is not how either one of us traveled growing up or since then.

And that’s the story of how we could stay here, at the Hilton Hawaiin Village resort in Oahu, Hawaii.

This is the very front of the resort. As I mentioned, it was huge. It took about 10 minutes to walk through the whole thing.

The grounds were very well designed and maintained:

This is the tower we stayed in (though we were on the other side) on the 15th floor:

Another view of the hotel and the one(s)(?) next to it, from the main beach:

The front of our tower (left) and another view:

Our room was nothing special, but it was nice enough:

We were super excited to be able to watch the series of finale of Lost on the island where it was filmed, with a view of the marina where several of the scenes were filmed, no less. Darek got us all set up with pizza and chairs for the big event:

It made me laugh:

Our view from the balcony. This is the marina where several Lost scenes were filmed:

Me conducting business while enjoying the view:

The hotel had a lagoon but we never made it down there. Looked like it was mostly for little kids and people learning to stand-up paddle board:

More views from the balcony:

We really loved the balcony. Can you tell?

This is the beach in front of the resort. We really weren’t impressed. Again, I think it was more for families with young kids. There weren’t any waves. We only spent an hour or two there one day.

One of the pools, which we only went to once:

The windows in the elevator area:

Darek in the elevator:

We have more pictures to post from around the hotel, but I think this is good for one day. More later!

Hawaii | getting there

August 17th, 2010

Hawaii is far away. You could fly to London in about the same amount of time. The difference is that they actually feed you on the way to London. Lesson learned.

waiting at the airport:

we visited heather & daniel at the other end of the terminal:

riding the monorail tram thing is fun:

early in the journey (before the hunger):

first view of Hawaii from the plane:

since our first plane was broken, we got 2 guava juices:

we got a free upgrade to an ocean view because of our fancy credit card status:


the view at night:

we could see the evening luau across from our room:

Next: the Wedding Day