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Old 08-04-2019, 03:06 AM   #4666
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Hi all,

I am planning for a Hawaii trip end of this year with wife and family - all adults.
Oh dude, happy to help. Hawaii is MY JAM.

I'm guessing the Honolulu Marathon dates are kind of locked in, so let's work around that.

I'll be honest: I'm not a huge fan of Oahu! The North Shore is kinda nice; hiking Diamond Head is pretty (though if you're talking about hiking Sliding Sands, Diamond Head won't be challenging at all); and the Polynesian Cultural Center is cool, but... it's crowded, it's tough to get around, and Waikiki isn't really that great a beach!

So I'm going to recommend going straight to the Big Island, and giving yourself an extra day there and on Maui, because there's plenty to do on each side of the Big Island (I notice you're not explicitly visiting Hilo, which, trust me, would be a big loss).

How about this:

1) Day 1: arrive in Honolulu; fly straight to Hilo (ITO). Check in to your hotel and chill out. Maybe head to the farmers' market downtown for some amazing fresh fruit and veggies. Spend a few days in Hilo; spend a day up at the volcano; relax and decompress. If you're really feeling ambitious, you can head up to the observatories on top of Mauna Kea and see some stars (pack warm, though: it can snow up there!).

2) Day 3 or 4: Do a leisurely drive over to Kailua-Kona. You can go one of three ways, but I really, really love the south road through Na'alehu, for a few reasons:
  • You can stop at the Punalu'u Bake Shop and pick up some amazing Hawaiian sweet bread;
  • Stop by the Ka'u Coffee Mill; go for a tour and pick up some coffee, grown and roasted right there on the farm;
  • If you've got time for a side trip, there are the gorgeous green and black sand beaches not far south of Na'alehu, right near the southernmost point in all of the USA. Totally worth a side trip.

Leave a full day for this drive, I promise you won't regret it. It's just so chill... you can sit in the lil' bake shop in Na'alehu, look out over the greenery, and fantasise about packing it all in, buying a little apartment down here where it's always quiet and relaxed and warm and just going surfing every day and maybe catching up on all those books you've been meaning to read... no? Just me? Anyway.

3) Spend a couple of days in Kailua-Kona. I'm not as much a fan of this side of the island, but it has its moments; the drive all the way up to Hawi is nice if you're looking for a day trip; you can snorkel with manta rays off the Sheraton Keauhou; and there are some decent beaches as well. But really, what you're looking forward to is...

4) Fly from Kona airport (KOA) to Maui-Kahului (OGG). Maui is absolutely the best island. I usually recommend staying over on the west side around Ka'anapali, because the snorkeling's amazing (if you stay at the Westin Maui you can literally walk in right off the beach and start snorkeling. There are turtles everywhere!) and it's close to Lahaina.

You can:
* Drive the Road to Hana. It's an all-day thing, but it's so worth it.
* Visit some farms in the upcountry. There are some farms that'll even cook you lunch on-site using ingredients freshly plucked from the ground.
* Visit Lahaina, which is a very cool little town;
* Do a luau; they're better here than in Oahu, is my personal take.

5) Fly from Kahului to Honolulu. Give yourself a day of prep; run the race; recover. Have fun!

- Ala Moana Center (Hawaii's biggest mall)
It's a mall. There's really nothing special there. The shopping's better in Lahaina anyway. (see below re: outlets of Maui).

- Tropical Farms (Macadamia nuts)
The farms are better in Maui, trust me on this.

Sights/Activities shortlisted for Hawai'i
1) Haiwai'I Volcanoes National Park
I'm going to say don't do the sunrise lava tour. Unless you get lucky and the flow changes, there's not a lot of flow in the park at the moment, and what flow there is is a hell of a long hike to get to.

2) Mauna Kea - Highest Peak, Hike Up (Jeep option available), Stargazing (potential altitude sickness)
Jesus, hiking up Mauna Kea? I didn't even know you could do that! But if you're in the sort of shape that can run marathons, you won't have trouble with altitude sickness.

3) Waipi'o Valley - Not sure if it is that scenic
4) Night Diving and Snorkeling with Mantas (we can only snorkel though, not sure if still can see the Mantas)
You absolutely can, I've done this before. The mantas come to you.

1) Haleakala National Park
- Keonehe'ehe'e aka Sliding Sands Trail
- Summit for sunrise
- Stargazing
Sunrise at Haleakala is overrated. You'll be up at two in the morning or thereabouts, and then when it's done you'll have to get back down and figure out the rest of your day.

A better bet for Haleakala is the bike ride downhill! I've used Bike Maui before, and they were perfectly good; they drive you up to the summit, let you wander around and explore, then drop you off just outside the national park entrance and let you ride back down. The self-guided tour is a good bet, because there's plenty of amazing places to stop for lunch on the way back down. Also, the tour starts at 8am, so you don't have to get up at like two in the morning and mess with your sleep schedule.

3) Boat tours to Lana'i island
5) Submarine tours (Atlantis Submarines Maui)
Can I recommend squishing these two together? Trilogy Tours (which leaves out of Lahaina, so it's convenient if you're staying in Kaanapali) will, I think, let you do both. They offer snorkeling tours to Lanai, with an island bus tour as well.

4) Road to Hana
Oh yeah, definitely. Stop over in Pa'ia on the way out to pick up some snacks, and on the way back for some pizza at Flatbread Pizza Co.

It's worth going beyond Hana to the back side of Haleakala National Park, because there's an amazing hike up into the hills (the Pipiwai Trail) out there.

And keep an eye out on the road for Coconut Glen's for some superb coconut ice-cream not far from Hana itself.
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Old 08-04-2019, 08:24 AM   #4667
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Oh, that's perfect - those dates are super cheap. If you really wanted to lash out, you can get the Four Seasons for $350/nt.

San Francisco is difficult because of all the conventions that occasionally blast in and take up every hotel room in downtown, on random days in April or September or October. But December is almost always quiet. For those dates (20-25 Dec) you can basically have your pick: on Expedia I'm seeing the Westin St Francis for about $160/nt, and really if the Westin is an option you should absolutely go for it. If you want something a little quieter, the Park Central over on Third Street is $134/nt, which is an absolute steal.
Thks so much! Will you hv any idea whether Westin or Park Central comes with coin operated laundry?
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Old 08-04-2019, 11:14 AM   #4668
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Thks so much! Will you hv any idea whether Westin or Park Central comes with coin operated laundry?
Westin - called no coin operated laundry service. Price little higher for 2 adult 2 little ones. No laundromat on site at the park too. Hilton San Francisco Union Square Also no laundromat, Expedia info not accurate, front desk canít go wrong


Hampton Inn San Francisco Downtown/Convention Center At us$170 has laundry. See pic below
https://hamptoninn3.hilton.com/en/hotels/california/hampton-inn-san-francisco-downtown-convention-center-SFOCCHX/index.html?SEO_id=GMB-HP-SFOCCHX
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Last edited by patryn33; 08-04-2019 at 11:30 AM..
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Old 08-04-2019, 03:42 PM   #4669
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Hi all,

I am planning for a Hawaii trip end of this year with wife and family - all adults.

Wonder if anybody has any comments and suggestions to improve it?

Currently, I am giving around 5 days each to O'ahu, Hawai'i and Maui.

Here is the brief itinerary:

24-Nov Sat - Arrival at Honolulu, O'ahu
24-Nov Sun - O'ahu (Capital Island) Day 1
25-Nov Mon - O'ahu (Capital Island) Day 2
26-Nov Tue - Fly to Kailua, Hawai'i (Big Island) Day 1
27-Nov Wed - Hawai'i (Big Island) Day 2
28-Nov Thu - Hawai'i (Big Island) Day 3 - Thanksgiving Day
29-Nov Fri - Hawai'i (Big Island) Day 4 - Black Friday
30-Nov Sat - Hawai'i (Big Island) Day 5
1-Dec Sun - Fly to Kalului, Maui Island - Day 1
2-Dec Mon - Maui Island - Day 2
3-Dec Tue - Maui Island - Day 3
4-Dec Wed - Maui Island - Day 4
5-Dec Thu - Maui Island - Day 5
6-Dec Fri - Fly to O'ahu (Capital Island) Day 3
7-Dec Sat - O'ahu (Capital Island) Day 4 - Honolulu Race Pack Collection
8-Dec Sun - O'ahu (Capital Island) Day 5 - Run/Walk Honolulu Marathon
9-Dec Mon - Depart O'ahu (Capital Island)
11-Dec Wed - Reach SG

Sights/Activities shortlisted for O'ahu
- Pearl Harbour
- Wakiki Beach, Diamond Head hike
- Iolani Palace (to learn about the history of Hawaii)
- Manoa Falls Trail
- Waikele Outlet mall (register for waikele outlet membership)
- Ala Moana Center (Hawaii's biggest mall)
- Tropical Farms (Macadamia nuts)
- Run the Honolulu Marathon

Sights/Activities shortlisted for Hawai'i
1) Haiwai'I Volcanoes National Park
- Halema'uma'u Crater, A Lake of Fire
- Puna
- Sunrise Lava Tour (Epic Lava Tours)
2) Mauna Kea - Highest Peak, Hike Up (Jeep option available), Stargazing (potential altitude sickness)
3) Waipi'o Valley - Not sure if it is that scenic
4) Night Diving and Snorkeling with Mantas (we can only snorkel though, not sure if still can see the Mantas)
5) Cute little town of Hilo

Sights/Activities shortlisted for Maui

1) Haleakala National Park
- Keonehe'ehe'e aka Sliding Sands Trail
- Summit for sunrise
- Stargazing
2) Outlets of Maui
3) Boat tours to Lana'i island
4) Road to Hana
5) Submarine tours (Atlantis Submarines Maui)

Ideally, we want to keep to USD 200 for each room a night. Currently, it seem possible with the rates we see at Agoda. Of course, we would like to book soon considering the Marathon and Thanksgiving.

Another thing that worries me a little is that it is wetter end Nov/Early Dec and it may affect the outdoor activities. Anybody has experience travelling during this period?

We are thinking of self-driving only in Hawai'i and Maui but not O'ahu where we will take it easier and maybe join day tours.

Appreciate any help, thanks!
For Maui, the submarine tours are so so. I would recommend getting on a snorkeling boat to molokini crater at maui, some of the best experiences ever.

For driving, I would recommend not driving yourself. If you are staying at west coast of Maui, thereís hotel shuttle to get to most of the weather areas. Uber to another part is not that expensive either. I would strongly recommend you not to self drive for road to Hana. Itís no joke that itís one of the most dangerous roads in the world. I drove part of it thanks to apple map and I wonít want to do it again. Just take a tour bus, itís a lot more relaxing.
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Old 08-04-2019, 06:19 PM   #4670
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Westin - called no coin operated laundry service. Price little higher for 2 adult 2 little ones. No laundromat on site at the park too. Hilton San Francisco Union Square Also no laundromat, Expedia info not accurate, front desk canít go wrong


Hampton Inn San Francisco Downtown/Convention Center At us$170 has laundry. See pic below
https://hamptoninn3.hilton.com/en/hotels/california/hampton-inn-san-francisco-downtown-convention-center-SFOCCHX/index.html?SEO_id=GMB-HP-SFOCCHX
Thks so much! Let me explore further & if u guys hv any suggestions pls do share more. Really appreciate it!
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Old 09-04-2019, 11:56 AM   #4671
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Westin - called no coin operated laundry service. Price little higher for 2 adult 2 little ones. No laundromat on site at the park too. Hilton San Francisco Union Square Also no laundromat, Expedia info not accurate, front desk can’t go wrong

Hampton Inn San Francisco Downtown/Convention Center At us$170 has laundry. See pic below
https://hamptoninn3.hilton.com/en/ho...GMB-HP-SFOCCHX
I like your research work, but I’d still suggest the Park Central. It’s $35/night cheaper (even more than that once you include tax), which’ll pay for a lot of laundry; and the location is a lot nicer than the Hampton. The Hampton itself is nice enough, but it’s on a sketchy stretch of Mission between Fifth and Sixth. (I used to live two blocks from there, so trust me when I say it’s sketchy.)

The Park Central is on Third, which is a lot nicer; closer to a Muni/BART station; and you can take your laundry to Mulberry’s Cleaners, the wash-and-fold place in the Crocker Galleria.
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Old 09-04-2019, 08:10 PM   #4672
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I like your research work, but Iíd still suggest the Park Central. Itís $35/night cheaper (even more than that once you include tax), whichíll pay for a lot of laundry; and the location is a lot nicer than the Hampton. The Hampton itself is nice enough, but itís on a sketchy stretch of Mission between Fifth and Sixth. (I used to live two blocks from there, so trust me when I say itís sketchy.)

The Park Central is on Third, which is a lot nicer; closer to a Muni/BART station; and you can take your laundry to Mulberryís Cleaners, the wash-and-fold place in the Crocker Galleria.
I really appreciate all your research & recommendations. As for the park central, are the rooms quite dated as I have looked thru the pics & found tt itís a little dark & dated. Pls advise. Thks!
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Old 09-04-2019, 08:12 PM   #4673
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Anybody tried hotel Nikko San Fran? The rooms look quite bright & clean. Please share your experiences if any. Thks so much!
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Old 09-04-2019, 10:00 PM   #4674
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Anybody tried hotel Nikko San Fran? The rooms look quite bright & clean. Please share your experiences if any. Thks so much!
If u no longer seek a hotel with laundromat itís easier. I have not stay downtown San Fran for a long time, every year I visit Cupertino I stayed at Fremont Marriott.

Brightness really depends on photography. Read reviews.
https://www.google.com/travel/hotels...vJ_EAE/reviews

Last edited by patryn33; 09-04-2019 at 10:04 PM..
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Old 09-04-2019, 11:50 PM   #4675
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If u no longer seek a hotel with laundromat itís easier. I have not stay downtown San Fran for a long time, every year I visit Cupertino I stayed at Fremont Marriott.

Brightness really depends on photography. Read reviews.
https://www.google.com/travel/hotels...vJ_EAE/reviews
Ya, laundromat is the headache of my plan + this is the 1st time for us, I nd to do lots of research. It seems that those hotels near union square do not come with coin operated washer in their premises. The only way will be staying nearby laundromat. Welcome any suggestions if u guys hv any to share. Thks so much!
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Old 10-04-2019, 11:34 PM   #4676
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I really appreciate all your research & recommendations. As for the park central, are the rooms quite dated as I have looked thru the pics & found tt it’s a little dark & dated. Pls advise. Thks!
Nope, they're fine. Tripadvisor really likes it, and it seems that if you can get a room on a higher floor you can get some pretty great views.

My recommendation would absolutely be to stay at the Park Central and do your washing at the nearby wash-and-fold, Mulberry's (also that way you don't have to chew up hours of your holiday watching clothes go round!).

Last edited by Shiny Things; 10-04-2019 at 11:37 PM..
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Old 11-04-2019, 11:40 AM   #4677
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Laundromat coin places cost ~usd$3 to wash maybe another usd$3 to dry.
Yes you will spend 2-3hrs there to watch your stuff of risk missing. U need to buy your detergent in advance

Drop off to get wash and fold is the below price note its by piece, donít know how much is Nikko you can also email. Even you want to go mulberry from Nikko itís 12 min walk vs 5 mins walk from park. Compare reviews yes Nikko has 200-300 more good reviews than park but itís not that significant. Just go with what u like, here itís a recommendation no one will guarantee else money back
https://www.mulberryscleaners.com/get-price-quote/

Last edited by patryn33; 11-04-2019 at 11:59 AM..
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Old 12-04-2019, 07:48 AM   #4678
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Is there something like GrabHitch in SF ?
I intend to go Livermore FO from Union Square.
The shuttle operated by Gray Line is no longer running

thanks in advance!
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Old 12-04-2019, 08:16 AM   #4679
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Thks Shiny Things & patryn33 for your valuable recommendations & advices. I realised that Mulberry is charging by pieces. Wouldnít it be more expensive? Is it a norm that all wash & fold services in SF are chargeable by pieces?
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Old 12-04-2019, 08:26 AM   #4680
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I have just booked our air tickets, registered for the run and Waikiki accommodations (near to run expo, start and finish line) for the last 3 nights of the trip. Now researching for other parts of the trip, will definitely take into considerations all the suggestions given. Thanks!
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