There’s an atmosphere about Waikiki which I absolutely love. It’s not the real Hawaii; something quite evident after visiting other islands in the state, and even other parts of Oahu. But I shouldn’t like this place…It’s rammed with high-rise hotels (Hilton alone has thousands of rooms within three square miles), it has a main street filled with designer shops. Yet, despite being this touristy – which I’d generally shy away from – it has something which has drawn me back three times. And I’m not one for beach holidays.
The weather in Waikiki seems very consistent. I’ve visited in January, February and September, and each time it was between 25C and 30C, occasionally with a little breeze, hardly ever any rain. And it’s a neighbourhood which is always “on”. Every day offers something to entertain the thousands of tourists that visit and I can imagine for anyone working or living in Waikiki, it could get tiresome in this small area where it’s the same every day. People visit for their few days in the area, they enjoy what’s put on for them and then leave, yet for the locals it’ll be the monotony of Waikiki every day.
I’ve continued in a bit of a rut in Waikiki, both on solo trips and with my wonderful other half. It involves getting up for the sunrise, having a day exploring the local area or other parts of the island, eating too much seafood or too many chicken wings, plenty of walking, sunsets, a beer or two. Repeat.
For all that Waikiki is a beach resort, it avoids the “Brits abroad” style often seen on TV and maintains a friendly, relaxed atmosphere. In the evening there’s plenty to do; certainly no shortage of restaurants, bars (and probably clubs), or, as we did, there’s the option to sit on a lovely, quiet stretch of beach and share some pizza.
There’s almost a Times Square element to Waikiki. I’ve to a few people visiting New York, and those I’ve shown around the city, that Times Square will be a massive disappointment, yet it’s something that people insist on seeing. You have to see it. Similarly, it would be a bit odd to visit Hawaii and not visit Waikiki, yet I know plenty of people who can’t stand it. People who live on Hawaii often ridicule it; it’s for tourists and it’s not the real Hawaii.
But, personally speaking, for all that it’s a place I should not like, I have absolutely loved visiting Waikiki. As a base to spend some time and to explore the other parts of O’ahu, it’s perfect, and offers some things that can’t be found anywhere else in Hawaii.
My last visit was as part of a trip hopping around three Hawaiian islands. O’ahu was the last stop and was perfect for exploring O’ahu. Within the town it was pure indulgence. Wonderful seafood, delicious dinners, sunshine, sunrises, sunsets, coffees, beers, swimming, sitting in the sun, and all with the best company I could ever wish for.
I’ll definitely be back.