On our final day in the islands we decided to relax as much as possible. Instead of traipsing all over Kauai in search of the perfect beach, we made our way back to Hanalei for the day as that had proven to be the best beach for us this trip. Also, as a follow up to our list trip to Waikiki, Alan wanted to try his hand at surfing and the waves at Hanalei seemed like the perfect size.
We started the day failing miserably at getting breakfast at Kalypso - again - so we made our way back to Polynesia Cafe for what was rather bland loco moco (it looks better than it actually tasted) and pineapple pancakes and then over to the beach down by the pier. In Kona we had some amazing loco moco so I know it can be done well. Alas, I'll have to continue searching.
For it being a holiday weekend, the beach was generally pretty deserted. There were only a couple of families near where we parked ourselves, with the majority of beachgoers planting themselves closer to the pier or down even further near the pavilion and restroom. That's okay though, I'd much rather have an area to myself than deal with the crowds we encountered in Poipu.
Outside of Alan's "Lord of the Manor" photo from our trip to Ireland in November, this might be one of my favorite pictures of him ever. There's just something about it that I find so ... handsome (all together now - awwwwwwwwww).
Alas, surfing was not in the cards this trip so maybe next time paddle surfing will be on the agenda. Me? I stick to reading under umbrellas and floating in the water on boogie boards (although noodles are my preferred method of flotation).
That night we decided to catch the sunset from the St. Regis, newly remodeled and opened in October 2009, but because I have an appalling lack of time we had to catch it from the road right before the hotel. Afterwards we checked out the remodel and walked down to the beach there. Before leaving we ran into Alan's brother's good friends so that was kind of funny (and slightly awkward).
The hotel is lovely and the lobby is MUCH nicer than it was when it was the Princeville Hotel (they've removed all the gaudy Vegas-style statues and *most* of the black granite and replaced it with light & airy furniture and artwork). It's definitely a lovely hotel with an enviable position, but I don't know that I could bring myself to spend the $500/night they are asking when our condo was equal to about $140/night. The reason we can afford to take so many trips is because I make it a mission to get the absolute most vacation for our money in the best places possible and I'd just feel really strange blowing that much on a resort hotel when I now know how great staying in condos can be (especially when we don't feel like going out). That said, I'm still totally and completely down with the all-inclusive style of vacation had in Jamaica.
That night we FINALLY ate at Kalypso where I had a really great fish & crab dish that I ate nearly every bite of (that is, the ones Alan wasn't stealing across the table). Unfortunately, Alan didn't have as good of luck ordering. He tried to get a locally brewed beer only to find out they didn't have it. Then he tried to get an entree that had taro, only they didn't have it either. In the end he ended up with fish tacos and a lilikoi cocktail while my fish dish and martini were the stars of the meal.
We went back to the condo, packed up all of our belongings and hit the sack as the next day we had to get up at 6 a.m. to make it down to Kapaa for breakfast at Ono Family Restaurant and then to the airport in time for our flight. We had eaten at the restaurant during our last trip and loved the food we got. Unfortunately this time it was just okay. Funnily enough, we sat in the same exact seats. I don't know that we'll go back during our next trip, but it was nice to revisit old places that made us happy.
All in all this was a lovely trip that came at a perfect time. While some days I rue the day we ever purchased that damn timeshare, when I can actually make use of it and the accommodations work out to our benefit, it's nice to have and make use of. I'm convinced that if we didn't have it at our disposal we wouldn't go back to Hawaii every year, so in that regard I absolutely love it. Regardless of what I said above about the beautiful resorts in Hawaii and spending a fortune to stay in them, someday I really want to spend a week at the Four Seasons Hualalai or the Mauna Kea Beach Resort on the Big Island. the Turtle Bay Resort of Royal Hawaiian on Oahu, or revisit the Kea Lani in Maui where we were married, or if we're really lucky throw complete financial caution to the wind and rent a house right on Lanikai. In the meantime, our lovely little one bedroom condos on the cheap help us create great vacation memories in my favorite place on earth.
Now it's time to look forward to our August/September trip to Vancouver, Victoria and Tofino and decide where we're staying in those locations and how we'll spend our time.