[Shanghai Girl Eats] Honolulu
Honolulu for my cousin’s wedding. 4 days and 3 nights — short and sweet. Here is my trip in a nutshell from flights and accommodations to food and wedding. I’d do this again.
August 2017. I went during peak season so everything was expensive. Honolulu is expensive in general so you can’t really win on the flight and hotel prices anytime during the year.
From Shanghai to Honolulu, there is a direct flight via China Eastern. However, I always try to avoid mainland China and US operated flights when possible. I am one of those people who will take a layover or a longer flight to get a better experience. I flew Japan Airlines with a layover in Tokyo (flight durations: PVG-NRT 3hrs, NRT-HNL 7hr30min). This is a share code with Delta but it is 100% Japan Airlines aircraft and crew. Another option if you value service is to fly Korean Air or Asiana via Seoul.
Big screens with the latest movies. The passengers were mostly Japanese people and were pretty quiet.
Seating configuration in economy was 3-3-3. Seat had plenty of leg room (pitch 31, width 17.5); I am 5’7″ or 169 cm for reference. In addition to a pillow and pillow, they also provide disposable slippers, which is a really nice touch.
Adjustable window tints which you can dim or brighten in lieu of the physical shades. I guess it is nice to be able to darken your window and still be able to see outside?
Dinner was a Shiseido Parlour style beef stew with numeric rice, bacon quiche and pumpkin salad, fresh salad with French dressing, and a Shiseido Parlous cheesecake. The utensils are silverware (not plastic).
Mid-flight snack was a small lemon cake.
The seating configuration for this flight was 2-4-2 and I lucked out with an empty seat next to me.
I didn’t even bother boarding with a normal day outfit. I just wore my Uniqlo Mickey pajama pants straight onto the plane. They are super comfy.
The food coming back from Honolulu to Tokyo was less exciting (sweet and sour breaded chicken) but still better than some other airlines. Interestingly enough, on my New York-Hong Kong Cathay flights, I also thought the food was worse departing from New York than from Hong Kong. So maybe Asian airline food catered in the US is just not good period.
I hate sorbets. Vanilla ice cream please.
Mid-flight snack was a sad croissant sandwich and strawberry yogurt.
I walked or Uber’ed everywhere in Honolulu including airport transfers. People in Hawaii were so friendly, which made the Uber experience quite pleasant. I also had plenty of free time to myself outside of wedding activities so I walked around a lot to go shop and eat.
Hotel: The Modern Honolulu
Address: 1775 Ala Moana Boulevard, Honolulu, Oahu, HI 96815-1603
I stayed at The Modern Honolulu for 3 nights. It was modern (literally), comfortable, and hip. I read on TripAdvisor that this is where a lot of young people stay and there is a club next door (which you can get into for free as a hotel guest). I didn’t want anything tacky or old so when I was looking at hotel options, if the room had a weird wallpaper color or tiki cabinet, it was out.
The Modern is located down the street from the main Waikiki tourist shopping and beach area so you can easily avoid it or walk there depending on your preference. I also looked into the Hyatt Regency and I actually walked by it when I was in Waikiki. It was in the middle of one of the busiest tourist shopping and beach intersections and I was so glad I was not staying there.
During the day, guests can lounge in the tanning and pool areas. I like that there is a separate lounge area just for those who want to tan as the pool can get crowded with kids.
The base rate is a city view room that faces the street completely. I got a partial city/sea view room, which looked down into the pool area and has a view of the ocean. The sea view rooms straight up face the ocean.
Gorgeous sunrise from my balcony. You really learn to appreciate colors in the sky when you live in China.
There is a beach area down the street from the hotel. I took this with a tripod and a remote clicker — you have to master these skills when you travel alone.
I stuck to local casual foods in Honolulu — poke and loco moco. Ono Seafood had by far the best poke I have ever tasted. Poke will never be the same again.
I had loco mocos at Goofy Cafe & Dine and also a random diner — both places delicious. The hamburger patty was so juicy and made the one at Al’s Diner taste so dry in comparison (the one at Alan Wong’s is still very good).
Some highlights from the wedding, which was at The Kahala Resort (TripAdvisor):
Steak & lobster entree — only the best for the couple whose vows were “you make my life a 3-Michelin experience every day.” Dessert was an entire poke bar with 3 different kinds of poke. These people are real and they are related to me.
The most extra cake in three tiers of strawberry, and matcha, and caramel ganache (my favorite layer).