Sunday, 4 March 2012

Oh Hawaii, how I miss you!

Well it is back to reality and a wet and drizzly Sydney and whilst it is nice to be home and snuggling up to Honey Boo, the cutest puddy cat in the world, I am pining just a little for warm and sunny Hawaii. Not to mention our new second home, the Moana Surf Rider Hotel in Waikiki. We LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this hotel! For it's early 1900s elegance, relaxed vibe and prime position on our favourite shopping strip in the whole wide world, it just can't be beat. 

As for the shopping, the haul this trip was truly spectacular thanks to a strong Aussie dollar and some clever and well-planned purchasing by Eady and I. A trip to the outlets where we bought amongst other things 3 pairs of Sketchers trainers for Mum for less then the price of 1 pair here in Oz, my favourite Calvin Klein bras for less then half price and some preppy gear from Polo Ralph Lauren. A trip (or two to be precise) to the Alamoana Shopping centre for lots of J. Crew and some Gap items for people back home and even the odd purchase or two from the boutiques near our hotel after early evening cocktails by the pool (Seriously, this must be the smartest business move ever - Happy hour at the local bars followed by a late-night trading until 11pm every night by the local retailers...). It all made for a bountiful haul that literally covered our hotel bed by the time we were ready to leave. Luckily we just managed to get it all into our bags and come in under the Jetstar weight allowance...

On the food front, there were some notable meals. Wolfgang's (New York style steakhouse that had us digesting red meat for days), The Beach House at Moana Surf Rider (romantic table on the balcony overlooking the water) and of course our perennial favourite, the Cheesecake Factory, where you are guaranteed to come out three sizes larger and 5 kilos heavier then when you came in. I pondered how the wait staff could stay so slim working at a place that offers no less then 30 different cheesecakes on the menu each day so decided to ask one of our waitresses:

Cole K: How do you guys manage to stay so skinny working here?
Waitress (in an incredulous tone): Oh, we don't eat the food!
Cole K: Ha, Ha!
Waitress: No seriously, even our salads are fattening
Cole K: Oh
Waitress: Yes, you can always tell the people that eat our food
Cole K: Hmmmm
Waitress: Would you guys like some cheesecake?
Cole K: No, we might pass this time.

One notable disappointment on the food front was Nobu, a modern Japanese restaurant that is critically acclaimed not only in Hawaii but around the globe too. We have dined here previously (as well as a few other Nobu restaurants in other locations) and were so excited to be dining there again on this trip. In fact, so excited that we planned to go twice in the 9 nights we had in Waikiki. Unfortunately though, we only made it once as whilst the food was impeccable, the service was absolutely appalling. For a while there we completely forgot we were dining in the US, usually the home of exceptional customer service. It appeared as if we were not the only people on the night to have this experience judging by the reactions of customers at nearby tables. Some of the issues we had were waiting 20 minutes for our wine despite making 3 requests for it, Eady being told to ensure he finishes his cocktail before the wine is brought out (WTF?), asking questions about the food and cooking techniques and having the waiter just read out the menu description rather then answering our questions (if you don't know, just ask the chef!) and even having one waiter interupt us in mid-conversation with another waiter by phsyically hip-and-shouldering him out of the way like a professional AFL player. And these were just a few of the complaints we had. It was so disappointing that we didn't leave a tip at all (crazy move in the US I know but it almost ruined the night for us) and even made a complaint to the manager via the concierage at our hotel. Thankfully a strawberry daiquiri and some soothing Hawaiian tunes from the local duo playing back at our hotel meant the night ended on a high for us anyway. Yay for the Moana Surf Rider!

All in all, we had a fabulous time in Hawaii. Lots of shopping, sight-seeing, eating and chill-axing which is pretty much the perfect holiday for us!

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