The next best thing to experiencing a new destination first hand is reading an honest, reliable account from someone who has. Naina is one of our senior USA Product Executives here at Kenwood Travel and when she took a trip to Hawaii this August we got the inside track on this iconic mid Pacific archipelago. We sat down for a chat with the hula enthusiast, so say aloha to this fabulous holiday location through the eyes of one of our experts.
What’s the best thing about Hawaii?
Hawaii is rich in history and culture, with the most stunning scenery. A true melting pot of different cultures and heritages, which is apparent in the cuisine. Also, the Hawaiian language is so beautiful but most of all I love the hula dancing.
What differentiates Hawaii from anywhere else you have been to?
I would say the diversity of each island. Each island has something different to offer. Maui has beautiful beaches. Oahu is livelier and Kauai is very green and lush.
Three top tips for first-time visitors
Definitely island hop – see as many islands as you can as each one has its own flavour. Catch a Polynesian show. Learn hula dancing!
“YOU CAN VIEW THE LOCATIONS OF FAMOUS HOLLYWOOD MOVIES LIKE JURASSIC PARK”
What’s the newest attraction/tour/excursion – or not necessarily the newest, but one that really stands out?
The Luau show at Royal Lahaina Resort in Maui at sunset – This is the longest running Luau in Maui and it’s just so vibrant, energetic and colourful; I loved it. The Polynesian Cultural Centre in Oahu – This is a fantastic way to learn about Polynesian history and culture. Each Polynesian country has its own area dedicated to it. The Atlantis Submarine Tour in Maui – This is a real adventure beneath the waves; you get to explore the beautiful marine life and mysterious shipwrecks. The picturesque town of Lahaina. We did a guided walking tour and got to learn its history.
“THE FOOD WAS LOVELY”
Anything that really surprised you about Hawaii?
You can go whale watching from the comfort of your hotel room during November to May.
How was the food? Any interesting dish you hadn’t tried before?
The food was lovely. It’s a fusion of different flavours. Poi is the traditional Hawaiian dish made from Taro – a starchy root vegetable boiled and turned to a purple paste. This was very interesting – certainly an acquired taste. I also sampled taro bread and a taro wrap.
“HAWAII IS RICH IN HISTORY & CULTURE”
What were your favourite things to do while you were there?
Watching the Luau show; eating and drinking amazing food overlooking stunning scenery; viewing locations that have been used in various Hollywood movies and TV shows like Jurassic park, 50 First Dates, Forgetting Sarah Marshal, Hawaii 5-0; seeing so many rainbows and sunsets; dolphin watching at the Napali Coast area; doing the hula dance.
You mentioned a story about a sick boy, a special tree and a canoe. Could you elaborate on this?
In 2010 Kaanapali Beach Hotel got together its 280 members of staff to build a canoe using a particular tree; it was the dream of a local boy who had been suffering from ill health to see this happen. Unfortunately, the boy died before he had a chance to see his dream come true, but rather touchingly the canoe was named after him. All the money raised from this project was donated to his family. The canoe can be viewed at the Kaanapali Beach Hotel. This project still to brings a strong sense of pride.
Summarise your trip in just one sentence.
Hawaii didn’t just meet my expectations but exceeded them in many ways.
“HAWAII EXCEEDED MY EXPECTATIONS”