Prerna and Mohnish – Hawaii
Hawaii is always a good idea
Originally from Pune,and now based in Melbourne,Prerna and Mohnish Rajan said their ‘I Do’s on January 25, 2014 at Hyatt Regency in Pune. When it came to deciding on their honeymoon their first thought was that they should head straight to Maldives for a post-wedding break. “But since we had used up all our leave from work for the wedding functions, and since we only get to see our family once a year, we decided not to rush after the wedding and spend the little time left with our families instead. We thought it best to plan a honeymoon six months after the wedding, when we would have more time and it would be another nice break six months after the wedding”, says Prerna.
However, once they reached Melbourne, Maldives and other countries in Southeast Asia seemed too far away and they started looking for other options. “We could always visit Southeast Asian countries as a stopover on our way to India. We also didn’t want to go to Europe because we had only one week, and a trip all the way to Europe definitely calls for at 2-3 weeks at a stretch,” says Mohnish.
Though they didn’t have a clear destination in mind, the couple says that they definitely knew that they wanted to go somewhere they wouldn’t otherwise get a chance to go. At the same time they didn’t want to travel too long as they wanted a quiet, relaxed vacation. Finally, Hawaii ticked all the boxes. “Honolulu is a 10.5 hour plane-ride away from Melbourne. It was fair enough to feel like a special destination, but also not so far that we would spend half our holiday travelling to get there and back”, says Mohnish. They took off on their Hawaiian honeymoon from July 19-26, 2014 and practically spent all their time on the island of Oahu. “Hawaii has perfect weather pretty much all year round, so any time of the year is a good time to visit. We witnessed perfect weather as it was never too hot, too cold or even too humid. It was just right. Specially on Oahu island,” coos Prerna.
While most may struggle with travel bookings, this, says Prerna, was the easiest part for them. “We booked both flights and accommodation through Expedia.com where we got an excellent deal. We checked the prices that travel agents were offering and a few other verticals too but found that Expedia’s deal was the best and their variety of hotel and flight choices, the widest,” says Prerna who is full of praises for the travel portal.
Hotels and Itinerary
Prerna and Mohnish stayed at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort in Waikiki. “Its location is perfect- its right on the Waikiki beach and half way between Kalakaua Avenue which is the main strip in Waikiki where the best shops, restaurants and bars are located and Ala Moana Centre, the biggest Shopping Mall in Oahu. So, everything you need is within walking distance. Also, the property itself is huge, they have 6 towers, shops, restaurants and cafes including 2 Starbucks cafes and 2 convenience stores, a private lagoon and 5 swimming pools plus the ocean in their backyard,” says Prerna who was actually sold the minute she spotted ‘5 swimming pools’ on the property brochure.They were put up on the 32nd floor of the Tapa Tower which is one of 2 of the tallest towers of the resort with an ocean view room. “The view from the room was just breath-taking. Waking up to a picturesque view was a treat beyond words. I’m not a morning person and I love to sleep-in on holidays but I would be so excited to wake up and see what the ocean looked like every morning that I would actually wake up, latest by 7.30 am each day,” says Prerna.
Talking about food, the couple picks two contrasting restaurants, in terms of pricing, style and ambience, as their favourites during their trip. “The Morimoto restaurant at the Modern Hotel is a very trendy, upscale Japanese restaurant and had an interesting variety of modern Japanese food. An average meal here could cost around $50-80per person. We had some really amazing food here including Eel sushi accompanied by some Sake and it was delicious. But even if you are not too adventurous with food, their classic Chicken with Rice dish was also very tasty,” says Prerna. Their other favourite was a little shack that they randomly stumbled upon whilst strolling on the beach.”The Steak Shack served fresh, hot, non-pricey street food for customers who can plonk themselves on the few tables and benches neatly laid out. We had this yummy Korean Style Spicy Chicken with Rice and salad which cost about $8 and a Chilli Hot Dog for about $5. We loved the food so much, we went there twice during our stay,” says Mohnish.
Tips and recommendations
Prerna says that her top tip is to not crowd a honeymoon itinerary with too many activities or too much sight-seeing. Oahu, she adds, is one of those places where you can do as much or as little as you want and never be bored. “We didn’t book any activities in advance and decided to plan each day depending on what we felt like doing that day itself. There’s something for everyone here. We did some great shopping. The must-visit Waikele Premium Outlets Mall which has all the big brands’ factory outlets and the best bargains you’ll ever come across was definitely my favourite spot. Mohnish tried his hand at a recreational shooting range and was very excited that he got to experience shooting with an AK-47 among other guns and rifles,” recalls Prerna.
*Spend a few lazy hours on the beach just relaxing or indulge in water sports. “One can even rent a car and drive around the whole island in a day, stopping at whatever spots you choose to visit or gorge on some local fresh-fruit,sip on fresh coconut water and bite into juicy pineapples and sweet bananas at stalls on the way,” says Prerna.
*History buffs can hop over to the Pearl Harbour Arizona Memorial tour which gives great insight into the significant events of the Second World War. “Or you can go for a Luau to experience the food, dance and local traditions of Polynesia (we didn’t get a chance to do this, but it is one of the most popular tourist experiences). We even went on a submarine tour which was a unique experience, to say the least. The vessel went about 100 feet under water in the ocean and we could see the local marine life in their natural habitat. It was like an underwater safari,” says Prerna.
*Last, but not the least, one can just relax by the hotel poolside, says Prerna, and sip on endless number of cocktails like Mai Tais or Lava Flows to one’s heart’s content. “We surely did a lot of this as our hotel had five different pools for us to choose from!” she says excitedly.
*Having had the time of their lives in Hawaii, both Prerna and Mohnish say that they highly recommend the destination to other honeymooners. “We too hope to go back again someday,” they add!