Exploring Waikiki – West

As we pack up and get ready to move into our third rental (in the downtown area), it’s time for a walking tour of our latest neighborhood here in Waikiki West. We anticipated this area to be more quiet than central Waikiki and, for the most part, we were right. It is quieter — in the sense there aren’t nearly as many shops, restaurants and tourists. However, we happen to live on what is an active route for commuters, which ups the noise factor quite a bit. I’m sure you’re wondering how much noisier it could be, considering our last place had both road traffic and drunken revelers at all hours. Weellllll… with super souped up motorcycles, trucks and cars in the mix and a second floor apartment, trust me when I tell you: it is LOUD. You might be surprised to find there is a pretty significant motorcycle culture here (I was) but you learn very quickly that they’re here and aren’t afraid to let you know how loud and proud they are.

Now onto to the walking tour.  Looking at the map image above, we’re starting from our home at point (A) and will be visiting some of our favorite spots on this end of Waikiki.

First, to give you a good view of the skyline at this end, we’ll head to Kalakaua Ave. (B) and over the canal to the Hawaii Convention Center (C).

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While we’re at the convention center, have a look at its lovely design, perched high up alongside the canal.

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Now, we’ll walk down and cross back over the canal on Ala Moana Blvd, heading to the Hilton Hawaiian Village (D). It truly is a village unto itself, with multiple guest towers, pools, a lagoon, many shops and several restaurants, located on Kahanamoku Beach. We stayed here during our trip last fall and have been heading back for a walk along the beach here and there.

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The main entrance on the corner of Ala Moana Blvd. and Kalia Rd.
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Guests can kayak and paddle in the lagoon. Diamond Head is in the distance
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A view of the lagoon looking west
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Visitors can take a catamaran tour from this port at the Hilton
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On the beach looking east toward Diamond Head
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Looking west toward Ala Moana and Kaka’ako
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South Seas Aquatics, in a row of shops on Ala Moana next to the Hilton, is where we purchased our snorkel gear.

Walking east along the beach we arrive at the beachfront of the Hale Koa Hotel (E). The Hale Koa, which means ‘House of the Warrior’, is located on Fort DeRussy (F), one of only four Armed Forces Recreational Centers in the world. It is not open to the general public; its guests are members, veterans or affiliates of the armed forces and their families. Walking from the beach to Kalakaua Avenue takes you through Fort DeRussy and Kuroda Field (G).

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Walkway from the beach next to the Hale Koa
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Pathway on the grounds of the Hale Koa
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Named for General René Edward De Russy, a West Point graduate who fought on the Union side during the Civil War. What’s interesting to note is that his younger brother fought on the Confederate side.
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Kuroda Field is named after Staff Sergeant Robert T. Kuroda, a Hawaii native who led a successful attack on enemy strongholds during the battle of Bruyeres, France in 1944. He was fatally shot by a sniper after personally taking out two enemy gun positions, and was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously for his heroism.

Fort DeRussy and Kuroda Field act as a calming, greenscaped barrier between west and central Waikiki, with its wide expanse likely the reason for the west side being less busy, despite the bustle of the Hilton Hawaiian Village.

Heading back westward along Kalia Rd, we arrive at the Wailana Coffee House (H), a local institution and home of THE BEST PANCAKES we’ve ever had. Not only are they served nice and hot, with a generous side of butter and a trio of syrups (including coconut!), but they are ‘all you can eat’. Although we’ve never managed to order more than the four that come in the initial serving, it’s still a great deal. We walked by the other day and noticed it was closed due to filming for Hawaii Five-0, so you may spot it in an upcoming episode, if you watch.

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When not closed for filming, the Wailana Coffee House is open 24 hours and serves as a cocktail lounge during the later part of the day. Pancakes and Mai Tais – what more can you ask for in one spot?!

Walking past the Wailana along Ena Rd, we come to Chiba-ken (I), our favorite local Japanese restaurant. It’s very reasonably priced, fresh and delicious. We’re glad both the Wailana and Chiba-Ken are so close to our home over here on the west side of Waikiki.

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1 order of gyoza + 1 spicy tuna roll + 1 tuna avocado roll + 2 longboard lagers = 1 great night!

Walking across the street and down Hobron Ln, we arrive back at our humble abode (A/J). We have really loved living at this end of Waikiki (despite the road noise). It’s far away enough from the hustle and bustle of Central Waikiki, but still very conveniently located to essential food and shopping needs. We’re also a quick fifteen minute walk over the canal to the Ala Moana Center, a large and lovely open air mall filled with shops ranging from low to the very high end.

While this concludes the walking tour, we would like to take you back to the Hilton Hawaiian Village and show you a typical Friday night. We cut through the marina, behind the Modern Honolulu and Ilikai hotels, where hula dancers are putting on a show.

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waikiki-west-20And, at 7:45pm sharp at the Hawaiian Hilton Village lagoon, the magic happens.

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We’ve never been that close to such a big fireworks display and we will definitely be back for more. It was spectacular!

While we are excited for our stay downtown during the next couple of months, we will be coming back to this end of Waikiki for the following two months and are very much looking forward to being back in this neighborhood.

I hopenapule maika’i!

(Have a great weekend!)

Jess

Map by Google

6 thoughts on “Exploring Waikiki – West

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