Destinations Cities

Jude Dobson's solo trip to Hawaii

Jude Dobson left the kids behind and luxuriated.

When I turned 50, I decided to go on holiday without the kids. But where? I wanted sunshine without a long flight to get there, a beach, shopping and lots of eating out options.
Answer? Hawaii... or as I tagged it: Hawaii Five-O.
If you want to stay around Waikiki Beach, there’s a huge selection of hotels and condos. I did a bunch of comparisons on a few sites and ended up with a good deal at a hotel. But if you can’t be bothered doing that, any travel agent will give you the good oil on the different places and what they offer.
I wanted to be right on the beach with a deck I could see the surf from with a G&T in hand.
When in Hawaii! We hired this convertible Mustang – see the wind in my hair?
Another element of Hawaii to enjoy is “little America”, which has shopping, eating and drinking establishments galore. I wanted something a bit special to mark my milestone birthday so consulted a map to find a beachfront restaurant.
Michel’s at the Colony Surf, at the Diamond Head end of the beach, was indeed worth the wee trek. I booked it for a Friday night – that being the night fireworks are always set off down by The Hilton. I could see them in the distance, which is just how I like to view fireworks anyway!
Restaurants nearby are busy, so book ahead. I downloaded the Open Table app and booked them that way – their reviews give you a feel for what they are like too.
Another restaurant I really liked was a dinky little Italian recommended to me by a friend: Arancino on Beachwalk. It’s a red-checked tablecloth, Chianti bottles with a candle-type of place. Hy’s Steak House is also fab. With its wood-panelled leather booths, it’s traditional and boasts amazing food and service.
We also hired a convertible Mustang – hey, we were in America, so why not? They may not be able to make a decent coffee, but their convertibles are fun! It was worth getting some wheels to head to the North Shore to see the surf and to Pearl Harbor too.
I last went there as a 16-year-old and much has changed – namely the addition of the wonderful educational facility around it.
We visited Pearl Harbor and soaked up the history.
Visiting the shipwreck was a sombre outing that only became more as we saw divers doing a practise run for an upcoming ceremony to take survivors’ ashes to their final resting place to be with their mates who died there.
You’ll also need the car to cart around a boot of shopping from the Ala Moana shopping centre. You can easily spend a rainy day there ticking off the family’s wish lists and the changing rooms at some of the big stores are something else... magazines to read for the patient husband, a mirror with different sorts of lighting and a charging station to lock and leave your phone.
All in all, Hawaii Five-O is a good way to turn over a new decade and I imagine, birthdays aside, it would be a good spot for a family holiday too.

An insider's guide to Hawaii

Best food: Michel’s at the Colony Surf. French and fabulous with a beachside view. Arancino for cosy Italian and Hy’s Steak House for old-school elegance.
Best Drink/Cocktail: The Royal Hawaiian Mai Tai Bar. Drinks aren’t cheap, but tick the box and see the sun set with a drink in hand.
Not to be missed: Pearl Harbor. See modern history unpacked.
Best Shopping: Ala Moana Shopping Centre has big department stores such as Neiman Marcus, Macy’s and Nordstrom. Then there’s Longs Drugs and Walmart for the things you didn’t even know you wanted.
Don’t forget: An early morning walk up Diamond Head to see the sun rise. We thought about it, but in the end we were too slothful!
Words: Jude Dobson
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