The US Bonanza – Day 3

>The Sheraton Princess Kaiulani, Honolulu

As we’d booked 5* hotels for the rest of the trip, we thought we’d stay on a budget when booking the Hawaii nights (so long as we got miles or points for the stay!). Most of the hotels in the area were fully booked, or extremely expensive. However we did manage to find the Sheraton for £75 a night, and since we were both Gold members of the SPG programme, this seemed like a good option.

Half of the Sheraton has recently been refurbished. Unfortunately we were not in this part of the hotel. We were upgraded to “preferred” rooms, which meant we had a balcony, ocean view and a sofa and coffee table area, but the room still looked quite run down. This wasn’t a problem though, as we weren’t planning on spending too much time in the hotel.

The hotel had a small number of restaurants. We ate at the bar & grill on the second night, but the food wasn’t particularly impressive. On the plus side though, we were given a 35% discount voucher at check in, which made the mediocre food a little more palatable.

The hotel makes use of the multi storey car park next door, and guests are charged a rate of $15/day to use it (regardless of how many times you enter/exit) which is added to your room bill.

Out in Hawaii

Having left the multi-storey car park, the first thing to do was lose the roof, and second work out where we wanted to go.

Pearl Harbour seemed the obvious first place to go, so we popped it into the GPS and off we went. The GPS reckoned we’d be there in about 20 minutes. Unfortunately one of the roads we wanted to join was blocked off, which meant we had to then drive twice as fast to make up for the lost time!!

When we arrived, there was quite a large queue of a few hundred Americans with their fanny-packs (sorry ‚Äì had to get that word in there somewhere 😛 ). Fortunately, the queue moved very quickly, and we were soon inside. There‚Äôs no entrance fee, although donations help keep the place open, so we dropped a few notes in the pot.

When you enter the main information area, there are a number of information boards to read, and you can also walk out into the grounds to see the whole harbour. There is an memorial for the USS Arizona, which is effectively a room in the middle of the harbour over the sunken battleship that you can only get to by boat. As there was a 2 hour wait for this, we decided to leave it.

We went across the car park to the USS Bowfin. This is a submarine that you can board and look around inside. If you’ve never been inside a sub before, it’s well worth a look, and gives you a great idea of just how cramped it is – even without all of the crew members on board.

Following this, we took a provided bus to the USS Missouri – a massive battleship on the other side of the harbour. You can tag on to a guided tour, but we just decided to have a wander round at our own pace. To give you an idea of the size of the ship – it took us an hour, and we certainly weren’t slow.

A combined ticket for both the Bowfin and Missouri was about $40.

The biggest disappointment came when a hotdog stand offered a hot dog and chips for $2.50… only to find out that by chips they meant crisps. This was a definite low point of the holiday.

To cheer ourselves up, we left Pearl Harbour and continued the drive around the island. We took the 99 Northbound, which followed on to the 83 which followed the coast around. This was a fantastic drive, especially with the great weather and a soft top.

We stopped for lunch at Jameson’s By The Sea and had a very nice meal, while sitting a few feet from the waterfront. We ended up staying here a few hours (although as I was driving I was on the lemonades ) before heading down the sandy beach below.

Later that afternoon, we continued our drive down 83 to the punchbowl – a national cemetery in the centre of an extinct volcano. The views from the top are fantastic on a clear day, and it’s well worth a visit.

After this, we headed back to the hotel as it was to grab some food. The previous day’s travelling was beginning to catch up with us, so we helped it along with a bottle of red, and then hit the sack as tomorrow we had an early start for San Francisco!