My wife and I are looking at a Hawaii vacation in mid-December. I've heard several recommendations on properties and the different Islands. My concern is that my wife has some medical issues that limit her ability to walk long distances. Short distances are okay. We obviously want to get the most out of the trip and see as much as possible without over doing it. Also, I'd love to get in a day or two of Scuba!
Any help would be greatly appreciated!
In the meantime, here are some threads that may be of interest as well:
crnkotm, I've stayed at the MVCI Ko Olina on Oahu and the Courtyard Waikiki. Both were great, although drastically different. Oahu sometimes gets a bad rap for being commercialized and crowded, but I love the Waikiki area and all of the diverse activities on Oahu. The MVCI Ko Olina is large and full-service with several restaurants, a golf course, a beach, classes and activities and social events organized at the hotel, along with a tour desk/concierge, etc. You'd need a car to get out of the Ko Olina area, but I think any Hawaii trip probably warrants a car unless you cab into Waikiki and stay there for your trip. Ko Olina is a tourist area but not urban like Waikiki is, and it's about 30 miles east of Honolulu. The Courtyard is in the heart of Waikiki a couple of blocks from the beach and near dozens of shops and restaurants. It's a smaller property with a modest pool and a small connected restaurant and lobby bar. There's an ABC shop right across the street. This one also has a concierge desk that can help with tours. There is no resort fee, and although parking is valet only and fairly expensive, there are actually several free public parking spots nearby if you are patient and/or lucky. If you choose Oahu, you could do Pearl Harbor and the Dole Plantation ok with limited mobility if you opt for the train ride at the plantation. The Ko Olina luaus are very do-able without walking too much as well. There is a luau right at the MVCI Ko Olina which we enjoyed.
Waikiki Beach Marriott should be fine for short walks and access to reasonable dining options & shops & beach access. Great staff too at this property. The property is a bit dated and probably due a re-fresh but all in all a good location for limited mobility, my guess is you would be pleased...IMHO.
That's a difficult question. I'd probably avoid the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel on the Big Island as the property is spread out and would involve a lot of walking just navigating to and from the front desk.The Waikiki Beach Marriott isn't quite as bad and is just across the street from the beach.
I'd say much will depend on what you want to see. Each of the major islands offers something different. If you can determine which island will have the most appeal to your type of travel, you can more easily figure out which hotel(s) will be best suited for you. You might even consider visiting more than one island if your trip is long enough. Give us a few more specifics and we can probably give you a better answer. Here are a few blog posts from my trip last year
I'm not sure any of them will answer your question, but they may help narrow down your choices.
Based on your needs, I'd highly suggest the Waikiki Beach Marriott. Many of the Marriott properties on the neighbor islands are fairly large and spread out. The Waikiki Beach Marriott is kind of large, but easy to navigate and a little dense. The property is a bit farther from the center of Waikiki, but at average walking speed, that just means 10-15 minutes of walking. There a lot to do and see on "the strip," especially since the International Market Place just re-opened. Further, Oahu has an excellent bus systems and loads of taxis, and ride-sharing options.
Hanauma Bay on Oahu is a short drive from Waikiki and is great, calm place to go diving. Not as great as Kealakekua on the Big Island, or Molokini on Maui, but it's much easier to get to. There's also a couple of dolphin encounter options on island. Dining on Oahu is by far more exciting than the other islands, though Maui is beginning to pickup.
That being said, Oahu is also home to most of the historical sites in the islands. As clebert mentioned, Oahu is home to Pearl Harbor and related historical sites. Iolani Palace, the only royal palace in the U.S. is located in downtown Honolulu across the street from the iconic Kamehameha Statue. Bishop Museum (actually near my home) houses many rare artifacts from Hawaii's history.
Like bejacob said, though, what island you pick really depends on what you want to do/see. Oahu is an excellent mix of urban and natural scenery. Tons of history, lots of dining, great shopping, and more. Oahu is also the most accessible of all the islands. Getting around is super easy (though traffic can suck) regardless if you rent a car or go with public transit. I love Maui and the Big Island too, especially with sights like Haleakala, Alii Kula Lavender, Maui Wine, Volcanoes National Park, etc. Unfortunately, many of these sights require a lot of walking and can often have steep grades. Either way, I highly suggest you rent a car no matter which island you go to.
If you have any questions, please do let me know. Always happy to help! And for more info, you can check out my blogs.
Insiders Blog: Hawaii & Beyond!
BoardingArea blog: Island Miler at Jeffsetter.com
I agree re Hanauma Bay. Parking is free, but it's $7.50 to get in unless you live in HI. I think they might have shuttles to take you down to the bay to avoid too much walking, but I walked so I am not 100% sure. They make you watch a video on how not to step on corals, then you sign a book and you're in. Very fun snorkeling and nice beach. Closed on Tuesdays. Bring your own snorkeling equip unless you want to pay for a rental. Don't go too far out or let yourself get too tired. Tourists get themselves into lots of danger in HI doing that!!!
Hanauma Bay is a great place to snorkel, with plenty of fish to see starting in 2 inches of water. As someone else recently posted, a bag of frozen peas will cause a swarm of fish to come to you. A great experience we had there was a visit to the "toilet bowl", which is a hole in the lava about 10 feet in diameter and about 10 feet deep, which is filled and emptied as the water comes in from a tube under the lava. When full, you jump in, and the receding water, washing down the sides, is like a toilet flushing. The next wave lifts you up. Locals dive through and go out through the tunnel, but I don't recommend trying that.
WARNING: [Just googled the toilet bowl and found stories about how dangerous it is - didn't seem like it when we were there, but terrible things can happen to careless or oblivious people. Still can't believe the death of a little boy from an alligator attack at the Disney resort in Florida].
Message was edited by: AZDesertRat
Thanks everyone that's a lot of great information! One of these days i'm going to remember how to tag people in posts... I think carat told me once before... Oahu should serve nicely since I definitely want to hit Pearl Harbor and the Tropic Lightning Museum, my grandfather was in that unit during WWII. Anyone recommend any Dive companies on the Island?
Thanks again you all rock!
crnkotm, you put the @ symbol in front of the user's name, and you should get an autofill that lets you select the person you want to tag. It took my months, maybe years, to figure out