Accommodation in Honolulu
Downtown Honolulu is made up of modern skyscrapers, wide streets, parks, and historic buildings. West of downtown is the modern international airport (the 4th largest in the U.S.). In the hills, overlooking the city and ocean are vast suburbs. The city boasts the only royal palace on American soil. A few kilometers east of downtown Honolulu, on a beautiful sandy beach, lies the hotel district Waikiki. The hotel district of Waikikibeach has a busy life, Polynesian dance shows, an exuberant nightlife and of course world class hotels. Pearl Harbor is located 11 miles west of Honolulu.
The most striking thing about the parallel Waikiki Beach is how narrow it is, a thin but somehow attractive strip of shipped-in sand. Compared to other Hawaiian beaches; no one is trying to “get away from it all,” they’re there to be seen.
Two great attractions on the eastern fringes of Waikiki are Honolulu Zoo, where you can walk through a mock African savannah set against the magnificent backdrop of Diamond Head, and the oceanfront Waikiki Aquarium, which as well as holding sharks and monkfish seals has a tank devoted to the many-hued reef fish of Hanauma Bay.
Waikiki’s most famous landmark is the pinnacle of Diamond Head, just to the east. Named for the erroneous belief of a party of English sailors that they’d found diamonds on its slopes, it’s another extinct volcano. The lawns of the crater interior are oddly bland, almost suburban in fact, but a straightforward hiking trail leads up a mile or so to the summit, and a panorama of the whole coast, passing through a network of tunnels built by the military during World War II.
Honolulu and Waikiki offer so many food possibilities that recommendations are inevitably highly personal. For fine dining, all the larger Waikiki hotels have good restaurants, and Restaurant Row near the harbor in Honolulu is a good bet. There are excellent fast-food malls in the Ala Moana Center, and the much cheaper and more exotic Maunakea Marketplace on Maunakea Street in Chinatown, while Waikiki’s Kuhio Avenue is lined with snack outlets and fast-food franchises.