Resort Review: The Kahala Resort

Rainbow over Hawaii

I don’t even know where to start with The Kahala Resort.  It’s so luxurious and amazing!  Coming here was a total surprise from my honey for our 4 year so as we walked in, I was floored.  Not to mention my eyes welled up with excitement when I saw the dolphins (see my last post for pictures of the happiest girl in the world and her dolphin pal).

We might be the luckiest people to have gotten an upgrade to the 9th floor with views of the ocean and the dolphin lagoon.  We were able to sit on the balcony, enjoy our celebratory mimosas, and watch the dolphins play frisbee with their trainers.  The Kahala is also a hugely popular place for weddings and we saw at least 3 happening daily.

The resort is a place for relaxation and since cabanas come with the room, we spent many hours soaking up some rays, eating lunch in the sand, and snorkeling the reef that starts just feet from the shore.  You can paddle board, kayak, and do yoga classes on a paddle board as well but we decided to be lazy so swimming and snorkeling were our activities of choice.

The Kahala is also home to Aracino, one of the best Italian restaurants we’ve ever been to.  We had the 5 course meal with wine pairing and could hardly believe how delicious everything was.  The service was amazing as well and they were able to answer all Tyler’s questions about the meal (he’s an aspiring chef so there were many questions!).  If you’re on Oahu, I highly recommend coming here for dinner.  It’s one of the top 3 meals I’ve ever had so this is an absolute must-visit in my book.

Overall, The Kahala has everything a relaxing Hawaiian resort should have.  I did not want to go home at all after staying here.  I mean, life is good but there’s just something about a vacation that makes everything even rosier.  5 stars Kahala… 5 stars…

You would have found me in this position often

You would have found me in this position often

The Grand Entrance of The Kahala Resort

The Grand Entrance of The Kahala Resort

Super excited about the view for our balcony

Super excited about the view for our balcony

I loved watching the sea turtles swim

I loved watching the sea turtles swim

The view from our balcony

The view from our balcony

Sunset in Oahu

Sunset on the balcony

Sunrise in Oahu

Sunrise on the balcony

Swimming Pool at the Kahala

Look at those people doing that exercise thing *sips mimosa*

Look at those people doing that exercise thing *sips mimosa*

There's a gorgeous wall of orchids that leeds down to the beach

There’s a gorgeous wall of orchids on the way down to the beach

 

Swimming with Dolphins

Swimming with DolphinsDuring our stay at The Kahala Resort and Spa, I had the pleasure of meeting an Atlantic Bottlenose dolphin named Liko.  For my experience, I so lucked out that I was the only one to sign up for that time slot.  That means I got to paddle around the lagoon with my arm around Liko for about 20 minutes all my myself!!  It was so much fun!!!  I basically turned into a giggling little girl and couldn’t break my giant grin.

The dolphins are so sweet and gentle with their guests.  I even saw a girl no more than 3 years old in the water with them at some point!  They’re like water puppies!  They love rubs, praises, treats, and toys.  So adorable.

You also get to learn some dolphin commands such as holding out both index fingers and lowering them to the water will tell the dolphin to sink down to the bottom of the pool.  They love coming back to get their fresh squid for a job well done.  If you’re ever in Oahu, you must at least swing by The Kahala Resort and Spa to watch these guys at play.  They’re hysterical!

For more info on how you can book your own dolphin experience, click here or call 1-808-739-8918.

Dolphin ExperienceHappy girlswimming with dolphinsDolphin experience at the kahala

Wandering in heels swims with dolphins

Dolphin hugs!

Rental Review: Mika Taki House with Lagoon

Hilo HouseThis house is almost too spectacular to review.  I kind of want to keep it a secret so it stays our little hidden gem.  I can’t do that to you though!  The whole point of visiting these amazing places it to share them!

This 4 bedroom 4.5 bathroom house is situated just a few blocks from the main Hilo area but is far enough away to feel secluded.  You’re surrounded by lush tropical rainforest that bursts to life every night.  The froggy noises are so loud that light sleepers might have a difficult time sleeping.  It felt really fun for us though since it’s unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.  The home itself is fully stocked with everything you could possibly need on your stay.  Seriously, we didn’t need to buy anything while we were there except bug spray (and food and wine of  course).  With all the rain (Hilo has the highest rainfall in the USA!) comes lots of bugs.  I got about a million mosquito bites on our stay in Hilo.  I’m kind of a target for them though.  I’ll get 12 and my friends will get 1… so unfair.

Another amazing bonus about this place is the private lagoon with waterfall.  It’s spectacular.  You could probably not leave the house for a few days and just lounge by the lagoon, BBQ, and be perfectly content with life.  The lagoon has big tadpoles, prawns, and tons of little fishies that were fun to watch.  It’s a tad on the chilly side but a nice relief from the warm weather and humidity.

We’re talking about renting this place out for our entire family some time soon.  It’s really one of the best rental properties I’ve ever experienced.  Leaving was the only thing I didn’t like about it.

Find out more info or book your stay here!

Fruit trees

Tons of tropical fruit trees surround the property

The rainforest view from our bedroom

The rainforest view from our bedroom

A cute sitting area overlooking the rainforest

A cute sitting area overlooking the rainforest

House

Huge palms trees tower over the property

Huge palms trees tower over the property

Loved the secluded lagoon

Loved the secluded lagoon

Stunning lagoon... I couldn't believe it was our own!

Stunning lagoon… I couldn’t believe it was our own!

A cute little dock on the lagoon

A cute little dock on the lagoon

Boys will be boys...

Boys will be boys…

The steps down to the lagoon

The steps down to the lagoon

Kilauea Caverns of Fire

Kilauea Caverns of Fire

We knew this place was going to be amazing when we called and Steve responded with so much enthusiasm about showing us the lava tubes.  Especially when he told us he had already headed home but was “totally cool” with coming back.  Normally I would have just waited until the next day but since we were on our last few last days in Hilo, we took Steve up on his offer.  I’m so happy we did!!  Granted, driving there I was pretty sure we were entering the beginning scene of a scary movie.  You know… the part where the tourists are super stoked to be somewhere remote but there are spooky yellow eyes peeking out from the brush ready to pounce?

We were greeted by Steve’s dog Cinnamon and all the creepy feelings went away.  The lava tubes are absolutely amazing.  There’s a beautiful sparkly bacteria on the ceiling of the entrance that looked like the night sky when you shined your flashlight on it.  Steve knew everything about how these spectacular lava rock formations were formed.  When we were fairly deep into the tube, we all turned out our flashlights to feel true darkness.  You literally can’t see your hand in front of your face!!  It’s such a unique feeling.  I highly recommend a visit to the Kilauea Caverns of Fire on your next visit to The Big Island of Hawaii.  It’s truly a fantastic experience!

volcanic bacteria

cave entrance

lava ripples

This amazing lava rock was formed at the exact moment a rock dropped into hardening lava but was still fluid enough to ripple.

The iron content in the rock is what forms all the different colors of lava rock.

The iron content in the rock is what forms all the different colors of lava rock.

 

 

Rental Review: North Shore Beach House

Hawaiian Rental House

I won’t lie… we totally lucked out on our rentals while in Hawaii.  I mean, this place is directly on the water, there’s great snorkeling right out front, and sea turtles swimming by every few minutes.  I’d give it 5 stars if it was just a place to pitch a tent with those credentials but it was so much more.  The 4 bedroom 4 bathroom house was set to impress.  There was everything you could possibly need to cook and BBQ, lots of snorkeling gear, and water shoes/fins.  We ended up spending many nights just creating our own personal luau and playing “The Turtle Game.”  The rules are basically just shout “Turtle!” when a sea turtle pops it’s head out of the water and scramble to get a glimpse.  Yeah… it’s a totally stressful environment… Not!  I think the only negatives are, for the price, we might have expected more amenities in the bathrooms (i.e.- soap, shampoo, hair dryers) but nothing you’ll die without!  The salt water will give you the best bath anyway!

Check out more details at www.HawaiiNorthShoreBeachFront.com.

Relaxing on the beach

set in hawaii

There’s a stunning view of the sunset here!!

Here's the view from the back yard.

Here’s the view from the back yard.

We're only steps from the ocean!

We’re only steps from the ocean!

Ocean sunet

 

 

Monday Must-Have Lust List

While we are still on our Hawaiian adventure, here are a few things that have made the island inspired lust list…

1) Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Body Mist Sunscreen

For as pale as I am, it’s a miracle I’m not burned to a crisp.  I always rely on Neutrogena’s Ultra Sheer Body Mist Sunscreen for basically all my sunscreen needs.  I haven’t gotten burned even a teeny tiny bit!!  I’m knocking on wood as I write this though… just in case!

Sunscreen

2) Anti-itch Cream

So I haven’t been sun burned but I’ve gotten so many mosquito bites I’m worried people will think I’ve contracted leprosy.  Seriously, I have 22 bites and counting.  It doesn’t help that I have basically no self control when it comes to itching them.  Luckily my friend had brought some anti-itch cream that has become my favorite thing on the whole planet.

3) Sun Hats

I love me a good sun hat.  Basically I love all hats but right now I’m specifically in need of some sun shade.  My favorite, that I’ve mentioned in some previous posts, is my Eric Javis Squishee IV Wide Brim Hat.  It has UPF 50+ which means my scalp will remain unburned!  A double bonus is it packs really well.  You can simply roll it up and throw it in your suitcase.  I usually wear mine to the airport but that’s mostly because I’ve run out of room to pack it!

Eric Javits Hat

4) Homeaway.com

Both the homes we have been staying at on Oahu and the Big Island we found through Homeaway.com.  Both of them have been really incredible.  I totally prefer to stay in a rental home compared to a stuffy overcrowded resort.  Not to mention with 2 or 3 couples, it ends up being a huge savings to rent 1 house over separate rooms.  I’ll do reviews of our specific places soon!

5) Sparkly Debra Lippmann Nail Polish

I know it’s basically all about fall nails now but I’m stretching out some summery nails through the rest of my Hawaiian trip.  I packed some fun sparkly Debra Lippmann polish in ocean and sunset shades.  Right now I’m wearing the Mermaid’s Eyes color so I’d feel like a mermaid while I was snorkeling and swimming in the lagoon.  It only seems appropriate!

MERMAIDS_EYES (1)

Matsumoto Shave Ice

Shave Ice

While visiting Oahu, I think it’s a mandatory stop to pick up some shave ice at the famous Matsumoto Grocery Store.  I’d like to point out that in Hawaii, it’s called Shave Ice not Shaved Ice.  The line was horrendous all the days we were there but we finally decided to brave the masses.  It wasn’t so bad and the line moved really quick since they have a perfect assembly line set up.

I got the Hawaiian flavor (I mean… we’re in Hawaii afterall!) which was 3 flavors of Pineapple, Coconut, and Banana.  Frankly, it’s a little bit too sweet for my taste so I couldn’t finish it.  But for the fun and experience, it was totally worth it! Especially since my giant (truly a size small) was only $2.50!

Matsumoto Shave Ice

Wandering In Heels

Wandering In Heels At Matsumoto Shave Ice

Top: Matthew Williamson Escape