After passing an impressive row of high-end shops (re: Dior, Ferragamo etc.), lit tiki lanterns, a gorgeous park (Ainahau Triangle), and deck bars, we reached the first access alley to the beach
. To the right, we passed The Royal Hawaiian Hotel, in all its pink splendor, and turned left to traverse the beach until we found an "open" spot (Note: Waikiki = more people than sand). The beach stretched southward, ending in a drastic up-shoot of the Diamond Head Crater wall. We followed the shoreline, watching other tourists have their try at Hawaiian canoeing (outriggers with long, thin pontoons), paddle-surfing (where you stand on a surfboard and paddle around...interesting), and crewing catamarans. Finally, we found a patch of sand to spread out our towels and relax. We read, ate, napped, strolled, and had a pink cocktail on the house (thank you cooler). Before leaving for the afternoon, I looked behind us and noticed we had picked a part of the beach located in front of the Moana Surfrider Hotel. Not only is this historic hotel "the First Lady" of Waikiki, with her majestic white columns and delicate veranda, but it is also the site of our big dinner on the island - at the Beachhouse restaurant. I surveyed the restaurant from the outside, and it appeared to be perfectly situated away from the bustle of the beach, but still with an unobstructed view of the ocean.
It was nearly 3 o'clock, which meant that tiki grill's happy hour had started. We parted ways with the Waikiki sand and made friends with a California sandal franchise entrepreneur. He also was an ex-pro motocross rider. Whatever the truth, he was amusing, and he bought us a round of $2 drafts. That makes anyone okay in my book. After our stint at the tiki grill we walked back up Kalakaua Ave to the statue of the "Duke" where we caught the shuttle back to the Hawaii Prince Hotel. Our driver was happy to share with us how expensive it is to live on the island. I understand. It's gorgeous. After tipping him (hint, hint), we crawl into bed for a nap. Oops. We wake up at 8:00pm, starving, and order a burger (Alex) and onion soup with a puff pastry crust (me, no more healthy eating tonight). It was sooooo good. I even ate the last bite of the 50lb burger. Straight greasy heaven. Not long after, it was back to bed.
Zing! Awake at 5:30am. Shouldn't be a surprise because that's 10:30am our time, and we went to bed at 9:30pm local. Unsuccessfully I tried to rouse Alex for a sunrise hike. My first strategy was to brew a carafe of Kona coffee, then I used snacks to lure him out of bed. My efforts resulted in a showered, dressed, and still-hungry boy. Relenting, I trekked it downstairs to the Marina Cafe where decadent breakfast items (e.g., exotic fruit salad and freshly baked croissants) were available to us on room credit. After a bite to eat, and a quick but informative chat with Naomi, our concierge, we hurried to catch the shuttle to the beach, swimsuit-clad with borrowed towels in hand. It turned out that the shuttle schedule didn't even start until 12:30 (it was still before 11:00). Looks like we are walking the 1.5 miles to Waikiki. Of course, I wore a pair of heeled sandals, facilitating a speedy journey.