By Pam W.
I know it’s almost summer, but now is the time to start planning your Holidays!
In this article I’m going to do my best to convince you to spend money on creating great memories that last a lifetime over buying a bunch of holiday gifts that don’t get used.
Okay, here goes.
We started our Christmas adventure on December 19th. There were many goals to this trip aside from the obvious sun soaked tropical vacation. The objective was to buy memories instead of presents – yes you read that correctly. The money was going to be spent one-way-or-another, so why not make it something that will last a lifetime.
A tradition was born without my consent; each year around Thanksgiving I found myself making room in closets for the soon to arrive new Christmas packages sure to come in December. By making room I mean getting boxes filled with last year’s gifts that in many cases were never even used. What a huge waste each year of money, time and effort! Moms let’s be honest, our kids won’t remember half of these presents. In our home the “Christmas routine” became predictable and it was time for a BIG change. A family will remember great times and traditions, many of those times fill our memory bank with a special moment while others make up an entire week or more. We’ve all had those cozy hot chocolate in hand conversations with family and friends that start with “remember that time”.
I….ahem, (we) decided to make treasured memories instead of buying gifts. Of course we ran this by everyone in the house first and all voted YES! To be perfectly honest I was nervous about a conversation that starts with “How would you all like to not get Christmas presents this year? The reasoning was explained rather quickly that it will be replaced with a tropical vacation, palm trees, great food and hanging out with Mom and Dad for an entire week. Shockingly, they still voted yes.
So back to the beginning of this article, as previously mentioned our Christmas adventure began on December 19th. Our rather impressive shuttle arrived at our front door and took us to LAX. Many of you know how busy LAX is during the holidays so this in itself was an adventure. Our group of six which includes my two kids, two nieces the hubby and myself finally board the plane after four hours of driving and waiting in lines.
We are on our way to Waikiki to enjoy seven days and six nights of pure tropical magic at the Trump Waikiki!
To some that may seem extravagant, but let’s keep in mind we are coming from beautiful Orange County, a land with sunny days, palm trees, ocean and Disneyland. Plus let’s not forget it’s the Holidays and we are not Christmas shopping, so let’s splurge a little! We land in Oahu and pick up our giant SUV to haul six people and 28 suitcases (kidding, there were 27). Our group has been to Hawaii many times; typically we stay in Maui or Turtle Bay, so we are excited to see Waikiki! The weather is a perfect 70 degrees and as we get closer to Waikiki it starts feeling familiar. For the life of me I can’t figure out why and then it hits me…we are in tropical Beverly Hills and yes I like it! Let me be perfectly clear I signed up for a luxurious tropical vacation with no Christmas shopping and so far this is looking pretty sweet. Navigation has informed us that we have arrived and I’m feeling like it is talking to my soul. We pull up to the Trump valet, it feels cozy and welcoming. There is warm Hawaiian Christmas music in the background, paired with the ocean waves and Christmas trees decorated to the nines everywhere. That’s it I’ve died and gone to heaven, my plane crashed and this is Heaven’s gate. Just soak it up I tell myself breathe in the sweet floral air and the sound of happy people.
The very friendly staff great us with a “Mele Kalikimaka” and guide us to the lobby to refresh with “spa water” and warm wash cloths, after all it’s been a ten hour journey thus far. Okay we are refreshed please take us to our room, the suspense is killing me and I can’t wait to be impressed and check out our room. According to my husband impressing me is a tough thing to do, if not an impossible thing to do but easy cheesy for the Trump Waikiki…
— We conquered the giant pineapple maze at the Dole Whip plantation. We also ate a lot of Dole whip! For those of you OC Moms reading this that hold Disney passports, yes it’s the same stuff right outside the Tiki Room in Disneyland. There are only two places you can get real Dole Whip, Oahu and Disneyland.
— We visited Pearl Harbor and toured the ships. It was good and sobering. A good idea for kids to experience in person.
— We walked around Waikiki in the evenings enjoying the amazing street performers, beautiful Christmas decorations and great food. This really was a fun surprise.
— We enjoyed Christmas breakfast at The Trump!
— We hiked through Waimea Valley and let me tell you it is the most beautiful place you have ever seen. Plush with hundreds of tree varieties, exotic birds, stunning waterfalls and pure tropical beauty! If you don’t plan anything else please check out this gem www.waimeavalley.net
— We swam in the Infinity pool at night and enjoyed the view of lights and the ocean.
Our completely wonderful room! Our room in fact is not a room but a wonderful suite boasting an incredible 1600 plus square feet with an incredible ocean view a beautiful full kitchen with Sub-Zero and Wolf appliances, a nice dining room, several bedrooms and a den. Yep, this is paradise, and what I’m calling home for the next seven days.
We’re all pretty ecstatic! The Trump is so catering to families. In fact some rooms even have adorable little robes for your little ones, cribs and I’d imagine anything else you need or want. In our case our suite is fitted with Nintendo and games as well as other fun board games all of which cost nothing additional. Not that our week here has any time or desire for Nintendo. We all settle in and unpack; of course I have a ton of stuff which includes a small Christmas tree, Christmas lights, little stocking, hot chocolate with marshmallows and cookies. Its Christmas time and I’m not a savage, there are mom laws making sure you have “the basics” and I comply. So as everyone makes fun of me for ridiculous amounts of items coming out of my bags I happily ignore them and put everything away nice and neat.
I’m feeling confident that those memories are about to be made so it’s game time let’s plan out this week. We have to see the North Shore, Pearl Harbor, explore all of Waikiki, Visit the small town of Haleiwa, get snow cones while drinking copious amounts of Kona coffee, see the Dole plantation and eat Dole whip, relax on the beach and eat TONS of great food. Easy…let’s do this!
We did it all and it was simply amazing! The Trump was an incredible hotel to take the family. The staff went out of their way to meet every detail and they did it with warmth and a smile. Our family had the best Christmas we have ever had. We played, we rested, we swam, we ate, we ate some more and we enjoyed every minute! Our new Christmas tradition will always be a Christmas vacation…Hopefully at the Trump.
For more information visit the website www.trumphotelcollection.com/waikiki/
Each hotel in the TRUMP HOTEL COLLECTION offers the signature services of Trump Attaché, providing every guest with uncompromising service, no matter how particular, throughout his or her stay. At Trump International Hotel WaikikiTM Beach Walk®, the attaché program is further enhanced with the introduction of the Beach Attaché to attend to guest’s needs while partaking in oceanfront activities. Following check-out, Attaché meticulously records each guest’s preferences and maintains a detailed guest history to ensure that no stay feels like the first and no request needs repeating.
MAITA’I CATAMARAN: Underwater Adventure Sail: This relaxing adventure will sail out to Waikiki’s best diving spots and let you jump in and explore the reef. After your snorkel, you’ll have lunch aboard the boat. Then kick back, soak up the sun and enjoy the cruise back to shore. Includes box lunch, juice & snorkel gear. $45/ Adults & $27/Child (4-12yrs) Available: Monday, Wednesday & Friday
Trade Wind Sail: 90 minutes of pure exhilaration with the wind and waves off Waikiki as your engine. Mai-tais, beer, wine, juices and soft drinks are served on this “waker-upper.” $28/Adult & $14/Child (4-12yrs)
Sunset Mai Tai Sail: Also known the “booze cruise.” Kick back and relax on this 2 hour sail. You’ll enjoy a beautiful sunset as the city lights of Waikiki Start to appear. Sip on the island famous mai-tai. Enjoy up to 10 complementary drinks. Adults: $39 & Child: $19 (4-12yrs)
THE STAR OF HONOLULU DINNER CRUISE
Five Star Dinner Cruise: Dine in an elegant setting with 5-star service and food. Enjoy a 7 course French style dinner of live Main lobster and prime tenderloin of beef on your own private table. Dance to live jazz performed by some of Oahu’s top artists. *Children not recommended. Dress code: Men- Long pants, collared shirt & Women: Elegant Resort Wear pricing starting at $184/Adult
Three Star Dinner Cruise: This casually elegant dinner cruise will begin with a champagne toast atop the 60’ high observation desk. Jazz will begin the night, as you enjoy a 5 course whole Main lobster and tenderloin steak dinner. Conclude the night with the magical “My Hawaii Lei of Memories” show. Pricing starting at $134/Adult & $80/Child (3-11yrs)
Star Dinner Cruise: Excitement, entertainment and fun. The star dinner cruise offers a 3 course crab and filet steak dinner and tropical cocktails. Explore their 4 panoramic decks for breathtaking vistas. Conclude the evening with the magical “My Hawaii Lei of Memories” show. Pricing starting at $94/Adult & $57/Child (3-11yrs)
ATLANTIS NAVATEK DINNER CRUISE
Royal Sunset Dinner Cruise: A 5 course steak and whole lobster dinner in a romantic setting with live local entertainment aboard the Navatek’s smooth cruising ship. The double hull design of this ship offers one of the smoothest rides in Hawaii. Pricing is inclusive of transpiration . Pricing starting at $138.94/Adult & $78.03/Child (2-12yrs)
Sunset Dinner Cruise Buffet: The sunset buffet is a favorite for families, offering an all you can eat buffet of a selection of Hawaiian influenced dishes, like Mahi Mahi Navatek and Chicken Kahala. When the sun sets, the deck turns into a party with live local entertainment. Pricing is inclusive of transportation. Pricing starting at $106.63/Adult & $59.93/Child (2-12yrs)
SNORKELING AT HANAUMA BAY
Come face to face with friendly fish and tropical underwater creatures at the best snorkeling spot on the island. This marine sanctuary is the home to thousands of marine wild life. Open every day (except Tuesdays) from 6am to 6pm. If you have your own car, parking is $1 but go early because the parking fills up quickly. Guests driving out on own are recommended to be there before 10a.m. for parking. Shuttle service from the Trump International Hotel Waikiki Beach Walk is available. Admission fee of $7.50/pp must be paid directly to
Hanauma Bay– cash only. Shuttle services starting at $22/Adult(13+ yrs) & $20/Child (4-12 yrs). Available: Wednesday- Monday
You can’t come to Hawaii and not learn how to surf. Ty Gurney Surf School makes it fun and easy with 1 or 2 hour lessons. Private, semi-private and group lessons (no more than 4) are available. All ages are welcome (13 years and younger require private lessons for safety reasons). Private Lessons starting at $110/pp.
Feel like you’re in a James Bond movie as you race around the Jet Ski track in Oahu’s pristine waters. Enjoy a 30 minute rush of speed on these brand new Yamaha Jet Skis. Pricing inclusive of transportation. Tandem rides starting at $54.31/pp. Solo rides starting at $80.49/pp. Must be 16 years of age to drive jet ski.
Fly high in the sky in comfort and safety as you glide through the sky on a parasail. During your 8-10 minutes ride see breathtaking views of the beautiful coastline while up in the air. Pricing inclusive of transportation. Pricing starting at $54.31/pp. Pricing determined by length of line for parasail.
KAYAKING IN KAILUA BEACH
Escape the crowds of waikiki and experience the beauty of Kailua Beach. Kailua Beach is known fors its fine white sand and pristine waters. Pricing inclusive of transportation. Pricing starting at $135.08/pp.
GRAND CIRCLE ISLAND TOUR
Go from historic Pearl Harbor to the most famous surfing beaches in Hawaii on the North Shore. See the cliffs along the Makapu’u shoreline, or the breathtaking views of the eastern side of the island from the Pali Lookout. Make sure to take a Circle Island Tour of Oahu. Where else would you be able to drive around the whole island in a day? Pricing starting at $88.99/Adult & $73.29/Child (2-12yrs)
At Pearl Harbor there are four exhibits: USS Arizona Memorial, USS Missouri, USS Bowfin Submarine & Pacific Aviation Museum. Exhibits closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years.
Valor of the Pacific (USS Arizona Memorial)
Take a trip to the past and visit the memorial grave site for the men that served on the USS Arizona when Pearl Harbor was attacked, signifying the start of WWII for America. The Arizona Memorial tickets go quickly on a first –come first-serve basis so all guests are encouraged to go early. The Arizona Memorial is a complimentary tour and is open daily from 7:45am to 3:00pm.
Launched in 1944 the USS Missouri is the last U. S. battleship ever built and the site of the Japanese surrender of WWII in 1945. Open from 9a.m.- 5p.m. and guided tours ranging from 35 minutes – 120 minutes.
USS Bowfin Submarine
Learn how the submariners lived n a narrow metal tube under arduous conditions. Open from 8a.m.- 5p.m. go below deck to see how this submarine sank 44 enemy ships during the course of nine war patrols.
Pacific Aviation Museum
Journey back in time to the hangers that survived the Japanese attack. Our military docents take you on a visual, verbal and moving tour of the aircrafts and displays. Take a flight on the combat flight simulators or the aviator’s tour. Open from 9a.m.- 5p.m.
ATV Tours: Ride your own All Terrain Vehicle through Kualoa Ranch. This is a privately owned ranch alongside the beautiful and picturesque Ko’olau Mountain range. Navigate your ATV through trails deep into scenic valleys and remote areas rarely visited by others. ATV riding at Kualoa Ranch happens rain or shine – diggin’ through the dirt and crossing seasonal streams are part of the fun! Must be minimum of 16 years to participate. Pricing starting at $72.25/pp
Horseback Riding: Kualoa’s horseback tours combine that special bond with horses with the most spectacular scenery on Oahu. On horseback, riders take different trails beneath the cliffs and overlooking the ocean. Must be 10 yrs+ & 4’6” tall to participate. Pricing starting at $72.25/pp
Kualoa Ranch Tours: Their most popular tour – take a movie set tour of Kualoa Ranch. Board a ranch bus for a one hour narrated tour across Kualoa Ranch and into beautiful Ka’a’awa Valley to experience where many of Hollywood’s biggest blockbuster movies and television shows are filmed, such as Jurassic Park and Pearl Harbor. Pricing starting at $27.23/pp
OAHU NATURE TOURS
Discover the spectacular natural beauty of Hawaii with Oahu Nature Tours. They specialize in small group size, guided nature adventures to see Hawaii’s colorful bird and plant species, cascading waterfalls, Green Sea Turtles, lush rainforests, volcanic craters, Humpback Whales and coral reefs. Excellent photographic opportunities and information about the geology, archaeology, mythology and history of Hawaii await you on their fun and educational tours. Varied tours and hikes available. Pricing starting at $30.37/pp
BLUE HAWAIIAN HELICOPTERS
True to its reputation, Blue Hawaiian is making its arrival on Oahu even more memorable – with the introduction of the 21st century American Euro copter “ECO-STAR.” The state of the art “ECO-STAR” is the first helicopter designed specifically for air touring. Features a smoother ride with 23% more cabin space, individual First-Class seats for greater guest comfort and sweeping views with larger wrap around windows. Roundtrip shuttle available from hotel; shuttle times to be determined upon booking. Passengers full names and approximate body weights needed upon making reservations. Neighbor island tours available. * Some weight restrictions apply.
Blue Skies of Oahu: Waikiki Beach is just the beginning, experience the phenomenal scenery of this amazing island’s hidden rain forests, lush valley’s and beaches. You’ll glide over Diamond Head, Hanauma Bay, and over the breathtaking coastline of Sacred Falls. Your Blue Skies of Oahu will also include sweeping views of Pearl Harbor, the Arizona Memorial and the Battleship Missouri. Pricing starting at $233.38/pp
MAKANI KAI HELICOPTERS
Flying Oahu skies for over 20 years, Makani Kai Helicopters uses the best modern jet turbine aircrafts. Configured for this island, the pilot is seated on the right-hand side enabling guests to take in the unobstructed views of Oahu. Roundtrip shuttle available from hotel; shuttle times to be determined upon booking. Passengers full names and approximate body weights needed upon making reservations. * Some weight restrictions apply.
Pali Tour, 30 minutes – Begins with historic Honolulu Harbor, Aloha Tower and Punchbowl the National
Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. The tour continues above Waikiki Beach, around Diamond Head crater and over Sea Life Park. Pricing starting at $170.25/pp
The Hidden Oahu, 45 minutes – This popular tour picks up where the Pali Tour leaves off. You will go further up north over Chinaman’s Hat and into “Jurassic Park” valley. The highlight of the tour is Sacred Falls, a splendid 1,000 foot cascade. You’ll see world famous North Shore surfing spots and the largest agricultural maze at the Dole Pineapple Plantation. Pricing starting at $219/pp
The Ali’i Sacred Falls, 60 minutes – This grand adventure includes everything in our other tours then treats you to a spectacular Waianae Mountains and infamous Kolekole Pass – where Japanese war planes flew on their date with destiny on December 7, 1941. Pricing starting at $303/pp
PARADISE COVE LUAU
Luaus in Hawaii are festive celebrations where everyone shares culture and aloha while feasting on traditional Hawaiian delicacies. Experience this Hawaiian tradition with Paradise Cove, one of the best luaus on the island. Located on a secluded beach on the beautiful property that is Ko Olina Resort, be greeted with a Mai Tai and lei and take part in fun activities before the sun sets. End the night while watching the beautiful Hawaiian hula and exciting fire dance.
COST: Standard Hawaiian Buffet $75/Adult, $55/Child (4-12yrs) Orchid Luau $106/Adult,
$79/Child (4-12yrs) Deluxe VIP $140/Adult, $111/Child (4-12yrs). Children 3 and under are FREE provided they do not occupy a seat. Transportation available for additional $13/pp.
POLYNESIAN CULTURE CENTER
This all day activity is an all-encompassing Polynesian experience you’ll never forget. Escape to the 6 different Polynesian villages and take part in cultural activities, stories and dance – you’ll feel like you’ve left the island of Hawaii. Enjoy an evening of Polynesian dinner and one of the best Polynesian performances in Hawaii. Full day & half day packages and transportation available. Pricing starting at $97.80/Adult & $73.08/Child. Available: Monday- Saturday
WAIKIKI STARLIGHT LUAU (Hilton Hawaiian Village)
Live entertainment, interactive games and an unforgettable island feast is what you will find when you join the Starlight Luau. Immerse yourself in the excitement of music, drums and the drama of traditional Hawaiian, Tahitian and Samoan dance Experience the colorful heritage of the Pacific Islands, roof top under the stars. Different packages available. Pricing starting at $109.95/Adult & $54.97/Child (4-11yrs) Available: Sunday- Thursday
‘AHA’AHINA – A ROYAL CELEBRATION
This event pays homage to Helumoa, the legendary playground of Hawaiian royalty and where the resort now stands. ‘Aha ’aina translates to ‘gathering for a meal’ – and this modern interpretation of the traditional Hawaiian feast is honored by food, song, stories and culture. The celebration takes place on the ocean front lawn at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel with backdrops of Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head. $175/Adults & $97/Child (5-12yrs) Available: Monday’s Only
MAGIC OF POLYNESIA
Waikiki’s stage show combining magic, illusions, Polynesian dance, song and chant. Watch as International Magician Society’s Merlin award-winning master illusionist John Hirokawa performs amazing feats before your eyes. Integrating the use of pyrotechnics, Polynesian dancing and other special effects make this show even more explosive. Dinner and show packages available. John Hirokawa performs Tuesdays – Saturdays. Michael Villoria performs on Sundays and Mondays. Schedule subject to change without notice. Dinner packages available. Pricing starting at $55/Adult & $35/Child (4-11yrs)
CREATION- A POLYNESIAN JOURNEY
Located in the Ainahau Showroom at the Princess Kaiulani Hotel, discover the fascinating story of the Polynesia through an epic journey of song and dance. Take a trip back in time, as ancient worlds forged by the elements of ocean; wind & fire come to life in front of your very eyes. Dinner packages available. Pricing starting at $65/Adult & $48.75/Child (5-12yrs) Available: 5 Nights (Except for Monday & Wednesday)
What we did.
Christmas Breakfast at the Trump— We went to the North Shore, twice. Yes the waves are huge and you should at least go check it out so you can say you’ve been there. While on your way to the monster waves do stop at Cholo’s and get some fish tacos! — 66-250 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, HI 96712 (808) 637-3059