Friday, May 6, 2011

Favorite Vacation Spots

Kelly's Korner is doing Show us Your Life - Favorite Vacation Spots. I've mentioned before that Blaine and I love to travel. My favorite spot is Waikiki and his is Vegas.
This is a panoramic view from the hotel on the beach at Waikiki. It's not the nicest hotel, but the location is awesome and the price is right! Who goes to Hawaii to stay in the room? I wanted to be able to walk across the street to the beach. It's the Waikiki Beachside Hotel. I think it is now owned by the Aston chain.
Underneath the big Banyan tree, right across from the hotel, is a stage area. They have hula and music shows over there. They are free and very entertaining. You just sit on the grass or sand and listen and watch. You also get an awesome view of the sunset!
The first time we went to Hawaii, I didn't go to Pearl Harbor. I felt a little guilty. We went the next time. GO EARLY IN THE MORNING! I suggest you go your first morning there. You are still on mainland time and will wake up early! There are lots of vans that you can pay to take you there. It's a very somber and moving experience. Take a book or paper to read while you are waiting for your turn.
We have taken the Mai Tai Catamaran cruise, through Tom's Barefoot Cruises, three times. We love it. Even though I tend to get a little seasick, the views can't be beat! Drinks are included in the price, but I usually don't drink. I get sick enough as it is!
Another panorama from the hotel. The higher your floor the better the view. These floors are more expensive, but what a view! Also, don't be afraid to take the bus around Honolulu. It's economical and the drivers are very friendly! We take the bus to the Ala Moana shopping center. They have tons of stores, a food court, and aren't very far from Arkansas' mecca, WAL-MART!!!

Do take the Circle the Island tour. It's very touristy, but will hit all the highlights of the island. They will take you to where the beach scene in "From Here to Eternity" was filmed, the blow hole, Pali Lookout, Hanuama Bay, and a couple of places where you can buy stuff. Some of the tours will stop at the Polynesian Cultural Center for lunch. It's gorgeous in there. You can take a 'canoe' ride before eating lunch and get a look at what's inside! If there are places you didn't get to spend all the time you wanted, then rent a car and you'll know where you want to go!
Take the trip to Hanuama Bay! it's an old volcanic crater. The water is amazing, the fish are beautiful. If you are a snorkeler it's a must. Make sure and get a water proof camera! Take lots of sunscreen! I had on 70 spf and still was a crispy critter!

Hawaii is a VERY long way from here! It's a long way from everywhere! When we go, we like to break up the flight. We have started flying to Las Vegas, where hotel rooms can be found for cheap, spending a couple of nights and then flying to Hawaii. And stopping back there for a night on the way home. I try to take Hawaiian Airlines when we can. They are a service oriented airline. The still serve meals to everyone and it's included in the price! Their seats are fat girl friendly too!

We have been to Las Vegas numerous times. We have yet to stay in the same hotel twice. Here's my breakdown of our hotels:

Luxor - we had a junior suite with a huge tub! Loved the tub. The hotel is on the South end of the strip, so kinda far away from everything.
Harrahs - great location, nothing special
Riviera - nothing to recommend, never again!
Hilton Grand Vacations - Condo, all the comforts of home, on the North End of the strip, kinda far from stuff
Encore - Wonderful room, luxurious, awesome, North end of the strip, a little far from the bus stop
Aria - located in the City Center, great location, new hotel, nice rooms
Monte Carlo - GREAT VALUE, good location, room was good, nothing special
Bellagio - We had a fountain view room, it was AWESOME, beautiful pools, wonderful service
Mandarin Oriental - we are going to stay here in July, I'll let you know all about it!
The Hard Rock is off of the strip, but we go here EVERY visit to Las Vegas. They have a restaurant named Mr. Lucky's 24/7. They have a steak and shrimp special for $7.77. It's not on the menu and you have to ask for it! I think you get a steak, four grilled shrimp, salad, and mashed potatoes. Plenty of food for a great price!
There is a double decker bus called, The Deuce. It goes up and down Las Vegas Boulevard 24/7. It will take you all the way to Fremont Street and back to the strip. You can buy a 24 hour pass for a reasonable price, $6-7 dollars, I think. If you can, get up top, at the front. That's the view you'll have!
There are tons of shows to see! Some are super expensive, some you can find deals on, if you'll just search. We have seen, Mamma Mia! at Mandalay Bay, Viva Elvis at Aria, The Amazing Johnathan, a traditional Vegas Showgirls show (topless and all!) at the Tropicana, and Zumanity at New York, New York. That's the picture above. I was pulled on stage during the show and it was a BLAST! Poor Blaine nearly died from embarrassment! I don't think you can go wrong with a Cirque du Soleil show. The only show we really didn't like was The Amazing Johnathan, it was his Comedy Central show with lots of cussing.

Make time to stand in front of the Belagio and watch the fountain show. It's beautiful. The pirates at Treasure Island is pretty fun, the volcano at the Mirage is stinkin' hot!
This is an awesome view of The Strip. I took this picture from the Playboy Club. I know that won't be your cup of tea, but honestly, if you go during the week, it's really boring early in the evening! Nothing crazy, just skinny women in bunny suits!

 You can't go to Vegas without visiting downtown! This is where you'll see all the wedding chapels. Fremont Street is also there and worth the visit. Fremont Street is the old Vegas, where you see the casinos next door to each other. They have a giant canopy screen and play shows at night. You see lots of "characters" down there!

These are our two favorite spots, so far! If you have any questions, feel free to comment and ask questions. I'll do my best!

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