Although we were concerned about how the jet lag would impact our sleep schedule, we were both able to get in about 7 hours of sleep on Thursday night. Mine was interrupted sleep, but I’ll take it. We took advantage of the early morning and hit up breakfast at the hotel’s Lanai Surf Restaurant at 6:30 AM. As a benefit of being a Platinum Member with Starwood, John and I were treated to complimentary continental breakfasts during our stay. The breakfasts were pretty comprehensive and the food was terrific. This particular morning, I chose to have fresh pineapple juice, a fruit cup, homemade granola with blueberries and a homemade chocolate croissant. Perfecto!
It is also didn’t hurt that we had this view to take in.
After breakfast, we drove to Diamond Head State Monument and made the climb up Diamond Head.
Although the climb was challenging, I scaled this beast in 35 minutes. The views from the top were completely worth the effort!
If you choose to do this hike (pregnant or not), I’d highly recommend wearing exercise clothes, sunscreen and a hat and bringing water. All of these things helped to make my workout that much more enjoyable. Since we were there early (arrival at 7:30) there weren’t too many people there. I’d also recommend going early because the heat can be brutal, depending on the season. The hiking trail was uneven, largely unshaded, and a mix of stairs, ramps and dirt path – challenging, but doable.
Finally, I’ll add that there are very clean bathrooms at the base of the trial. Since there are no facilities on the trail or at the top, one must plan accordingly.
We went on a short drive after the climb to explore the area and then did some window shopping near our hotel. We got cleaned up, then walked to lunch at nearby Il Lupino. Il Lupino is a great restaurant with a nice, modern interior, welcoming environment and great customer service. John and I both started our meal with amazing arugula salads. The arugula was local and the salad included pears, toasted marcona almonds and a lemon vinaigrette. So good! For our entree, we shared a Hamakua mushroom (local) and spinach pizza (John added proscuitto to his half). The pizza was perfect — the crust was thin and crisp, the vegetables were cooked just so, and the cheese was light, but savory.
After lunch, we drove to the Bishop Museum for a few hours of culture. The museum was very interesting and had more exhibits than we could tackle in an afternoon. Therefore, we chose two buildings — the great Hall (for the historical coverage of the Hawaiian islands, culture and governance structure) and the castle (for the dinosaur and immigrant exhibits). Both were very informative, easy to follow and full of interesting facts and figures.
Afterwards, we made our way back to the hotel. I took a nap and some time to elevate my feet/ankles (which were swelling due to the heat and the time I spent on them) and John went back to pick up a few items that we saw during our window shopping experience. For dinner, we walked over to the Halekulani Hotel for dinner at Orchids.
Orchids is another restaurant that came highly recommended by friends and the concierge. The ambiance is very nice, with many orchids adorning the space and a drop-dead view of the water as the showpiece. The menu was impressive and we had a tough time selecting what to order. In the end, we both ended up ordering the Hamakua mushroom soup as an appetizer and I chose the shrimp ravioli as my entree. Both were flavorful and well-prepared. John was also really pleased with his Onaga entree. For dessert, we shared the infamous Orchids Coconut Cake. Friends, this was amazing. Truly.
Still not fully adjusted to the time change, we crashed when we got back to the hotel room.