Sponsored

How to Plan A PERFECT Day on Oahu

How to Plan A PERFECT Day on Oahu
Filed Under:

As long-time fans of —their properties are some of the dreamiest escapes around—we were so excited to team up with them to send two of our favorite blogger babes to Hawaii. Caitlin Lindquist of A Little Dash of Darling, the wildly talented photographer Nicole Franzen, and the dreamy island of Oahu were a match made in heaven. “We had so much fun together!” says Caitlin.

After jetting west, the duo checked into the company’s star Waikiki Beach resort, the breathtaking Royal Hawaiian (that’s its historic stretch of Waikiki Beach pictured above!). There, they hooked up with expert concierge Cori Hara, who created an itinerary for them that included the best of the island’s best, from sun-kissed beaches to under-the radar neighborhoods to one legendary luau. Follow along on their perfect day on Oahu below, and if you fall in love with their trip, you can book Luxury Collections’ insanely cool, insider-y  that includes a custom-curated local itinerary and a welcome gift from us!

Nicknamed The Pink Palace of the Pacific, The Royal Hawaiian has drawn sand-, surf-, and sun-seekers since its 1927 opening.

Nicknamed The Pink Palace of the Pacific, The Royal Hawaiian has drawn sand-, surf-, and sun-seekers since its 1927 opening.

For more than 80 years now, the hotel has drawn people from all over the world eager to leave their everyday lives far behind.

— Cori Hara, concierge at The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Hotel
Aloha! The Royal Hawaiian’s traditional lei welcome awaits the jetsetters!

Aloha! The Royal Hawaiian’s traditional lei welcome awaits the jetsetters!

With its grand archways, striking lanterns, and eye-grabbing tilework, the hotel was meant to conjure up some faraway Moorish palace.

With its grand archways, striking lanterns, and eye-grabbing tilework, the hotel was meant to conjure up some faraway Moorish palace.

Shop the Look

The ladies loved spending mornings in the airy lanai, steaming cup of coffee in hand.

The ladies loved spending mornings in the airy lanai, steaming cup of coffee in hand.

The hotel’s revamped rooms take a turn for the tropical with damask-meets-pineapple wallpaper, headboards you wish you could Mary Poppins into your suitcase, and beds so comfy that snooze button will be a force to contend with.
 

The hotel’s revamped rooms take a turn for the tropical with damask-meets-pineapple wallpaper, headboards you wish you could Mary Poppins into your suitcase, and beds so comfy that snooze button will be a force to contend with.

 

I was blown away by my room. The first thing I noticed was the original carved-wood door, then I opened it and realized I had the most beautiful ocean view.

— Caitlin Lindquist, A Little Dash of Darling
Sporting three tried-and-true travel accessories—a straw fedora, cute sunnies, and a stylish beach cover-up—Caitlin kicks back before the gals’ surf lesson.
 
 

Sporting three tried-and-true travel accessories—a straw fedora, cute sunnies, and a stylish beach cover-up—Caitlin kicks back before the gals’ surf lesson.

 

 

Shop the Look

From beachside prep, to paddling out, to actually standing up, the crew had a blast riding the waves with the hotel’s resident surf-instructor Beach Boys.

From beachside prep, to paddling out, to actually standing up, the crew had a blast riding the waves with the hotel’s resident surf-instructor Beach Boys.

9:00 a.m.  In the early 1900s, surfing was introduced to the world by a group of dare-devil watermen called the Waikiki Beach Boys who rode wood boards and hobnobbed with the who’s who of Hollywood when they’d come to Hawaii for a little R&R. The hotel has an amazing historic photo exhibit on them, and out front on the beach you’ll find a desk full of modern Beach Boys still giving lessons. “This was the first time I’d tried to surf and I loved it!” says Nicole. “I wanted to be out on the water the entire time.”

All the makings for a delicious bowl of pho (Vietnamese noodle soup) from Pho To-Chau in Honolulu’s Chinatown. Drooling yet?

All the makings for a delicious bowl of pho (Vietnamese noodle soup) from Pho To-Chau in Honolulu’s Chinatown. Drooling yet?

11:00 a.m.  Though it might seen like Honolulu is all beach bunnies and surf bros, there’s a vibrant downtown calling out to be explored that includes a vibrant, historic Chinatown. It’s inspired pop-culture characters including Charlie Chan, based on real-life detective Chang Apana, and has recently transformed into one of the city’s most up-and-coming neighborhoods. “There are tons of little boutiques worth checking out and these fab hole-in-the-wall restaurants run by local people serving really good food,” says Nicole. On the store front, she was a fan of the curated vintage clothing at Barrio Vintage and thought Owens & Co., a tropical-cool boutique stocking clothing and decor, was the bees’ knees. And when it came time for a bite, she loved the pho at To-Chau, the ramen at Lucky Belly, and, well, everything at The Pig and the Lady.

Take a drive around the island and you’ll pass by vendors selling just-picked fruit and freshly squeezed juices. Our tip? Pull over and partake every chance you get!

Take a drive around the island and you’ll pass by vendors selling just-picked fruit and freshly squeezed juices. Our tip? Pull over and partake every chance you get!

Not only was Oahu really, really beautiful, but I loved how the islanders treasure their culture and history.

— Nicole Franzen, photographer

Shop the Look

Though every last beach is a babe on Oahu, Caitlin and Nicole were particularly sweet on Lanikai with its emerald waters and pair of offshore islets you can paddle-board to.

Though every last beach is a babe on Oahu, Caitlin and Nicole were particularly sweet on Lanikai with its emerald waters and pair of offshore islets you can paddle-board to.

2 p.m.  Hit the road headed northeast toward Lanikai Beach, stopping at every picture-ready scene along the way (and, trust us, there will be plenty). “If we ever get to go back, I’m dying to rent a paddleboard and see the green sea turtles,” says Caitlin of the marine critters who congregate around this breathtaking stretch of sand. With a board (or kayak, also rentable) you can also paddle out to Moku Nui and Moku Iki, twin islands a little less than a mile offshore hiding a crescent beach.

Hike to the top of Diamond Head and you’ll be rewarded with an epic view of Waikiki.

Hike to the top of Diamond Head and you’ll be rewarded with an epic view of Waikiki.

4 p.m.  “Driving around the island makes you realize just how diverse the landscapes are,” says Nicole. “The north side is all pineapple groves and bright red soil, while the west is drier with lava tidepools, and the east is lush and jungle-like with clouds sitting on the mountaintops.” On the way back to the hotel, stop by Diamond Head crater, known as Le’ahi in Hawaiian. Your reward? Unbelievably sweeping views of Waikiki. “I mean, you can see 360 degrees around Oahu,” says Caitlin. “I loved the views—and the breeze! It was hot!” she laughs.

Back at the resort, the gals relax on the lush, sun-dappled lawn in the historic coconut grove with a little flower-wreath making.

Back at the resort, the gals relax on the lush, sun-dappled lawn in the historic coconut grove with a little flower-wreath making.

Caitlin’s luau-ready in a prettily patterned dress from Calypso with flowers in her hair.

Caitlin’s luau-ready in a prettily patterned dress from Calypso with flowers in her hair.

How do I describe the sand here? Wow. It was soft. Fine-grained. Felt like butter.

— Caitlin Lindquist, A Little Dash of Darling
Bring on the tall drinks with tiny umbrellas! Nicole, also rocking a fresh flower crown (called a haku in Hawaiian) enjoys the festivities.

Bring on the tall drinks with tiny umbrellas! Nicole, also rocking a fresh flower crown (called a haku in Hawaiian) enjoys the festivities.

Lit torches signal that it’s time for a luau!
 
 

Lit torches signal that it’s time for a luau!

 

 

It wouldn’t be a luau without hula dancers who enchanted the crowd, telling ancient stories with their hands—and hips.

It wouldn’t be a luau without hula dancers who enchanted the crowd, telling ancient stories with their hands—and hips.

5:30 p.m.  No trip to Oahu is complete without a luau, and the one at The Royal Hawaiian, called Aha’aina, is both a lovely and authentic way to spend an evening. Think fresh twists on traditional foods including a local greens and poke salad and sake-braised short ribs, and enthralling entertainment that includes storytelling, fire dancers, and hula, of course. It’s the perfect way to end your perfect day—what are you going to do tomorrow?

Shop the Look

 

Filed Under:

Join the Discussion

Join the Discussion

Leave a Reply