When Mike told me that he might be able to do his reserve duty at Tripler in Hawaii, I got right on trying to find someone to watch the kids so I could join him over the holiday weekend. In asking around, my awesome friend Dionne volunteered to come and stay with the kids with her son Lucas. I already knew Dionne was amazing, but I did not expect such a nice gesture. I got a direct flight from Denver to Honolulu on Thursday morning and got to Hawaii in the early afternoon. I grabbed an Uber and headed to our hotel where I met Mike after he was finished with work. When I got there, they had put is in the wrong hotel. After a rather long phone conversation with Hilton Grand Vacations, we got everything sorted out. We ended up staying at the Grand Islander at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort right on Waikiki. This was their newest tower and the feel was modern yet classy. In the mix up with the room, we ended up upgrading to a one-bedroom suite where we had our own kitchen area and lots of room to spread out. We wasted no time and headed right out to go for a walk on the beach. It was glorious to be somewhere so warm and peaceful. We walked all the way down the beach past the Hale Koa and then we headed towards the shopping strip and to the International Market Place which is a fairly new outdoor mall area with shops and restaurants. Mike had made a reservation for us to eat dinner at the Eating House which is one of Roy Yamaguchi’s restaurants. The food was outstanding, and it felt surreal to be eating outside. After an amazing dinner of steak and potatoes for me and scallops for Mike, we were too tired to wait the 25 minutes for some of their amazing desserts, so we grabbed the check and headed to the Japanese grocery store to buy our favorite Japanese ice-cream sandwich and devoured it on our walk back to our hotel. With the 3-hour time change, I was out like a light the moment my head hit the pillow.
I had anticipated sleeping in the next morning, but I was up before 5am. I laid in bed until 6am and then I got on my running clothes and went for an early morning run with Mike. We ran to the Foodland Farms grocery store and bought fresh fruit and vegetables, frozen fruit for our smoothies, and some lunch and snacks for the following days excursions. We ended up with too much food to run back with, so we called an Uber and headed back to our hotel. I quickly made Mike a smoothie and sent him off to work. Luckily, he only had to work a half day today. After he left, I opened up the Valentines gift bag he had put together for me. Inside were lots of treats, including some yummy Japanese candies, 2 fun shirts, a tank top from Lululemon, and a card with instructions for my fun day. Mike had booked an 80 min massage for me at the Ritz Carlton at 11:00am followed by a wonderful lunch of Ton Katsu with him at 2:00pm. I took advantage of my morning and headed to the beach with my smoothie. I walked the entire walk between the Hilton and all the way past the Hale Koa and then headed back. I came back to shower and got all of my things together and headed to the Ritz Carlton. I have had many massages and been to many amazing spas but this one was probably one of my favorites. The people were so incredibly nice, and everything was designed to be light and calming. I had the best massage followed by some time in the relaxation room, eating my snacks of dried fruit, chocolate, and dragon fruit sorbet. It was kind of amazing. I was lucky enough to be in the relaxation room all by myself, so it was really relaxing. After spending some time in the sauna, I took a shower and got all ready and headed on over to the Tonkatsu Ginza Bairin restaurant to meet Mike. We were both pleasantly surprised at how delicious the tonkatsu was. It tasted just like being back in Japan. Of course, everyone in the restaurant was either Japanese or speaking Japanese, and the cooks were all native Japanese. We even conversed with our waitress in our simple Japanese. That is always fun.
We spent the rest of the afternoon paddle boarding on the ocean. We rented boards from the Hale Koa rental and made our way to the water. There was a little wind which made balancing at times a bit difficult, but we still managed to have a great time. I actually did see one sea turtle poke it’s head out of the water. We paddled together for about an hour before heading back inside to get ready for dinner. Since it was Valentine’s Day and most of the restaurants had been booked for quite some time, we opted to order pizza to go from a really great pizza restaurant at the International Market Place. We found a nice spot on two comfy chairs outside on the third level and ate our pizza and just talked. It was absolutely perfect. Then we headed back over to the Eating House and ordered the brownie, graham and marshmallow dessert. Since we didn’t have a reservation we just sat up at the bar and waited patiently for our yummy dessert to arrive. It gave us more time to just chat and enjoy the awesome live music that was being played. I couldn’t have planned a better day!