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Hawaii Christmas '17- advice needed for newbie

Hawaii Christmas '17- advice needed for newbie

Old Jan 5, 17, 11:31 am
  #1  
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Hawaii Christmas '17- advice needed for newbie

Family of 6, celebrating 50th wedding anniversary. Ages 13-76. Unfortunately, only option is over Christmas (we don't mind flying on Christmas Eve or day, btw). Looking to spend 7-9 days in Hawaii.

Based in EWR. Two of us have status- Platinum and 1k. Close to $1M miles between us, but hard pressed to spend unless saver (which I know is not really an option those dates). Willing to travel to other NYC airports but prefer EWR. Oldest two are locks for J, rest of us would prefer J but would settle for some type of extra space seating. If we could find J fare for under $2500/rt, likely would purchase.

Only one of us has been to Hawaii, many years ago. Looking for primarily relaxation and beauty, followed by exploration and sightseeing. We want to experience Hawaii so it doesn't feel like a typical beach vacation, yet not feel "go, go, go" every day. Also wouldn't mind options to split up- thinking of a round or two of golf for some, maybe some exploration for the younger ones while the older folks relax at beach/pool, etc.

Budget is not a deciding factor. Looking for luxury at prices we can stomach (understanding Christmas is going to be a premium....just don't want to be paying $2500/night for standard hotel rooms).

I've searched the forums and while there are some excellent suggestions, nothing really tailored to our needs....
gold23 is offline  
Old Jan 5, 17, 11:55 am
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Congrats on your 50th!

For flights, you should be able to get J from EWR for under $2500 pp. The inventory has not loaded, but you can keep track on United.com or Google Flights:

https://www.google.com/flights/#sear...017-01-25;sc=b

I'd grab the flights as soon as they are loaded in inventory. If you have not used Google Flights before, if you click on the date, the monthly calendar appears, and you can select the dates for your roundtrip and see the different prices per day.

Some hotel options outside of Waikiki:

Oahu:

Kahala Hotel
Four Seasons Ko'Olina
Turtle Bay Hotel

Big Island:

Mauna Kea Beach Hotel
Hapuna Beach Hotel
Mauna Lani
Halualai

Maui:

Four Seasons
Andaz


Kauai:

Hyatt
St. Regis Princeville

Just some ideas to get you started...

Last edited by 747FC; Jan 5, 17 at 12:00 pm Reason: Options
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Old Jan 5, 17, 12:48 pm
  #3  
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Originally Posted by 747FC View Post
Congrats on your 50th!

For flights, you should be able to get J from EWR for under $2500 pp. The inventory has not loaded, but you can keep track on United.com or Google Flights:

https://www.google.com/flights/#sear...017-01-25;sc=b

I'd grab the flights as soon as they are loaded in inventory. If you have not used Google Flights before, if you click on the date, the monthly calendar appears, and you can select the dates for your roundtrip and see the different prices per day.

Some hotel options outside of Waikiki:

Oahu:

Kahala Hotel
Four Seasons Ko'Olina
Turtle Bay Hotel

Big Island:

Mauna Kea Beach Hotel
Hapuna Beach Hotel
Mauna Lani
Halualai

Maui:

Four Seasons
Andaz


Kauai:

Hyatt
St. Regis Princeville

Just some ideas to get you started...
Thank you!! If we can find J under $2500, I think we'll bite the bullet and purchase.

With respect to the hotels and locations- is there any one area that you feel might better suit to our desires? I almost feel like it's paralysis by analysis for us at this point- we've done a ton of research and are just as confused!

Btw it's my parents' 50th....my family is getting the "free ride" as long as we pay for transport! Nice deal for us....
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Old Jan 5, 17, 4:25 pm
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Originally Posted by gold23 View Post
With respect to the hotels and locations- is there any one area that you feel might better suit to our desires? I almost feel like it's paralysis by analysis for us at this point- we've done a ton of research and are just as confused!
I'd query your parents and family: Want some history? If so, Honolulu is the place with Pearl Harbor, Missouri battleship, the Pacific Aviation Museum. Also, Hawaiian history at Bishop Museum. HNL also offers some great hikes and scenery.

Just want to veg? Four Seasons Lanai (Manele) or Big Island or Maui properties.

In Winter, I would stay away from all North Shore hotels as there is more rain at that time. So, I would exclude the Turtle Bay and St Regis from my list.

Final caveat: Can't say now, but years ago I used to go to Lanai Island frequently, and the wintertime weather used to sock in flights on occasion. Not sure whether they fixed the problem with new equipment.
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Old Jan 7, 17, 8:41 am
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I've just about given up on using miles for a saver award in J on the non-stop to Hawaii. What I have done is purchased connecting flights and as it gets closer to departure, see if I can revise to the non-stop... but you have to be within your no-fee revision period. I've managed to get the flights in J for around $1300, but not at Christmas time.

I've also used standard awards for my parents for them to fly in J both ways. What we've done is used the miles for them and purchased J for us. My parents paid for some of our ticket essentially "splitting" the cost of ticket in $$$ and miles amongst all who are traveling.

For a special trip, such as this one, and considering the time of year, I would just bite the bullet and use both $$$ and miles.

Note that if you can fly on Christmas and return on Jan 2 or 3 you may have better luck.
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Old Jan 8, 17, 7:10 am
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Originally Posted by 747FC View Post
Congrats on your 50th!

Some hotel options outside of Waikiki:

Oahu:

Kahala Hotel
Four Seasons Ko'Olina
Turtle Bay Hotel

Big Island:

Mauna Kea Beach Hotel
Hapuna Beach Hotel
Mauna Lani
Halualai

Maui:

Four Seasons
Andaz


Kauai:

Hyatt
St. Regis Princeville

Just some ideas to get you started...
Be sure to book Virtuoso-member hotels through a Virtuoso Travel Advisor to receive complimentary benefits. Elite credit cards are not needed to receive benefits (any Visa, MC, Amex, Discover can be used at the hotels, but reservations must be booked through a member agent). Benefits include upgrades (on arrival, if available; at time of booking at Halekulani), complimentary breakfast for two, value-added amenities than can include food and beverage or spa credits or other benefits.

The Kahala
Halekulani
Royal Hawaiian
​​​Four Seasons (Oahu at Ko Olina, Lanai, Maui, Hualalai)
Fairmont (Kea Lani, Orchid)
​​Andaz Maui
​​​​​​Grand Hyatt Kauai
​​Mauna Kea
Mauna Lani
Montage Kapalua
Ritz Carlton Kapalua
The Modern Honolulu
St. Regis Princeville Other hotels where some advisors can offer alternative benefits include the Grand Wailea and Hyatt Waikiki Beach.
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Old Jan 8, 17, 9:39 am
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Those same benefits are available through the Chase and Amex travel sites, should the person have one of the cards with that access.

I know I have them through both Chase UA Pres Plus and Chase Reserve.
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Old Jan 8, 17, 1:58 pm
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With a family of 6, you may want to look at condo options, you will pay a Christmas premium, but should be able to find 3BR options that won't be outrageous and will give you a bit more room and flexibility.
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Old Jan 8, 17, 2:16 pm
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If money is no object, the afore mentioned Halekulani is an absolutely class operation. If anyone is active or retired military*, although not in the same class, the Hale Koa is a fantastic bargain. Even if not staying there, for qualified people*, they have a good and reasonably priced Luau, Mongolian BBQ, crab feast, etc.

* https://www.halekoa.com/accommodatio...igibility.html
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Old Feb 16, 17, 11:38 pm
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Originally Posted by stewlevine View Post
With a family of 6, you may want to look at condo options, you will pay a Christmas premium, but should be able to find 3BR options that won't be outrageous and will give you a bit more room and flexibility.
Agreed on condo - a 3-4 BR or even two 2-BR condos in the same resort could be more fun. You'd have more room to roam about and there are so many condo rental agents.

We are now staying at Honua Kai in Maui. We used vbro to find the room, which we booked from an agent called Vacasa. And of course there are others if you don't go to Maui.

It's good that you're planning now because Xmas is busy and popular; once you book lodging and plane and car, you can then enjoy researching the yummy restaurants and grocers and activities.

Have fun!
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Old Mar 1, 17, 3:34 am
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Someone said not to stay at Turtle Bay in the winter because of rain. I've stayed there in February and March before, and the weather was fine. While Turtle Bay is indeed on the North Shore, I think it gets less rain than the rest of the North Shore. I've even researched average rainfall statistics for that part of the island, and Kahuku (where Turtle Bay is located) doesn't get much more rain than Honolulu.
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Old Mar 1, 17, 3:36 am
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Someone said not to stay at Turtle Bay in the winter because of rain. I've stayed there in February and March before, and the weather was fine. While Turtle Bay is indeed on the North Shore, I think it gets less rain than the rest of the North Shore. I've even researched average rainfall statistics for that part of the island, and Kahuku (where Turtle Bay is located) doesn't get much more rain than Honolulu.

The great thing about Turtle Bay is that the setting is just stunning. Gorgeous views in all directions.
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Old Mar 1, 17, 12:00 pm
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Originally Posted by Unimatrix One View Post
Someone said not to stay at Turtle Bay in the winter because of rain. I've stayed there in February and March before, and the weather was fine. While Turtle Bay is indeed on the North Shore, I think it gets less rain than the rest of the North Shore. I've even researched average rainfall statistics for that part of the island, and Kahuku (where Turtle Bay is located) doesn't get much more rain than Honolulu.

The great thing about Turtle Bay is that the setting is just stunning. Gorgeous views in all directions.
Oahu's rainy (winter) season is February/March. If you have experienced it before at TB, you know how it can be. While unusual, we had one year a couple of decades ago when it rained significantly every single day in March. Unusual, but possible...
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Old Mar 10, 17, 10:13 pm
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7-9 days, split them

4 days Oahu, Waikiki. Explore Pearl harbor, drive around the island, go to North Shore
The rest - Kauai - Hyatt.
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