A Place of Serenity

2 12 2012
Byodo-In Temple

A place of serenity on Northern Oahu

Serenity in our hectic lives is a luxury. On the Kahekili Hwy (83) on North Oahu is an unlikely attraction. In the back of the Valley of Temples, which is a cemetery, is a replica of the 950 year-old temple in Uji, Japan. This replica was built in the 1960’s to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Japanese immigrant workers arriving in Hawaii.

The temple and grounds are like taking a mini-trip to Japan. The background of the Ko’olau mountain range and the large pond filled with koi and swans lull you into serenity. The temple is still used by worshippers, and the custom is to ring the large bell before entering.

There is a $3 entry fee with is collected before you enter the grounds. At the entry to the cemetery, just let them know you are going to the Byodo-In.

http://www.byodo-in.com

 

Insiders tip: Across the street from the entrance to the Valley of the Temples is Ninja Sushi, we had very good and reasonably priced sushi there. It’s just a strip mall restaurant, but the food was great.





Hyatt Place Waikiki

25 10 2012

At 426 rooms, the Hyatt place is a boutique hotel at the quiet end of Waikiki, down by the zoo and two short blocks from the beach. Compared to the neighboring Marriott with 1175 rooms and the 1239 room Hyatt Regency down the street, Hyatt place is a quiet sanctuary from the bustle of Waikiki. The hotel is a recent purchase by Hyatt, and was remodeled and updated.  Hyatt retained many of the former staff, meaning the staff is helpful, professional and happy to be working under the Hyatt brand.

The standard model for the larger hotels on Waikiki is to have shops on the first floors and common areas. The interiors of the Marriott and Hyatt Regency look more like shopping malls than hotels. While the Hyatt Place does not have restaurants, they are within easy walking distance. Instead of shops, the Hyatt Place has a modern contemporary common area with a 24-hour bar.

Hyatt Place WaikikiHyatt Place has two different Towers, The Pali Tower is considered the deluxe tower due to the size of the rooms at 500 to 550 sq feet. The Diamond tower has standard room accommodations room size 220 to 250 sq ft. The penthouse floor is identical to all the other rooms in the Pali Tower, only difference is that the PH floor is the top floor.

 

Insiders Tip: On your next visit, you can request to be on a higher floor. If you prefer ocean views, on the website you will need to confirm Deluxe King or Queen Ocean View, and request the penthouse floor.

Our room had a sitting area and more plugs than I have ever seen in a hotel room. A skillet breakfast is included with the room. Fried egg is combined daily rotation of breads for an open-faced egg sandwich. Yogurts, fruit, granolas, cereal, miso soup and bagels with cream cheese are additional choices. Breakfast is from 6:30 to 9:30.

Hyatt Place bar and snacksThe lobby area has a 24-hour bar and snack bar. In the back corner of the area is a gift shop with remarkably competitive prices. The water and juices there were less the neighboring ABC store! Would you rather pay $3.25 for a bottle of water in the room or $.85 in the gift shop?

Insiders Tip: Park at the Aston Banyan diagonally across the street. You get in and out privileges and it is half the price of valet parking at the Hyatt Place.

We had a deluxe city view room, which actually faced Diamond Head and had a partial ocean view. Our room had a small lanai (balcony), which we enjoyed in our down time. We were on Oahu for just a few days so we did not intend Hyatt Place to be a place of relaxation. If you want relaxation, head to Maui or Kauai. If you want mixing with lots of people, nightlife and high energy, Waikiki is the place for you!

 








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