Waikiki Travel Guide Part 1 | Gluten-Free

Welcome back! In this blog, I am sharing Part 1 of my Waikiki Travel Guide: Where to eat, stay and play! If you are traveling to the Waikiki area, I would recommend keeping in mind that it is crowded, but there is a lot to do. As I mentioned in my previous blog post, we rented a car which made it much easier to explore the surrounding area. We definitely could have seen more while we were there, but our time on Oahu was a good mix of relaxation and adventure.

While on Oahu we spent one morning hiking the Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail. This trail features a newly paved, extra wide path which makes this hike very walkable.  However, I think I would consider it to be an intermediate hike. It was pretty long and at times it was also steep, but I saw people of all ages, shapes and sizes along the trail. Little dogs too! I would recommend bringing water, SPF, a hat and wearing comfortable sneakers. The views from this trail were amazing. The earlier you can start, the better, because the parking areas fill up and can add additional walking to your hike.

After the hike we went to Kona Brewery for lunch. The restaurant and brewery are located on a marina which offered a nice breeze after our long hike. I also love anywhere with outdoor seating on the water. Kona’s menu has great gluten-free options, so I highly recommend it if you’re looking for GF dining. Our waiter was very knowledgeable about gluten allergies and even let me know they don’t fry any of their food. I got a gluten-free beer and a GIANT platter with nachos with chicken. I wish I could go to this place every week! My non-GF husband also enjoyed his lunch and trying out new Kona beers {some of which were only available in Hawaii}.

Pearl Harbor was a must-see for us while in Hawaii. My husband is a big history buff, so he was extra excited for this tour. Unfortunately, the USS Arizona memorial was undergoing repairs while we were visiting, so we were only able to take a boat ride around the memorial. The boat ride alone was enough to bring me to tears. After touring the memorial, we make our way to the Laniakea Beach area. We stopped at the North Shore Tacos food truck which had gluten-free options and did their best to prevent cross contamination. I was definitely nervous about trying a food truck, but it was delicious and I didn’t get sick. I found this food truck through findmeglutenfree.com and looked at recent comments. The fresh salsa was one of the best I’ve ever had and we loved the chicken tacos. After lunch we headed over to a quiet beach area where we saw tons of huge sea turtles! My husband told me that we weren’t too far from the beach where scenes of the show LOST was filmed.

Kalakaua Avenue is the main street running through Waikiki along the beach. It is filled with stores, restaurants and lots of people. On Kalakaua you will find tons of high end stores and a few shopping malls. Within one of the mall-like areas, we found Flour & Barley where we stopped for lunch. This restaurant has a lot of gluten-free options on the menu. Our server was very knowledgeable about the menu, gluten concerns and was overall very attentive. Mike and I both opted for pizza. I went with the gluten-free Sicilian style pizza with veggies. It was a good lunch {didn’t knock our socks off}, but in all honesty, it was very overpriced, even for Waikiki — $4 watered down ginger ale and $10 beers. Still a good options for GF eaters though.

Check back soon for Part 2!

Alohilani Resort & Spa Waikiki

Hi friends! Welcome back to the my little blog. I am excited to share our recent trip to Hawaii for our honeymoon! We got married in October, but delayed out honeymoon until this summer due to work schedules. Although I think it is probably exciting to jet off to a honeymoon destination right after the big day, it was nice having something to look forward to. We also did not start planning our trip until well after our wedding was over, so it was one less “to do” I had to worry about prior to our wedding day.

It took us a while to decide on a destination. We considered Italy, Paris, London, Greece, Napa Valley and Bermuda, but Hawaii was the winner.  Hawaii has a good mix of adventure, relaxation and history. Once the trip was booked I could not be more excited! Within the next few blog posts I will share details of our time on Oahu and Maui, and of course tons of gluten-free recommendations.

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I found planning a gluten-free trip to Hawaii to be a bit difficult. When I was doing my research I struggled to find restaurants that offered GF options. At some point during my search I stumbled on a helpful blog and the wonderful blogger behind the site responded to my email with a lot of suggestions. Unfortunately, I lost that email and cannot find the link to her site again. I hope my blog helps to fill the current void of gluten-free Hawaii tips!

We flew direct from JFK to Honolulu on Hawaiian Airlines. It was an 11 hour flight and to our surprise it did not seem that bad! I can’t say either of us were overly impressed with this airline. There were no complementary movies or TV shows and limited snack and beverage services. Although the flight attendants were friendly, they were not as attentive as those on some other airlines we have used.

We started off our honeymoon and my birthday weekend on Oahu at the Alohilani Resort & Spa, which was recently renovated. A complementary bottle of champagne was left in our room which made our arrival even more exciting. The resort is on Kalakaua Avenue and no other hotels are obstructing its views to the ocean. This was a key criteria in my hotel search because there are many hotels in the city. We had a partial ocean view room with a king bed in the Beachside tower {the tower closest to the ocean}. I think the view from our room was excellent, especially for the sunset. The only disadvantage of this area is the city noise when siting on your balcony. We thought our room was perfect; very clean, sleek modern decor and a comfy bed. The only minor flaw I can think of is that the bathroom was a little blah. All white everything {literally}.

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When you walk into the hotel you enter a grand, yet modern lobby with views of the O-Bar floor to ceiling aquarium. On the 5th floor there is an inviting infinity pool overlooking Waikiki beach, a kids pool and the Swell bar area. We loved the pool area and the pool bar staff were very attentive. It’s not a huge space, but we lucked out with only having one overly crowded day. You can also pay extra reserve a cabana or lounge chairs in the pool. We considered renting a cabana, but once we realized they were not alongside the pool, we passed. The resort also has a gym and on-site parking for a fee.

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If you are considering renting a car, I highly recommend booking through Costco if you are a member. The Costco site compares about 5 major car rental companies; all of which were much lower than booking through any other sight. I also liked that through Costco, I only made reservations and did not make a payment until we picked up the car. When we arrived in Honolulu, the line for Avis was very long and slow moving. I was quickly able to change out reservation through Costco on my phone then popped over to one of the rental places with no line. To my surprise, I was able to save another $15 and the car rental person upgraded us to a Mustang because she thought, “we needed something nicer for our honeymoon.”

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We ate at two restaurants at the Alohiliani; Morimoto’s Asia and Momosan’s. Morimoto’s Asia has gluten-free options identified on the menu, knowledgeable waitstaff and outdoor seating. Although it is not overly fancy, I would say the dress code is a step up from casual. As usual, Mike enjoyed his dinner, but I was a bit taken by surprise when mine was placed in front of me. {Side note: he always teases that I don’t order well}  I ordered the garlic shrimp expecting something along the lines of what I order at PF Chang’s. That is NOT what garlic shrimp is in Hawaii. A classic garlic shrimp dish consists of gumbo shrimp {shells and legs included} in a garlic broth. Be prepared to work and get messy to enjoy this meal. Although the shrimp and garlic broth were very tasty, this style dinner was just not for me. Not to mention, gumbo shrimp give me the heebie jeebies.

Momosan’s has a casual atmosphere and also offers outdoor seating. Their menu doesn’t indicate gluten-free, but all grilled skewers can be make gluten-free (without the sauces and just with salt). We actually ate here twice and all of the waitstaff who helped us were very knowledgeable. I tried the chicken and beef skewers with a side of edamame. I highly recommend the beef skewers and a glass of rosé.

Head over to my Instagram to see more photos from our trip and stay tuned for my next Hawaii blog!

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