If you want to read the posts on travel, they are right here:
Hawaii Travel Part 1
Hawaii Travel Part 2
Hawaii Travel Part 3
I think the best way to handle this is just a blow-by-blow account of our trip, and I'll interject wisdom as it comes up. Or at least thats how I'm going to attempt to do it for now.
Honolulu Part 1
We flew into Honolulu Airport on Friday, and after flight delays and such it ended up being pretty late. We went straight through to the hotel to check in. There wasn't much to be said about this part of the trip, as we were just getting settled.
Hotel: Marriott Ko Olina Beach Club
This part will be a little Mini-Review of the hotel here.
The property is 21.6 miles from the Airport (according to Google Maps), and took right at 30 minutes in late evening traffic.
Ko Olina is a pretty section of Honolulu Coastline with a large selection of resorts and hotels.
The Mariott Beach Club here is GORGEOUS. We pulled up in our car near the main desk, and even in the dark, the place was spectacular. Tiki Torches lit the circle drive, and with the windows down you could hear the crashing of waves on the beach (which we learned the next morning was quite close to where we were). N located our room and asked about somewhere to eat.
One thing to note about Mariott Beach Club properties. They are NOT just hotels. They have residences as well. We were staying in a typical "Hotel Style" room at this property in the Hale Moana Tower. The room included a small balcony that overlooked the mountains to the interior of the island. The room was small, but did include a small fridge and a sink and counter. The bathroom layout was a little odd, in there was VERY little counter space. The beds were very comfy, and the provided Pack-And-Play worked great for little B.
Lets talk about toddlers in Hotel Rooms
This may seem like a common sense idea, but I think its worth mentioning. MOST (if not all) hotels have Cribs or Pack-and-Plays available to use. My suggestion is to have this reserved ahead of time. On Honolulu we had a pack and play in the room, and on Maui at the Hotel, we had a roll-in Crib. I would not leave this up to chance when you get there.
If you are not able to secure a sleeping spot, or anything else for your toddler that you didn't bring, I did find a few services on Maui that would let you rent everything from strollers and cribs to toys. The prices were not outrageous.
Another option for a sleeping spot that we used in a Condo on Maui is a Pea Pod. We packed on in our suitcase and used it. B sleeps very well in it. And despite a recall, if you FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS and don't put the air mattress inside, its VERY VERY SAFE!
Back to the HotelThe morning after we arrived, we had breakfast at Longboards on the property. This was an AMAZING place to eat breakfast. The restaurant is all outdoor seating that overlooks the protected ocean cove/bay that the property sits on. Beautiful sand beach in front of you and good food is a great way to start your day. The breakfast included fresh fruit (mmm... the papaya), yogurt, fresh pastries, and some amazing breakfast sausages and delicious pancakes.
Here is the view from Longboards (this was on the last day, and it was overcast):
The hotel included other restaurants and bars, thought we didn't visit many of them. There is a little market on the property as well that sells basic stuff, some food, beer, and clothing. We visited it one evening for some beer.. yummy.
The hotel has 3 pools. One has a beach on the pool and is designed for kids of all ages to play at. There is also a larger middle pool that is near the hot tubs. We swam one evening in that pool. BUT, the best of the 3 is the closest to the beach, and has a bar very close. The third pool has a waterslide that is WAY tooooo much fun. Its almost completely dark inside, and very fast. Its a multi-tier pool and was a blast to spend time in.
The beach, as you see in the picture from Longboards, is a protected bay. Big waves from the open ocean don't make their way in. This makes for a very calm and fantastic beach. The sand is very fine and clean. Plenty of chairs and cabanas are available. And towels are available, though it took us a while to find them!
Here is B and I headed out into the water on a sunny afternoon:
Parking is not free at the hotel, but the price difference between self park and valet parking was not much, so we took advantage of valet parking. This REALLY facilitates having a toddler with you. Not only did we not have to lug a diaper bag and stuff back and forth through the parking deck, but B LOVED handing the valet the ticket and saying Hi. As well, valet was VERY helpful when a sleepy little boy was passed out in the car seat, and we could just grab him and head to our room. The valet guys were great!