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By Jenny Block
There are two ideas that I used to think were silly, but absolutely do not anymore.
One is the “weddingmoon.” Why would you need a trip before the happiest day of your life? I’ll tell you why: because planning your wedding and honeymoon is stressful, and a weddingmoon is the perfect way to regroup and remember why you’re getting married in the first place.
The second idea that used to seem silly is going to Hawaii when you live in Texas. I mean, we’re so close to Mexico, right? Beautiful beaches, lovely sunsets, fresh Mexican seafood—check, check, and check. But Hawaii is different. It really is.
After my fiancée whisked me away on a three-week escape, we arrived on Oahu and spent two nights at the Marriott Waikiki. The hotel is across from the beach, has an impressive sushi restaurant, and is steps away from great shopping—including Louis Vuitton, Balenciaga, Cartier, Chanel, and my new love, Tori Richard. We watched the moon rise over the waves and the sun set behind the mountains.
Then we were off to Maui, where we stayed at Marriott’s Ocean Beach Club, a gorgeous property that looks like a blockbuster-movie version of Hawaiian glitz. The ocean view was remarkable, and the possibilities for playing and dining were seemingly endless. I sat in the pool for hours reading terrible novels and drinking Lava Flows. My fiancée watched the Astros at the beach bar, and I grinned every time she cheered.
Then we spent one day driving to Hana.
It’s a crazy, bumpy, windy adventure with waterfalls and epic views and fruit stands along the way. We played in the mysterious pebbles of the Black Sand Beach, waded in a waterfall, visited the painted eucalyptus trees, and ate a picnic lunch from the aptly named Hana Picnic Lunch Company. I threw my head back and let the sun warm my face in our Mustang convertible, which seemed far more practical than the Jeeps that are popular for this trek. Why? You can’t leave your belongings in a soft-top Jeep during the myriad stops you’ll make, and the Jeep hardtop is too difficult to take on and off.
Thanks to my friend Kai McBride, who is also an island concierge, we spent an amazing day on the water with the Quicksilver Lanai Snorkel Adventure, where I saw more dolphins in one spot than I had ever seen before. We also got to spend an enormous amount of time with three spotted eagle rays, as a circling mother and two babies appeared to enjoy watching us as much as we enjoyed watching them.
We had wonderful meals on Maui at Merriman’s, Sea House, and Star Noodle. One night we dressed in matching Hawaiian prints, donned leis, and immersed ourselves in the Feast at Lele luau, an oceanfront event featuring course after course of exotic fare.
All week, I ate as much poke and shaved ice as humanly possible, and wondered if a woman could survive by eating nothing but these Hawaiian treats.
Too soon, it was time to take off for Kaua’i, where we split our nights between the massive Kaua’i Marriott Resort and the kitschy Kaua’i Shores Hotel. The latter is home to Lava Lava Beach Club, which meant we got to enjoy toes-in-the-sand happy hours, meals, and live music complete with a gorgeous hula dancer every night.
I do my best not to play fast and loose with the word magical, but our adventure with Blue Hawaiian Helicopters on our first day in Kaua’i was just that—from the first glide over the shoreline to the first dip into the canyon for a glimpse of multiple rainbows in the falls. The majority of the island can only be explored by air, and it is a view not to be missed.
For our second Kaua’i adventure, we went tubing with Kaua’i Backcountry Adventures. Around 1870, tunnels were dug by hand for irrigation. No longer in use, you can float down the open canals and through the impressively engineered flumes. I don’t remember the last time I giggled and smiled as much as when we held hands with our tubes crashing over the “rapids.”
We ended our stint in Kaua’i with a visit to Hamura Saimin, which has the best local saimin on the island. If you’re not familiar with the dish, it’s a classic noodle soup with optional toppings such as pork, Spam, egg, and fish cake. Order the special and make room for the Lilikoi chiffon pie. (Note: Hamura is cash only.)
Back to Oahu we went. Before heading to our resort for the week, we spent a night in Honolulu on a mission: to eat at Sushi Sasabune. This is not an easy reservation to get, and the ensuing culinary adventure is not for the faint of stomach or wallet. The best seat in the house is at the sushi bar, but a table will do just fine. Go “omakase” style or “chef’s choice.” The restaurant’s motto is “Trust me”—and you should. Every bite was more delicious than the one before.
Finally, we made our way to the last stop on our trip, Marriott’s Ko Olina Beach Club. This was the second property that Michelle Gill at Concierge Realty found for us (with just 24-hour notice, she’s a last-minute travel genius!). The club was gorgeous, and we decided to spend most of the week laying around the pool and taking in the surreal sunsets.
We had noteworthy acai bowls one morning at Island Vintage Coffee, a delicious meal at Monkeypod Kitchen (I had to have saimin one last time before we left the islands), and a dinner I won’t soon forget at Noe at the Four Seasons. The food, service, and atmosphere at Noe made it the most perfectly romantic end to the most perfectly romantic trip.
There is something spiritual and ancient about Hawaii—something inspiring and soul-satisfying. I could not be more grateful for the three weeks we had there, and I couldn’t be more excited about returning one day. I could not have asked for a better travel companion, whom I couldn’t help but fall in love with all over again every time the Hawaiian sun took its leave into the waiting sea.