Topic Wiki

Since this TR covers a couple of cities, I created this wiki to help sort it out.

Planning Stage
Booking Stage
Chicago
L.A. Part 1
Hawaii Day 1
Hawaii Day's 2 & 3
L.A. Part 2
« Last edited by shulem92 on October 27, 2016, 02:46:17 PM »

Author Topic: Shulem92's Honeymoon to Hawaii, L.A. and Chicago  (Read 4550 times)

Offline shulem92

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Shulem92's Honeymoon to Hawaii, L.A. and Chicago
« on: September 25, 2016, 08:50:06 PM »
I'm gonna start this TR a little unconventional, but since its technically part of planning, I'll write it anyway, and you can skip it if you don't care for it, click HERE for the planning, or HERE for the actual TR.

B"H I got engaged mid March. Being that my wedding was scheduled for late June, it made sense to plan a honeymoon for the summer, late August. I wanted to try and use as many points as possible and not have to use cash, so it was time for an app-o-rama ;) I applied and got approved for:

Amex plat 100k
Amex PRG 50k
Southwest Plus 50k
Southwest Premier 50k
CSP 50k
Barclay's Arrival Plus 40k
Barclay's LH 50k

Did most of the spending in the first month. I (stupidly) swiped for 17k on the amex plat and got FR'd. In my haste to pay up the bill, I tried cashing a check into my chase checking account and the check bounced🙈. Cashed it again the next day and paid my bill. I survived the FR with only a credit slash. 2 weeks to my wedding and I'm thinking that my money issues are done, right? I mean what's better than surviving the dreaded FR? Nope it just wasn't meant to be. A day before my wedding I try quick paying a friend some money, and I get an odd response, "sorry, you do not have enough funds for this transaction". Hmmm. That's odd. I call chase, and they inform me that my account had been frozen due to " improper use of funds". Being that they never even informed me that my account was frozen, I had 2 payments to Barclay's come back returned. OK, big deal, I'll worry about it some other time, as I was getting married the next day. When my next statement was due I tried making a payment to Barclay's from my wife's savings account (as my money was still frozen by chase), and both Barclay's and TD reassured me that I can make a payment from a savings account. 3 days later, I realized that the payment returned again, because for some reason they weren't able to process a payment from a savings account. I quickly call up Barclay's, and they tell me that both my cards were shut down. After reviewing my account, because 4 payments returned, they established that I was a security risk. (I had opened 7 cards in 1 day, and maxed them all out to hit the spending threshold). Luckily I had already met the spending threshold for the bonus on the Miles & More, but my Arrival Plus points evaporated as soon as they shut down the card. No amount of HUCA was able to retrieve them.

So now I have:
55k LH
115k SW (companion)
170k MR
60k UR
30k UA

My MR were frozen for a bit, but that's a really long story, and I'm sure you're probably bored of this by now. I just needed to vent, sorry....

To be continued...
« Last Edit: September 25, 2016, 09:01:32 PM by shulem92 »

Offline shulem92

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Re: Shulem92's Honeymoon to Hawaii, L.A. and Chicago
« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2016, 08:50:42 PM »
Just kidding. That would just be mean, to not even start the planning stages of the TR already, so here goes.

Actual planning started 2 weeks before summer Bein Hazmanim, Roughly the beginning of August. From reading up on various TR's I decided that I wanted to do Hawaii, being that I didn't want to leave USA, and it was on the top of my bucket list for USA. So after doing a little bit of research on the "Hawaii: which island should I visit" thread, I was still no closer to an answer as to which island I should visit. After checking flight availabilities (mainly for the way back, to be leaving on Thursday before shkiah) and hotel availabilities, I settled on the Big Island.
Hyatt on Kauai didn't have C&P available for the nights I needed (even after PUTPAC) and anyway the flights all connected through Honolulu, and all availability to leave before Thursday shkiah was sold out. KOA on the other hand had a direct flight back to LAX Thursday afternoon, and I found the Sheraton resort on the BI for a good rate, (clinched by the amex offer that came out that day of 50 off 250). I also had spoken to a friend who just got back from the BI that week, and he highly recommended my choice of the island itself, and the Sheraton resort, where he had just stayed.

So the plan was to fly Thursday Aug 18 EWR - LAX, and find a place to stay for shabbos. Fly LAX - KOA Aug 21 early Sunday morning, arriving 12 pm. Fly back to LAX Aug 25th Thursday afternoon, stick around for shabbos, and fly back Aug 29 Monday morning, as I had my parents anniversary on Tuesday, back on the East Coast.

Next up: Booking Round 1...

Offline shulem92

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Re: Shulem92's Honeymoon to Hawaii, L.A. and Chicago
« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2016, 08:51:16 PM »
Round 1 of booking....
I booked a roundtrip flight from EWR - LAX Aug 18 - 29 on Southwest for 23k with a free companion.
LAX - KOA United saver award 22.5k I had 30k united so I transferred 15k UR.
KOA - LAX I needed a specific flight Thursday afternoon, so I paid revenue 250$ (bought a cert and saved 70$) so total of $430 or $215 pp, not a bad deal.
Sheraton resort in Kona booked from 21-25 for a cash rate of 150$ a night. Deduct 50X2 from the amex offer, and a fellow ddf'er paid me to use his account 25$ a night, and that comes out to 400$
Found a friend to host me for shabbos Aug 26-27 in Los Angeles.

A mentch tracht un Gut lacht....

I bought a used copy of Hawaii: The Big Island Revealed on amazon for 3$. After reading the book, I came to the realization that I needed a newer version, as half the roads had been wiped out since 2005. My local library had the latest version in stock B"H, so I caught up on all the new maps/roads. I planned out my 4½ days on the BI accounting for every minute....
But G-d had other plans.

By the time Tisha B'av rolled around, I still didn't have a place to stay in Los Angeles for Shabbos Aug 19-20, which was that week. Time for a change of plans. I didn't want to stick around for shabbos on the East Coast, because I wanted to just start my vacation already...

I called my grandparents who live in Chicago, and asked if I would be able to come for Shabbos. As soon as they agreed, I booked myself a ticket on Southwest EWR - MDW at 6 pm Thursday Aug 18, for 11k points and $11. The second leg wasn't showing any availability till Monday the 22, so I had to change my plans for Hawaii :( I called united and asked how much it would be to change my flight from the 21st to the 23rd, and the rep tells me its $100 per passenger. Now I thought it was $75, so I asked to speak to a manager. She puts me in hold for like 5 minutes, and eventually gets back on, "there seems to be a shortage of managers today, it's your lucky day, I'll do it for free" :)
So now I had my tickets to Hawaii on the 23rd, it was cutting my time in Hawaii by almost half, but I didn't have much choice.
Luckily, I booked the Sheraton through a friend's platinum account, and was able to change the reservation, and cancel the extra 2 days. Afterwards availability opened on Southwest for Sunday afternoon to MDW - LAX, but I had already switched all my reservations. Bummer!😥

After I had all my flights worked out, I now needed to find hotels in Los Angeles for the 21-23 and 27-29. The Andaz had availability at $230 a night and c&p for the second night which was $125 + 10k points. So I booked that. I also bought $300 worth of certs off a fellow ddf'er, saving myself $70.
For the next week I booked myself 2 nights at the Le Meridien Delfina at Santa Monica Pier at a C&P rate of 6k points and $110 each night. Cash price was $420 a night, so it was a pretty good redemption.

Total airfare:
11k SW +$11 EWR-MDW
20k SW +$11 MDW-LAX
11k SW +$11 LAX-EWR
45k UA +$11 LAX-KOA
$500-15% UA cert = $425 KOA-LAX

Total hotel costs:
10k Hyatt + 125$ Andaz W Hollywood
$300-25% Hyatt cert = $225 Andaz W Hollywood
$350 -50(amex offer) Sheraton Kona 2 nights
12k SPG + $220 Le Meridien Santa Monica 2 nights.

That concludes the planning stages of my honeymoon flights/hotels. The only other thing that really had to be planned in advance, was my reservation at Tierra Sur. 😊

Actual trip report coming soon...

Offline shulem92

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Re: Shulem92's Honeymoon to Hawaii, L.A. and Chicago
« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2016, 08:51:49 PM »
August 18th: Vacation here we come.

Our flight out of EWR was scheduled for 6 pm on Southwest airlines. I kept on getting updates to my email that the flight has been delayed, not delayed, delayed just a little... Basically I didn't trust the updates who can't make up their minds, and arrived at the airport as if my flight was still on time. TSA pre lane was closed. (Side rant...how come I'm finding it so common nowadays that TSA pre lane is closed? Isn't it a service that people actually pay money for?) Our flight ended up taking off at 7pm so it was only delayed for an hour. We landed in MDW at 7:45 CDT. My aunt picked us up in the airport and drove us to my grandparents house in Peterson Park. By the time we arrived at my grandparents, it was after 9 pm, which meant that unfortunately Shallots was closed. So we jumped in the car, and headed downtown to Milt's trying to get there before 10, because that's when the kitchen closes. We got there at 9:50 and ordered our food.
The brisket nachos were very good for an appetizer. I would rate them 5/5, but I am a little biased as we hadn't eaten since breakfast. 😀
I ordered the Milt burger, and DW ordered the pulled brisket sandwich. I really wanted ribs but they were sold out😢. Right before our mains showed up, the lights went out. Apparently there was a power outage for 2 square blocks. We still had light as we were sitting under the emergent lights, but not enough light to take a good picture. (Sorry)
The Milt's burger is still one of the best burgers I've had. (I'm curious to know how they get the burger bun not to fall apart as you eat it.) When we asked the waiter for the bill, we were told that they can't bill us as their systems are electronic, so we were free to go!😂  What a great start to our honeymoon.

I woke up the next morning and went to daven in Bais Ushi. I haven't been there in at least 5 years, and they've done renovations since the last time I was there! After davening I picked up DW and headed to Emma's for breakfast. I had the pizza trencher,

Emma's Pizza Trencher, by shulem 92 on Flickr

 and DW had the Greek omelet.

Emma's Greek Omelette by shulem 92, on Flickr

 The pizza trencher brought back fond memories of my early childhood visits to Chicago to visit my grandparents.
We then headed downtown to do the touristy things. We parked on the street for 6$ an hour.  (You know when you live in a city, and never do the touristy things in your own city? Well that's how I felt about Chicago always, but since I had my DW to entertain in a foreign city, I gave in to the tourist traps.) $22 a person later, we were in line to get on the elevator that goes up to the sky deck on the 103rd floor of the Willis tower. The line getting in was only about 15 minutes. (I guess 12pm on a Friday afternoon isn't such a hot time by the tourists😂) The elevator takes you up 103 floors in around 10 seconds, so make sure you bring along some gum to chew on, so your ears don't pop so much. After reaching the top, I realized that there is a reason I never went to do all the touristy things, because they're overpriced. The view is basically the view you get from an airplane. And you don't need more than 5 minutes to walk around the building, plus 5 minutes to wait online for The Ledge. The ledge is pretty cool. It's a glass box hanging out over the edge of the building. You can get some pretty cool pictures/selfies on the ledge.

Willis Tower The Ledge (4) by shulem 92, on Flickr

The Ledge by shulem 92, on Flickr

willis tower (7) by shulem 92, on Flickr

Willis Tower by shulem 92, on Flickr

We drove back to the Jewish part of town, and did a little shopping for our trip. Stocked up on Romanian pastrami, salami, hot dogs, and beef sticks.
(One of the perks of a stopover in Chicago😁)

Shabbos I davened in the Agudah (R' Feurst). The Shul is undergoing massive renovations so all the davening was downstairs.
I thought cicadas only appear once every 17 years? They were SO annoying! Wherever you go they are making noise and flying into your face...
Friday night we went for a walk in Peterson Park, and a minute into the park we see around 20 deer grazing in the park. The scene was surreal. Quiet. Moonlit. I wish I could have taken pictures :(

Motzai Shabbos we went to Tel Aviv Pizza. I needed DW to taste my absolute favorite, their cheddar fries!

Tel Aviv's Cheddar Fries by shulem 92, on Flickr

 We ordered pizza, and a lot of cheddar fries. Sunday morning we packed up, and drove to the airport. We had to leave early, because the air show was going on downtown that day. It was actually pretty cool, because we got to see some of the planes doing cool tricks, from the highway enroute to the airport. B"H the TSA pre lane was open and our flight which was scheduled for 1:20 pm, left right on time. We made some homemade wraps with deli for lunch on the plane. (IMHO the most convenient food for a plane! No mess if no liquidy condiments are added, it can be quite filling, and you DON'T HAVE TO WASH!!😂)

LAX here we come...

Online tov hashem

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Re: Shulem92's Honeymoon to Hawaii, L.A. and Chicago
« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2016, 09:19:26 PM »
Looking forward!     I guess you gotta have some experience dealing with Amex FR's after all this?! ;D
✔️ I'm not a robot        reCAPTCHE

Offline Luvtotravel

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Re: Shulem92's Honeymoon to Hawaii, L.A. and Chicago
« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2016, 10:13:44 PM »
mazel tov! nice how you got those few freebies thrown in, always makes my day when it happens... looking forward to the rest.
Don't wait for the perfect moment; take the moment and make it perfect.

Offline regular

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Re: Shulem92's Honeymoon to Hawaii, L.A. and Chicago
« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2016, 11:08:18 PM »
Congrats on your wedding! Love the trip report so far sounds so exciting. Your sense of humor and wit sure add to the enjoyment of reading  it. Cant wait for future installments. Keep it up

Offline 1356Abe

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Shulem92's Honeymoon to Hawaii, L.A. and Chicago
« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2016, 12:48:32 AM »
Shana Reshona can leave some with extra time to spare.
But anyway really amazing trip report! Almost feel as if I was with you.

Offline elya

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Re: Shulem92's Honeymoon to Hawaii, L.A. and Chicago
« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2016, 07:26:30 AM »
Great start. Thoroughly enjoyable read. Those freebies you ended up with are really cool, for some reason those things never happen to me.. But really happy things worked out for you. Eagerly looking forward to the rest.

Offline shulem92

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Offline regular

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Re: Shulem92's Honeymoon to Hawaii, L.A. and Chicago
« Reply #10 on: September 26, 2016, 02:50:25 PM »
Thanx! Next installment is already written, I'm just finishing up the pix...
You better hurry now you have this guy to compete with!

Offline shulem92

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Re: Shulem92's Honeymoon to Hawaii, L.A. and Chicago
« Reply #11 on: September 28, 2016, 07:08:07 PM »
We landed in LAX 3:45 pm PDT. Took the shuttle to National Emerald Aisle. I used Honeywell and paid around $80 for 2 days. I didn't have the patience to wait around for them to bring up a convertible, and anyways we were only being in LA for a day and a half, so we just settled for a Camaro SS.
We then headed for the Sunset Strip, as that's where the Andaz is located. First impression, the lobby décor is very modern, very sleek, with muted lighting. There is a little table with 4 computers on it, where you check in.

Andaz LObby (2) by shulem 92, on Flickr

Andaz Check In by shulem 92, on Flickr

Andaz Lobby by shulem 92, on Flickr

They graciously upgraded us to the king suite, after asking nicely, and mentioning that it was our honeymoon. (Diamond status may have helped also😉.) They put us on the 7th floor, in the corner suite. We were blown away by how huge it is! There is a huge living room when you walk in, with a bar table off to the side. A nice view of the Sunset Strip, but no open balcony, (or windows that open for that matter). 2 bathrooms with showers, and a large bedroom. I would venture to say, that the square footage was more than a floor of an average single family house! The whole suite was decorated with Beatles™ memorabilia.

Andaz by shulem 92, on Flickr

Andaz (3) by shulem 92, on Flickr

Andaz (4) by shulem 92, on Flickr

andaz (15) by shulem 92, on Flickr

andaz (12) by shulem 92, on Flickr

andaz (13) by shulem 92, on Flickr

andaz (6) by shulem 92, on Flickr

andaz (7) by shulem 92, on Flickr

andaz (8) by shulem 92, on Flickr

andaz (11) by shulem 92, on Flickr

We went out to do some shopping in Ralph's, and stocked up on food for our upcoming trip to Hawaii. I had called La Gondola as soon as we landed in LAX to make a reservation for 7:30 PM and they had seats for us. So that was the next stop. First we ordered the Beef Tinga, because DW had gotten it in the past and liked it. It was pretty good, but I'm more of a steak kind of guy. Since the wiki recommends the avocado egg rolls, I figured I'll give then a try, but unfortunately they were sold out.😞 We split the Chai steak, which was pretty good meat, but a drop too sweet. Overall it's a very good restaurant, and my total bill was less than $100! (Because we split the main😎).

La Gondola's Beef Tinga (3) by shulem 92, on Flickr

We drove around a bit, checked out all the "action" in Hollywood, and then headed back to the hotel. We parked, and then walked next door to The Comedy Store, just to see what its all about. Very low place, felt very shady. We weren't there for too long, to say the least...
We decided to check out the pool and Panorama Room which are on the roof. They were already closed, but an employee gave us a quick tour. I could see why it would be cool to have an event/party up there.
When we got back to our room, there was a bottle of kosher wine in an ice bucket, a tray of pastries/fruit, and a "happy honeymoon" card signed by the entire hotel staff!

andaz (9) by shulem 92, on Flickr

andaz (10) by shulem 92, on Flickr

Andaz Complimentary Fruit & Pastry Tray by shulem 92, on Flickr

I brought along a 12 ft HDMI cable, connected my laptop, and was able to finish up my planning for TBI on a massive screen! Pretty cool. There was a pair of earplugs next to the bed with a card that said "The sunset strip doesn't always have an off switch". 😂

Andaz Earplugs by shulem 92, on Flickr

We woke up the next morning wanting coffee, but there was no coffee machine in the room, so we called room service. Within 2 minutes, they brought up a Keurig machine.

Andaz Coffee Maker by shulem 92, on Flickr

We headed out to do some more shopping. Ariel Glatt Kosher Market, had Greek yogurts (which I recently saw somewhere that they can last unrefrigerated for like 10 hours, so that was a great option to bring for breakfast in Hawaii.) They also had mozzarella cheese, and bread which would be our lunch for the next 3 days, prepared in a sandwich maker. We also picked up hot dog and hamburger buns to eat with our Romanian BBQ's. I know its a little sacrilegious to cook it in a George Foreman, but for convenience's sake, that's what I do on most road trips.
We headed over to Fish Grill for lunch. I got the salmon filet over pasta, and DW got a salmon salad. I was very impressed with the salmon. It was perfectly seared, yet still moist.

Fish Grill's Salmon Filet (4) by shulem 92, on Flickr

Fish Grill's Salmon Filet (2) by shulem 92, on Flickr

Up until this point on our trip, we were shlepping along our Shabbos clothing as Southwest offers 2 free bags. We went to drop it off by our host for the coming Shabbos, being that we had no particular interest in shlepping it with is to Hawaii. We then went to do some touring. First stop was The Grove. We parked in the garage. First hour is free. The concept of an outdoor mall is old, but since this is LA it can be nice weather year-round, so they are able to spruce it up with some palm trees and a little pond.
Next stop was Beverly Hills. We drove out there and checked out some of the "houses". I finally understood why its called Beverly HILLS. The view is phenomenal! Afterwards we stopped in at the Pacific Design Center. Cool place if your into high end interior design. Outside they have these really cool water sprinklers. With a lot of vibrantly colored flowerbeds, and the palm trees in the background, it made for some pretty cool pictures!

Pacific Design Center by shulem 92, on Flickr

pacific design center (5) by shulem 92, on Flickr

pacific design center (2) by shulem 92, on Flickr

pacific design center (3) by shulem 92, on Flickr

pacific design center (4) by shulem 92, on Flickr

We got back to the hotel, packed up, prepared food for the flight, and went to sleep early. I calculated that we needed to leave at 6:30 to catch our 9:15 AM flight. LA traffic, car rental return, shuttle, LA traffic again, a not so reliable TSA pre, and time for me to daven. My calculations were  pretty much on target.
TIP: Unfortunately the valet service isn't part of the nightly rate, and that will run you $42 a night!
We get to the airport, premier check in for star alliance gold, and 1 one free suitcase. TSA pre was a breeze. The united lounge on the first floor was packed, so we went to the upstairs lounge.

united lounge lax upstairs by shulem 92, on Flickr

Pretty empty, although there were a couple of Jews there who also had this great idea to daven shachris, (unfortunately not enough for a minyan.) Our flight got delayed for an hour due to "traffic control", but before we knew it, we were on our way to KOA, The Big Island of Hawaii!!

To be continued...
« Last Edit: September 28, 2016, 08:12:18 PM by shulem92 »

Offline shulem92

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Re: Shulem92's Honeymoon to Hawaii, L.A. and Chicago
« Reply #12 on: September 29, 2016, 04:46:07 PM »
The flight from LAX-KOA was empty. We had 3 rows to ourselves. The inflight entertainment system was partially broken. A stewardess was giving out snacks, and we asked her if they have anything kosher. She started looking for the symbols, and explained that she used to do the EWR-LAX route, hence she knew all about kosher. She felt bad that there was nothing kosher, so she quietly snuck us a bag of chex mix (which they normally sell for like $5). After 5 long hours, we finally started descending towards KOA. The view from the plane is pretty cool, as you can see tons of pristine white beaches, and some pretty cool black beaches.

kona coast by shulem 92, on Flickr

kona coast (2) by shulem 92, on Flickr

After the plane landed, there was no need to taxi to the gate, as they just roll a ramp up to the door, and you get off right onto the tarmac. Ah... The air. The palm trees. Truly an awesome feeling. You don't have that 10-15 minutes of itching to get out of the airport, because you're already outdoors😂. The entire airport consists of a couple of open-air thatched-roof huts, and you get out within minutes.

koa by shulem 92, on Flickr

koa (2) by shulem 92, on Flickr

koa (12) by shulem 92, on Flickr

The shuttle took us over to National. The shuttle driver asked for my name, so that the rep at National could get my contract ready. Pretty slim pickings, as they only had an Impala LTZ in the aisle. I could have upgraded to a jeep for an additional $80 a day, but since I didn't have too much time on the island, I didn't feel that it was necessary. We drove to Walmart to pick up a couple of items. Surprisingly they had a decent selection of food that was kosher, and beer wasn't too expensive😂. We then headed to the Sheraton Resort at Keauhou Bay, where we were told that check in isn't till 3 PM as our room wasn't ready yet. It was 2 PM so we walked around to check out the resort. From a pritzus perspective, I would rate it less than Florida. Obviously it it is a resort, but since it is not on a sand beach, rather on lava cliffs, it really wasn't bad at all.

sheraton sign by shulem 92, on Flickr

sheraton driveway by shulem 92, on Flickr

sheraton ''lobby'' by shulem 92, on Flickr

sheraton ''lobby'' (2) by shulem 92, on Flickr

sheraton pool (3) by shulem 92, on Flickr

sheraton pool by shulem 92, on Flickr

sheraton pool (2) by shulem 92, on Flickr

keauhou bay by shulem 92, on Flickr

keauhou bay (2) by shulem 92, on Flickr

They didn't want to tell me the room number but they did tell me the floor so we could bring our luggage there. Because of SPG platinum status, they had booked us into the Deluxe Executive Suite! This is their nicest room in the hotel. There are only 3 such rooms in the hotel, so I was able to quickly figure out which one it was. We saw the maintenance crew doing some work, so we went back down to the lobby to get our room keys. We opened the door to our room, and were blown away! I have never seen such a huge suite! Decent sized living room, and bedroom. 2 bathrooms. A porch off of the side of the bedroom and living room overlooking the ocean and the pool. And a massive patio over 800 ft² with lounge chairs, chaise chairs, and a cabana, all overlooking the Pacific Ocean. We could have hosted a party on the porch for at least 20 people! The bed was nicely made up with towels shaped into swans, and dotted with some purple flower petals. A welcome gift of champagne and a tray of chocolate strawberries were sitting on the table.

sheraton deluxe executive suite by shulem 92, on Flickr

sheraton deluxe executive suite (2) by shulem 92, on Flickr

sheraton deluxe executive suite (3) by shulem 92, on Flickr

sheraton deluxe executive suite (4) by shulem 92, on Flickr

sheraton deluxe executive suite (12) by shulem 92, on Flickr

sheraton deluxe executive suite (5) by shulem 92, on Flickr

sheraton deluxe executive suite (6) by shulem 92, on Flickr

sheraton deluxe executive suite (8) by shulem 92, on Flickr

sheraton deluxe executive suite (9) by shulem 92, on Flickr

sheraton deluxe executive suite (11) by shulem 92, on Flickr

deluxe executive suite layout by shulem 92, on Flickr

After dropping off our stuff, we headed out to Mauna Kea. It was drizzling here and there, but the weather changes very fast on TBI, so it never rained for more than 5 minutes straight. A lot of nice scenery along the way. Right before the turnoff to go up to Mauna Kea, there is a deserted lava field on your right hand side. We got out to take some pictures, as the stark desolation was breathtaking in its own way. We also took a couple of lava samples as souvenirs.

desolate lava field (6) by shulem 92, on Flickr

Desolate Lava Field by shulem 92, on Flickr

Desolate Lava Field (3) by shulem 92, on Flickr

Approaching Mauna Kea (2) by shulem 92, on Flickr

Desolate Lava Field (5) by shulem 92, on Flickr

We then headed up the road to Mauna Kea.
TIP: bring along gum to chew on, because you are changing elevations pretty fast.
When we the visitor center, there was a ranger blocking the road. Our luck, it had been raining a few days previously, and the road up to the summit had been washed out😠. There is a small peak right across the street from the visitor center, so we followed the masses up there to catch sunset. We figured that its better than nothing, right? Wrong! Sunset was incredible! Pictures don't do it justice. I can only imagine how beautiful it is from the summit, as this was 3,500 feet lower down. The landscape truly gives off a martian feeling as the sun goes down. A lot of reddish/brownish land with huge craters dotted the landscape. Remnants of really old volcanoes. I have to thank DW for convincing me to climb that peak because I had been ready to give up and drive back home. The stars weren't out because of the cloud cover, so we left without sticking around too long.
TIP: sweatshirts are crucial. It was freezing up there.

Mauna Kea Scenery by shulem 92, on Flickr

Mauna Kea Scenery (7) by shulem 92, on Flickr

Mauna Kea Scenery (14) by shulem 92, on Flickr

''Martian'' Landscape On Mauna Kea by shulem 92, on Flickr

''Martian'' Landscape On Mauna Kea (2) by shulem 92, on Flickr

''Martian'' Landscape On Mauna Kea (3) by shulem 92, on Flickr

''Martian'' Landscape On Mauna Kea (7) by shulem 92, on Flickr

''Martian'' Landscape On Mauna Kea (10) by shulem 92, on Flickr

''Martian'' Landscape On Mauna Kea (14) by shulem 92, on Flickr

''Martian'' Landscape On Mauna Kea (22) by shulem 92, on Flickr

Mauna Kea Sunset (6) by shulem 92, on Flickr

Mauna Kea Sunset (11) by shulem 92, on Flickr

sunset mauna kea (4) by shulem 92, on Flickr

sunset mauna kea (6) by shulem 92, on Flickr

sunset mauna kea (11) by shulem 92, on Flickr

sunset mauna kea (12) by shulem 92, on Flickr

The drive back was beautiful for a night drive. We got back to the hotel, and put up a massive BBQ on our George Foreman. 10 PM HAST is really 4 AM EDT, so were starving. Since the pool is outdoors its technically always open. At night they light these cool torches all around the pool, and it gives a very cool touch to the whole pool. We went for a midnight swim, and had the whole pool for ourselves. There's a nice outdoor jacuzzi, and the sound of the waves breaking on the rocks makes for a very surreal swimming experience. I meant to check out the gym, as its supposed to have a gorgeous view of the ocean, but I forgot.

Next up, a very full day...

Offline regular

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Re: Shulem92's Honeymoon to Hawaii, L.A. and Chicago
« Reply #13 on: October 15, 2016, 09:21:06 PM »
Just came across the past 2 posts! Amazing tr it just gets better and better thanx

Offline sag95

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Re: Shulem92's Honeymoon to Hawaii, L.A. and Chicago
« Reply #14 on: October 15, 2016, 09:40:11 PM »
WOW! Just read through the whole thing. Great TR!! Really getting a cheshek to head out there now.