We did not get a hotel right on the beach, we actually planned and secured and awesome deal 9 months in advance to stay at the Ritz-Carlton Residence in Waikiki (Honolulu).
Instead of eating in the expensive hotel restaurant, we walked across the block to check out a local favorite called “Eggs and Things“, Amazing, Show up early or you will be waiting for a long time to get in. The local Ahi based omelet was incredible.
The hotel is basically situated at the end of a long row of shops, restaurants and activities. It was delightfully decorated and clean end-to-end with a balance of local shops and also main line luxury brands,
Now, one major difference in all the high end luxury shops (you name it, they are all here) compared to the other major cities in the United States, there were no lines for any of them. They had almost no capacity restrictions or people in line to get in. You can actually window shop of browse when entering without any expectations of purchase!
The shopping was surprisingly much lower cost than the states and combined with a 4% sales tax, some purchases were actually affordable. But if you want to actually buy a luxury watch from a high end name brand — forget it. Almost all store windows were empty and they only had “exhibition pieces”. Not sure why the stores were even open if there is nothing to even buy.
We did walk down to the popular Waikiki beach and yep, it was crowded. Definitely popular with surfers, but I think they were a little disappointed in the waves which were less than 4 feet high. The one surprise was how many homeless people were spread out across every part of the city. It almost felt identical to San Francisco in seeing how many people were sleeping on every bench or doorway at night,
Oh yes, be prepared to wear masks all the time. Unless you are on the beach, I would say that a majority of people wore masks even on the streets. They are mandatory in all spaces, restaurants and stores. And restaurants and hotels are very strict about vaccination status. They will not let you check in, sit at a table or even return to the same restaurant without strictly checking your vaccination information and your ID. No ID, no service! Summary: time to get boosted!