We celebrated Ianiv’s birthday in Hawaii with a trip to the Paradise Cove Luau. Though we knew Aiden would have enjoyed the music of the luau, we chose to have a date night on our own to celebrate Ianiv’s birthday – having two wonderful grandmas with us on the trip made such a thing possible!
There are 5 luau locations in Oahu, from what I can tell, and one was at our hotel, the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Starlight Luau. Though we could see from our hotel room that this luau was quite spectacular, with 5 fire dancers!, we wanted to get away and see another part of the island for our date night. We decided that a structured day at the Polynesian Cultural Centre was not right for Aiden at this age, so we passed on their luau as well, even though it is rated very highly. We chose the Paradise Cove Luau for what looked to be a good ‘experience’ along with the buffet and show.
Paradise Cove is located as part of the Ko Olina Resort on the leeward coast of Oahu. The area boasts a stunning sunset setting with a wide open space for activities before the luau including lei making, tattoos, canoeing, and games of skill. Periodically they draw your attention to a demonstration, including the Shower of Flowers. We were able to take some great photos throughout the evening, though we also did get sucked into buying a souvenir photo of us as a couple (yet to be scanned).
Before the buffet, the guests are gathered in an amphitheatre to reveal the roast pig and to watch some dancing – additional performances were shown during / after dinner, including a fantastic fire dancer. I did feel disappointed that Aiden was not there for that, although I was glad for the quiet time for the rest of the night!
The dining area itself was probably my biggest disappointment – I found the folding tables, chairs and plastic tablecloths a bit ‘cheap’ looking, though I’m sure it’s the most functional. Depending on your luau package, you either line up for a buffet or are served at your table. The food was ok, though not fantastic. I wasn’t feeling super great for this night, but I did find the buffet a little limited and would have liked to see a couple more dishes to round it out. The Kalua Pig was too salty for me, but I’m not sure if that’s atypical of the dish.
Overall, we enjoyed the experience of the luau, though neither of us were overly impressed by the meal. It did sound like the luau at our hotel had more ‘upscale’ food for the buffet. The location was beautiful and the activities were fun for all ages. We did get rained on a little bit during our meal, which would be a downside to any luau I suppose!
Since the Paradise Cove Luau is not in Waikiki, they offer a complimentary bus service that took us to and from our hotel. The bus driver offered his own form of entertainment for the trip, which was fun.
Have you ever been to a luau? What were your thoughts?
Today we are the proud new owners of a wagon. A 2012 VW Golf Wagon TDI, to be specific. We put in our order for the car about a month ago, but weren’t expecting to get to take it home until December. Thankfully, someone pulled out of purchasing the exact model / colour we wanted, and we got our car today!
Aiden was very excited to get to drive home in the new car, and I’m very excited to get to drive it starting tomorrow! We will be a 2 car family for about 2 weeks, until we’re able to pass along our old car.
We always thought our next car would be a hybrid, but instead we’re with a diesel for now. The wagon offers loads more trunk space than our current Civic, which was our primary reason for wanting the upgrade. With our trunk always carrying ‘basics’ such as a stroller and spare snacks and water, a big trip for groceries always ended up being complicated. Now, there’s even enough room to change Aiden’s diaper in the trunk, if needed (much easier than the bucket seats)!
While Aiden’s family was visiting from Argentina, we put together this photo of 4 generations. From father to daughter to son and son. An amazing portrait! Aiden is the first great grandchild in the family, so it’s the first photo of its kind.
The highlight of our little trip to Whistler was definitely the time we spent at the Scandinave Spa. A short drive outside Whistler, the Scandinave Spa is set in a beautiful mountainside setting. Although offering massage services, the Spa is best known for its Scandinavian Baths. Through a series of warm – cold – relax, you can spend your day between the pools, the saunas and the relaxation rooms or hammocks.
The Scandinave experience is not the same as a traditional spa experience. Staff are few, so the services are different. Unlike a traditional spa, you won’t be offered snacks or teas or juices. There’s a little bistro where you can buy your lunch, but otherwise you make do with water. You are given a towel, but bathrobes and sandals cost extra. The massages are simple are as good as you’ll get at any other spa – I loved mine!
All of these may take away from your experience, but really they don’t. You are going for the setting. And you can stay all day. I had no idea you could stay all day, so I didn’t bring my book. That’s something I’ll change for next time! The whole spa is a “quiet zone”, so my plugged-in self could only last through a few hours of relaxation without needing something to “do”. ;)
For those of you looking to relax on a cheaper budget, you can just pay for all-day bath access, sans massage, and have a fantastic day for it!
A few weeks back, Ianiv & I took off for another single night of baby-free time. It was a close thing, as Aiden came down with a fever and flu the night before we were set to leave. After much hemming and hawing, we decided that with his fever broken, he was fine with his Babby. And he was.
We drove out to Whistler to stay at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler, our second time at this hotel. The first time we stayed there we conceived Aiden ;)
The hotel is in a more quiet area of Whistler, which is nice, and we enjoyed a number of walks to the Village. There was a liquor store across from the hotel as well, which was super convenient. Our room was standard for a Fairmont, though our early arrival landed us with two queens vs a king. No biggie. My only complaint was the in-hotel dining, where your options for breakfast were too expensive or cafeteria-style.