28 Hours in Waikiki

waikiki beach

royal Hawaiian hotel

Waikiki beach

striped bikini | navy bow sun hat (my favorite and I have it with a cream ribbon too) | striped jumpsuit | blue earrings (old from Vineyard Vines but these are similar in color) | basket bag | white bikini top (on super sale now for under $15!) | sunglasses (I’ve owned these for over 6 years…they’re brown and black so they go with everything!)

Tom and I recently went on a staycation to Waikiki and had the best time running together, lounging by the pool and ocean, and eating leisurely, peaceful meals.  My parents are in town so they watched the kids for us and we thoroughly enjoyed those 28 baby-free hours together.  We splurged and stayed at the Royal Hawaii Hotel (my dream hotel in all it’s pink glory) and had so much fun reconnecting after nearly 2 months apart due to summer travels.  Here is what we did and where we ate during our 28 hour staycation in paradise.

Saturday, September 8th.


indie girl

sneakers | athletic tank (this exact color isn’t available anymore but I have 3 of these tanks and they’re my favorite) | running shorts (old pattern but these are the same style) | running watch (mine is super old but I linked to the current version)

10 AM.  We arrived in Waikiki and immediately went for a run.  Running in Waikiki is one of our favorite things to do and rarely get to do it since we live about 40 minutes away and it’s not easy to do with a double jogging stroller.  I’m training for a marathon and had to run 6 miles so we ran from Fort Derussy to Kapiolani Park, around the zoo a few times and then ended on Kuhio Road and grabbed acai bowls at Indie Girl which is a stand in The Street Social House (in the International Marketplace).  We had planned on going up Diamond Head but for some reason I didn’t feel great at first and thought I may have to stop running early.  Thankfully once I got out of the sun I felt much better.  At Indie Girl I got an acai bowl with half chia seed pudding and half acai base and it was really yummy.  Hawaii has hundreds of places to get acai bowls and I’d say that in Waikiki my first favorite bowl is at Tucker and Bevvy, my second favorite bowl is at Island Vintage Coffee (we always go to the Ko Olina location), my third favorite is at Bogart’s Cafe and my forth favorite is at Indie Girl.  You certainly can’t go wrong with any of them though and I’m sure there are lots of other really good ones I just haven’t had the chance to try yet!

sunglasses | white bikini top | sun hat

12 PM.  We grabbed our stuff from the car and checked in at the Royal Hawaiian.  Our room wasn’t ready but we were able to go to the pool.  Honestly the pool at the Royal Hawaiian is rather tiny but all the pretty pink umbrellas and drink service make up for that.  I wore some old Lilly Pulitzer for Target bikini bottoms paired with a new white bikini top I just ordered from J.Crew.  It’s comfy, has padding and was only about $12 and I plan on pairing it with some of my more colorful bikini bottoms to change things up a bit.  We spent a few hours at the pool and then finally were able to go to our room around 4PM.  We stayed in the historic part of the hotel and I absolutely love all the charm that goes along with an old building.  The view was spectacular too!

Waikiki Beach


striped jumpsuit

sun hat | striped jumpsuit | basket bag

5 PM.  After a quick shower we headed out for drinks, strolling Waikiki, and a late dinner.  I wore my new striped jumpsuit and felt so pulled together yet also laidback enough to not feel overdressed in ultra-casual Waikiki.  If you’d asked me a month ago if I’d ever wear a jumpsuit I’d respond with a swift “heck no, I can’t pull one off,” but then I saw this striped one and now I think I need more of them.  I’m hooked!  I wore my hair up in a bun because I didn’t want to hide the bow neckline, and I wore simple cork and gold Jack Rogers sandals that I’ve owned for 4 years.  The blue and white earrings are old from Vineyard Vines but these are similar in color and these mini tassel earrings would be adorable too!  I have the large version of the tassel earrings and always get tons of questions about them so it’s neat that Lisi Lerch just came out with a mini-version.

Royal Hawaiian Hotel

Our first stop for drinks and appetizers was the Hideout at The Laylow Hotel.  This is a relatively new hotel and it has a trendy modern vibe that I really like.  It is much less busy than any of the beach front bars so I think it’s a great hidden gem.  We each had a drink and shared the kalua pork egg rolls and the guacamame (a guac and edamame mix that was so good!).

laylow hotel

After the Hideout we went to one of the bars inside The Street.  I’ve mentioned this place before (our acai bowls earlier in the day were from here too) but it’s essentially a delicious, gourmet food court all owned by Chef Michael Mina.  The food is amazing at any of the “hawkers” you go to and I always enjoy stopping by this place.  We each had a glass of wine and then wandered over to the Moana Surf Rider.

Waikiki Beach

The Moana Surf Rider is nicknamed the First Lady of Waikiki because it was the first hotel built there.  It is absolutely gorgeous and the architecture is reminiscent of British colonial days.  They have a nice beach bar and a good restaurant but tonight we just cut through and spent a little time on the beach before our 8PM dinner reservations.  The view of Diamond Head is stunning in this spot and the ocean always glows as the sun goes down.

8 PM.  We finally made our way back to the Royal Hawaiian and ate dinner at Azure, which is their ocean front restaurant.  Tom and I ate there once on a date back in 2012 (during my first 3-year stint in Hawaii), on our honeymoon in 2014.  We have been so excited to go back!  I always recommend getting fish there because they get really fresh fish from the fish market each day.  I loved the opah (moonfish) which is a nice, flaky white fish.  You can choose between 2 different preparations for the fish and my favorite is the butter, white wine, and caper preparation.  Tom had the mahimahi with the same preparation and we both concluded that my meal was better (though both were good!).

Sunday, September 9th.

sneakers | athletic tank | running shorts (I’m actually wearing the high-rise version they briefly made and if you can track them down secondhand on Poshmark I highly recommend buying them) | sunglasses

6:30 AM.  We went to bed really early because we knew an early morning awaited us.  A 12 mile run was on my marathon training plan so we got up bright and early and ran from the Royal Hawaiian, up Montserrat, around the back of Kapiolani Community College, down to Kahala, back to Kapiolani Park by way of Diamond Head Road, the entire length of the Ala Wai canal, by the marina, around the lagoon at the Hilton Hawaiian Village and then back to the Royal Hawaiian.  (I know this likely doesn’t mean much to any of you but I shared the route in case you are a local runner looking for a new place to run.)  We had such a great run and the entire route was scented with the sweetest smelling flowers.

Royal Hawaiian Hotel

10:30 AM.  We showered really quickly and headed down to the Surf Lanai for breakfast.  The pigeons can be really pesky here but the view is spectacular and the food is delicious.  I had the pink palace pancakes (pancakes that are pink because they put guava in them) and Tom had a king crab omelet.  I also had two pineapple mimosas which were a great way to celebrate getting the week’s long run out of the way.

Waikiki Beach

striped bikini | sun hat | sunglasses

11:30 AM.  After an eventful morning the beach was calling our names so we checked out of the hotel room and spent the next 2-3 hours on the beach.  We played in the waves and enjoyed a sunny Hawaiian day with just the two of us. 

denim shorts (I live in these) | tie-front shirt | sun hat | basket bag | rose gold Birkenstocks (and this pair has the traditional black sole) | sunglasses

Anyway, that’s what we did on our little staycation!  We live over 4,400 miles away from our nearest family so we are seizing every opportunity we have to connect as a couple and not as mom and dad.  It has been so valuable for us and it has really brought us back together after spending so much of the past 3 years completely focused on our precious babies.  Taking time to work on your marriage is so important!

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Katie Vail
Katie Vail

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Leave a comment

  1. September 18, 2018 / 5:33 pm

    It looks like you guys had a great time! I'm so glad you had the opportunity to do a staycation and reconnect ­čÖé

  2. September 21, 2018 / 7:51 pm

    Thanks Kait! We had such a wonderful time. Crazy how just a day away can seem like a luxury once you have kids. Safe travels as you guys head out on your next trip!

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