Once we got E’s car seat installed into the rental car (which is the first time she’s ever ridden forward facing, ever, she is actually still rear facing at home) we found our way out of the rental car lot.
By the time we left the airport it was around 12:30 (our flight landed around 11:30), so we encountered absolutely no traffic. The drive from the airport to Ko Olina wasn’t very thrilling if I’m being honest. We live in a mountainous desert area…and the landscape reminded us very much at home (minus the cacti). Soon enough Waze (our iPhone navigation App which worked wonderful in Hawaii) notified us to exit H1 for our first stop:
Yep, our very first stop in Hawaii was….Costco. The older I get, the more I find myself loving Costco, seriously. Now, let me stop here for a minute. If you remember, I had mentioned here that we were trying to keep this trip economical and one of the ways we decided to do that was by hitting up Costco before we got to Aulani. I was a little nervous how prices would compare, but quite honestly things were about the same price (except milk). Being that we only had a kitchenette (fridge, microwave, and toaster) we had to get creative with what we’d buy to make for meals. Also, since A. was recovering from oral surgery, he could still only eat soft foods. We managed to get a decent variety including: Pretzel rolls (for sandwiches), lunch meat, potato salad, POP Chips in BBQ (sadly our Costco stopped carrying these), lots of fruit, Carrot Juice (for A.), Naked Juice (for A.), water, frozen sliders, and a variety of other things. However my favorite two items were a case of 6 boxes of Aloha Macs (chocolate covered macadamia nuts) which was $18.99 or just over $3.00 a box (these retailed at the airport for like $16.00 a box) and these beauties:
They are Costco Re-Usable grocery bags that say both “Costco” and “Hawaii” on them! We got 4 bags (two of each size) for less than $7.00 which was a complete steal if you ask me! They came in very handy for carrying our food into the hotel and for doing laundry later in the week.
After our Costco shopping was complete, we ate our first meal in Hawaii- Polish Sausages (Pizza for E)! And yes, they are still $1.50 even in Hawaii. It was by far our most economical meal of the trip. From there we ran across the street to Target, A. and E stayed in the car while I ran in and grabbed a few things we needed in smaller quantities. Aside from the half-gallon of milk I purchased, everything else was about the same price as I see at home. I grabbed milk, yogurt, string cheese, Dr. Pepper, beach toys, and something my Aunt and Uncle had advised me to make sure I purchased before I actually needed it:
At this point it was only 2:30 p.m. and check in at Aulani for Vacation Club Members is 4:00 p.m. I had done online check-in, but not yet received a text message that our room was ready. We were all tired and cranky, so we decided to bite the bullet and head over to Aulani in hopes our room would be ready.
Driving into the Ko Olina area it’s a complete transformation from the rest of the H1. The exit ramp has luscious landscaping and the whole resort area is well a resort area. We loved the community Aulani is located in, but of course were very excited to see the Aulani resort sign (even though it was very small).
I didn’t take any photos of our arrival at Aulani because I never had a chance to. We were greeted by bell services who began sorting through our groceries for us (refrigerate vs. perishable) and a cast member who brought E. her Menehune necklace (which she still wears), A. his Macadamia nut necklace (it was black, and I think Macadamia nuts?), and me my gorgeous and wonderful smelling lei. As one cast member was getting us all water, another greeted us with our room keys and resort map.
I had requested a corner room, on a high floor, in the Waianae tower. We didn’t get a corner room (but were towards the end) and were placed in the Eva tower (which ended up being a better tower for us). High floor, we did get, in fact we were on the 16th floor, the highest floor, which afforded us this amazing view:
We were in room 1678 and we could hear the waterfalls from Waikolohe Stream which sounded similar to what ocean waves would sound like. I have to say the sliders block all noise, when we closed the slider you’d never know our room was overlooking the main recreation area.
When we were booking our room A. and I debated over which view to book (the better the view, the more vacation points required). After our stay, A. said he was so glad we went with the ocean view, it was so amazing that we literally sat out on our patio multiple times a day enjoying the view.
Rental car: $173.04
Costco: $120 (approximately, I can’t find the receipt)
Up next: A room tour and our first night!