13 Great Things About Waikiki (Plus 13 Awful Things)

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A Hawaii Business team of four reporters, four photographers and four interpreters (two Chinese, one Japanese and one Korean) invaded Waikiki. We asked tourists, workers and business owners what they liked and didn’t like about the tourist mecca, and here are the most common responses.


Great No. 1

Safe and Child-Friendly

Tanya and Peter Collins and daughter Sasha, 5, are repeat visitors from Sydney, Australia. “It’s safe, that’s our No. 1 criteria for choosing Waikiki. And child-friendly,” Peter said. “The beaches are safe, the hotels and restaurants are welcoming for children. Six months out, Sasha will ask, ‘When are we going to Hawaii, Dad? I want a coconut!’ ”

Many others also told us they felt safe in Waikiki. Lenice Paina, 77, from Melbourne, Australia, back for a second trip to Hawaii nearly a quarter century after her first, said: “I feel as safe as I did 23 years ago.”

Great No. 2

Repeat Visitors

Photo: Kristin Lipman

About half the tourists we talked with said they were repeat visitors. Among the many we talked with, Yoshiki and Haruhi Kato from Japan were the champions. They first came to Waikiki in 2004 and have been back about 20 times. When we caught up to them, they were on a JTB package for $1,500 each because their timeshare at the Hilton Grand Waikikian was not available. On this trip, they bought a second timeshare week.

“We love Waikiki,” he said. “Hawaii is warm and welcoming. It has been worth the money every time we come. We have already booked trips for March and July.”

Great No. 3

Really is Paradise

Photo: Kristin Lipman

Most tourists said they loved the great weather, but they also appreciated so many other things that locals may take for granted. Shen Jia Shenli, who lives near Shanghai, said, “The most attractive thing is the air. It’s really fresh.” She said she and her fiancée never felt rushed or busy, and were happy to wander and shop safely.

Newlyweds Trista and Andrew Huang, from Taipei, Taiwan, said, “Hawaii always seemed to us like a dream island and, from what I see so far, it really is.”

Peter Parsons, 24, came from Las Vegas to work and surf. He lives in Waikiki and can walk or bike to work at Cheeseburger in Paradise. “I love the beach and atmosphere. There’s not a thing I don’t like about living here. You can’t go anywhere without being close to the beach.”

Great No. 4

Walkers’ Haven

Photo: Kristin Lipman

Demetrick and Christina Clayton from San Pedro/Long Beach, Calif., have been coming to Waikiki annually for four years.

“I like to walk,” Christina said. “I put on my tennis shoes and go all the way to the marina and back.” Another plus for walkers: The all-directions-at-once crosswalks at key intersections along Kalakaua Avenue have made it much easier for pedestrians.

Hawaii Business magazine invites you to comment on our articles and the issues they raise. Comments are moderated for offensive language, commercial messages and off-topic posts and may be deleted. Some comments may be chosen for inclusion in the magazine on the Feedback page.

Jan 13, 2014 06:57 am
 Posted by  sunlover

Enjoyed the article. We have a similar problem here in central Florida that is projected to worsen 15 to 20% this year. An interesting program, that would get the homeless permanently off the street, has been proposed that would be funded by local governments,the business and tourism community along with faith-based or nonprofit organizations. Details on the probram can be found here: http://www.news-journalonline.com/article/20140110/NEWS/140119875/1040?p=2&tc=pg#gsc.tab=0

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