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Old 02-08-2013, 10:03 AM   #1
Safflower
Earning My Ears
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: San Francisco, CA
Posts: 74

"Oh no, it's not THAT much of an ocean view" *GASP* - An Aulani TR!

Had so much fun <3 Hopefully this is a TR that I finish! Aulani is just beautiful, so this report will be pretty picture heavy after a quick introduction:

For our 2nd anniversary, DH and I wanted to go somewhere that we hadn't been before. We had points to use, but had just gone on a cruise in September (http://vimeo.com/53341169) and weren't feeling like flying over to the East Coast again. We're at DL quite frequently as well, so we wanted to do something different…Aulani was the perfect choice.

As we put together all the details for our trip, I was very excited, but quite nervous as well. I'm originally from Maui, but moved to the Mainland in 2006. Going to Hawaii without going home felt difficult. However, 4 of my best girlfriends currently live on O'ahu, and my parents agreed to come over for a visit as well. In a lot of ways, even though I wasn't on my island, I was home

In the end, there were 16 people involved in the trip- myself, DH, DSIL, DFriend1 (DF1), Mom, Dad, my 4 friends, and 2 of their boyfriends. DH's coworker, his fiancé, and their two friends also came over (they are DVC though, and had their own villa)

With so many friends and family, we decided to go for a Grand Villa. It was a short trip, so we had the points… and really, how could we resist? It's an amazing villa.


Links:
Sunday Pt. 1
Sunday Pt. 2
Sunday Pt. 3
Sunday Pt. 4

Last edited by Safflower; 02-10-2013 at 03:08 AM. Reason: Added chapter links
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Old 02-09-2013, 03:12 PM   #2
erikawolf2004
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Sounds like a great time...please post away!
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Old 02-09-2013, 03:16 PM   #3
cmwade77
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I can't wait to read more.
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Old 02-10-2013, 02:22 AM   #4
Safflower
Earning My Ears
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: San Francisco, CA
Posts: 74

Took the first flight out of SFO, which meant an early 4am wakeup. Took Hawaiian, and upgraded to 1st class for an anniversary treat for DH! Lots of POG mimosas were had


Had a great flight, but there was a good amount of turbulence due to a cold front passing over the islands. Since we left so early, they served brunch. Smoked salmon omelet, fried rice, fruit, and some sort of very tasty muffin.



Landed safely and met up with our DF1 (too many people to keep track of, so have to use numbers!). Got the bags together and headed over to the Hertz rental terminal. I had gotten a great deal on Priceline by naming my own price- we got an SUV for $250 for the 6 days. Originally they had wanted $450, so I was pretty happy, as it was my first time trying Priceline. Finally got everything in the trunk (well, barely) and set off to Kahala.
My good friends live out there, so we went to see their new place before heading to a late lunch at one of my local favorites- Zippy's. It's a bit like Hawaii's version of a diner, and they can be found all over O'ahu. I had my favorite, their beanless chilli with rice. Not exactly high cuisine, but it tastes like home!



Had a hilarious lunch for the 9 of us with lots of great catching up. We decided that DF1, DH, and I would head over to Kahala mall, and that our friends would meet us over at Aulani a bit later. Went over to the mall and saw some of DH's coworkers who he had trained. During lunch, I realized that I was starting to feel unwell- something like a minor ear infection. Scott hit up the nearby longs drugs and was able to locate an antiseptic wash (thank goodness! This totally saved me)

We then headed over to Aulani. Traffic was a little bit noticeable due to rain, 2 accidents, and the pro bowl. Clearly not the best arrival plan... I hadn't even remembered that the Pro Bowl had moved to O'ahu. Despite all that, the drive went by quickly and before we knew it, we saw the resort in the distance.
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Old 02-10-2013, 02:29 AM   #5
Safflower
Earning My Ears
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: San Francisco, CA
Posts: 74

Check in was exquisite! We pulled up and were helped in seconds. We received our lei greeting and were escorted to the front desk by some of the sweetest cast members. Check in was a little long, but that was because I hadn't added the names of the rest of our party, and we had quite a few questions about the resort. They took great care of us though, and were able to get us set up with everything that we needed. Could not have dreamed of a better experience, and we had only been at the resort for 10 minutes!



Since I had been far too busy to do online check in (and the names issue), I knew I was taking a small gamble with our room location. However, with the construction situation at the resort, I knew we'd be in one section- it was just a matter of what floor we'd be on. We had booked an ocean view grand villa, so there wasn't too much choice of what section we'd be in. My heart almost stopped when he wrote down our room number - 1189.

I couldn't believe our luck! The highest grand villa in the Ewa tower - wow. I don't know who made it happen for us, but we really appreciated it! We left the desk and headed towards the room. I hadn't told DF1 where the room was - I just told him that it had "kind of" an ocean view... We were all stunned walking in the door- the view was just spectacular. I had seen pictures of the room online, but they really don't do it justice. It's really hard to show just how gigantic the room is. We took some time to explore and then called for the bags.

Living Room:




Kitchen:




Dining Table:
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Old 02-10-2013, 03:00 AM   #6
Safflower
Earning My Ears
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: San Francisco, CA
Posts: 74

Just as a note: the pictures of the room are from different points in our trip - I promise that upon check in, the room was pristine!

Bedroom 1 (or 2? They look the same):


Master Bedroom:


Balcony:


View looking straight down. The garden in the center is the herb garden for Ama Ama! Of course, some construction as well. Surprisingly, once the doors were closed, it was hard to hear the noise - thank goodness!


View to the left side:


View to the right side (yes, more construction... but who cares when you can see the ocean? ):


To the right at sunset (construction? what construction?) :
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Old 02-10-2013, 03:05 AM   #7
Safflower
Earning My Ears
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: San Francisco, CA
Posts: 74

Of course, at the end of the day, it's all about the money shot:


On Sunday night, the sunset wasn't all that great - it was overcast and right about to rain. The view was still spectacular though.

5 of our friends arrived at the resort just as we were getting settled in. After some relaxing, we headed down to get a little dinner. We decided to try out the Olelo room.



Just as we opened the pool level door to walk over to the lounge, we realized that a downpour had started while we were in the room. We rushed over, getting a little wet- and then realized that there was an indoor path we could have taken! The lounge was busy when we arrived, since everyone was crowded into the indoor seating, including the band. A group left shortly after we arrived though, so we were able to snag their table. We didn't have quite enough chairs for our party of 8 - however, I did a total double take and realized that sitting at the next table was some of our mutual friend's family members! We caught up with them for a bit,and they offered us their extra chairs. Now that we were finally settled in, we were able to order some pupus and drinks. DH and DF1 ate quickly and had to run over to the airport to get DSIL. The rest of us stayed and chatted for quite awhile before heading back to the room for a very silly game of Cards against humanity. DH, DF1, and DSIL finally got back from the airport (the rain had caused a baggage delay along with some traffic issues) and we were all up late- just having too much fun. A great day to start off our vacation!
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