Aug 1, 2009

Trip Advisor review for the "Waikiki Sand Villa"

After reading some of the mixed reviews of the Sand Villa, I really wasn't sure what to expect. Seemed like most travelers liked the place, and the price was only about $60 per night. After staying there for 14 days, I was most impressed to say the least!

The rooms were a little small but clean and more than adequate, The bed was perfect and sanitary, due to the plastic sheet covering the mattress. I really didn't want to sleep atop ancient body fluids and bed bugs. The sheet was covered by a thick fabric cover and bottom sheet, so I hardly knew it was there. The bathroom was functional as was the TV set, large mini fridge. The dresser was huge and the rest of the furnature and decor were nice as well, the big teakwood mirror was a nice touch. Both sides of the hotel have spectacular views of the Ala Moana Canal, and the golfcourse and mountains beyond. No I coundn't see the ocean, but the view was just fine.. The carpet was older but clean, I spent most of the time barefoot, and it was never an issue. I was on the sixth floor and road noise was never an issue. I read a few negative reviews about the carpet, noise, ect.. but I disagree, I was there for half a month, and the rooms were more than adequate. For the price, it was a downright steal!!! The rooms do have internet, just borrow a cable from the front desk. It's not the fastest, but fine for my purposes, including online phone calls.

When reading other reviews, most people agreed that the location was a good one. I timed the walk to the beach, and it was exactly 7 minutes. If it look 10 minutes or longer for you then, you must be crippled or something. It's central location allows you to walk to anywhere in waikiki in 25 minutes or less. I enjoyed the International Market for a cheap place to eat, and highly recommend "Rainbow Sushi", which makes an excellent Miso soup for only a dollar. I had the 18 piece sushi tray for about $6. The "Haute' "Dog" place had an excellent Chicago dog, with fries and a coke for $7.50. Nearby "Fattys Chinese" was a fun place to eat, where you could watch the cook make your food from 5 feet away.

For finer dining (and reasonable drinks), Duke's Place is my favorite beach bar and restaurant. Their you can buy a nice big sandwich for $8, or a full meal for less than $20, the drink prices were the most reasonable I found right on the water, with gin and tonics (made with the good stuff), for $5.00. There was usually a pleasant local musician with excellent but not overpowering music. What I loved the most about Dukes was the outdoor patio seating, where you could walk 20 feet to the beach, strip off your clothes (you need a swimsuit or shorts of course), and dive in the surf, then return to you seat, and it's all good. The music and tiki torches right on the beach, made for a perfect tranquil night. This is a very classy place, but easygoing and laid back at the same time.

Much of the time I spent my evenings at the hotel pool and hot tub. After a long day of walking thru Waikiki, there is nothing better than to sit in the large and powerful hot tub, which would massage your aches away in no time. I found it to be a good place to meet new friends, since it's hard to sit in a tub without talking to the other guests. This was important to me, since I was alone. I met some very nice people there. The bar was perfect. The lighting was dim enough to be cosy, bright enough to where you could read the menu. The Bar staff were all professional and pleasant, and gave good advice on things to do and see. Wade is the only bartender whose name I can recall, but all the bar staff were first class. The bar's patrons were mainly locals, and talking to them gave me much insight on the "real Waikiki". The food was pretty good with decent prices, and I had nearly everything on the menu, This was a very nice place, and my favorite bar on Waikiki overall. Its was almost too conveniant since I closed the bar down more than a few times.

I really liked the hard working dedicated staff of the Sand Villa, I got to know nearly everyone from the helpful front desk people, to the cleaning crew and the Valets. All were quite helpful and seemed happy with their jobs. Dee and Blaine from the front desk were always happy to help me with new room keys, pool towels, as were the rest of the front desk employees. When waiting for a tour I had some time to get to know the valet man "Bobby", he was very professional, loved his job, and always made sure I got to my tour bus on time. The pool crew and cleaning crew were kind and helpful as well.
My cleaning lady had my room looking perfect every time with a smile.

The Sand Villa is a great place to stay, what a makes a good hotel a great one is the ethos and dedication of the staff. At no point in my 14 nights did any staff member displease me. I will be coming back here next time I stay in Waikiki.

July 30th-31st

Check out time: 11:00 A.M.. Good thing the hotel is willing to store your luggage and allow one to bum around the premisis until airport time. My ground transport wasn't scheduled to pick me up for anothe 8 hours, so I made the best of it. Couldn't really go to the beach, since I had no place to leave the wallet, plus I was still sunburnt.

I found some shade by the pool and lounged for a few hours reading a book about how we are slaves to technology which was interesting, since the author moved to an Amish/Mennonite area, and did the Amish thing for a couple years. He was very impressed with their way of life, but he crapped out in favor for a low tech lifestyle in a reclaimed neighborhood near down town St. Louis. The guy was sort of flaky, but I commend him for his efforts to live with the Amish. His writing was pretty decent and I agree with the simplicity thing overall. But someone with a full time job, does have need for modern conveiniences. I find that living close to work and shopping makes for a nicer life. I still someday, want to return to the land and live w/o electricity, grow some of my own food, but motorized transportation of some sort would be necessary. Who knows? Hawaii would be a nice place to live like that.

Then I wandered Waikiki afoot for the last time, and had a bowl of "Pho" (soup) at a Vietnamese stall in the marketplace, under the shade of a huge Banyon tree, it was lovely. "Pho" is a giant bowl of soup with noodles and other strange stuff, and is pretty good, but Miso is still my favorite. Stopped at the ABC store to get Logan a T-shirt and went back to the hotel for a swim. By then is was 4:00 P.M. so I took a swim to cool off and sanitize for the long airline ordeal ahead. Had a beer at the hotel bar afterward, said goodbye to all my local friends, then was picked up by an impatient young Japanese/Hawaiian hybrid, for a very unrelaxed (and scary) drive to the airport.

The Delta terminal was a clusterfuck, but after standing in a few non-moving lines, with screaming babies and impatient people, I started losing the Hawaiian laid back outlook that I have gained in the past two weeks. Still made it to the gate with an hour to spare, and drank another beer and had a great conversation with the waiter, who seemed eager to "talk story" with me for an hour or so. "Talk story" is a Pidgin way to say "shoot the breeze" or something. In Texas, we say "Shoot the shit", whatever the hell that means. We discuss the finer points of surfing, and shark attacks, life on the Western shore, teaching, and other stuff. Then I had to pay the tab and enter the tomb of death for the next 5 hours.

Of course I had a middle seat in a packed 757; and to make matters worse, I was squashed between two very fat women. The blubberfest was unbearable to all of us, but since both were nice and polite ladies, we made the best of the situation. The largest of them was squashed against the window, and my shoulders and hips were smashed againist her commodius posterior and ample midsection. The one on the right was a sweet but big boned old lady from Minnisota who was 6 feet tall with an ass the size of my own. Then the guy in front of me was a "seat recliner" which made for a night mare of claustrophobic hell. I asked to stewardess for help, but the plane was nearly full, and she didn't "nearly" give a shit. Obese people are the most discriminated group in the country today. Had I arrived in a wheel chair, I would have got first class treatment, but throwing three big people in the same row, was our own fault for being big. I finally got up and sat in the restroom for 20 minutes to take a break. When I returned the sweet older lady, switched seats with me and I hung over the aisle, which made our situation much nicer. Both ladies were very pleasant thoughout the ordeal, but next time, I will reserve an Aisle seat, no matter what the price.

The rest of the trip went smooth and uneventful, which was nice for a change. The Mormon looking lady sitting beside me on the Portland to Salt Lake run, turned out to be a lesbian, and very anti-Mormon, but was funny and fun to talk to. I didn't agree with anything she said, but her humor made it fun. The ground transport was in better repair on the way back, and took me straight home, without criss crossing Utah, and taking 3 hours.

My son seemed the same as when I left, but Freddy the wonderdog was so happy to see me, I have never seen a dog act as thrilled as he was when I got home! Almost like having happy little kids around the house again. I slept most of the day, with Freddy one inch away from me the entire time. As much as they shed, Australian Shepherds fit me perfectly for a dog companion. I wouldn't trade him for the world.

Time it took to travel from my hotel in Hawaii to my home in Utah?.... Only about 13 hours.