If you had a 4.5 hour layover in the Honolulu airport, what would you do with your time?
March 23, 2012 9:31 AM   Subscribe

If you had a 4.5 hour layover in the Honolulu airport, what would you do with your time?

I recently accepted a new job where HQ is in Hawaii (I work from home in the Midwest). Our annual strategy meeting is next week and I'm very excited since I've never been there before. The majority of the week will be working (obviously) with some time to shop/site see (but we'll be on a different island the entire week).

My return flight includes a 4.5 hour layover at the Honolulu airport on Sunday afternoon. The Pearl Harbor exhibit closes right as I arrive at the airport or I'd spend my time there. Flight back home doesn't leave until 7:30pm. I'll have plenty with me to do (iPod, books, etc.), but felt like I should be *doing* something local during my down time.

Any thoughts?
posted by Twicketface to Travel & Transportation around Honolulu, HI (17 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Honolulu has a nice airport with pretty little gardens for hanging out, reading a book, and snacking. That's what I'd do with it.
posted by small_ruminant at 9:45 AM on March 23, 2012 [2 favorites]

If you're feeling adventurous, too, the airport isn't exactly FAR from downtown. You could taxi in for a good bowl of ramen and some Ross-Dress-For-Less Hawaiian shirt shopping.
posted by small_ruminant at 9:46 AM on March 23, 2012

Best answer: Leonard's Bakery is open until 9 on Sundays. If you go nowhere else, hie thee to Leonard's and sample some malasadas.
posted by jquinby at 9:59 AM on March 23, 2012 [4 favorites]

Near the airport: La Mariana Tiki Bar. Been described as the last non-ironic tiki bar in existence.
posted by dzot at 10:10 AM on March 23, 2012 [2 favorites]

I had that same situation, and I stayed put. Depending on the airline, you could either be in schlocktown, or in a nice section of the airport. But there is a lot to do, and you can just get acclimated to the weather and the vibe by just walking around.
posted by Danf at 10:12 AM on March 23, 2012

Nth on staying in the airport. Sounds like you'll be getting plenty of Hawaii on the rest of your trip, so unless you want to stare in wonder at a totally out of place city of 1 million...
posted by MillMan at 10:14 AM on March 23, 2012

2nding that the airport is not far from town. If there's a place to stash your bags, grab a taxi, roll up your pants legs and go for a walk on Waikiki Beach.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 10:24 AM on March 23, 2012 [2 favorites]

Seconding La Mariana, it should be a 5 minute cab ride from the airport. Don't let them seat you outside, the ambiance on the inside is amazing. They pour killer drinks, and if you like sushi the ahi poke is to die for.
posted by TungstenChef at 10:31 AM on March 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

Just make sure the cab driver knows where La Mariana is before getting in...it's tucked away in a really out of the way spot.
posted by TungstenChef at 10:33 AM on March 23, 2012

What I would give for some Leonard's malasadas! Though a series of bad judgments on my part I didn't manage to get any AT ALL my last trip to Honolulu!
posted by small_ruminant at 10:39 AM on March 23, 2012

If you have a GPS enabled smartphone, you can kill some time easily by geocaching.
posted by Seboshin at 11:04 AM on March 23, 2012

You could take a cab to the beach, go for a swim and take a shower on the beach. I've done it during a 6 hour layover. Hardest part is finding a spot for your bags.
posted by Four Flavors at 11:16 AM on March 23, 2012 [2 favorites]

La Mariana is a good bet or you can get some killer Pho downtown, but beware check in time for your flight home is just at the tail end of rush hour.
posted by kanemano at 11:37 AM on March 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: For clarification, do you really have 4.5 hours? You mentioned that Pearl Harbor closes right as you arrive at the airport, which if nps.gov is accurate means 3:00pm Hawaii time. Your flight leaves at 7:30pm. I'm wondering if you accounted for that "security time" window of 2 to 3 hours before your departure.

If you really do have 4.5 hours, do you mean that you have to report back to the airport at 4 or 5:30pm? Or you report back at 7:30pm and your flight actually leaves 2 hours after that? Or, you actually arrive at 1:00pm?

If you really don't have 4.5 hours, I can't suggest the beach or anything far from the airport. Which is a shame, because there are some nice parks, gardens, and scenic views to immerse yourself in paradise. Places like Tantalus drive and lookout, which gives you a nice view of Waikiki and Diamond Head, or Foster Botanical Garden with orchids and gingers and palms.

The Leonard's malasada suggestion is still viable (and deliciously excellent!), as jquinby's link shows a location about 5 or 6 miles away.

Since this will be on a Sunday, I don't think you'll have to worry about traffic. However, you will need to take a cab, as the buses will be on weekend schedule and not run as often.
posted by CancerMan at 11:44 AM on March 23, 2012

I took a cab to the pineapple plantation when I was in this situation.
posted by univac at 11:47 AM on March 23, 2012

Response by poster: Yes, 4.5 hours total (so more like two hours total of "away from the airport time"). Malasadas have been added to my vocabulary (and soon, my belly).

Thanks, all!
posted by Twicketface at 12:08 PM on March 23, 2012

The Hotel Halekulani is a gorgeous modern open breezeway luxury hotel that would fun to wander around and have a (pricey) drink outside with a view of the ocean. The Hotel Moana Surfrider down the street is one of the oldest hotels on Waikiki and has lots of old charm, some interesting historical photos and artifacts inside as well as another place to have a (pricey) drink outside with a view of the ocean.
posted by mmascolino at 12:22 PM on March 23, 2012

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