Relaxing with the Girls in Honolulu

Extras, Hawaii, United States — By on June 22, 2010 at 6:00 am

By Molly Fergus
LG Deputy Editor, Travel News

It’s easy to box girlfriend getaways into the wine-sipping, shopping, mani-pediing category. And although I have absolutely nothing against any of those activities, I also think that girlfriend reunions deserve locations a little more exotic than the nearest urban oasis. Honolulu is perhaps one of the best, yet most often overlooked, options: Fresh fruit abounds, outdoorsy types are easily sated, the eye candy is top-notch (remember those firemen?), and we already know it can be pretty affordable. I’ve rounded up a few selections for your next gal getaway, but wherever you stand on the vacation spectrum, don’t worry. I’ve also tucked in one spa suggestion for good measure.

Island Vintage Coffee
It’s girls-only this trip, so kick the day off with some bona fide chick food. This coffee haven tucked away on the second floor of the Royal Hawaiian Center brews fresh, Hawaii-grown java but more famously dishes out some of the island’s biggest acai bowls. The strikingly healthy combination of acai berries – an antioxidant-packed berry from South America – fruit juices, soy milk, fresh fruit, and granola is a local favorite that fuels even the longest beach day (and doesn’t make that bikini feel the least bit snug). www.icchawaii.com

Hike Diamond Head
Burn off a few calories before sucking down Mai Tais by hiking to the top of Diamondhead, Honolulu’s signature volcanic crater. I didn’t get to traverse the famous volcano on my trip to the island, but I wish I had. A bus runs between Waikiki’s hub and the base of the hike; it only takes about an hour each way, depending on weather, to reach the 760-foot-summit; and from what residents say the view is worth every drop of sweat. www.hawaiistateparks.org

Hyatt Regency Na ho’ola Spa
The relaxation room alone makes booking a treatment at the Na ho’ola Spa worth it. With floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Waikiki’s azure surf, it would be easy to spend all day lounging in a robe and sipping cucumber water from the sun-drenched room. Luckily, the treatments here hold their own, too. The newest massage on offer, the 50 minute “Shopaholics Treament,” might sound a tad on the cheesy side (let’s face it, the last time I indulged in enough retail therapy to deserve a shoulder rub was when I lugged home Diet Coke and orange juice from Duane Reade), but I forgot about that in just a few seconds. The package focuses on “the muscles used while shopping,” which means an emphasis on the shoulders, neck, and legs, with alternating heat pads on either side of the body. The masseuse also told me the concoction kicks jet lag, but I’m pretty sure that’s because it just lulled me (quite happily) to sleep. waikiki.hyatt.com

Duke's Waikiki (photo courtesy of DukesWaikiki.com)Drinks at Duke’s
Named for Duke Kahanamoku, known as the father of international surfing, this bar and grill on the main Waikiki strip feels a little touristy at first glance (hello, thatched roofs and umbrella drinks galore), but the beachside location makes it a legitimate pick for visitors and locals alike. Every Sunday starting at 4 p.m., a live band sets up on the outdoor patio to kick the weekend happy hour into full gear. The crowd is as mixed as the island itself – we spotted everyone from surfers taking a break to senior citizens jamming to some golden oldies – and the vibe is quintessential island. Chill out, grab a fresh Mai Tai, and enjoy the view. www.dukeswaikiki.com