About fifty minutes from Ko Olina Beach Villas, the Friendship Garden is a privately owned historic hidden gem that welcomes the public during daylight hours. The 10-acre park was developed in 1927 as part of a multiethnic neighborhood dedicated to harmonious living called Kokokahi, which translates to one blood.
Parking is limited to four off road spaces fronting the garden. Car tires must be off the road pavement to avoid being ticketed by the police, If the parking area is full, please park at the bottom of the hill and walk up, or come back another day. Week days are less busy. Please respect the residential nature of the neighborhood. You are a guest near their homes. The hourlong loop trail trail includes a stunning view of the bay, a bamboo grove and a shady stone amphitheater where you can pause to picnic.
Visit http://friendshipgarden.org/ for more information.
Chef Robynne Maii of Fête in Honolulu, about 30 minutes from Ko Olina Beach Villas, is a nominee for the prestigious 2022 James Beard Awards. She made the cut in the category of Best Chef: Northwest and Pacific (AK, HI, OR, WA).
A win would put Chef Maii in the limited company of chefs Roy Yamaguchi, Alan Wong, and George Mavrothalassitis. The last chef from Hawaii to claim a James Beard trophy was Mavrothalassitis, in 2003.
According to the James Beard Foundation, the Best Chefs category is for those who set high standards in their culinary skills and leadership abilities, and who are making efforts to help create a sustainable work culture in their respective regions. The winners will be named and celebrated at the awards ceremony on June 13, 2022.
To view Fete’s menu and book a reservation, visit https://www.fetehawaii.com/.
Hawai‘i Triennial 2022 (HT22) is a citywide art exhibition featuring 43 artists and over 60 participants, within 30 to 45 minutes from Ko Olina Beach Villas. Contributors include internationally-renowned cultural figures, such as Ai Weiwei, exhibiting with multiple generations of Hawai‘i-based artists and others making their U.S. institutional debut. The exhibitions will take place at: Bishop Museum, Foster Botanical Garden, Hawaii Theatre Center, Hawai‘i State Art Museum, Iolani Palace, Honolulu Museum of Art, and Royal Hawaiian Center.
HT22 is centered around the fluid concept of Pacific Century combining themes of history, place, and identity within the context of Hawaiʻi’s unique position at the convergence of Asia-Pacific and Oceania.
For more information about the participating artists and where you can view their exhibits, visit https://hawaiicontemporary.org/ht22-artists.
Hawaii humpback whale watching season runs from January to March. Visitors can book snorkel and whale watching tours through Ko Olina Marina (2 minute drive from Ko Olina Beach Villas) or a whale-guarantee watching cruise from Waikiki. Whale watching tours bring an opportunity to observe these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat, near the islands where they breed, give birth, and raise their young calves in safety.
Humpback whales can also be seen from the shore. The top four O‘ahu shorelines from which to see whales are Makapu‘u Lighthouse, Hālona Blowhole, Hanauma Bay, and Diamond Head.
There are more than 21,000 humpback whales in the North Pacific and more than 10,000 come to Hawaii in the winter to breed. Though they only travel three to seven miles per hour, humpbacks rarely stop, traveling as far as 3,000 miles during the spring and summer feeding seasons. Despite the fact adult humpbacks can remain underwater for up to 45 minutes, they usually come up to breathe every 10 or 15 minutes. Calves come up every three to five minutes.
For more information about tours and prices, visit https://www.koolinamarina.com/activities/ocean or https://starofhonolulu.com/whale-watching-cruises-oahu-hawaii.
Bay and Diamond Head Scenic Lookout.
Sometimes guests ask us for our thoughts about other destinations on Oahu. If you’re planning an extended trip, you might consider splitting your time between Ko Olina Beach Villas and Turtle Bay. Turtle Bay is on the north shore of Oahu, about 75 minutes away from Ko Olina, and offers spectacular ocean views.
Turtle Bay is a full service resort offering six restaurants, a spa, and two golf courses. If you’re looking for the feel of Ko Olina Beach Villas, we recommend Turtle Bay Villas. They feature studio, three, and four bedroom accommodations and are walking distance to Turtle Bay Resort.
Visit https://www.oceanfrontturtlebay.com/ for more information or ask us for an introduction – they are extremely responsive and service oriented.
Live music is back at the Ko Olina Beach Villas Makai Beach Bar. Head down to the lagoon-side bar every Tuesday and Friday between 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. to enjoy island melodies by local musicians. Mike Kahikina will be entertaining the crowds every Tuesday and even Fridays and Moon Kahele will be performing every odd Friday.
Please continue to follow the COVID guidelines and requirements while visiting the beach bar. Masks and proof of vaccination or proof of a negative test within 48 hours are required.
Within one hour (or less) from Ko Olina Beach Villas, visitors can explore a sprawling cactus garden with an otherworldly feel. The twisting trails through this 60-acre expanse lead guests past a plumeria grove, baobab trees from Madagascar, spherical golden barrel cactus and curly octopus agave from South America, henna plants from Asia and the Middle East, and more. Day trippers can make an afternoon of this adventure, pack a lunch, and settle down at one of the tables for a picnic.
The park is open daily, sunrise to sunset (closed December 25 and January 1). Be sure to bring your own water. There is no drinking water available. Walking shoes are recommended, as the path is uneven and has loose rocks.
Enjoy a big Thanksgiving meal without turning on the oven. There are several dine-in or take away options near Ko Olina Beach Villas. You can stay on the resort or pick up a family feast at nearby Kapolei. Holiday dining options include elaborate buffets and special prix fixe holiday menus. Some require reservations and some do not. A full list of the dining options is below.
Roy’s – A special prix fixe holiday take away menu for two. Visit https://www.royyamaguchi.com/roys-hawaii-kai-online-order/thanksgiving-carryout-special-roys-ko-olina to place your order and select a pick up time.
Four Seasons Resort
Mina’s Fish House – Thanksgiving lunch will be served from noon to 5PM and a special dinner feast will be served from 5PM to 11PM.
La Hiki Kitchen – Thanksgiving Brunch Buffet will be served from 11AM to 2PM. A special dinner menu will be served from 5PM to 9PM.
Noe – A Thanksgiving dinner menu will be served from 5PM to 9PM.
For more information or to make a reservation, visit https://www.fourseasons.com/oahu/dining/.
‘AMA’AMA – A special prix fixe holiday lunch and dinner menu will be served.
Makahiki – A casual all-you-care-to-enjoy holiday buffet will be served.
Ulu Cafe – A quick and casual Sliced Turkey Plate will be served.
For more information about Aulani’s Thanksgiving dining options, visit https://www.disneyaulani.com/activities/seasonal/thanksgiving/.
Mahi’ai Table – A special prix fixe Thanksgiving family meal feeding 4 to 6 people is available for pre-order and pick up. For more information, visit https://www.mahiaitable.com/thanksgiving-dinner.
Mad Bene – A special prix fixe holiday family meal feeding 4 to 5 people will be available for pre-order and pick up. For more information, visit https://www.madbene.com/menus/#thanksgiving.
Within one hour (or less) from Ko Olina Beach Villas, visitors can explore the scenic highlights of Waikiki or the North Shore while having fun and learning about Hawaii from an expert guide. Hawaii Hoverboarding Tours offers an array of excursions across Oahu (Diamond Head, Waikiki, Ala Moana, Kakaako Street Art district, or the North Shore).
They offer two tour styles (signature or standard) and three different start locations (Honolulu Zoo, Hilton Hawaiian Village, or Pupukea/North Shore). Tours are limited to six people for a more personalized experience and each rider is trained on the all-terrain, silent electric hoverboards. Helmets are provided and must be worn at all times. Riders must be at least 16 years old.
For more information about tours and prices, visit https://www.hawaiihoverboardingtours.com/.
Alicia’s Market, about 25 minutes from Ko Olina Beach Villas, is considered the standard by which general stores are measured. First opened in 1949 as a small wooden hut, the menu has gradually grown over the years to include six meat bowls, seventeen poke bowls, combination meat and poke bowls, as well as their famous potato mac salad, and boiled peanuts.
Alicia’s Market used to be bigger, but suffered a fire back in 2018. Now they operate in a much smaller capacity. Limited parking is available in front of the store and lines aren’t too long, if you visit before or after the working lunch hour.
For more information about their business hours and to view their menu, visit https://aliciasmarket.com/.