Runaway Vacationer

Sometimes the hotel is so right that you can imagine yourself living there… forever.  

Time to play like an expat. First things first: Your address. Forward your mail to the well-located Coconut Waikiki, where the rooms are large, the lanais expansive, and the views pretty (try for the Ko’olau Mountains). You’ve got a minifridge and microwave, a starter’s supply of Kona coffee, and daily continental breakfast. And, my, does O’ahu provide. Pineapple iced tea practically flows from the taps on the lobby’s table of complimentary refreshments.

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What else do you really need? Don’t even worry about packing a beach tote, towel, or kitchen plates and silverware. Actually, forget the moving van. The décor is all set, and it matches the color of the tropics. Imagine this: You wake up every day feeling an urge to check the chalkboard downstairs, where the day’s wind conditions and temps are handwritten. Is the surf up? Will it be above 80 degrees?

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Your dollar will need to stretch far: Most people have heard that unpleasant story about the price of a carton of milk ($6). But there’s lots nearby that’s affordable. Ala Moana Center is about a mile from your new home, a pleasant walk along the Ala Wai Canal. You can eat like a king at the Japanese food court, which serves shirokiya. ramen, udon, donburi, and katsu chicken. From 5:30 p.m. ‘til 10 p.m., Kirin is two dollars at Yataimura.

The biggest wins are the plate lunches. For under $10 at Koi Catering & Takeout, you can get garlic shrimp and steak, along with the carby accouterments (macaroni salad and rice). The restaurant’s lunch wagon is near the Honolulu Museum of Art, which is free on the first Wednesday of each month.

The beach, too, is free. But even better is the thought of kicking back at the Coconut—maybe lighting up the grill, throwing on some barbecue chicken, and lounging by the kidney-shaped pool with a Mai Tai. We don’t have any cocktail umbrellas, but Honolulu’s Party City sells 20 for $0.99. That’s the best deal around.