We woke up this morning at the Four Seasons in Ko Olina feeling bittersweet that this luxurious adventure had come to an end. Wanting to maximize every moment left, we made our way past the yoga lawn and down through the volcanic rocks to a little secluded beach where the turtles swim. At first we couldn’t see any turtles but as we moved further and further out on a large rock jutting into the ocean we saw little flippers poke up and the occasional head. Little circular bubbles appeared on the water just above them as they frolicked around joyfully. They were medium sized, much like the ones I saw last year in Kona and beautiful.
We couldn’t help but stare out at the beautiful sunrise and gorgeous mountains cascading around us as the turtles bobbed up and down. It was the perfect last morning. Ko Olina has always been one of my favorite places on earth and every time I return it never feels long enough. Back at the hotel the breakfast buffet was buzzing with early risers. Having gorged ourselves the prior two days we found ourselves unable to maximize the buffet today and settled for one oversized plate instead of our normal 2.5-3 plates each. Yes, you read that right. There was just too much goodness to pass up.
Knowing we may never get this luxurious experience again, every second counted – must maximize enjoyment fully. With a smaller breakfast, it was time to soak in a little more beach time…the waves…the sun…the beauty…the soothing sounds of the ocean… Shortly after I nestled under the umbrella, a monk seal came ashore on the beach for a break from the waves to get some rest and sun. She was probably 100-150 lbs and grey with little whiskers. The resort was well trained in Hawaiian laws to protect these seals as there’s a certain distance that needs to be kept so they blocked off the area around her with surf boards so we could all continue oohing and awing without bothering her.
Fully toasted from the sun it was the perfect time to head on over to the spa. The Four Seasons completely renovated the spa and adjoining parking garage putting multiple tennis courts on the roof, an outdoor pool, and a full spa with separate male and female areas, including couples areas. After checking in the woman’s area is down the stairs and through two glass doors for privacy. The first thing you see upon entering is the lounge where you wait for your treatments, equipped with coffee, tea, water, and snacks. Just on the other side of the glass door is an outdoor extension to the lounge with comfy sofas and photography books on Oahu.
The locker room is made of a beautiful wood and each locker has slippers to match your shoe size, a robe with soft pulled cotton inside, and a large fluffy white towel. Just around the corner is the dressing and make-up area, fully stocked, and a separate washroom with showers and swimsuit dryers. The amenity area consists of a steam room, a sauna, a generously sized hot tub with jets, and a cold plunge mini-pool. Just outside the door was a tranquil rainforest garden with hammocks and comfy resort style chairs with large pillows. Luckily I’d suspected the amenities would be worth it, so there was an hour buffer to pamper ourselves prior to the massage, which was aromatherapy and absolutely delightful.
As I talked with the massage therapist about what it’s like to live in Hawaii she first said it’s so amazing she moved here 30 years ago and never left. Then she discussed the challenges with finding a job, how friends and lovers are often transient as many people come and go, and how difficult it’s been for her to find a husband as the pool of single men is small and many aren’t looking for women if you know what I mean. After spending most the time on what seemed like sour comments, she reinforced how happy she was in Hawaii. I couldn’t tell if it was because she truly was or if she was trying to convince herself.
For some of you that have been reading my blog for awhile, you’ll know that when my lease came up in New York I had been talking with my boyfriend at the time about moving to Hawaii. We both loved oceans and islands and had talked about moving so it seemed perfect. I even visited Oahu to check out apartments and seriously considered what it would be like to move here. Though my ex decided it was a bad idea and made life very difficult for me because of that dream. With all his negativity around Hawaii, it just tainted the entire dream and nothing really felt right after that. There’s still a part of me that wonders if I made the right decision to not move to Hawaii, but at this point it would feel forced.
After the decadent spa time, we only had a little over an hour left so made a b-line to the beach to soak up as much of the last few moments we had. It seemed like a waste to eat lunch at one of the restaurants so we ordered the food to come to us on the beach so we didn’t have to forgo the gorgeous view for even a minute. We both got fish burgers with onion rings and were in absolute heaven it was so delicious. I sipped my white wine as we gazed into the suns reflection on the water realizing this incredible experience would soon be over.
Back at the room it was time to pack up, which meant performing my strategic packing operation of jigsaw puzzling everything into it’s specific spot in the shortest amount of time. Packing as a MBTI ‘thinker’, I couldn’t help but wonder if there’s a correlation in packing behaviors and MBTI types. Do most ‘thinkers’ strategically plan out how how each item will fit into the suitcase, considering weight, size, ability to pair, in order to optimize the minimal amount of articles? Usually doing carry-on because checking-in wastes time? Similarly with ‘feelers’ being more mood based and thinking about what they’ll feel like wearing and trying to forecast what they’ll be in the mood for doing, lending itself to bringing many options ‘just in case’?
Off we went to the airport to drop off my friend, our incredible adventure had come to an end and it was time to get back to real life. The airport is about 30 minutes or so from Ko Olina, a quick and easy drive on the H1. After the airport I headed over to what they call the ‘windward’ side of the island through a long tunnel carved into the gorgeous green lush mountains and appearing on the other side to what I consider absolute heaven. The waters are turquoise blue, mountains are towering in their jagged lush greens, and palm trees are everywhere. This side gets the rain and it shows in the plentiful vegetation. There’s less hotels on this side of the island and very few apartment complexes, so as either a visitor or wanting to move to Oahu, it’s difficult to find a way to be in the lush gorgeous beauty.
Taking Kam highway as the locals call it, I drove the windy road that goes right along the water much like PCH in California. The incredible clear blue of the sandbar visible from the road as it taunts it’s beauty. The only way out there is by boat, it’s too far for a normal swimmer or normal paddle boarder or normal kayaker. As the road continues to curve there’s nothing but palm trees and towering green mountains littering every view point. I can’t imagine anyone not finding this place incredibly gorgeous. I love Oahu.
Paradise Bay Resort is one of the few hotels on this side of the island tucked up in the bay with views of ‘chinaman’s hat’, which is a small island in the shape of a pyramid covered in green leafy plants. Mountains surround the resort on all sides as if it’s nestled in just perfectly to balance mountain and ocean views. The check-in is outdoor and you feel the ocean breeze. It’s a small hotel that has dinner service only 3x a week and various other activities scattered through the week. However, there is only one night that there is nothing – no dinner, no activities, nothing – that would be tonight. Bummer.
In my little room with no view, I decided to make the best of the time and relax on one of the lounge chairs on the barge. No one else was anywhere in sight so I had the whole barge to myself, it was so quiet all I could hear was the birds chirping and the occasional plop of a fish jumping out of the water. I stared out into the bay completely embracing being in the moment. Ahhh….
Just before the sun went down I decided to take a dip in the pool, which was luke warm and a decent size, also empty. Next to it was a toasty jacuzzi with jets blaring full blast. With the hotel not serving food this evening and nothing in walking distance, realizing I really wasn’t hungry from the non-stop eating the days prior, I decided tonight would be a good day to hole up and chill in my tiny room without a view. Tomorrow I’d leave Oahu, and this adventure around the world, 9 weeks circling the globe (click ‘blogs’ to see the prior 4-5 weeks) from Honolulu to Honolulu. Though I’m not yet done heading East!