Tag Archives: shopping

The Other Waikiki

Last week I wrote a little about Waikiki Beach near Long Beach, Washington. Just yesterday I was on the other Waikiki Beach on the Hawaiian Island of Oahu. How do they compare? Not much is the same, except they both are actually beaches paralleling the Pacific Ocean, and they both have their own charm.

According to a Moon Travel Guide of the Long Beach, Washington area, “tiny Waikiki Beach is a favorite local spot for picnics and swimming in the summer (no lifeguard is present). The beach received its name when a Hawaiian sailor’s body washed ashore here after his ship was wrecked in a failed attempt to cross the Columbia River bar in 1811. You can follow a trail uphill from Waikiki to the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, and then on to Cape Disappointment Lighthouse.”


The winter temperature difference makes the Hawaiian beach much more alluring. Western Washington’s low temperature yesterday was 16 degrees, with icy road conditions. When we left Waikiki, it was a sunny 82 degrees. Pleasant white sand beaches stretched for miles, while the waters were filled with surfers, swimmers and waders. Not many brave our frigid waters to swim when the temperature falls below freezing, so our Waikiki is much less crowded.

Shopping and Restaurants

Hawaii hits the mark with a plethora of places to shop and dine. From Forever 21, Kate Spade and Coach to Macy’s, ABC stores and all kinds of island souvenir shops, Kalakua Avenue rivals Rodeo Drive and other city’s trendy shopping districts. Need a swimsuit? Just about every other store carries them. How about a necklace to remind you of your Hawaiian stay? You’ll find choices from beads to diamonds and everything in between.

Shopping in the gift shop at the Lewis and Clark Interpretative Center can also be about treasure hunting.

Señor Frogs, Cheeseburger in Paradise, Cheesecake Factory and Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse offer food options for every palate and pocketbook. In between you’ll find Starbucks, frozen yogurt shops and all kinds of cookie stores.

The Washington version of Waikiki is ideal for picnics.

Take your pick or try them both and decide for yourself which you prefer.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you.


Tacoma’s Luscious and Laid-back Hotel Murano

Courtesy Hotel Murano, Dante Vases

You’ll notice the glass art Hotel Murano is named for first. Then the luxurious and spacious lobby with a coffee bar that morphs into a cocktail bar in the evening.

Murano, a tiny island situated near Venice, became famous as the glass center where the technique of blowing glass was perfected. Tessa Papas, art curator and an art consultant, helped choose the name of the hotel as well as select the more than $2 million worth of glass art that graces every floor of Hotel Murano. So when the elevator opens, a display case filled with the work of the featured artist for that floor appears.

“I wanted to dedicate each floor to one artist,” says Papas. The public areas feature multiple artists.”

At the hotel entrance, you’re welcomed with a 104-foot glass masterpiece titled “Orizon,” which was created by Costas Varotsos of Greece. Other artists represented throughout the hotel include Dale Chihuly, William Morris, Miriam Di Fiore, Steve Klein, Tobias Mohl, Jessica Townsend and Toots Zynsky. Glass aficionados will want to see all the art and probably take a trip to the nearby Museum of Glass, also.

Exterior of Hotel Murano in Tacoma, courtesy of Hotel Murano

In order to fully enjoy the artistic offerings, spending at night or two at the hotel will give you that opportunity. Guest room amenity’s include IPod docking stations, spiritual menus, a menu of pillow choices in addition to beds with pillow-top mattresses, valet parking, concierge services and 24-hour room service.

Bite restaurant serves delectable Northwest cuisine for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I’ve never experienced a bad dish here from the Barcelona omelet for breakfast filled with chorizo and olives to the appetizers served on Thursday evenings. I do need to return and try the bread pudding made with Krispy Kreme donuts.

Savi Day Spa, onsite at the Murano has been voted best day spa by King 5 Evening Magazine viewers two years in a row. Their services include massage therapy, body treatments, foot and hand therapies and waxing.

Designated sixth best hotel in the country by Condé Nast in 2009, Hotel Murano, a Provenance property, is located in downtown Tacoma, close to the museum district, the theatre district, boutique and antique shopping and near the Convention Center.

Did I mention they are also dog-friendly? Their amenities include the right-size pet bed, food and water bowls, treats, a new toy and disposable bags for you-know-what.