Come January, when the holidays are history and the novelty of the first fallen snowflake wears off, many Midwesterners are likely to start daydreaming of warmer climes. So, if you live in Peoria and feel the need to shed your parka or in Toledo and can't wait to tan, you may want to listen up, because there's hope on the horizon. Hope's name: Hawaii.
It's far, real far, but most who've touched down or visited any of its eight main islands (or even its smaller juts of land), would say Hawaii is worth the trip. Situated smack dab in the Pacific Ocean some five hours by air from the mainland US, it can hardly be considered a getaway destination, a place to hop to for the weekend, but then again why not? Admitted to the Union in 1959, the Aloha State delivers the vacation goods on so many fronts. Western, Asian and Polynesian influences combine to create a compelling and distinctly unique island culture that caters to locals, businesspeople, and tourists equally -- striking a delicate singular balance between Kahuku papaya farming, honeymoons, trade shows, and surfer competitions.
Over the past 30 years in particular, the tide of tourism has helped raise awareness of Hawaii worldwide, but some would say it's also taken its toll by trading local traditions in the name of economic gain. However, Hawaii's magnetism still remains strong, especially if you venture off the beaten path. While the deals we've found for you don't necessarily take you to Hawaii's hidden corners, they do provide an easy and affordable way to soothe the soul with palm tree-lined beaches and loads of vitamin D. So, pack your bags Midwesterners, and don't forget your bathing suits.
Bundled up or baking in the sun?
No doubt in an effort to appeal to those already knee-deep in snow, Northwest Airline World Vacations is offering package deals to Oahu, Hawaii for travel in January, February and March from a handful of Midwestern gateways: Chicago, Detroit, and Minneapolis. The vacation arm of the airline is bundling roundtrip airfare on Northwest Airlines from these Midwestern gateways with your choice of three or six nights accommodation at either the Ohana Waikiki Surf Hotel or the Aston Aloha Surf Hotel, both in downtown Waikiki.
The hotel low-down
The Ohana Waikiki Surf Hotel features a tropical garden pool, kitchenettes in every room, and a spa, however while it's close, it's not on the beach, and there's no restaurant on the premises. Its location on Kuhio Avenue in Waikiki guarantees that you'll find plenty of dining options nearby. The newly renovated (now with surf motif) Aston Aloha Surf Hotel is also not a beachfront property, but it does sit four short blocks away. There's a decent sized pool here, and complimentary continental breakfast available to guests each morning.
The price is nice
The most affordable vacation up for grabs is from Chicago (departing any Thursday between Jan 5-29, 2003) at $588, which includes roundtrip airfare and three nights accommodation at the Ohana Waikiki Surf hotel. Singles, unfortunately, pay double the quoted cost, but the good news is that it is possible to add extra nights. The cost of the same vacation mentioned above with four additional nights is $882. Vacation prices vary slightly (between $588 and $788) depending on dates and number of nights, with the midweek departures coming in on the cheaper end. Here are a few examples of specific quotes: