Hawaii: The US’ laid-back front door for Australians

Hawaii: The US’ laid-back front door for Australians

For Australians heading to the United States, David Hovenden Travel Weekly’s CEO, argues using Hawaii as your entry point is dreamy way to start your holiday and the Marriott Waikiki is the perfect place to stay.

For most Australian travellers, the dreaded LAX (Los Angeles Tom Brady International) is the first taste they will ever have of American (in)hospitality. Having flown for 16 odd hours, most direct flights from Australia’s east coast land into LAX at the ungodly local time of 6am as Immigration and Customs (the Department of Homeland Security) is just opening.

As your clients stumble off the plane bleary eyed and irritable, nine times out of ten they will walk through desolate corridors and halls of the airport down escalators and finally be disgorged into a dimly lit, low-ceilinged room with an impossibly long queue and slightly menacing looking security barking orders about which queue to join or otherwise.

It’s not uncommon to wait 90 minutes before finally getting your chance to present your passport, hoping your ESTA is in order, to an equally irritable Homeland Security Officer who takes your fingerprints, photos and quizzes you on your intentions. It is a singular experience and for first time travellers, little do they know that this is far from the end of the ordeal.

Heading down another set of escalators you find yourself in baggage claim. Mercifully there’s usually no waiting time here as your bags had a much quicker transit from the plane to join you here.

Then, unless you’re staying in LA, you take your bags to the transit hall and hand them over to airline staff who, if your lucky point you towards the back door to avoid the domestic terminals security for a relatively painless and quick entry for your onward flight, or, if you’re unlucky, they point you out the door and onto the street.

Once here, you have to figure out whether to turn left (for terminals 1, 2 and 3) or right (for terminals 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9). There’s a shuttle, but most (not 8 and 9) are a welcome stretch of the legs away. Domestic security is something again, but you get the picture and let me turn to the point of this article.

LAX isn’t the only entry point into the US, these days there’s direct flights to San Francisco (SFO), Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) and of course Hawaii (HNL). All of them are better alternatives to LAX from a comfort and trauma-reducing experience.

Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) is the only entry point to the US, however, located on a glorious tropical island. And if you have the time, a few days unwinding in the tropics either on your way to or from the Lower 48.

With relatively fewer international flights, security is much, much easier and the Homeland Security Officers are more than likely going to be big friendly Hawaiians than jaded Los Angeles locals. The flight time is also the shortest of all the entry points with yes, fewer connecting flights, but still more than enough to most US destinations.

Hotel Check: Marriott Beach Marriott Resort & Spa

At Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa, you’re at the centre of all that makes Waikiki so iconic. The resort is framed by Diamond Head and the renowned ‘Queens’ surf break. Whether you’re basking in the sun-kissed sands at sunrise, soothing your soul in the glow of one of the many firepits at sunset, or catching it all from private lanais, let the Marriott share its island passions with you.

Surrender to the rhythm of activity and music at our Queensbreak rooftop deck, one of Honolulu’s largest outdoor experiential spaces. Relax on the family-friendly pool deck, lounge in cabanas, or imbibe in a Mai tai at the adults only pool. Enjoy a Hawaiian feast, island songs, hula arts and storytelling at the Paina Waikiki Luau.

The new Queensbreak pool and amenity deck – a luxurious oasis floating among palm trees overlooking Queens, the most famous surf break on Waikiki. The open-air pool deck offers three distinct spaces – a family area overlooking Waikiki Beach with a pool with chaise lounges and cabanas, kids splash pad, lawn games and fire pits; the Queensbreak open-air restaurant with a stage for live music and entertainment; and a separate adult’s section with a lively poolside bar, pool with private cabanas, and an oversized hot tub.

Located on the footprint of Queen Lili‘uokalani’s historic summer homes, Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa pays homage to its storied past by offering indoor-outdoor hotel rooms and suites where “all could gather in joy”. In keeping with the Queen’s philosophy of Hawaiian hospitality, the rooms and suites at the hotel have been completely redesigned with furnishings inspired by the resort’s seaside location. All feature shiplap walls and warm ceruse wood stains to evoke the casual feel of a classic Hawaii home. Floor-to-ceiling windows and lanai doors in all rooms and suites let in sunny rays and open out to balconies with ocean views of Waikiki Beach.


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