‘Alohilani Resort Honolulu review: Oahu luxury design hotel, beach view balcony! Sky Waikiki raw bar, Kira Miffy Hawaii.

Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach room balcony view ocean

Still can’t believe I was in tropical Honolulu, Hawaii… after the mess of 2020, this trip feels like a dream.

Every morning, I said “aloha” to this ocean view from my balcony at ‘Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach.  

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If I had to design a dream Hawaiian hotel, it’d look a lot like the luxurious Alohilani. My room had a private balcony overlooking the ocean waves, palm trees and warm sand. All I had to do was walk across the street, and I was on Waikiki (Kuhio Beach). 

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Come with me, and I’ll take you around my 5-star hotel. The ‘Alohilani went through a 2018 renovation, so the common areas — such as the entrance and driveway — are a modern tropical feast for the eyes. (Address: 2490 Kalakaua Avenue, Honolulu; it’s right by Waikiki Beach.)

Outfit details: Skeleton crop bikini / swimsuit by Towers Swimwear, tartan schoolgirl skirt Ninja Cosmico, silk hair scrunchies and mask Lemonwood Luxury.

waikiki beach luxury hotel balcony suite

The resort is named after Queen Lili’uokalani, the last reigning monarch of the Hawaiian Kingdom. The Queen was a talented composer and author who was passionate about local culture, and beloved by the people. In this spirit, the Alohilani gives guests a warm and artistic stay. 

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The spacious rooms (about 330 square feet) mix contemporary design with locally inspired elements, such as framed rainbow photographs that reflect the beauty of Hawaii.

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However, the most outstanding feature is hands-down the balcony! My Alohilani Hotel oceanfront room had a spectacular, unblocked view of the famous beach, Diamond Head volcanic crater and the Pacific Ocean.

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The room is stocked with all the modern conveniences — with the added bonus of Japanese TV channels. I got a kick out of watching this exercise program on NHK Japan.

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Take me back to my Premier Ocean Front guestroom and private lanai… I loved lounging outside on the chairs, with a cocktail in hand. 

alohilani resort lobby oceanarium fish statue king costume

‘Alohilani Resort’s common areas are just as captivating. The lobby features pendant lights and a textured statement wall, and a traditional royal costume on display. Next to O Bar, there’s a two-floor saltwater Oceanarium full of coral and fish of all sizes. 

honolulu alohilani aquarium fish tank

At 10:30 a.m. & 2:30 p.m every day, you can watch the staff feed the colorful Hawaiian fish in the enormous aquarium.

longboard club alohilani hotel cabanas vip

As a guest of the hotel, it’s well worth adding on access to ‘Alohilani’s Longboard Club. You get VIP access to an elegant indoor-outdoor club space — meaning you can relax in peace, in a private cabana. 

breakfast alohilani resort waikiki oahu hawaii

Every morning, I looked forward to the Longboard Club’s included breakfast. The freshly made dishes included eggs, Hawaiian fried rice, passionfruit juice, creamy yogurt, and the signature acai bowl with granola and fruit (I had this every single day!) 

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Not a bad place to work or watch movies, wouldn’t you say? Longboard Club is open at all hours as long you have the access card, and there’s breakfast service as well as cocktail hour hors d’oeuvres. 

honolulu wine bar wines

Decisions, decisions… the 16-bottle wine Cruvinet (high tech wine dispensing gizmo) had an enticing selection. I did my best to sample everything. 

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When it got too hot outside, I went into the air-conditioned indoor area to unwind. 

longboard club alohilani happy hour food wine drinks

The cocktail hour selection includes salads and charcuterie with international cheeses and crudités.

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Love the design elements including fire pits behind glass, and pink flower borders. 

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My skeleton print top is actually a long-sleeved surf bikini by Towers Swimwear. 

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In addition to Longboard Club, the ‘Alohilani Resort Oahu is home to several restaurants. Dine at Morimoto Asia or Momosan ramen and sake (created by the Japanese Iron Chef.)

'Alohilani Resort swimming pool hotel

Or grab cocktails, poke bowls and burgers at Swell Restaurant and Bar, by the main swimming pool. The deck has private cabanas over a saltwater infinity pool, and a pool bar with live electronic DJs at night. 

abc stores hawaii statues souvenirs Hawaiian figurines

For those who love shopping, the hotel also has a variety of fashion and jewelry boutiques. I confess I was most excited about the in-house ABC Store! This legendary Hawaii-based chain of convenience stores first opened in 1964 in Waikiki. Now, you’ll find the big ABC signs all over Honolulu. 

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I always head straight to the cute stuff. ABC Stores carry special Hawaiian edition kawaii goods, such as these Doraemon plush toys with surfboards and sunglasses. 

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Look, even Hello Kitty got a tan in Honolulu. She wears a Hawaiian hula skirt, and replaces her signature pink blow with a flower. Her Sanrio cute character friends (Gudetama, My Melody) get in the mood by strumming ukuleles.

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I picked up souvenirs and inexpensive snacks at the ABC Store. The local Placa Pineapple Shortcake and lilikoi cookies were tasty, as were the “On the Rocks” premium bottle cocktails. 

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One of my favorite memories; watching the sun set from the balcony of my ‘Alohilani hotel room. Hawaii truly has magic.

waikiki beach at night hawaii

And here’s the night view. As a city-person, I enjoyed the mix of urban life and beaches at Waikiki. 

sky waikiki sushi raw bar restaurant

While in Waikiki, I sought out sushi — as fresh-caught seafood is a Hawaiian specialty. I had a magnificent dinner at Sky Waikiki Raw & Bar, located a few blocks from the beach and my hotel. 

Sky is an open-air restaurant located 19 floors up. The glass railing gives every diner an uninterrupted view of Waikiki from up high. It’s a terrific spot for champagne or cocktails — loved the spicy pineapple handcrafted creation — and oyster shooters with sparkling wine poured right into the shell.

waikiki restaurants with view rooftop views

As you can see, Sky’s wrap-around rooftop deck delivers stunning panoramic views (this is the iconic Royal Hawaiian “Pink Palace of the Pacific” hotel, beloved by 1960s celebs). Come for dinner and catch the sunset; if you’re a vampire like I am, you can huddle under a hand-held parasol provided by the staff! 

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Sky’s sashimi and sushi are as fresh as it gets. Salivate over these slices of salmon, yellowtail, ahi tuna and Hokkaido scallop.

waikiki observatory views landscape lookout

After nightfall, the city below glitters with light. Such a treat to dine alfresco and up high. at Sky Waikiki Restaurant

kira x miffy store giant bunny statue honolulu

Waikiki is also known as a shopper’s paradise. You’ll find the usual couture stores here, similar to Rodeo Drive in LA. However, I bypassed them and made a bee-line to the Kira x Miffy store! I was greeted by an enormous statue of my favorite X-mouthed bunny character, wearing a lei (flower necklace). 

hawaii kira miffy shop boutique kids clothing babies

Miffy (or Nijntje) is the creation of Dutch artist Dick Bruna, and any reader of my blog knows I’m obsessed with the rabbit’s minimalist kawaii. At the Kira Kids x Miffy store, you’ll find exclusive Hawaii collections featuring Miffy — such as tropical totes and toys.

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The store has items such as onesies for babies and kids, but there are also plenty of Hawaii-themed Miffy goods for fans of all ages.

(The Kira Miffy store is located in the Royal Hawaiian Center shopping complex. Address: 2233 Kalakaua Ave B114, in Waikiki, Honolulu.)

cute design toys miffy kira store

Kira Honolulu has Miffy toys, lamps, backpacks, home goods, you name it. (I bought a themed wine bottle stopper, because why not?) There are also products featuring the lion, Boris the bear, and Snuffy the dog.

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For more Miffy madness, check out my stories about her Amsterdam stores, and the Miffy Museum in Utrecht.

hello kitty hawaii sanrio waikiki store shop

Pop into other Waikiki stores, and you’ll find Hawaii-edition Hello Kitty products. There’s a significant Japanese population here, and Hawaii is popular with tourists from Japan — hence the copious amounts of kawaii. 

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I leave you with some bonus shots from my balcony at the Alohilani…

honolulu beach Waikiki Hotels with Balconies

Still can’t get over this view. Note the breakwater on Kuhio Beach, which creates a wave-free zone popular with families.

waikiki surfers surfboard culture

The beach also has a gorgeous banyan tree dating back to 1904. 

ocean view waikiki sailing boats

Go to Waikiki Beach early to beat the crowds, and watch the surfers and sailboats over the rolling waves.

cabana beach lounge cabin alohilani pool

Aloha to ‘Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach for a luxurious and rejuvenating stay that I will never forget. I’m already daydreaming of being back here.

(Forever a shady lady, even in tropical paradise…. you know I’m all about sun protection!) 

waikiki beach sunset spot viewpoint honolulu hotels balconies

Have you been to Honolulu, Oahu — or anywhere in Hawaii? If you have any questions about traveling in Hawaii, leave me a comment.


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Gothic BC fashion! Greater Vancouver Zoo tour: feeding red pandas, bears & hippos. Brentwood Mall rainbow sky bridge.

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Life has been more colorful lately in Vancouver, BC. I’ve been emerging from my lockdown dungeon, and safely reuniting with close friends (while still wearing my mask).

Let’s do a round-up of recent Vancouver Goth escapades, including snaps from this new Rainbow Sky Bridge (Amazing Brentwood Mall’s Instagrammable spot). We’ll also visit the adorable animals of the Greater Vancouver Zoo. I’ll end with some recent writing / hosting work and podcasts — including a feature about The Satanic Chef!

amazing brentwood mall burnaby rainbow bridge

I popped into Burnaby’s Brentwood Mall, which has a new pedestrian Rainbow Skybridge. When the sunlight hits the colored panes, they glow and emanate onto the bridge’s floor and ceiling. (The shopping center also has a new dining court and other renovated areas.)

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It felt right to dress like a Goth alien to take some snaps. I’m wearing a women’s fitted t-shirt from The Satanic Temple shop; it’s a short sleeved “I am a Friend of Satan” tee designed by Lucien Greaves, in Royal Blue.

My mini backpack is Cyberdog, sunglasses Pugnale Eyewear, mask Lemonwood Luxury, maxi skirt is vintage from Burcu’s Angels boutique in Vancouver BC.

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The Amazing Brentwood Rainbow Skybridge is one of the six eye-catching “Aura” art installations in the shopping centre, designed by Canadian artist Elyse Dodge.

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Closeup on my Satan-friendly shirt. The Satanic Temple store has Hail Pride clothing, homewares, books, and other memorabilia as well, with funds going to their campaigns.

feed red pandas interaction greater vancouver zoo langley

I’ve been making furry new friends this summer… I took a special tour of the Greater Vancouver Zoo, which includes interactive experiences with the resident animals, like this kawaii red panda.

feed hippos vancouver zoo private tour

Anyone can book an interactive tour at the GVZoo, which is located about 45 minutes to an hour from Vancouver, in Langley BC. My friends and I also got to feed the hungry, hungry hippos…

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… and hang with two types of fuzzy bears. (But not as closely as this, of course.)

OOTD: Black Inca Noir sun hat Lack of Color, sleeves Sleevey Wonders, Goth striped top Forest Ink, skirt Charli Cohen.

interact with red panda feed pandas zoo

In addition to regular admission tickets, The Greater Vancouver Zoo offers private behind the scenes interactions with several animal species, which you can choose when you book in advance. My friends and I were delighted to come face-to-face with the red pandas!

red panda eating bamboo cute

Red pandas are native to Burma and China. This little guy chomped away on bamboo; that’s what they mostly eat, as well as some protein sources.

feeding red pandas experience animal encounters

As you can see, red pandas are polite and friendly… and adore eating sweet figs on a stick! What a treat to feed them by hand, and be right up close with their cute snouts.

smiling happy face red panda

I love how red pandas always look happy. (They’re not actually related to panda bears, but belong to their own classification; they’re an ancient species similar to skunks, raccoons and weasels.)

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The Sanrio character Aggretsuko is based on a red panda. (Fortunately, this one didn’t erupt into a heavy metal rage.)

red panda eating food fruit on stick

Red pandas have curved, retractable claws and a thumb-like bone that help them get a good grip on snacks. Aren’t they the sweetest?

hippo rising out of pond water

We enjoyed speaking to the zoo staff, and learning about how they care for the animals and work on conservation projects. At this pond, we held up apple slices, and a hippopotamus slowly started to come out of the water.

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Hippos spend most of their time submerged in water, but this one came up to us and opened his mouth, ready for a meal.

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The other hippo got a frozen watermelon to help him cool down from the heat. He played with it, then chomped it between his strong jaws.

feed hippos apples hippopotamus feeding zoo

Ready, aim, and throw apples right into the hippo’s gaping mouth!

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The hippopotamus kept his jaw wide open, in a bid for more fruit. (These are the third largest land mammals, after elephants and rhinos.)

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Onward to meet the grizzly bears, who are orphaned rescues. Like all the animals at the Greater Vancouver Zoo, they live in enormous natural environments.

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We threw corn over the fence, and the bears stood up on their hind paws to try to catch them!

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We also met three black bear siblings. These bears were rescued from Alaska after they lost their mother; they wouldn’t have survived in the wild on their own.

feed black bears honey on stick

It’s true: like Winnie-the-Pooh, bears do love honey. We dipped a wooden stick into a jar of sticky honey, and let them lick it through the fence.

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Don’t overlook the smaller animals at Vancouver’s Zoo. A zookeeper showed us a Madagascar hissing cockroach, and let it run over our hands (and Rob’s P-cross / The Process tattoo).

ball python snake pattern holding snakes

“He’s a cold-hearted snake / Look into his eyes, uh-oh.” We petted the ball python, which was curled up tight to preserve heat.

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There were too many animals at Vancouver’s zoo to photograph for you — including giraffes, elk, tigers, cheetahs, ostriches… See the full list here.

vancouver zoos reviews mara lynx

We had never seen a Patagonian Mara before — it’s the second largest species in the rodent family, and can run at high speeds. The northern lynx was a sweetheart; when we called her name, she came up to the fence with her ears twitching.

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The Greater Vancouver Zoo also has a new dino park, with life-sized animatronic dinosaurs.

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The T rex moves his head and jaws, making us feel as if were in Jurassic Park.

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The Greater Vancouver Zoo is certified globally, and is dedicated to education and conservation — they’re constantly improving the facilities for the animals, and have a safari-style park in the works. I’m looking forward to returning and seeing these new additions.

Outfit details: Black Inca Noir bucket hat Lack of Color, sleeves Sleevey Wonders, black and white striped top Forest Ink, skirt Charli Cohen.

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Let’s wrap up with some outfit features, which I’ve been sharing on Instagram (@lacarmina).

How fab are these Kubrick cat-themed tank top and leggings? They’re by Close to Human Clothing, a fashion partnership between musician Daniel Graves of Aesthetic Perfection and designer Sam P.

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The apparel line is a love letter to pop culture and cats. Close to Human offers shirts, stickers and more for men and women, in all sizes.

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The tank top is a clever, catty take on Stanley Kubrick’s “A Clockwork Orange” film poster (the movie is a personal favorite). Put your paws on “Stanley Mewbrick’s Catwork Orange” and look real horrorshow! Find this and more on Close to Human.

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Speaking of cats and other creatures… Here’s a look at some of the cards from The Devil’s Deck, a new Satanic ritual / oracle card deck by Shiva Honey! 

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Shiva also sells Satanic clothing, like this Pride crop top from the Queer Magick, on her Serpentinae website.

the devil's deck satanic tarot cards shiva honey

The Devil’s Deck is a work of art. Gilded in gold, this 30 card ritual deck is a companion to Shiva Honey’s The Devil’s Tome. The beautiful quality cards are illustrated by Satanic Temple co-founder Lucien Greaves, artist Alexander Corey, and Shiva.

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The Devil’s Deck is a wonderful tool for contemplation. Each represents a Satanic ritual or act of introspection (such as Solo Ritual, Forgiveness, Justice), with an accompanying booklet to help interpret the meaning.

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The Devil’s Deck differs from the standard tarot: it has 17 Ceremony cards and 13 Illumination cards. (Here’s a selection of the art by Lucien Greaves.)

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The deck is designed to be used in conjunction with Shiva Honey’s The Devil’s Tome, which describes the full Satanic rituals for personal empowerment.

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You can find Shiva’s devilish deck, tome, clothing line and more on her Serpentinae website.

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If you need some Satanic Summer Reading List suggestions, I’ve got your back. I was delighted to take part in a special episode of “Hexed Texts” for The Satanic Temple TV. On this show, TSTTV hosts (including yours truly) recommend their favorite devilish books. I’m at 15:00 hailing “Rosemary’s Baby” by Ira Levin; the Mia Farrow film also rocks!

Watch our program here; it also features Dr John Skutlin, Lucien Greaves, Stu de Haan, Chalice Blythe, Citlati Soona, Stephen Bradford Long, Lilith Starr, Hadrian Flyte and more.

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I leave you with some bonus outfit snaps — it’s nice to be out and about again! This floral phone booth was part of downtown Vancouver’s Fleurs de Villes public art installation. My emo romance top is by Forest Ink; it says “I’ll find you again wherever we end up next.” My choker is Frame Chain.

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Bury me in a pyramid of flowers… Rainbow skirt by Cyberdog, sleeves by Sleevey Wonders.

Rose Briccetti art exhibit leimin space leiminspace la gallery collage

A head’s up: If you’re in Los Angeles, you can find my photo on the wall of LA art gallery Leiminspace! Artist Rose Briccetti is having a solo exhibit there, and she included my cut-out from Millie Magazine in her wall collage.

the satanic chef adam dodge ostrofsky satan temple restaurant cook

I’m also delighted to share my profile of The Satanic Chef, Adam Ostrofsky – it’s published on Fodor’s Travel! Read my article about how a Bible-burning chef uses food events at The Satanic Temple to champion outsiders, and push back against Satanic Panic and injustice.

An excerpt of my writing: “He begins each episode (…) by burning The Holy Bible. Sometimes, he’ll tear out pages and fling them into the flames of his wok. If he’s feeling particularly devilish, the chef might dice up scorched verses with his TST membership card, and snort them up his nose.”

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And I was interviewed for the debut podcast episode of “Human Dreaming” by Britt Sheflin. She writes, “Join me as I discuss lucid dreaming, secular Buddhist dream practices, travel through dreams, and more with La Carmina.” You can find this podcast interview here as well as on Apple, Spotify and more.

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Somehow, I survived the insane Vancouver heatwave in mid-June…. and have more travels on the way. Here’s to making the most of summer 2021!