IIt is confession time. Forget the golden beaches, the crashing surf and gourmet restaurants; one of the things that appeals
to me most about a trip to Oahu, Hawaii is the shopping. Go on admit it; that goes for you too. Call me shallow, but the siren song of all those designer outlets and sparkling hotel malls is strong. And besides, the kids really need to get out of the sun don’t they?
The truth is that for lovers of luxury
brands, the island of Oahu is a merchandising mecca with temptation everywhere along Honolulu’s main streets and in the surrounding suburbs. Outlet stores in the US
are a completely different breed from outlet stores at home in Australia, and in Hawaii you’ll find incredible offerings of designer brands and children’s clothes with the kind of variety it is difficult to find at home.
Waikele Premium Outlets is widely regarded as the best as it has a plethora of
appealingly up-market stores in one mall. Waikele is a half-hour’s drive from Waikiki with more than 50 name-brand discount stores, including Michael Kors, Polo Ralph Lauren, Coach and Calvin Klein. The last time I was in Hawaii we hired a convertible so we could drive round the island with the top down and our windswept son in the back. The only downside was we just couldn’t get enough shopping bags in the boot – we didn’t allow for just how tempted we were going to be. Maybe next time we should rent a 4WD. If you don’t have a hire car, take the Roberts Hawaii Waikiki Shuttle round trip which costs around $US15.
Of course, for those who never want
to hear anyone say, “that’s so last season darling”, the full retail cost may be a small price to pay. In that case you’ll find Luxury Row on Kalakaua Ave, right in the throbbing consumer heart of Waikiki. Here you can browse up-to-the-minute offerings from Miu Miu, Chanel, Tiffany & Co, Gucci and Hugo Boss, among many other starry stylish names.