Stacey and I left Dothan about 11am. Thank goodness we had a three-hour layover in Atlanta because the flight was delayed in Dothan for weather in Atlanta. As it was, we still had about two hours to kick around the airport in Atlanta before leaving. We were scheduled to depart out of the T concourse (T7) and so we ate some lunch at the Red Brick Tavern and then went to the Crown Room which just happened to be right next to the gate (my first time in that Crown Room). As we sat there, I watched the plane getting serviced, not realizing it was our plane until I started looking down the concourse and realized what gate was just below us. I thought it was kind of fun that I had been sitting there watching the plane get ready to take us to Hawai'i.
We left Atlanta on a 767. We were still in a state of "can you believe we are headed to Hawai'i" shock. On the way over, we had a couple of meals on the plane. Our 'dinner' was a choice between steak and chicken - we both had the steak. Later we had sundaes as the dessert and eventually (about an hour before landing) there was a 'snack' that was a turkey sandwich. There were several movies that we could have watched as we had little personal video displays in the first-class section. We both wound up watching Hoodwinked, Rumor Has It and Armageddon. When nothing was on (and during the movies) I would switch the display every so often to see where we were. We kept peeking out the windows. It was so dark in the plane with everyone's shades drawn for watching the movies, that when I opened the window to peek out, it seemed like it lit up the plane. We had to see the point that we left the mainland and where we were completely over the Pacific ocean.
It had just gotten dark as we approached Honolulu airport. We saw the lights of the city as the plane came in for approach, but we could not make out a lot of details. Movies are misleading in that you don't get greeted with a welcoming lei unless you have prearranged for one. Which was okay, just one of the things that was a little different from our preconceived ideas of Hawai'i.
The airport was different from the ones that I have been through on the mainland in that there is an area in the center of the terminal that is an open courtyard. I thought that was really funny because last week in Atlanta, I was just thinking that they should plan airports with open air courtyards for travelers to have a chance to get out of the building for some fresh air.
It didn't take too long for our bags to arrive and we were off to the car rental agency (it was off the airport grounds). Travelling with four bags was a bit of juggling experience. Stacey arranged for the car while I waited with the bags. He thought about upgrading to a convertible since they had a special, but we decided to keep the full size car instead since we weren't sure what getting around was going to be like.
So we headed for the hotel. It was only about 17 miles and was pretty direct on the H1 to Ko Olina. We passed a CompUSA and decided to stop to see if we could find a longer battery for our camcorder (when we got it in Dothan, they were out of the extra batteries so we thought we could find one there). Unfortuantely, they did not have the battery for our camera so we headed on toward the hotel.
The H1 ended and turned into a regular highway and we followed it on to Ko Olina where we had reservations at the JW Marriott Ihilani Resort (http://ihilani.com/). When we pulled off the highway, we saw a security gate and Stacey thought we might have made a wrong turn, but it was the entrance for the resort. I checked us in while Stacey arranged for the bags. We got in to our room sometime after 8pm.
We were in room 727 . The room was really nice. The bathroom in the room was huge with both a glassed in shower and a garden tub. Dual sinks lined one side of the bathroom along with a small fridge. In the bedroom, the bed had two orchid blossoms on the upper turned down edge of the comforter. One wall of the room turned out to open completely to the lanai and we had this fabulous view of the Pacific. Since we were in a corner room, the lanai was open with railings on the front and left sides instead of just open to the front, so the field of view was phenomenal. We left the doors open all night (and every other night following) so that we could enjoy the pacific breezes and the sounds of the ocean and the waterfall in the fishponds below the room. The sound of the water outside was wonderfully relaxing and so we drifted off to sleep still in shock that we were actually in Hawai'i.