Book It, Danno: Many places to visit on Oahu

By Karen Weber

Away from Waikiki, there are more Five-0-related places to visit.

In downtown Honolulu, you can visit the Ali’iolani Hale, which is the building that stands in for Five-0 headquarters on the show.

Photo by Karen Weber Statue of King Kamehameha in front of "Five-0 Headquarters."

Photo by Karen Weber
Statue of King Kamehameha in front of “Five-0 Headquarters.”

The famous statue of King Kamehameha stands in front of this court building at King and Punchbowl streets. You can go in the Ali’iolani Hale, but you’ll have to go through a metal detector because the building houses the Supreme Court of Hawaii, the court administration offices, a law library and the Judiciary History Center.

The Iolani Palace is across King Street, which was the headquarters in the original “Hawaii Five-0” series. It was a government building then. Now it’s a stunningly restored museum with the most gorgeous koa wood staircase, one of the first telephones on the islands and the quilt that Queen Liliuokalani embroidered while she was under house arrest by the people who overthrew the Hawaiian monarchy. Beautiful building, sad story.

And if you want to see the Hawaii State Capitol, that’s one more block over, behind the palace grounds, facing Beretania Street.


Aloha Tower in Honolulu

Aloha Tower in Honolulu

Make sure to visit the iconic Aloha Tower, a city landmark at the Honolulu waterfront, and the site of the International Market Place in Waikiki. Alas, Steve McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) will no longer race between the banyan tree trunks, knocking over carts in pursuit of bad guys. The longtime tourist attraction closed for redevelopment on New Year’s Eve.

On a trip to Pearl Harbor, visit the USS Missouri, the battleship where the Japanese surrendered during World War II and where an entire Five-0 episode was set. The USS Arizona Memorial also was featured on an episode this season. I found it fascinating and moving to see representations of the start of World War II (for the U.S.) and the finish, virtually side by side in Pearl Harbor.

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Book It, Danno: Set sail from the Hilton Hawaiian Village

See Waikiki Beach during the boat ride out and tropical fish and sea turtles beneath the waves. Hope you don't find a body like they did in season 1 of Five-0.

See Waikiki Beach during the boat ride out and tropical fish and sea turtles beneath the waves. Hope you don’t find a body like they did in season 1 of Five-0.

Story and photos by Staff Writer Karen Weber 

On my vacation on Oahu, I tracked the footsteps of Hawaii Five-0, looking for locations where the show has been filmed. I didn’t have to go far from the Hilton Hawaiian Village to find them.

Out at the beach is a dock where you can catch a boat out to the Atlantis submarines (which appeared in a first-season episode of “Five-0”). The ride out is just as good as the sub ride, giving you a lovely view of Waikiki all the way to Diamond Head. Then you take a dive in a real submarine to see colorful fish and sea turtles gathered around a couple of artificial reefs.

The Spirit of Aloha catamaran also sails from the dock, offering snorkeling and scuba cruises as well as evening trips with a dinner buffet and a view of the Hilton’s Tuesday and Friday night fireworks.

Up on the roof of the Pacific Conference Center is the Waikiki Starlight Luau with a dinner buffet and terrific Polynesian music and dance.

That’s just the tip of the shaved ice at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. There’s so much to see and do there, you hardly need to go anywhere else. And yet, it was just the beginning of my Five-0 adventure.

View from the boat to the submarine shows a Five-0 set from season 2. Can you see Danny and Chin walking down to the beach at the far left?

View from the boat to the submarine shows a Five-0 set from season 2. Can you see Danny and Chin walking down to the beach at the far left?

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Book It, Danno: Hilton Hawaiian Village plays starring role in Hawaii Five-0

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAStory and photo by Staff Writer Karen Weber

The Hilton Hawaiian Village was my hotel choice, because it is a production partner for the show. The cast and crew film there a lot. Sometimes it’s used as an anonymous beach, but the Five-0 team likes to celebrate at the Tropics Bar and Grill, and Danny and his daughter have gone swimming in the hotel’s Paradise Pool. I’ve done both of those.

The Paradise Pool is the most fun of the resort’s five pools. It has water slides and a tunnel under a bridge and a hot tub. In the morning it even has shade, thanks to the hotel’s celebrated Rainbow Tower.

The Tropics Bar is nice, with a patio right on the beach or inside seating if you’ve gotten overheated in the sun. The menu changes, but I’ve enjoyed the fish-and-chips and the lilikoi crepes there, and the Hawaiian staple, the loco moco — a hamburger served on rice covered with gravy and a fried egg on top. Don’t knock it till you try it. Oh, and I had to get a Hawaii Five-0 cocktail (a blue Hawaii with a swirl of strawberry puree).

I like the Hilton. The people are nice, the rooms are clean and it’s so big. (This was very handy on the trip where bad weather made it hard to go anywhere else.) Other restaurants I liked were CJ’s Deli with New York-deli sandwiches and several kinds of eggs Benedict all day. The Rainbow Lanai has an enormous breakfast buffet and Lappert’s offers delicious ice cream and baked goods. The resort is aptly called a “Village” with six towers of guest rooms, a whole raft of stores in multiple shopping areas, two ABC stores for all the little things you forgot to pack.

There’s also a store where you can buy “Hawaii Five-0” T-shirts and “Book ’Em, Danno” key rings.

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Book it, Danno: Following in the footsteps of Hawaii Five-0

The Ali'iolani Hale is the building that stands in for Five-0 headquarters on the TV series. Photo by Karen Weber

The Ali’iolani Hale is the building that stands in for Five-0 headquarters on the TV series. Photo by Karen Weber

By Staff Writer Karen Weber

I’m not a stalker, really I’m not, but when I went to Oahu I had every hope of seeing some filming of “Hawaii Five-0,” one of my favorite TV shows. And I did.

I also made a point of visiting many of the tourist sites that also have been on the show. It’s like two-for-one touristing. Here’s the famous statue of King Kamehameha and, look, Danny Williams (Scott Caan) was kidnapped out of that parking lot right there (season 2, episode 22).

It’s easier to build a trip around “Hawaii Five-0” than many other shows, because it is filmed in Hawaii and set there too, unlike “Lost,” which was filmed in Hawaii but set on a mysterious island, or “CSI: NY,” which was filmed mostly in Los Angeles.

I started my plot by choosing dates during filming — production goes on hiatus around April and starts again in late summer. I picked March 2012 the first time and wound up in a front-page-news storm with flooding on most of the islands. But I saw Caan and Daniel Dae Kim filming a scene on the beach at the Hilton Hawaiian Village (season 2, episode 20). The crew was very nice, allowing spectators to take photos, as long as they stayed outside the coned-off area.

For my “do-over” trip in 2013, I picked the end of September, much better weather for touring, but, alas, no sign of filming.

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Embassy Suites Mandalay Beach makes nice getaway


Beautiful pools at Embassy Suites in Oxnard. (Staff photo by Karen Weber)

Beautiful pools at Embassy Suites in Oxnard. (Staff photo by Karen Weber)



By Staff Writer Karen Weber

Oxnard doesn’t have the cachet of Waikiki, but it has a lovely beach and it’s a heck of a lot closer than Honolulu but still far enough from L.A. to really feel like a getaway.

The Embassy Suites Mandalay Beach Hotel and Resort is right on the beach with a lovely view of the Channel Islands (if the air is clear). All the rooms are suites.

The one I visited had a living room with a TV, a couch, a desk and a little bar area. The bedroom also had a TV. There were two bathrooms and a balcony overlooking the ocean.

So that’s two TVs and two bathrooms – no waiting and no fighting. The max cost is $259 a night for a two-room ocean-view suite with Auto Club and AARP discounts available. You can get under $200 a night if you don’t mind a view of the pretty pool area instead of the ocean.

In addition, the resort offers free breakfasts with cooked to order omelets if you like and other goodies. Plus there’s an evening reception with complimentary beer, wine, soft drinks and cocktails plus snacks in a nice atrium area with lots of seating. That’s a savings right there.

The staff was nice, even to someone just leaving a car to head off on a day tour.

From L.A. County, head west on the Ventura Freeway. The Embassy Suites Mandalay Beach Hotel and Resort is at 2101 Mandalay Beach Road, Oxnard. For information, call 805-984-2500 or visit the Hilton/Embassy Suites website and type in Oxnard as your destination.

It’s worth a look, if you’re thinking about a getting away, but not too far away.




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Celebrate Daniel Boone anniversary at Fess Parker resort in Santa Barbara

Steps away from the sea and iconic landmark lining Santa Barbara’s  shoreline, The Fess Parker, a  DoubleTree by Hilton Resort kicks off 2014 with a fresh, contemporary interior renovation of its 360 guestrooms and salute to its venerated founder – Hollywood icon Fess Parker.

Available February 1 through April 30, 2014, The 50th Anniversary Daniel Boone Celebrity Package blends the best of coastal California accommodations with a frontier spin. Info:; 800.879.2929.

Marking 50 years since the tall Texan first graced the studios of 20th Century Fox, Fess Parker turned action-adventurer Daniel Boone into a national icon and successful television run from 1964 to 1970.   To celebrate his pioneering spirit along Santa Barbara’s coast, The Fess Parker is rolling out a coonskin salute tied to the property’s new guestroom renovation.

Saddle up for a stellar stay with the 50th Anniversary Daniel Boone Celebrity Package which features guestroom accommodations, a complimentary bottle of limited edition Parker Family Reserve Wine available exclusively through the resort or at the Parker Winery, and a spirited commemorative food and beverage special : Custom Bourbon and Boone craft cocktail and Sweet and Smokey Pulled Pork Tostadas for two.

Locally-sourced grapes, locally-crafted Cutler’s Bourbon and locally grown ingredients perfectly suited to a local legend. Rates start at $189.00/double, based on availability, blackout periods apply.

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Mountain High lowers lift tickets to $36

Mountain High is offering big savings on lift tickets for Southern California residents.

For a limited time, adult 8-hour tickets start at $36 each day when guests purchase them online at least five days before visiting the Wrightwood resort. Only 50 tickets are available each weekday at that rate; 25 on weekends.

While there are no refunds, the price is a healthy discount off the $69 regular price.

“$36 for an adult 8-hour ticket is unheard of,” says John McColly, resort spokesman.


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70 is the magic number at many ski resorts

By Art Bentley

Old age, it is said, is not for wimps. But it could be just the lift ticket for those who would like to ski or ride a snowboard without charge.

To do that in Southern California, all you have to do is live for 70 years and be able to prove it. Once you’ve met those two simple requirements, just stride, stroll, lurch or hobble to the ticket windows at Mountain High near Wrightwood or the guest services office at Snow Valley near Running Springs, display a valid driver’s license, pay a nominal one-time processing fee, pose for a photograph and you’re the owner of a season pass that’s good any time.

Mountain High charges $10 and Snow Valley $20. If you’d rather not pay at the latter, Snow Valley will give you a day ticket whenever you show up with valid identification. The double sawbuck, however, provides the advantage of being able to head directly to the lifts upon arrival.

“We feel these people 70 and over have been supporting the industry most of their lives,” Snow Valley marketing director Chris Toth said. “We want to recognize that and have them come up and ski our mountain. And they might bring the rest of their family and spend some money. That doesn’t hurt.”

Mountain High and Snow Valley, like just about any resort in western North America, could use more snow. Open runs are limited at both resorts. At Mountain High, the east side is shuttered, pending the arrival of natural snow or a cold snap of sufficient strength and length to permit the manufacture of enough of the white stuff to ski on. Slide Peak, beyond the reach of the Snow Valley snow guns, also is idle.

John McColly, chief marketing officer at Mountain High, also doesn’t feel the resort is hurting itself financially by giving away the product to senior skiers and snowboarders.

“For us, it’s a way to give back,” he said. “Not a lot of our guests are over 70, so it’s not a big financial liability and people over 70 really enjoy it. We like to see them up there.”

Several other western resorts apparently adhere to the same philosophy in varying degrees.

Seventy birthdays are enough to ski without charge the legendary powder of Alta, Utah, which gets 500 inches of snow in an average winter and arguably has some of the world’s best terrain strewn over 2,000 feet of vertical rise. The 43-degree pitch of Alf’s High Rustler, which dives about 1,500 vertical feet with a northerly exposure, is the best run for expert skiers in the U.S., in the opinion of many devotees of the steep and deep. Not all of those who ski it regularly are under 70.

For at least two other western resorts, Arizona Snow Bowl near Flagstaff and Big Mountain at Whitefish, Mont., 70 also is the magic number. It’s 72 at Mount Hood Meadows, Ore., and 75 at Whistler in British Columbia. The free ride at Monarch, Colo., starts at 69.

To slide free at several other places noteworthy for deep snow and challenge, however, one must be at least 80. The gravy train at Pachyderm Peak, otherwise known as Mammoth Mountain, begins at that age, as it does at such places as Taos Ski Valley, N.M., Brian Head, Utah, Wolf Creek, Colo., and Bridger Bowl, Mont. If you’re of that vintage and still able to get your lack of money’s worth at any of those places, you’re some skier.

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Footloose in San Francisco at the Washington Square Inn

The best way to explore San Francisco’s unique neighborhoods is by walking them, especially if led by a local expert. The Washington Square Inn’s new “Footloose in San Francisco” package offers a chance to do just that. It offers 20 percent off regular room rates, plus a $20 credit per couple towards any of Walk SF Tours’ escorted walks.

Guests may choose the Chinatown & North Beach Tasting Tour with food tastings, the Beats in San Francisco Tour with entrance to the Beat Museum, or the Gold Rush Drinking Tour with cocktails and appetizers.

With the discount, room rates range from $159 to $279. Walk SF Tours range from $30 to $60 per person. “Footloose in San Francisco” runs through April 30, 2014, holidays and special event days excluded.

The 15-room Washington Square Inn has a prime location in North Beach, San Francisco’s “Little Italy,” fronting Washington Square Park.

Guests enjoy a complimentary European-style breakfast every morning, afternoon wine and hors d’oeuvres, free wireless Internet access and many other amenities.

All rooms in the renovated 1910 building have private baths, and some have fireplaces, bay windows or other architectural features. Many rooms have beautiful views of the park, or landmarks such as Saints Peter and Paul Church and Coit Tower.

For reservations or more information, visit the web site at, or call 800-388-0220.

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African elephant goes on view at San Diego Zoo

 Mila, the African elephant from a zoo in New Zealand, will be available for guest viewing at the San Diego Zoo as she becomes acquainted with her new home and its other residents.
The 41-year-old elephant arrived in San Diego on Nov. 14, through collaboration with the Franklin Zoo Charitable Trust.  She has been in quarantine at the Zoo’s Prebys Elephant Care Center until recently.
“Mila has been doing very well at the Center,”  said Scott  Morford, senior keeper at the San Diego Zoo.  “Now that quarantine is over we are letting her explore her new surroundings at her own pace.”
Mila had been living at the Franklin Zoo since 2009, where she has been cared for and trained under a system of positive reinforcement. San Diego Zoo Global was a pioneer in the development of this training system for managing elephants.
The diminutive African elephant will be allowed to explore this new area on her own and will continue to work with her keepers as she gets used to the sights and sounds of the Zoo’s other elephants.
Bringing species back from the brink of extinction is the goal of San Diego Zoo Global. As a leader in conservation, the work of San Diego Zoo Global includes onsite wildlife conservation efforts (representing both plants and animals) at the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, as well as international field programs on six continents.
The important conservation and science work of these entities is made possible by the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Conservancy and is supported in part by the Foundation of the Zoological Society of San Diego.
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