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If you’re looking for something different in a floral arrangement, look no further than Rainforest at the Ward Warehouse. You never know what to expect from owner Michael Miyashiro and head designer Kendall Oda—a centerpiece with red chili peppers for a holiday party, a bouquet with edelweiss for Valentine’s Day, even arrangements with kumquats, quince or Narcissus for Chinese New Year. Says Miyashiro, "When people see one of our arrangements, they automatically know it’s from Rainforest." The store is also is environmentally conscious, using only ti leaves and biodegradable paper—no cellophane—to wrap flowers. 1050 Ala Moana Blvd., Bay 17. 591-9999.
Over the course of a year, Watanabe Floral will carry about 1,000 flower varieties, so you have lots of cut flowers to pick from. "We import flowers from every continent except Antarctica and Africa," says Monty Pereira, the company’s director of sales and marketing. This month, expect to find tulips, daffodils, lilies and other spring flowers. Also, check out the Nimitz store’s recent renovation, meant to "make the store look more like a floral retail store than a warehouse," says Pereira. Four Oahu locations. Nimitz main store: 1602 Kanakanui St. 832-9360. www.watanabefloral.com.
It says something that high-end Honolulu clothier Andy Mohan sends all of his garments to Clean Living Hakuyosha. "They know how to take care of our clothing, whether it’s 100 percent wool or cashmere," says Alies Mohan, vice president of Andy Mohan Inc. "They recognize the content of the fabric and pay very special attention to delicate items." In fact, several luxury retailers we spoke with raved about Hakuyosha, which has been operating in Hawaii since 1970. There are 17 locations on Oahu. Try the Hakuyosha Royal store at the Likelike Plaza location on Keeaumoku for garments that need very special care. In a rush? The Sheridan Street site offers one-hour drycleaning. Multiple locations, 955-6116, www.hakuyosha.com
Sure, you could check your e-mail and catch up on world news at home, but there’s just something about perusing The New York Times Online in the open, savoring a double espresso and people-watching all the while. Of the few available public wireless spots in Honolulu, the central food court in the Kahala Mall is our favorite. It has a relaxing atmosphere, ample seating and proximity to all kinds of refreshments, including coffee from Starbucks and focaccia from Panini Grill (which, incidentally, broadcasts the Wi-Fi signal). Best of all, it’s free. All you need is an 802.11b-equipped laptop and a desire to get out of the house. 4211 Waialae Ave., 732-7736.
It can be a real leap of faith to entrust your priceless jewelry to one of the many repair shops in the yellow pages. Take comfort in this: David Park of Heart To Heart Jewelry Repair Shop has 28 years of experience and handles the repair needs of many of the top jewelry retailers in town, including Bulgari, Ben Bridge Jewelers, Chanel Fine Jewelry, Christian Dior, Boucheron, Neiman Marcus and Shirokiya. Although he’s busy with all the corporate accounts, Park welcomes jobs from the general public, and even offers one-day service, so you’ll be ready for that dinner party tomorrow night. 1585 Kapiolani Blvd. ,Suite 806, 944-9626.
We asked high-end retailers where they send their customers with shoe crises. The same response kept popping up: Joe Pacific Shoe Repair. Owner Bob LoPresti is the go-to guy for stores like Gucci, Versace and Christian Dior. "I’m very fussy, very custom-minded," says LoPresti. "It’s very fine work. Everything that comes out of here is like new." Prices range from about $7 to fix a lady’s high heel up to about $25 to repair sole guards on men’s shoes. LoPresti will also put a shine on every shoe, regardless of the repair. 126 Queen St., No. 110, 524-7463.
No one ever wants to go to the post office. The long lines, the ever-rising price of postage, the customers in front of you who still haven’t figured out how to tape up their boxes—why would you subject yourself to that? Sometimes you don’t have a choice. The Honolulu main airport post office makes the task a bit easier, with the longest hours of all Oahu locations: 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays. The airport also provides drive-up mailboxes and, during the tax-filing crunch on April 15, will accept drop-offs until midnight. 3600 Aolele St., 800-275-8777.
If it’s getting too humbug finding rides to and from the airport, Propark Salt Lake might be your cheapest alternative. Drive yourself to the facility, located at the parking lot for the former Costco Salt Lake. A shuttle van will stop at your car, help you transfer your baggage and drive you to your airline terminal—about a seven-minute ride. Leave your car in the 24-hour secure facility for $6 a day. It’s cheaper than the Paiea Street Park Air Express ($8) and the airport’s AMPCO parking ($10). When you return from your trip, call the company from any of the Propark phones at the baggage claim. They’ll meet you curbside. 4380 Lawehana St., 833-1736.
We tested 10 Oahu car washes—the wash ’n’ go kind, not the detailing services—and rated them based on efficiency, thoroughness and customer service. The clear winner: McKinley Car Wash. The basic car wash ($8.25 for cars, $9.25 for vans and SUVs) includes hand drying, vacuuming and wheel cleaning. "People still have the stereotype that car washes use bristle brushes and will damage their cars," says McKinley vice president Craig Yoshikawa. "But car washes as a whole now pretty much use soft cloth. We see a lot of high-end cars here that trust McKinley." The only real drawback? The wait. On a sunny day, McKinley cleans an average of 700 cars. Even with 40 workers on the line, a customer could wait about half an hour. A tip from Yoshikawa: Fridays and Saturdays are McKinley’s busiest days. 1130 Kapiolani Blvd., 596-2609.