August 31, 2018 – Given the turn for the colder around the Chicago area, I thought it’d be appropriate to reminisce about warmer times. In particular, I never completed the story of my journey to Hawaii.
The trip started out inauspiciously enough. My dad and I took a Lyft ride to the Vacation Rental By Owner property we had arranged months in advance. When we got there, no one was there, no one answered the phone, and fifteen minutes later, a group of party-goers entered the home we thought was ours.
Thirty minutes later, the VRBO owner finally picked up the phone and told us that he sold the property but had another deep inland we could use. Given that most of Honolulu’s attractions are closer to the beach, or at least public transportation, this was not what we wanted, so I quickly searched and found a vacancy at the Queen Kapiolani hotel in Waikiki at about the same price.
With our room drama finished, we finally settled in and looked for an escape room. With a relatively short trip planned, we hoped to tackle an escape room the first day and have total flexibility for the remainder of the trip. We found Solve the Room Hawaii on Groupon and booked a room for two in the late evening.
The walk through town was nice, with Geocaches every few hundred feet to keep us searching all the way to the room. We had to walk all the way across Waikiki, but it’s not too large and only took about 30 minutes.
Solve the Room Hawaii has a few rooms and we opted for the pirate theme mostly because of the time slot. The pirate theme also seems to fit a vacation in Hawaii better than the other themes; I don’t know if buccaneers ever set foot on Hawaiian soil (quite far from the Caribbean), but the abundance of beaches in the area evokes thoughts of pirates and ships.
We dove right in to unravel the mystery. The room had quite a bit of seek & find in it, which is always a favorite of my dad. The puzzles were generally low tech but with a few physical twists to keep the experience fresh and exciting.
The puzzles were overall solid. One in particular, relatively early in the room, was particularly good, involving using an item in an unexpected way. There are many items where players feel they have an idea how to use it naturally, so playing with these expectations was a nice twist.
The set design was acceptable, enough pirate twists to get players into the game but not enough to mask the office building framework. Solve the Room Hawaii did a good job adding enough nooks and crannies to make the search of the area interesting and rewarding.
We solved the final puzzle and got the treasure with plenty of time to spare and knocked one of the most distant states off my checklist. It was a fun experience and a good way to spend an evening in Hawaii once it gets too dark to enjoy all the daytime attractions in the area.