Staying at this hotel is a beautiful experience! One of the oldest and grandest hotels in Hawaii, it has been restored elegantly, with open-air common spaces, landscaped gardens, a spa with open air cabanas, and high-end stores throughout the lobby. The hotel's long history is apparent in charming old B&W photos of dignitaries, celebreties, and WWII soldiers that have stayed here since early 1900's. The location is perfect if you want to be in the middle of all Waiki has to offer - from shopping and restaurants, beaches and diamond head mountain hikes. (My only complaint is that there are significant charges not mentioned when you book).
Our room was located in the historic section of the hotel, which was updated with beautiful new marble bathrooms, and spacious rooms with high ceilings and views of either the gardens or beach. There is a special elevator from each floor of rooms which leads directly to the pool/beach area if you don't want to walk through the entrance lobby in your beach-gear. (The new section of rooms was built probably in 70's and is nicely integrated into the layout, with good access to all amenities, but I didn't see one of the rooms).
Despite being located ON waikiki beach itself, when you walk into the hotel property, the tranquil lobby and common areas make you feel miles away from the bustle of the beach. The pool is somewhat small (apparently made smaller when the restaurant and new section of rooms was added to the hotel). However, it is immaculately maintained with good pool service, and a very pleasant jacuzzi surrounded by palm trees with a view of the beach. Cabanas are available for rent, as are beach chairs. ($40 for a set of two chairs and an umbrella on thebeach for the day, which seems a bit "nickle and dime" considering the price point for this high end hotel, until you realize that every hotel along wakiki beach chages for beach chairs - it's apparently just the price of being located on one of the country's most famous beaches). The beach is otherwise open to the public, so many bring their own chairs and towels and grab a spot of beach.
We ate at both the beachside restaurant for lunch and at the seasfood restaurant one night - both are expensive but lovely and delicious.
We also attended the Luau on Monday night, which we enjoyed tremendously. It is set against the beach and views of Diamondhead mountain at sunset, and is much more intimate than the huge luau options which we heard about elsewhere throughout Hawaii, which had 300-600 people in attendance. This was a great show, and intimate setting. We took advantage of the "VIP" seating at the front of the stage, but I would say that there were no bad views of the luau regardless of seating, since it is a manageable size audience.
My only complaint about the hotel is that we were taken by surprise at check in by an additional charge of $35 per person/ per night for "guest services" - which essentially included no additional services (I think it may have includeed wifi, which was so slow to log onto that we just used our own data plans if we needed to get onto the internet). It felt a little like we were being "nickel and dimed" after paying for a very high end hotel. I would have preferred just knowing the actual price of the room when we booked. (For the two of us that was $70/night more than we expected to pay, and the room was $140/night more per room than expected for the friend's we were with). Over the course of the three nights we stayed there, this added up and we would have liked to have planned for the expense of a few hundred dollars more! When I got home I saw that this extra charge was burried in the fine print of the confirmation (which seemed sneaky), but our friends booked through the internet and it wasn't mentioned at all in their confirmation so they were totally taken aback. Staying at this beautiful hotel may be worth the extra cost, but it is certainly not a pleasant surprise for anyone trying to relax - or stay on budget - for their vacation.
Be sure to specify rooms in the historic section or new section of the hotel, if you have a preferen...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Thank you for taking the time to write such a thoughtful review. It is with complete joy to read your kind compliments about our resort ambassadors and the exceptional services you experienced first hand. In the heart of Waikiki, it is the ambassadors, iconic architecture and the lush landscaping that makes The Royal Hawaiian a luxury destination and tranquil escape for our guests.
We look forward to welcoming you back to our beautiful island home again soon.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.