Lots of pros and a few cons but the biggest reason to stay aside from the cool pinked out historicalness is the unparalleled location. RH sits on the best patch of Waikiki Beach with nice easy access for swimming, SUP, gentle surf, water sports and of course everything else Waikiki offers (Dining, Touring and Shopping etc.). We did not receive the welcome many other Guests have reported (no pink drink, no towel etc. on arrival) and the Reception Staff seemed put out but we discovered later there was a large Psych Convention in town that possibly put them off their game. Rumor was 14-20K for this Event alone. Our room wasn't ready because of the prior Guest not removing their belongings so we were offered an "upgrade" which was technically a higher priced room but set up with two Double beds. It was a good try on their part to get us settled into a Room ASAP and I'm guessing most people would jump at the Penthouse opportunity but we had booked a large two story King Spa Suite so two small beds on a higher floor wasn't appealing. Off to the Mai Tai Bar we went while our room was readied...
So after one week-here's the highs and lows...
The Hotel although iconic doesn't feel like a true "Luxury" property-it's smaller and cozier not super posh (not that it's a bad thing). What is impressive are some of the original public spaces, grand entry and view. It IS pretty, well maintained, the grounds and plant material are lovely and the Staff was great but nothing above and beyond or equal to what we have experienced at other properties on the Island. Not bad mind you but just not true 5 star. We were celebrating with a week long stay (Birthdays) and received a Happy Birthday when registering and that was about it.
Neither one of us was expecting any fanfare but other comparably priced Suites we have stayed in provided a small amenity, fruit display, orchids scattered on a washcloth, seashells, little sweet bite of chocolate, split of wine, magazines, casual invite to meet the GM over a Cocktail, flowers or some little token bits just as the ordinary course of business without being notified of any special occasion. Oh well as I said not expected but those are the little things that say a lot even if you're a jaded traveler.
Pros-Historical Architecture and all the Character that goes with, Best location, Comfortable, Convenient, relatively quiet minus the Construction near our Suite, Lei welcome, nice toiletries, Beach Boys/Beach Services for Chairs/Umbrellas and activities, *****Fine Dining at Azure (and Staff), Mai Tai Bar (and Staff), Mr. and Mrs. So and So Helloooooo (everywhere you go) greeting policy, Boutiques, Beach and Hotel don't feel crowded even when quite busy, no TV at the Bar or Restaurant-extra major bonus points for that!!! We especially loooved Azure from start to finish and ALL their Service Staff-Bartenders, Waiters, Rest. Manager were so pleasant and professional. Breakfast service was efficient and flawless too-again Kudos to the Resty Staff.
Cons-Check in minus Lei greeting was frenetic, we were not given the most minimal orientation to the Resort and facilities despite Staff verbally acknowledging this was our first visit-pointing out or mentioning the Spa, Resort happenings, Luau, or daily activities would be appropriate or at the very least something placed in the Room informing Guests of what's going on, "Spa" Suite was spacious but dark and no bathtub :-( also very loud HVAC and the patio was too smelly and noisy to use because of Construction site Generators parked just to the West of us outside..bummer..
Spaghetti tangle of cords everywhere such as off the back of Flat Screen and running electrical throughout Room, Paper tickets....awkward and antiquated paper tickets to redeem for Breakfasts and 1 free Mai Tai. Nothing remotely upscale about having to present two little pieces of paper for Breakfast when it would be infinitely easier to either establish a per day per person credit for whatever would be appropriate for a certain Room Category or just provide a basic Continental downstairs and let it go at that. Mai Tai Bar-tenders were cheerful and happy but when they saw anyone bust out their free drink coupon they looked like the "before" face on an antidepressant commercial.
Housekeeping..was very very very thorough but very late in the day sometimes finishing 30-60 minutes before turndown even though we left our Room each day in the early AM. No fault of the Staff of course just think the obvious cure is more Housekeeping Staff to get it done.
In summary-yes I would absolutely stay here again because the property is still beautiful, our total experience was very very enjoyable and the fine dining experience (Azure) is now one of our two HI fancy favorites.
Aside from the minimal negatives- what's good is VERY good. I can't compare it to luxury properties in other cities because it's more about the natural beauty of the location here and it's the Beach so you automatically don't need to be as chichi.. Solid 4 stars but I think it could easily be the best Waikiki Resort with a little creativity, some unexpected niceties, dialing in some of the aesthetics and since most of the Staff we encountered already had the energy and skills to get there I'm hoping they entertain getting a paperless Breakfast plus a few other little things sorted out. The Staff and location are its strengths and that is enough but why not whomp when you can.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Report response as inappropriate
Thank you so very, very much for your thorough review of your recent stay with us at The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort. We apologize that your arrival experience was anything less than exceptional, and we appreciate your honest feedback, which allows us to coach our ambassadors to ensure consistent and excellent service is delivered to our guests. Thank you for your suggestion regarding the Mai Tai welcome drink and complimentary breakfast; these are just the types of comments that allow us to elevate our service to exceed our guests' expectations. We're delighted to learn that you enjoyed our location as well as Azure Restaurant. Thank you for your kind comment regarding our friendly ambassadors; we truly appreciate this. We look forward to welcoming you back to The Royal Hawaiian.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.