My husband and I just returned from spending 7 nights at Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach. Just over a year ago, we stayed at the sister property, Outrigger on the Reef, and it was a hard decision as to which property to choose. I am very happy that we chose "beach" this time. Both hotels are similar in amenities, rooms and decor, but the location here is much better. As others have said, this hotel in in the heart of Waikiki, within walking distance to most everything. The vibe at this location is also much livelier, and with Dukes right there, you have more entertainment and dining options.
Service at check-in was great and our cleaning staff was friendly and attentive, even making a point to greet us by name.
Regarding room selection, here are my observations. I booked Ocean View and when you look at the hotel diagram, you will get the impression that Ocean View rooms are located on the east (Diamond Head) facing side. However our room was on the west side, with just an ocean view from the Lanai, overlooking the roof (and AC units) of the Cheese Cake Factory and the Royal Hawaiian next door. On check-in, I was offered an upgrade to Ocean Front for a reasonable up-charge. We decided to have a look at our room first, but once I saw the situation, I returned to the desk and upgraded to Ocean Front. We were given a spectacular room on the 15th floor.
Honestly, if you're planning to stay in one of the few hotels that are directly on Waikiki Beach, you should treat yourself to the Ocean Front.
Rooms here are not large, but the space is well used and we were very comfortable. We also found it very quiet, with minimal noise from other rooms. Even on the 15th floor, you will hear music and partying from Dukes and from the properties next door, but once the door is shut, it is quiet.
It is true that the pool is small, but this is also the norm for the beach front hotels on this strip, as the main attraction is the ocean. Also know that because the pool decks and deck below (which is used at night for Dukes table service) are small, there are no umbrellas. You will have to spring $60 for a full day on the beach which includes 2 chairs and an umbrella.
Dukes is great for lunch and drinks but be sure and treat yourself to the Hula Grill for breakfast and dinner. They also have a great happy hour from 4 - 6, which includes their great mai tai for $5.75.
I am a picky traveler with high expectations and I can't find anything negative about this hotel. I will definitely return the next time I travel to Honolulu.