We stayed at the Waikiki Marina Resort for 5 nights after receiving a deal through Orbitz.
I must admit I was confused as to why the name on the outside of the building says The Ilikai. And then, when we walked in to check in, it hit me: TIMESHARE! Guests of The Ilikai are registered at the hotel's front desk, while guests of the Waikiki Marina Resort (same building, just they have their own assortment of units within The Ilikai) are told to go up to the 2nd floor and register in a small office where the timeshare people check you in.
The registration process was simple enough. Luckily, we got there on a Monday and it was an hour or so before the listed Check-In Time, so we did not have to wait to see the agent.
Kent checked us in and gave us a list of amenities (pool, laundry facility, free internet, restaurant hours, etc.). After he gave us our keys, a lady in an adjoining office (who called herself the concierge) tried to get us to come sit down so she could tell us about some of the discounts she could find us while we were on the island.
Naturally, my spidey sense was awakened and I knew right away that this woman was probably going to try and sell us a timeshare. Lucky for us, my wife and I brought along our young son, who at this time was very tired and cranky after the long flight over from the mainland. Just the excuse we needed to tell her "we'll be back, he's kind of tired and we need to get settled in first."
Long story short, we dodged their numerous phone calls to our room and avoided them like the plague so we could enjoy our vacation on Oahu without having to waste half a day telling these people we're not interested in throwing away our money on a timeshare. (As you can probably guess, my wife and I have had our share of timeshare experiences.)
The hotel itself is located very close to Ala Moana Park and right next door to the Hilton. Valet parking is the way to go, just account for the $25 daily fee into your budget. We used our car several times a day and they always got our car from the garage quickly.
We were in Room 1211, which is a street view studio. From this room, you can step out onto the lanai and see the ABC Store, Buffalo Wild Wings, and McDonald's (among other outlets) across the street in the Discovery Bay mall.
Room 1211 comes with a stove, fridge, microwave (tucked in a tiny kitchenette). No dishwasher, though, so that sucked royally, having to wash dishes by hand! On the opposite side of the sink and counter setup are two bar stools where you can eat. (You can also go out on the lanai and eat if you prefer, but the street noise below -- even from 12 stories up -- won't make you feel like you're in Hawaii.)
The kitchen comes with plenty of pots/pans/plates/silverware/cups, etc. There's also a toaster and coffee maker with two free pouches of coffee, some tea and your usual assortment of sugar/sugar substitute.
You will have to bring your own food of course, and there are three Costcos on this island, plus Target and Walmart, so you've got plenty of choices. DO NOT BUY YOUR GROCERIES FROM THE ABC STORE ACROSS THE STREET! I mean, you can, but you're going to pay at least twice as much for a gallon of milk and a box of cereal than you would by waiting until you can drive over to Walmart or Costco.
I found it odd that there were no dresser drawers to speak of in this unit. There's a closet, which works fine for hanging dress shirts and slacks I guess. But we brought swim trunks, t-shirts and flip flops to Hawaii, not work clothes!
We ended up using the two small and narrow drawers that are part of the unattractive TV armoire to put our clothes in, and it worked out fine.
The TV in Room 1211 is an old 32" tube model (no HD). Hard to see from the head of your bed which is situated all the way across the room on the opposite side of the studio. It comes with a decent selection of local cable networks, but not what you might be used to if you have Dish/Direct/Uverse/Comcast, etc. at home.
The AC unit (which we kept on pretty much the whole time) is located a few feet behind the pullout sofa bed, meaning it blocks 75% of the AC current most of the time. Hence the reason we just kept it on the whole time. We were never uncomfortable with the room temperature (except when our young son decided to play with the AC remote and set the temp to 86 degrees! Bad boy!)
There are two queens in this unit and both of them were very uncomfortable. I'll admit my wife and I are used to sleeping on top-of-the-line pillow-top mattress at home, so we were unaccustomed to the inferior mattress. Needless to say, it wasn't too long before both of us had sore backs.
Electrical outlets near the bed can be found by pulling the mattress away from the wall. There's also an alarm clock with a built-in iPhone dock (charger/player) on the night stand.
There is free internet all over this part of the neighborhood obviously, as our devices were able to grab onto any number of strong and free (albeit unsecured) wireless signals. Waikiki Marina Resort offers a free secure connection, but theirs seemed to bounce us off and on occasionally, so I ended up jumping on one SSID that was called "The Ilikai Ultrafast."
The only bathroom in Room 1211 has a tile shower, and the removable shower head sits nice and high (my wife and I are both very tall people). The water pressure was fine (I hate low pressure showers!)
There is a laundry room right next to Room 1211 and when I first saw it as we were settling in, I thought, "Oh my God. We're going to be inundated with foot traffic, loud people and washing machines/dryers..." However, to my pleasant surprise, the laundry room (which features two washers and dryers) was almost always empty and we didn't hear a peep from the machines. The cost to run each machine is $2.50 and there is a change machine for quarters down in the main lobby where The Ilikai guests check in.
We never got a chance to try the Sarento restaurant (which sits atop the hotel). Instead, we usually found ourselves eating out as we were driving around and exploring the entire island. A couple of fine nearby choices we did catch, tough: Fat Greek and Kobe Steakhouse, both just a two-minute walk away. The Tropics Bar & Grill next door at the Hilton is waaaaaaay overrated (though they do make a killer drink called "The Itch.").
There is an onsite swimming pool at The Ilikai but it's nothing to write home about. Heated though, so that's nice. You're better off going to the beach to soak up your rays there.
The overall service we received from the valet service and the hotel staff made our stay uneventful -- which in hotel speak translates to GOOD! Aside from a few minor blemishes (peeling paint on the baseboards, for example), this place wasn't that bad. If only the mattresses were better, I would definitely stay here again.
- Also Known As:
- Waikiki Marina Hotel Honolulu
- Waikiki Marina Hotel
- Aqua Marina
- Hotel Waikiki Marina
- Waikiki Marina Honolulu
- Aqua Marina Hotel
- Waikiki Marina Resort Hawaii/Honolulu
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Waikiki Marina Resort at the Ilikai provides the perfect setting for your next Hawaiian getaway. Here you’ll find spacious and beautifully appointed studio accommodations with private lanais, a sparkling swimming pool, onsite restaurant with international cuisine, a fitness center, shops and so much more. Overlooking the Ala Wai Yacht Harbor, the resort is adjacent to Waikiki Beach, where the sparkling blue waters of the Pacific Ocean lap the soft sand. You can set off on a whale watching excursion and spot a mighty humpback whale in the winter months or you can experience a luau and savor Hawaiian dishes and observe traditional music and dances. Discover your own paradise in Hawaii’s most famous vacation destination. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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