When you travel you have multiple experiences with everything involved. With a hotel, you'll have the room, the service (or a variety of services), the location, etc. Same with the Hawaii Prince. A lot of reviewers I read, especially on other review sites, will "1-star" or completely lambaste a hotel and everything about it as a result of one really bad incident. I won't do that here, but it's tempting.
We stayed at this hotel for a few nights with a Kama'aina rate after selling our house on Oahu and getting ready to move back to the mainland. In trying to book an August stay over the phone in June for such a notoriously busy time, there were some good and bad points. The good is, they were very accommodating in trying to find us a reasonably priced room during our non-negotiable time frame. That was a credit to them, though the bad part is, for reasons I won't go into here (nobody's fault on this score), we had to call them three times. Speaking to three different people, we got three different answers on what rooms were available or unavailable and at what rates. That was very frustrating. But as I said, in the end we got a very nice room at a fair rate. This extended to check-in, where the front desk folks were fantastic and did their best to help me out (I checked in early, by myself, before retrieving the family later in the afternoon). They gave me a corner/end room on an upper floor, which we wanted for everyone's sake as we have two little kids with big lungs. So far, so good.
The room was very nice. It was clean, quiet, had a nice, spacious bathroom, a fridge, and a safe. The size was enough to hold two cribs, though with those we were slightly, but only slightly, cramped. It wasn't the largest room we've ever had, though no complaints at all in that regard (I don't mean to suggest it was small--if you are a couple traveling alone, it's plenty big). We also had free wi-fi, but I think that was included in our package (they have a variety of packages to choose from, too many to list here, and I'm sure they change regularly). The ocean view was also very, very nice. The window was one of those where you could keep it open the whole time and breathe in the ocean air. The noise from down below wasn't too bad. The best part was the internal quiet. The walls were very thick. Even with two at times screaming kids, our neighbors insisted they couldn't hear anything. Except for hall noises, which were loud at times (unavoidable in the hotels I stay in and more the fault of those making the noises), you couldn't really hear a thing.
So that was the good. The bad would be the valet parking/bellhop staff. If I could give individual ratings, I'd give the other service folks 5 stars, the valets 1 star, and the hotel 4 stars. If I could describe the valets in one word, I'd have to choose from several, some too profane to post, and settle on "vultures." From the moment I pulled in to check-in, they were on me. No problem as I politely declined help (I had one small rolling suitcase and a backpack). But I had to decline three (3) times during my 30-foot walk from the car to the front door. No exaggeration. And more followed in the lobby and then later on when my family arrived. One even offered help while driving by in a car he was valet parking (?). Seriously. Now I know how Robert Stack felt in Airplane! In other reviews I've distinguished between a lack of service, good to great service, and overzealous service. I do appreciate the offer(s), but at what point do you go from good service to over the top? We may disagree on when that point is reached, but I guarantee we'd all agree this was egregiously over the top. What's more is, they were CLEARLY, and I mean CLEARLY, offended by my declination. I don't say that lightly and I'm not one to imagine things that aren't there. My spurning their numerous offers, however politely, had one in particular giving me a glare, an attitude he later verbalized--as a result he wouldn't let me park in the check-in parking strip because they were "too busy", though there were literally only two other cars there (his behavior resulted in a manager's apology). Had my family been with me originally, with our gobs of luggage, I gladly would've accepted one of the many offers. But because of their extremely rude behavior, once the family did arrive later on, along with enough luggage to contain the full wardrobe of most royal families, I intentionally declined their help, which of course had them swarming and glaring at me like the cobras in Rikki-Tikki-Tavi. Okay, I may be exaggerating that last part a bit, but that's what it seemed like and, bottom line, with only one or two individual exceptions, they were rude and unprofessional as a group. The rudeness was outward and not at all subtle, even as we had two infants in our arms making our way inside. As with all hotels, if I want help I'll ask for it, and if I don't, I'll decline. End of story. At most hotels that decision is respected after the first declination and that's that. Not here, at least in my experience. I could write several more paragraphs on how bad this valet experience was, but you get the point so I'll spare you the agony.
Like I said, I won't fault the entire hotel for that one aspect of the stay. Plus, others may never have an experience like that at the Hawaii Prince, and it's guaranteed they won't if they utilize the valet service (don't worry, you won't have to look too hard to find them). And without that experience, the excellent marks as provided in paragraphs 2 & 3 really make this an excellent destination, with the following minor exception depending on what you're looking for in a Waikiki hotel:
The location isn't that great for a "Waikiki" hotel. It's at the Ewa (leeward/west), or Honolulu, end of Waikiki. If you want to walk to the Ala Moana mall, it's somewhat convenient for that. There are also a few stores/restaurants right there, but nothing worthy of your trip to Hawaii. To get to the true Waikiki hot spots, you have to hoof it pretty good. It's just not convenient to anything on Kalakaua and it's not close to the center of Waikiki beach (can be good or bad depending on your tastes). Others mentioned that it's on the perimeter of Waikiki, so it's close enough but still quiet and out of the way. I agree with them in that sense, and it was a perfect location for my situation, but honestly, if I'm a tourist, I want to either stay in "downtown" Waikiki or I want to be a bit closer, say at the hotels on the other side of the Hale Koa, like the Outrigger Reef, Trump, Embassy Suites, or Halekulani. Those hotels are what I'd consider "perimeter but convenient to Waikiki," more so than the Hawaii Prince. From the tourist POV, those seem to me like better locations either right in the action or closer, and not inconvenient, to the action. It all depends on what you're looking for.
Overall it's a solid hotel and a nice place to stay with great front desk personnel. If you know what it offers and what it doesn't, you'll enjoy your stay. Use or disregard my personal valet experience as you see fit. If you utilize their services, it'll be a non-factor for you I would think, in which case I'd rate it 4 stars.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.