We do not know why this hotel gets excellent reviews. Firstly I will tell you about the good things, then the things that really let this hotel down. I can only say the location is excellent and the rooms were high quality and were very clean. The room was quite small with the sofa bed out and the balcony was tiny and could not accommodate three people. I am also with other guests about the allergens in this room. I had asthma the whole time, probably due to the feather pillows. Showers were not hot enough to wash off sunscreen (zinc based aussie lotion), so my skin was very irritated until we left this hotel and I could wash it off appropriately.
We had an oceanfront room on the 10th floor as we were celebrating our Anniversary and two significant birthdays, so we spent the money. The view was wonderful and we saw a turtle out the front for the first few days and it was surprisingly quiet at night. The express elevator was fantastic and very convenient. We enjoyed this part of Waikiki beach as it was not as busy as the main hub of Waikiki. It was close to an ABC store, good restaurants and not far to the main shopping area.
Coming from Australia, we found the pool temperature to be lovely and not too cold at all. The mixture of shade and sun was really nice and there were enough sunbeds. Likewise the ocean was a balmy temperature too. Buy yourself a (Lilo)$3.99 from the ABC shop and float around the ocean, the waves were very small. You can get them inflated at the surfboard stand in front of the hotel for free. However, bring some sea shoes, the rocks are sharp on this part of the beach. Target had them for sale, but I am not sure about the ABC shop. Towels were plentiful but very thin if you were going down the beach. Not sure why they used the really old towels but they got pretty soggy quickly.
The Pana Grille was OK if you needed quick food and the Ocean House was great for food. Its on the beach at the front of the hotel, loved the staff. A very fresh banana loaf was on offer at breakfast which was particularly delicious. Forget about the Shore Bird restaurant for breakfast unless you are happy with lots of pastries that tasted like they had been frozen and thawed out. As an Aussie the bread tasted very sweet and salty in Hawaii, strange. The eggs were also cold and they tasted like they were powdered eggs. As it was over $46 for 2 adults and one 7 year old, it was pricey and was not worth it. Our daughter is not a fussy eater and only had three pieces of fruit, with one of those being tinned. No-one could tell us where to get the 50% voucher and it was in our discount book the whole time.
There were also some nice shops in the foyer with lovely staff, an ATM, bar. The ATM only allowed a $200 withdrawal and a $3 fee. Good security measure but frustrating if you needed more cash. You could keep withdrawing, but had to pay the fee each time. The other thing we liked was the laundry facility in the basement. Great washing machines and dryers which were very inexpensive.
Sounds like a great place, well only if you avoid most of the staff, get information from nice staff at other hotels nearby and don’t have any complaints. We only had big complaints, but it didn’t matter, the attitude was we were an inconvenience and guests are annoying, especially those Australian ones that innocently ask simple questions that we should already know. We tipped appropriately, generously but this didn’t change anyones attitudes. We have travelled extensively worldwide for a long time and this was our first trip to Hawaii/America. Lets face it Americans do things differently. In the huge hotel only a few staff stood out, a bell hop, room maid and one receptionist right at the end of our stay. The Aunties and Uncle that organised the cultural activities were lovely, not friendly as I would have expected but professional, sweet and organised nonetheless. I/we did the ukulele, lei making and hula dancing.
The moment we arrived we struck a valet who abused us for asking him a question. We had just stayed at Kahala for a few days, certainly didn’t experience this type of response and were shocked. Our room wasn’t ready despite a previous request. I know there is no guarantee for an early check-in. It was ready around 4.00pm. The check-in was strange, no information, no orientation, just a question about our vows. I flippantly said in my best Aussie humour “We may not make it to Friday", (meaning my husband and I) as we were fighting from being lost in the car for nearly two hours”. Despite booking our vows four months ago. Reay the Receptionist thought he would cancel our vows after this comment. No clarification, nothing, just cancelled the vows. It wasn’t until two days before our vowel renewal, I rang the Receptionist to ask where we could purchase our Lei’s for the ceremony that I found this out. I unfortunately got Reay again, and he proceeded the “lay a guilt trip on” and said I gave the spot to another couple that were really sure they wanted to renew their vows and you wouldn’t want them to miss out. He said I can’t call them they can no longer do the ceremony” Unbelievable!
We did do the ceremony but not until talking to the Manager who incidentally said the Receptionist did the right thing. The vows were lovely despite the huge numbers of people. The Pastor had an enchanting voice and gave us an insight into why Waikiki was a special place culturally. The ceremony was nice and moving. An aunty who helped with the leis was particularly lovely.
All week Reay (reception) and James were so unhelpful, unfriendly and often just rude! You could tell he had no intention of fixing a broke n phone that kept flashing all night and he didn't, despite several requests. He also gave wrong information a couple of times. Avoid the front desk! We had three really restless nights as the neighbours were trying to get into our room around 12pm onwards, knocking, using their cards over and over again. This went on for hours continually waking us up. We told reception the next day but they didn’t have a room to move us. If one did become available we would need to pay extra for a rollaway bed. We were already paying for one of the most expensive rooms in the hotel. Our daughter was being frightened by the noise each night. When I rang Reception I was told that I would have to ring at 2am in the morning to stop the neighbours doing this. So unrealistic when you have a 7 year old. Then the neighbours on the other side set their alarm for 3.30am in the morning, got up, had the tv on, balcony doors open, talked, yelled and proceeded to play with a little girl that kept saying “Daddy keep playing with me”. So they did. They were not going on a tour or leaving the hotel, just because they were awake. Well it was daytime in Australia too but we weren’t up annoying them. We knocked on the wall after an hour when we were all awake and after nearly 2 hours rang Reception. They said someone will come up. Apparently they did but couldn’t hear the ruckus. So at 5am wanted to come in the room to listen and I asked them to talk to them. Well at around 6am, someone finally phoned them (not until they rang our room 4 times when we were dozing). The neighbour was so loud we heard every word, every lie. He claimed we were partying after midnight and were very noisy. He was extremely loud and rude on the phone but continued. We are older parents carried our sleeping child from downtown at 7.30pm, fell on the bed asleep whilst, my husband got a takeway. We were all in bed by 8.30pm. Unbelievable. After being awake half the night, they fell asleep around 8am and all went quiet. The Manager said we did the wrong thing “by knocking on the wall” and asking them to keep it down. On our last night we could move but we would have to pay for a rollaway bed. This would cost about $400 US. If our vows were not booked we should have walked out of this hotel days ago! The neighbour woke up again the following night to an alarm at 3.30am again, but left the room. Still woke us up though. It was gaulling that when the children moved from the room they had a rollaway delivered. These people could be heard everywhere! We wondered did they have to pay the extra cost? Or was someone else paying for the room.
Concierge desk (Expedia) was inconsistent too. There was a great guy, very informative etc who we booked a luau with but the girl was too busy looking out for the next customer and wanted to only sell expensive tours. We haven't really struck this before. She also gave no advice about the basics which is why we went to another hotel for information. I/we booked a tour to Pearl Harbour through another company and had to go across the road for a pick up. Incidentally it was a third of the price and the times suited us. Wyndham Vacations didn’t bother us, we just said “not interested thankyou” and they left us alone.
Overall the hotel was poor value for money when everything was considered. Thin walls, lousy staff. In the main the staff did not care about their guests. We really loved Hawaii and were very thankful that we stayed at other hotels with great, patient, informative, happy staff. They restored our faith in Hawaiian hospitality.
Ocean front is nice but some balconies are tiny, maybe ask for a larger balcony.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.