This is a respectable and reasonable lodging option in Waikiki for those who want to be close to the beach but, are on a budget and/or seeking a convenient base to operate from while sightseeing around Oahu. This hotel is situated on Kalakaua Avenue directly across the street from Kuhio Beach – it is a 30-second walk from the south lobby entrance to the beach. Kuhio Beach is the eastern portion of the Waikiki shoreline close to Kapiolani Park and proffers sheltered swimming areas because of the protective breakwater. For people unfamiliar with Waikiki, this hotel along with all other hotels east of Kaiulani Street on Kalakaua Avenue are directly across the street from the beach with no buildings or structures on the seaward side of the road. Most of these hotels can offer rooms with excellent views but, generally, at lower rates because of the fact that they are not on the beach and, for the most part, they are not upscale brands/chains. A comparative analysis of room rates at the hotels located on the beach west of Kaiulani Street will show higher rates. For us the positive experience began before we ever arrived while booking the hotel. We had questions and exchanged a few emails with Jocelyn Nemoto, the Guest Experience Coordinator. We found her to be communicative, helpful and enthusiastic. In this day and age, it is nice to interact with people who are genuinely committed to assisting their customers. At this point we’d like to compliment the hotel staff/management for arranging chocolate-covered strawberries & pastries to be waiting in our room upon arrival (to celebrate our anniversary and hubby's birthday). We had included a note in our reservation and advised the Guest Experience Coordinator – and the hotel followed through in a delightful way! By the way, the hotel’s website is informative and we strongly recommend that prospective customers check it out even if they don’t book the room through that site. Though this hotel is neither the newest nor the most sophisticated in Waikiki, it is relatively modern in décor and furnishings and several of their rooms proffer awesome views over the waters of Waikiki and Mamala Bay. Occupying an entire city block, the hotel itself is a large complex comprised of two high-rise buildings anchored by a low-rise structure containing the lobby, conference and banquet facilities, restaurants, shops and a parking garage. The high-rise edifices are respectively called the Beach Tower and the Oceanarium Tower. Architecturally speaking, the exterior of the hotel is nondescript. In our opinion, the two towers look more like monolithic apartment complexes. The lobby and adjoining corridors are spacious and reasonably attractive though the design/décor is somewhat dated (1970s/1980s) thus evoking a sense of yesteryear and contributing to the impression of the hotel being old. In contrast, the hallway on the 15th Floor of the Beach Tower seemed a little cool, austere and institutional (not a good thing). This was probably due to the selection of color(s) used, or lack thereof, in the decorative scheme – an off-white to light gray tone. We think they were going for a “look of calm, clean and bright” but, instead, the result is one that lacks warmth. The guest rooms are adequate in size, sensibly furnished and decorated in a muted but attractive tropical theme. Our room was the “King Bed” category. The room was clean upon arrival and it seemed to stay that way throughout our stay which would indicate that housekeeping did a good job each and every day. Though fairly well-maintained the room did show subtle evidence of wear-and-tear and age – a notable example being the wall mirror in the bedroom which had spots and discoloration around the edges because of deterioration of the backing material. From a mechanical perspective, the room was a good one with almost everything working as it should; the exception being a non-functioning TV remote. However, this issue was promptly rectified by the Maintenance Dept. The bathrooms are small and modest – actually more on par with that found in a decent quality motel. Within the respective tower buildings, the rooms are nearly identical in layout, décor, furnishings and fixtures including the balconies; the two principal differences being the type of bed(s) furnished in the regular guest rooms (one King Bed or two Double beds) and the enhanced living space of the guest suites (located on the top floor of each building). However, there is one BIG and IMPORTANT variation amongst the rooms – the outside view/scenery aspect. This aspect is one of the hotel’s greatest attributes because the views from some rooms are among the best to be had in Waikiki – bar none! Of course, the room rates are governed by this fact. If a view is important to you, then we highly recommend that you select the “Ocean Front” category in the Beach Tower. The higher the floor, the better, with the best rooms being the corner units! At a minimum, make sure your room is above the height of the palm trees on Kalakaua Avenue or you won’t be seeing much of the great blue sea. Go for the seventh floor or higher. Sitting on the balcony, sipping a beverage and watching the sunset is a gratifying experience. If a view is not important then choose the “Standard” or “Partial Ocean” view categories but be forewarned that your view will be that of an adjacent building/hotel. If you don’t want to pay the highest rates for a view then the “Ocean” view category of rooms may be the way to go but bear in mind that the view of the ocean will be at an angle and the ocean may not be readily visible from within the room. This is because of the orientation of the two towers on the property combined with the location of the rooms designated “ocean” view within each of the buildings. An excellent source for guidance on this matter can be found under the tab labeled “Rooms & Suites” on the hotel’s website. It contains an informative and helpful schematic depicting the location of the various room categories within the two tower buildings. Apropos lodging prices, I suggest that you visit the hotel’s own website and check out the various specials and deals they proffer before making your reservations through any other source. The room rates and various promotional packages they offer are worth the money and some of them will give you a great bang for your buck! We actually believe that you can do better by booking with the hotel directly than through select third party, internet booking sites and online travel agencies. One thing that sets this hotel aside from others is the staff. We found them to be consistently friendly and helpful. Compared to many other hotels in Waikiki – and we have stayed in at least 20 different ones over the past few decades running the gamut from budget to five-star – the staff at the Pacific Beach Hotel stands out as a cut above most. They are actually trying while at certain other hotels the staff seemed to merely be “going through the motions” of providing service and hospitality. Given that this was our first stay at this hotel, this aspect surprised us and we can truly say that you get better “treatment for your dollar” in the friendliness factor from the staff compared to that which you may experience at several other places! The hotel appears to operate two eateries of its own on site. The primary dining facility is the Oceanarium Restaurant located behind the lobby foyer adjacent to the front desk area. It is fairly large and equipped with standard tables and chairs that evoke a bit of a cafeteria “feel” to the place. However, what makes this restaurant unique and well worth a visit is the massive salt-water aquarium within the restaurant that stands about three stories in height and contains a diverse collection of tropical marine life. To sit there and watch the marine life swim by your table was mesmerizing and enjoyable. This restaurant is used for breakfast, lunch and dinner. While we never ate lunch or dinner at any of the eateries within the hotel, we did eat breakfast every day at the Oceanarium Restaurant. Specifically, we had the buffet breakfast which was included in our room rate/package. Though some TripAdvisor reviewers have been critical of the food quality and menu we must disagree – at least with regard to the breakfast buffet. In our opinion, the quality of food at the Oceanarium Restaurant is decent and quite varied. To be frank, we did not expect it to be as diverse and extensive as it was. Moreover, given what you get and the price ($25 per person if not included), it is a fair deal compared to that of many other hotels in Waikiki. Yes, some items were overcooked, dried out and/or bland but other items were delicious such the fresh fruit, salad, cereal(s), Asian fare and the omelets made-to-order (on the spot). The other dining facility is the Aloha Center Café which focuses on grilled food items and does a barbeque spread in the evening. The guest amenities provided by the hotel are fairly typical of a middle-tier hotel located in one of the more popular destinations in the world for sun, surf and fun. We never used the gym or spa so we cannot comment on them. Also, we never used the pool though we did go and check it out. Sadly, it is kind of small and the overall setting is rather unappealing. It is located atop the low-rise lobby building on the outside near the Oceanarium Tower. Given the beige/buff color of the buildings combined with the expansive but grayish concrete flooring of the sunbathing area, the entire pool setting lacks ambiance. On the day we visited this space looked and felt more like the top level of a vacant parking facility. The entire site needs a makeover with an emphasis on projecting the notion of being a resort and evoking a welcoming "feel." Other amenities and services provided by the hotel include beach towels (that you can take to the beach), refillable water bottles and water replenishment stations (in the lobby), daily newspaper delivery, in-room internet service (normally for a fee) and parking (pay garage). Be advised that some of these amenities are free. Others involve a cost but may be discounted or waived depending on the type of room rate or promotional package you have. There is a tourist excursion/activities desk located along the corridor leading from the lobby to Kalakaua Avenue. Additionally, there are numerous options for dining, shopping, entertainment, and outdoor leisure and recreational activities nearby. Adjacent to the hotel are a McDonalds restaurant (across the street), Haagen Dazs ice cream store and ABC souvenir store/mini-mart (incl. liquor section). Moreover, a short walk in almost any direction will elicit a multitude of options too numerous to mention here. The famous Duke’s Canoe Club restaurant and the International Market Place are each about a 7 – 10 minute walk from the hotel. After all this positive commentary I must observe that there are a few negative items to mention but they are minor and may be inconsequential for some. Firstly, the check-in process can be a time-consuming experience. Other TripAdvisor reviewers have voiced dissatisfaction with the check-in process and I can empathize. Upon our arrival in the mid-afternoon there was line of people waiting to check-in and it moved slowly. In other words, checking in can take a while if you are further back in the queue. Be advised that the front desk/reception area has three to four check-in stations depending on staffing. Another issue is the noise emanating from the street below which may be heard within some rooms – particularly on the lower floors of the Beach Tower if there is a lot of traffic, loud passersby and/or noisy crowds outside (which may be most noticeable in the evening). This may prove problematic for sleeping. Requesting either a high floor or a room away from Kalakaua Avenue should remedy this concern. Thirdly, the low-level, ambient hum from the air conditioner may be bothersome for some. For light sleepers and people from other time zones, these various noises can make sleeping difficult and the room environment less relaxing. We usually turned the AC system off at night. Of course, these issues are not unique to the Pacific Beach Hotel and will equally apply to many other hotels. As indicated earlier, parking is available at the hotel and normally costs $25 per day. Though metered street parking can be found throughout the surrounding area the parking rules, time limits and payment methods are complicated such that we advise against parking on the street. It is NOT worth the hassle!!! There are parking garages nearby that charge less than this hotel. However, the best solution – particularly if you don’t need your vehicle while staying at the hotel – is to park for free on Monsarrat Avenue between the Honolulu Zoo and Kapiolani Park or in one of the free lots at the Waikiki Shell outdoor theater (also on Monsarrat Ave.). It is a 10 to 15 minute walk from the hotel. Getting to/from the airport is fairly easy. If ground transportation has not been pre-arranged, and you are not renting a car, then we recommend one of the several shuttle or van services that exist and charge between $7.50 - $11.00 each way (with better pricing if you commit to the roundtrip). If you have little or no luggage, then the public bus is an option and it costs only $2.50. When inbound from the airport, use Bus Route Nos. 19 or 20 headed east with Waikiki as the final destination. The buses stop outside both the international and inter-island terminals on the departure level service road. You can go online to pre-book ground transportation or simply do it upon arrival. Some of the shuttle companies have representatives in the baggage claim areas promoting their services. In conclusion, we highly recommend the Pacific Beach Hotel because of its commitment to customer service, good location, great views, decent facilities, and clean and comfortable rooms!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located across Waikiki Beach with views of the Pacific Ocean, Waikiki City Lights, and Diamond Head landmark. The hotel’s centerpiece is the 3-story indoor Oceanarium attraction with over 70 different species of Pacific marine life. Full service hotel with 837 guestrooms, island-style family dining, flexible meeting space, 24-hour fitness center, spa, self or valet parking, business center and gift shops. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Pacific Beach Honolulu
- Hotel Pacific Beach
- Pacific Beach Hotel At Waikiki
- Pacific Beach Hotel Hawaii/Honolulu