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“Sweet and sour” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Halekulani Hotel

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Halekulani Hotel
5.0 of 5 Hotel   |   2199 Kalia Road, Honolulu, Oahu, HI 96815 (Waikiki)   |  
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Ranked #4 of 82 Hotels in Honolulu
Top Contributor
103 reviews 103 reviews
40 hotel reviews
Reviews in 38 cities Reviews in 38 cities
92 helpful votes 92 helpful votes
“Sweet and sour”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 24, 2014

If you stay at the finest hotels in the world, you will be disappointed. The Halekulani does not compare with the best. It is in the Leading Hotels of the World group, but a hotel like the Ritz London blows it away. Standing on its own, this hotel is like a dish of sweet and sour pork. Sweet- breakfast at the Orchid restaurant- serene, peaceful, excellent food and fruit and fresh squeezed juice overlooking the ocean and Diamond Head. Sour- the horrible beach- a small spit often taken up by a catamaran, with silty sand and much coral- ugh. Not close to the perfect crescent Waikiki beach- you need to go to the Royal Hawaiian for that. Sweet- the large and peaceful pool area. Sour- mushy beds and an extremely small shower- I have back issues and the bed was a disaster. Also, I like to aim the shower at my lower back- but the shower was so small I could not even bend in there. Sweet- the nightly trio playing Hawaiian music with a hula dancer on the lawn having drinks looking over the ocean. Sour- trying to get reservations for dinner at the Orchid at a reasonable time- I was there for 8 days and rented 3 rooms and literally had to complain to the hotel manager to get a reservation! Sour- we are Virtuoso and not only did we not get any room upgrades but when my kids wanted to stay a little past normal checkout we were denied even one minute extra. For $2,000 per night with 450 rooms they could have figured out a way for the kids to stay in the room a little longer. Sour- giving away my kids chairs that were under an umbrella to someone else, when they went to the ocean to swim. Sweet- that the pool server and the room attendant knew our names and recognized us. All in all, there were too many disappointments to recommend this place.

Room Tip: Take a partial ocean view room over a full ocean view room. The view is just as good and it is $130...
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,684 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (244)
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English first
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 20, 2014

We stayed here 3 nights before returning to the mainland, and we were impressed with the service from start to finish. It seemed like every one of the staff was totally dedicated to assuring our comfort and convenience. Since my laptop had gotten broken on our travels, I especially appreciated the business and hospitality center. From there I could log on to any web sites I needed and do any printing I wanted. The day we flew back to the mainland we had a late flight to SFO. They let us stay in our room until 4 PM, and then they picked up our bags and we went to the business and hospitality center and stayed until we were ready to go to the airport. If you just considered the room, this hotel might seem a bit expensive, but the attitude of friendly service makes it one of the top hotels in the world.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Scottsdale, Arizona
Top Contributor
73 reviews 73 reviews
22 hotel reviews
Reviews in 39 cities Reviews in 39 cities
52 helpful votes 52 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 18, 2014

This is still our favorite hotel in Honolulu. Whether your visit to Oahu is a first-time special occasion, or you are returning for business or vacation, try to stay at the Halekulani. Its location on the beach in the center of Waikiki means you are surrounded by the best area activities and restaurants. The Halekulani is an oasis of serenity, beautiful ocean views, sunsets, and Hawaiian history. We’ve stayed here many times, and appreciate everyone's smiles and welcomes throughout the day: bell men, registration, management, poolside attendants, restaurant servers, housekeeping and evening turn-down staff. Top-notch service is standard. There rarely was a problem during our visit, and when there was it was rapidly corrected.
There are three towers of rooms; we like the Ewa Tower for its peacefulness and ocean views from many rooms. Most rooms have partial ocean or ocean views; rooms farther forward towards the ocean have views of Diamond Head. There is no coffee/beverage maker in the room, would have been nice to have one with mugs and spoons for our own tea, coffee and cocoa. For early morning risers there is complimentary coffee/tea downstairs. Rooms have a small refrigerator and complimentary bottles of water are provided each day.
Be sure to take advantage of complimentary admission for hotel guests to notable cultural venues in Honolulu, including the Honolulu Museum of Art, The Bishop Museum and Iolani Palace.
Halekulani has one gorgeous pool, comfortably heated in winter, plenty of lounge chairs and many with umbrellas. Staying poolside is a vacation in itself, with complimentary chilled water, pineapple, muffins, popsicles and sunscreen, plus poolside menu service. Bowls of mixed nuts to snack on while reading poolside would be a welcome addition.
In early February the hotel was very busy. Only once during a dinner at House Without a Key did that create a problem, causing service not up to Halekulani’s standards. Our dinners at Orchids were impeccable.
There are three hotel restaurants: “House Without a Key” is resort casual for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with sunset libations and Hawaiian entertainment every evening. “Orchids” is resort dressy for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and “La Mer” is dressy, dinner only, French menu and jackets required. Afternoon high tea is a treat at The “Veranda”, and “Lewers Lounge” features live jazz entertainment in the evenings.
The "Sunrise" package with room & breakfast is a good value and includes your beverages, taxes and gratuity. Most mornings we chose the buffet at House Without a Key because of excellent choices in fresh fruit, a made-to-order omelet station, and so many bakery and entrée selections for light or hungry appetites. Even though it is a buffet, service is still personalized.
Halekulani carries a 100-year legacy of Hawaiian history. It was rebuilt in the 1980’s, adhering to architectural detail to retain the character of the original resort while still providing modern urban necessities. It is a smaller property, only 5 acres, with grass courtyards and palms between the towers for serenity. The beach directly in front of the hotel is small, but walk either direction left or right and you are on Waikiki’s main beaches. All the amenities and craziness of Waikiki surround you, but when you stay at Halekulani, you are in an elegant, peaceful oasis.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bakersfield, CA
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 18, 2014

The Halekulani Hotel in Waikiki is a place that will always stand out in our memories. The name of the hotel translates to "house befitting heaven" and we found it to be aptly named. The property isn't large and so there aren't acres of gardens, walkways and beachfront that one would find on the other islands, as Waikiki is crowded with high-rise condos, shops, tourists. We wandered out and about in the area but we were enveloped in peace and graciousness once we stepped back into the Halekulani.

Soon after our arrival, we returned to our room and found a bottle of champagne waiting for us with a card from the management wishing us a happy anniversary.

The rooms are comfortable and understated and we enjoyed a full ocean view. A bucket of ice, bottled water, clean glasses were delivered to our room twice a day and there was turndown service each evening. Every night we found a small pillow present - keychain, luggage tag, a jar of bath salts from the spa.

Each evening there was entertainment at House Without a Key - Hawaiian musicians and vocalists. A hula dancer made an occasional appearance too. It was a lovely place to sit and enjoy a tropical cocktail while watching the sunset and having dinner. The first evening our server, Kelly, brought us a complimentary piece of coconut cake and wished us a happy anniversary. We encountered her again a few days later and she greeted us by name.

We had the buffet breakfast at House Without a Key once and the other mornings we enjoyed breakfast at Orchids. The food and service were excellent.

One day we joined a small group and took the "Back of the House Tour". Our guide was a lovely and lively woman who has worked at the Halekulani for 30 years. It was fun to see the hotel bakeries, laundry, floral shop, print shop. We received a long stem rose in the floral shop, sweet treats in the bakery and were treated to beverages and small slices of cheesecake and coconut cake on the terrace at the end of the tour. The "Royal Suite" was vacant and so we were able to see that too.

This was our first visit to the Halekulani but it certainly won't be our last!

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York
Top Contributor
81 reviews 81 reviews
27 hotel reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
158 helpful votes 158 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 16, 2014

We enjoyed our stay here so much last year that we decided to come again. It is clearly the best resort in the area -- and one of the best we have ever visited.

If you value a world-class pool area and want the convenience of Waikiki, this is the only real choice. There is only one pool, but it is large. With its famous mosaic orchid, it is also stunningly beautiful. Never once was it too crowded. The roomy pool area has ample sun loungers. There is no early-morning scramble to get a decent spot. If you decide your spot has gotten too sunny, you can just take a shadier spot. There is no canned music near the pool. The guests -- and their children -- were uniformly unobtrusive.

Pools at the other Waikiki hotels we saw were either very crowded or very tiny -- or both. For instance, the Royal Hawaiian and the Moana Surfrider have a lot of historic charm, but their pool areas are amazingly cramped and unappealing. The pool at the newish Trump hotel seems more like a lap pool.

The entire atmosphere at the Halekulani exudes low-keyed elegance. The rooms aren't particularly large or lavish, but they are tasteful and comfortable. Except for the special luxury suites, all the rooms are essentially identical. The price varies only according to the view. There is no such thing as a bad room or a bad view. Unlike the situation in some places, the "garden view" rooms here actually overlook a pleasant garden rather than a parking lot. You could be better off in the cheapest room here than in the best room in many resorts.

Last year, we stayed in a room with a view of Diamond Head, which was wonderful. This year, we saved nearly $1,000 by taking an "ocean view" room, which was about 98% as wonderful. Some view of nearby high-rises, but a gorgeous panoramic view of the ocean as well. We would certainly take this class of room again. We asked for a high floor and we got the top floor. Perhaps being a repeat customer helped, but the hotel does seem to try to meet your requests.

Indeed, the service here was flawless. Every single staff member we encountered was pleasant and helpful. It must be a good place to work: Some of the pool attendants and servers in the breakfast room have been here over 20 years.

It definitely paid to get the package including breakfast -- excellent choices served in two different pleasant rooms with delightful water views. Incidentally, when we reserved our room, months in advance, the package deal wasn't yet available online. So we were advised to rebook again later, which we did.

There were a couple of quirks: Strange as it seems, the rooms don't have coffee makers for hot water. But this year, my partner brought along one of those little electric gadgets that you insert into a cup to heat your water. Problem solved! Also, depending on its mood, the convenient bathroom scale gives your weight in pounds, kilograms -- or British-style stones. Eventually we located the unmarked button on the back that gives you pounds only. Such are the trials of life in paradise.

One of the advantages of Waikiki is the convenience to restaurants (and shopping). We enjoyed Taormina and Il Lupino, both just a few minutes walk from the hotel. We had one of our most memorable and interesting meals in years at Alan Wong's, a short cab ride away. In the same surprisingly nondescript neighborhood, Chef Mavro was quite pleasant too, but you might want a magnifying glass to see some of the portions.

Having driven around the island on another trip, this year we took an afternoon tour of East Oahu, including some really spectacular mountain scenery that tourists often overlook. On the one drizzly day, we went to the Honolulu Museum of Art, another frequently overlooked attraction that was quite worthwhile, especially for the Asian art.


Room Tip: The Web site has a very helpful diagram detailing room locations at various price levels.
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, California
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 14, 2014

Just returned from our most recent stay, 2/14. We've stayed here twenty times over the last twenty seven years, both business and pleasure. The rooms are steadily, if subtly, updated and freshened, the service is a warm and personal expression of the spirit of Aloha, and the location is an oasis of tranquility in the midst of frenetic Waikiki. A wonderful pool, easy access to the beach, sunset cocktails with Hawaiian music and hula, and a great Japanese breakfast at Orchids Restaurant. It just doesn't get any better than this!

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Top Contributor
50 reviews 50 reviews
30 hotel reviews
Reviews in 33 cities Reviews in 33 cities
47 helpful votes 47 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 8, 2014

Waikiki is a hot mess. Literally, its Vegas without the charm. However, if you're making a visit to Oahu and you want to be down in the thick of it without losing your mind. . .you simply have to stay at the Halekulani. Its an oasis of calm. As beautiful as it is comfortable, this hotel is true to itself despite the clamor of tourists and merchandising just outside its doors. If there is a better place to enjoy a sunset, I haven't found it.

The bars and restaurants are top notch. They are a credit to their brand and a the epitome of what a corporate food and beverage program should be. All their guests are on vacation and they want to spoil you. The concierge service is superb. I would trust Miss DeeDee Mikasa with my life. Don't make a move without her. We were headed over to Marine Corps Base Hawaii and she recommended some terrific foodie hot spots that were all very good. More importantly she helped us avoid some traps. Our favorite? Pah Ke's Chinese Restaurant in Kaneohe. Thanks so much to DeDe for saving us from the horrible Hilton Hawaiian Village.

Room Tip: As they are in the middle of a "refresh" I would suggest one of the recently upgraded room...
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Halekulani Hotel

Address: 2199 Kalia Road, Honolulu, Oahu, HI 96815
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Hawaii > Oahu > Honolulu > Waikiki
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Honolulu
#4 Luxury Hotel in Honolulu
#4 Spa Hotel in Honolulu
#4 Family Hotel in Honolulu
#4 Romantic Hotel in Honolulu
#5 Business Hotel in Honolulu
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Halekulani Hotel 5*
Number of rooms: 453
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Halekulani has been hosting visitors to Waikiki Beach for nearly 100 years. Today its reputation for gracious hospitality, impeccable service and magnificent cuisine is unequaled on Oahu and renowned, throughout the world. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Halekulani Hotel Honolulu
Halekulani Hotel Hawaii/Honolulu

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