My husband and I headed to Hawaii for our 30th wedding anniversary. We were taking a cruise of the islands but wanted to arrive a few days in advance to acclimate to the time change (6 hours for us). On the basis of the reviews here at TripAdvisor we booked the Aqua Lotus. However, we also booked one night at a Waikiki resort hotel on the back end of the cruise. The difference was night and day!
The Aqua Lotus staff must have been trained by Ritz Carlton personnel. They were amazing and did everything they could to make our stay special. The rooms are beautiful - sliding shutter doors instead of drapes, full length mirror, big bathroom / nice sized shower - a kind of "modern design meets the Island" feel. The wood laminate flooring might night satisfy everyone's tastes but it provides for a clean, cool and comfortable living space. The beach is right behind the hotel just a couple of minutes walk away. A few more minutes down the beach is Queen's Surf Cafe and Lanai where you can enjoy a relatively inexpensive meal right on the beach or take a short stroll in the morning and drink a quality cup of coffee or espresso while watching the morning surf. Everything about the location and the hotel is relatively peaceful. And the crowds of Waikiki are a 10 - 15 minute walk away if you need to be in the thick of things. Once a month local artists sell their work in Kapiolani Park, across the street from the hotel. We were fortunate enough that our stay corresponded to a show weekend. (Tip: buy your souvenirs at local arts shows if you want genuine articles made in Hawaii. Hilo Hatties and the ABC stores are selling items made in the Philippines and China so check carefully.) The number of rooms in the hotel is limited so you don't have to deal with the relentless masses of the resort hotels in Waikiki. Complementary coffee in the morning and wine in the evening is a nice touch.
After our experience (4 days, 3 nights at the Aqua Lotus and one overnight at the resort hotel) I am so grateful we took the reviews here seriously and booked with Aqua Lotus. The resort hotel was so depressing in comparison. So crowded, wildly expensive and a little phoney / faux Hawaiian. (A word about valet parking. It was $20 at the Aqua Lotus, $30 at the big resort hotel. Service at the Aqua Lotus was instantaneous, at the big resort hotel we had to wait as long as 10 minutes for our car.) If we are ever fortunate enough to visit these gracious islands again, we would definitely book again with Aqua Lotus.
Thanks to the Staff for making this milestone vacation so special for us!
Book a corner room on an upper floor if you can.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
November 23, 2012
Thank you for your review of the Aqua Lotus Honolulu. Your sentiments reflect what most guests comment on the most and what we consider the details that separate us from most hotels. Whether it be the excellent location, friendly and efficient staff or the number of value added amenities that are provided, this property will not let you down regardless the reason for your trip.
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We hope to see you again very soon at our charming little hideaway on the Gold Coast.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.