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“Elegantly restored grand hotel - Intimate Luau - but watch out for nickels and dimes”

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The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort
Ranked #21 of 84 Hotels in Honolulu
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed March 23, 2013

Staying at this hotel is a beautiful experience! One of the oldest and grandest hotels in Hawaii, it has been restored elegantly, with open-air common spaces, landscaped gardens, a spa with open air cabanas, and high-end stores throughout the lobby. The hotel's long history is apparent in charming old B&W photos of dignitaries, celebreties, and WWII soldiers that have stayed here since early 1900's. The location is perfect if you want to be in the middle of all Waiki has to offer - from shopping and restaurants, beaches and diamond head mountain hikes. (My only complaint is that there are significant charges not mentioned when you book).

Our room was located in the historic section of the hotel, which was updated with beautiful new marble bathrooms, and spacious rooms with high ceilings and views of either the gardens or beach. There is a special elevator from each floor of rooms which leads directly to the pool/beach area if you don't want to walk through the entrance lobby in your beach-gear. (The new section of rooms was built probably in 70's and is nicely integrated into the layout, with good access to all amenities, but I didn't see one of the rooms).

Despite being located ON waikiki beach itself, when you walk into the hotel property, the tranquil lobby and common areas make you feel miles away from the bustle of the beach. The pool is somewhat small (apparently made smaller when the restaurant and new section of rooms was added to the hotel). However, it is immaculately maintained with good pool service, and a very pleasant jacuzzi surrounded by palm trees with a view of the beach. Cabanas are available for rent, as are beach chairs. ($40 for a set of two chairs and an umbrella on thebeach for the day, which seems a bit "nickle and dime" considering the price point for this high end hotel, until you realize that every hotel along wakiki beach chages for beach chairs - it's apparently just the price of being located on one of the country's most famous beaches). The beach is otherwise open to the public, so many bring their own chairs and towels and grab a spot of beach.

We ate at both the beachside restaurant for lunch and at the seasfood restaurant one night - both are expensive but lovely and delicious.

We also attended the Luau on Monday night, which we enjoyed tremendously. It is set against the beach and views of Diamondhead mountain at sunset, and is much more intimate than the huge luau options which we heard about elsewhere throughout Hawaii, which had 300-600 people in attendance. This was a great show, and intimate setting. We took advantage of the "VIP" seating at the front of the stage, but I would say that there were no bad views of the luau regardless of seating, since it is a manageable size audience.

My only complaint about the hotel is that we were taken by surprise at check in by an additional charge of $35 per person/ per night for "guest services" - which essentially included no additional services (I think it may have includeed wifi, which was so slow to log onto that we just used our own data plans if we needed to get onto the internet). It felt a little like we were being "nickel and dimed" after paying for a very high end hotel. I would have preferred just knowing the actual price of the room when we booked. (For the two of us that was $70/night more than we expected to pay, and the room was $140/night more per room than expected for the friend's we were with). Over the course of the three nights we stayed there, this added up and we would have liked to have planned for the expense of a few hundred dollars more! When I got home I saw that this extra charge was burried in the fine print of the confirmation (which seemed sneaky), but our friends booked through the internet and it wasn't mentioned at all in their confirmation so they were totally taken aback. Staying at this beautiful hotel may be worth the extra cost, but it is certainly not a pleasant surprise for anyone trying to relax - or stay on budget - for their vacation.

Room Tip: Be sure to specify rooms in the historic section or new section of the hotel, if you have a preferen...
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  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with friends
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4  Thank Melissa M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Management response:Responded April 2, 2013

Aloha,

Thank you for taking the time to write such a thoughtful review. It is with complete joy to read your kind compliments about our resort ambassadors and the exceptional services you experienced first hand. In the heart of Waikiki, it is the ambassadors, iconic architecture and the lush landscaping that makes The Royal Hawaiian a luxury destination and tranquil escape for our guests.

We look forward to welcoming you back to our beautiful island home again soon.

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2,149 - 2,155 of 3,923 reviews

Reviewed March 23, 2013

We just returned home from another fantastic stay at The Royal Hawaiian hotel. People ask us why we always go back to the same place. The answer is we get treated like Royalty. The service from the "Aloha Ambassadors" (the staff at the hotel) is always outstanding. From the time we pull up at the door, the Bell Hops great us and make us feel like we are returning home again.

The beach service is always outstanding. Chuck and his crew have always been great!!! They set us up on beach chairs and make sure we have everything needed to enjoy the Royal Hawaiian Waikiki beach experience that can be found no where else.

The housekeeping staff is just as accomodating. Carol and Evelyn are always happy to see us and make sure we feel like family.

We are looking forward to our next visit.

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank RobinDobbs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Management response:Responded March 28, 2013

Aloha RobinDobbs,

It was great to welcome you back to The Royal Hawaiian. I am delighted to learn that you have stayed with us multiple times and have experienced the exceptional service levels our resort ambassadors provide during each of your stays. Your compliments for our staff are much appreciated, as is your continued loyalty and we look forward to your next visit.

Thank you for your gracious review.

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Reviewed March 22, 2013

Stayed there for 5 nights. Wonderful and serene enterance to the property. Right in the middle of all the action in Waikiki. Food in the hotel was expensive but very high quality. Lots of restaurants nearby to choose from. Easy to get to the highway for trips. Valet parking included in the resort fee was convenient. Beds were very comfortable. Balcony for waterfront tower was great to sit and enjoy the views.

  • Stayed: March 2013
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Thank 314pi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Management response:Responded March 28, 2013

Aloha 314pi,

Thank you for taking a moment to share your experience at the Royal Hawaiian.

We are so pleased that you had a wonderful visit at the resort. We hope that your experience will be one of your favorite travel stories to share again and again. We look forward to welcoming you back.

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Reviewed March 22, 2013

The Hotel is one of the Oldest Hotels in Waikiki! The service is awesome! The rooms are so beautiful and comfortable! If you want to feel like a King or Queen in Hawaii, Book this Hotel, You will NOT be disappointed!

Room Tip: the Southside of the Hotel is the Best! View of the Ocean!
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  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank Duke C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Management response:Responded March 28, 2013

Aloha Duke C,

Thank you for taking the time to share your experience at The Royal Hawaiian. We sincerely appreciate your recognition. We look forward to welcoming you back to The Royal Hawaiian again soon.

Mahalo

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Reviewed March 22, 2013

I hve to confess a deep affection for this property that holds many memories for me. In the late 1970's I sang there with a band doing music from the 30's and 40's and later I stayed simply as a guest. I just returned last night after a weeks stay. The Sultan of Brunei was there so the room I reserved was not available. I did not book it through Starwoods but from a third party trip packager so one night my guest and I had two miserable double beds. They have no queen beds in the Tower, only doubles and Kings. I was moved to King witha marvelous balcony and great view from the 12th floor. This is the first time I stayed in the tower. The old historic part of the hotel is where I usually stay, the Suites in the old part of the hotel are great but no terraces or balcony. I paid 50% less going with the third party booker compared to the Hotel rates so that was good. Rather than 650 a night I paid 250. The resort fee is 25 dollars and wifi is included. You can reserve chaise lounges (2) and an umbrella for an additonal 40 a day. Service was good, the rooms were clean but even after the renovation I expected a bit more but in Hawaii no one spends a lot of time in their room. The walls are thin in the tower so you will hear infants as I did screaming. The resort fee seems high since you have to pay for lounge chairs etc so for 25 dollars you get free wifi and thats about it since there is a fee for most everything. You can swim in the pool or the ocean but you will pay if you want a place to layout in the sun that is comfortable. Room service was prompt. Great buffet in the Surf Lanai but walk next door to the Sheraton and go to their buffet as it is a great deal and its every day where the Surf Lanai only has a buffet on Sundays. Once the Sultan left and the Canadian Prime Minister the place seemed a bit more quiet. Buy your water, etc at The ABC store in front of the Hotel, its 7 to 10 dollars a bottle less and rooms come with refrigerators. All in all I had a great stay. The tower rooms have the best views but the rooms are so so. Nothing to brag about and the mattresses are not not firm at all and you can tell where guests sleep, on the phone side so that is where they sag, but this is true with most hotels. This is the best hotel on the beach. The Sheraton has no beach. The Surfrider does. The staff is great and I will be back.

Room Tip: If you want a good view you have to stay in the tower so you have a balcony with an ocean view. If...
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  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled on business
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Thank colonelscott
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Management response:Responded March 28, 2013

Aloha colonelscott,

We are delighted that after all these years The Royal Hawaiian continues to hold a special place in your memories and your heart. Thank you for your loyalty and for taking the time to detail your experience with us.

We will be sure to share your kind compliments about the resort ambassadors and the excellent service you received.

We look forward to your next trip to our beautiful island home.

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Reviewed March 20, 2013

I chose to stay at the 'The Pink Palace' (Royal Hawaiian) for a special 0 ending birthday. This was my second stay at this hotel. I chose it because I really loved the old fashioned elegant hotel with large galleries, marble floors, beautiful vistas and beach. On our first trip in October 2010 things were a bit different in the hotel, starting with no one under 18 years old allowed. On this trip January 2013, the hotel was full of children. Children are just fine and the majority of these were very well behaved, it is just not what I expected or wanted on this vacation. Other than that, our stay was wonderful. Our room, as we requested, overlooked the coconut grove and was beautiful and quiet. I believe that this is the quietest area of the hotel. The bathroom was newly remodeled and just a bit small, while the room itself was "roomy" with a walk-in closet, king sized bed, table and chairs by the window and dresser and desk on the door wall. Also a nice large flat screen TV. All in all a very nice room well decorated.
An additional note about the personnel and service. Everyone in this hotel, from the reception to the beach 'boys' was very gracious, polite and made our experience so comfortable and enjoyable.

Room Tip: As I said i like the quiet coconut grove room in the old hotel. The new tower is reat for ocean vie...
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  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank lovesweims
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Management response:Responded March 21, 2013

Aloha lovesweims,

We are honored that you chose to celebrate such an important milestone in your life at The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort. Thank you for taking the time to write a review.

We believe The Royal Hawaiian and the resort ambassadors epitomizes the elegance and grace unique in the Hawaiian value of ho’okipa. This is the welcoming of guests and strangers alike with complete generosity of Aloha spirit and hospitality. Hearing feedback from guests such as you is one of the many reasons our resort ambassadors are so proud to be a part of The Royal Hawaiian.

We will be sure to share your compliments with our ambassadors. We look forward to welcoming your ‘ohana back to our beautiful island home.

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Reviewed March 20, 2013

We spent 2 nights at the RH before heading to Maui. The hotel grounds and property are beautiful. We ate in the restaurants for lunch and had breakfast brought to the room and it was very good. The service was superb. The location of the hotel is right in the center of the action in Waikiki and of course right on the beach.

The only reservation we had was with the room. For $600/night we were expecting something nicer. We stayed in the tower with an oceanfront view. The view was incredible but the room was small and not all that nicely decorated. The beds were comfortable, bathroom adequate, we had a nice coffee pot and fridge, but just overall we were a bit disappointed. Not a reason not to stay but we just expected it to be a bit more "royal" and luxurious.

Overall a recommend for a beachfront property just don't get your hopes up on the room itself.

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with family
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2  Thank ScipioAfricanus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Management response:Responded March 21, 2013

Aloha ScipioAfricanus,

It is a joy to read your recent review about the resort and exceptional services provided by our resort ambassadors. Our unique destination, unrivaled accommodations and extraordinary ambassadors are the foundations of The Royal Hawaiian. We pride ourselves on our personalized service, and we are delighted that you were able to experience this first hand. Your kind compliments will be sure to share with our resort ohana.

We look forward to welcoming you back for your next Hawaiian holiday.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort

Address: 2259 Kalakaua Avenue, Honolulu, Oahu, HI 96815-2515
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Hawaii > Oahu > Honolulu
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#7 Top resorts Hotel in Honolulu
#7 Spa Hotel in Honolulu
#9 Romantic Hotel in Honolulu
#11 On the Beach Hotel in Honolulu
#11 Luxury Hotel in Honolulu
#16 Family Hotel in Honolulu
#18 Business Hotel in Honolulu
Price Range: $385 - $798 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort 5*
Number of rooms: 528
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Built in 1927, the iconic Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort, ushered in a new era of luxurious resort travel to Hawaii. Situated in the heart of Waikiki, the hotel offers cultural activities, gold standard signature concierge service, valet parking, doctors-on-call, florist, currency exchange service, Japanese concierge, laundry and dry cleaning, dining service and world-class restaurants and bars, wireless internet access in rooms and all public areas, multi-lingual staff, 24-hour room service, business center, and beach and pool services. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Hotel Honolulu
Royal Hawaiian Honolulu
The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort Hawaii/Honolulu

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