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“An oasis in Waikiki”

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The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort
Ranked #23 of 84 Hotels in Honolulu
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed September 16, 2013

We booked a last minute 5 day weekend over Valentine's Day/President's Day weekend. We usually stay at The Kahala but it was sold out and The Halekulani does not have a beach. The Royal Hawaiian is the ONLY hotel to stay at on Waikiki Beach if you want any semblance of an upscale BEACH experience.

We booked a 2 story Ocean View Spa Suite for us and a Garden/Grove Historic room for our 2 teenage sons. At check-in as a Starwood member, we were offered an upgrade to a Tower Ocean room for our sons at no extra charge so that they would be in the same wing and closer to us. We almost said no as we had stayed at the hotel many years ago(1990's) before the renovations, and remember the tower rooms to be like a cheap motel 6. We were very pleasantly surprised. The renovated King tower room was very clean with a modern bathroom with glass tiles, had nice Hawaiian decor and large balcony with a nice ocean front view. There was plenty of room for the roll away bed. I would not call it a luxury room in comparison to The Kahala or Halekulani, but it met our needs for a short trip.

Our 2 story spa suite was located on the first floor down a rather dreary hallway from the elevators. The main floor of the suite had a half bath, closet, living room with a large sofa and chairs, small refrigerator (no mini bar??) and a large tv. Upstairs was a large bedroom with king bed with nice linens, 2nd tv, closet, an open bathroom with a very large rain shower (no steam shower..the website is incorrect) and separate toilet. There were switches so you could operate the automatic 2 story drapes on the windows which were needed for privacy due to the location of these suites.. The upstairs was definitely more luxurious than the downstairs which definitely showed signs of wear. If you looked out the upstairs windows thru the greenery past the pool and beach umbrella's, you could see a small sliver of the ocean. The patio was large with a table and 2 chairs and a rattan daybed. The view was of all the lounges and umbrellas at their pool area which were located directly outside of the spa suites. The patio was nice for watching sports on tv while still enjoying the sun and for drinks in the late afternoon while listening to the live Hawaiian music being played in the bar/pool area of The Outrigger Hotel which was next door about 50 feet to our left. (This July we stayed in another Starwood property, The Le Meredien RA Beach hotel on the beach in El Vendrell Spain in a very similar 2 story suite at more than 2 times the price of The Royal Hawaiian, and I must say the quality of the suite at The Royal Hawaiian was far superior!)

Unless you were willing to get up at the crack of dawn, forget about finding a group of 2 or 4 lounges at the small pool. The "kids" pool on The Sheraton Waikiki side of the property was even more busy. Would only go there if i had very small children. We opted to pay to reserve 4 lounges daily on their "private, roped off" section of Waikiki Beach directly in front of the hotel bar and restaurant which are operated by a separate beach activities company. You can do this online in advance via the hotel's website and pick your location. It is $40+ tax for 2 lounges and 1 umbrella, but they are yours all day so you can come and go as you please. We thought it was money well spent for the convenience although we heard many other people complaining about this!! Just don't leave anything valuable there as the huge crowd on the beach starts 2 feet in front of the lounges. We preferred the lounges in the first row (A section mid 30's) about 3/4 of the way down towards The Sheraton Waikiki next-door as they had the best view of the ocean and surroundings.The lounges immediately adjacent to the pool area on the beach had another set of rental lounges with tan umbrellas in front of them that were available to anyone and they blocked most of the water view. Unfortunately the hotel service at the beach lounges was only good 1 out of the 5 days we were there. The other days no one approached us for food or drinks. As with all beaches in Hawaii, be aware that alcohol is not allowed on the beach. When we were hungry or thirsty, we either walked about 20 yards to The Mai Tai Bar or went back to our suite and enjoyed drinks on our patio from alcohol/soda's that was purchased at ABC store in Royal Hawaiian shopping center in front of our hotel. I would have preferred a stocked mimi bar or a menu inside of the refrigerator to order sodas and drinks from the hotel that could be stocked in our bar. I understand that many people complain about prices in Hawaii, but this was a suite in a luxury collection hotel.

Drinks were very good at the Mai Tai Bar. We had 3 lunches, 1 dinner and drinks & appetizers there daily and were never disappointed. Service can be slow during sunset but that is to be expected. The bartenders were all friendly and knowledgeable. We had 1 breakfast, 1 lunch and dinner the last night in their restaurant and the food and service were good.

The grounds of this hotel are lovely. A true oasis in the heart of the "zoo" called Waikiki! There were nice rocking chairs overlooking the coconut grove which were great to sit in an people watch or read a book. The hotel had a few shops that specialized in upscale Hawaiian items.

Overall this hotel exceeded our expectations for a Waikiki vacation based upon our previous stays at this hotel and The Halekulani. We travel to Hawaii regularly (56 trips since our marriage) and would not hesitate to stay here again when we want to be in the center of the action on Oahu or if our 2nd son decides to go to college at UH.

Room Tip: The 2 story Spa suites are located on ground floor of the tower. They have a nice patio. Historic r...
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  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled with family
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2  Thank RPV5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RHCoordinator, Online Marketing Coordinator at The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort, responded to this reviewResponded September 23, 2013

Dear RPV5,
We're delighted to learn that you had an exceptional vacation with us at The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort. We truly appreciate the time you took write your very thorough and honest review. We apologize that you did not receive consistent service while enjoying the beach and we thank you for sharing this information with us, as this allows us to work with our ambassadors to ensure improvements are made to the service delivery on our beach. We're pleased to learn that you enjoyed dining at our Mai Tai Bar and appreciate your feedback regarding service time during sunset. Thank you for choosing to stay at The Royal; we also hope to welcome you back for many more years to come, especially if your son decides to attend UH Manoa.
Warmest aloha,

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2,034 - 2,040 of 3,972 reviews

Reviewed September 15, 2013

Our room was a Royal Junior Suite-Garden View Rm (269). We chose this because we wanted to experience the original part of the hotel. We arrived at 2:30 and were told the room was not ready until 4:00 pm. They did offer us an up grade to the tower section however as noted we wished for the older section. When we entered the room we found clothing hung on the back of the restroom door with a used hotel robe. We also found no iron or board in the closet. Other than that the room was ready. This room has a sitting area off to the side however we found the temperature was at least 80+ degrees all of the time and could not sit in there until late at night after the sun was down. The air conditioning was not adequate enough to cool both the bedroom and this sitting area. The sliding windows in the sitting area only open 6" due to safety reasons. There are also louver windows on another wall however we had to notify maintenance that only half of them worked. The staff we encountered were excellent in all areas of the resort. We did also have our breakfast included on this trip. We will pass on option next time since it is a pre-selected set of options that were not to our liking. There is a standard menu available in which one can order from. The grounds are well kept. Pool area has lounges for use with umbrellas (A nice feature when the sun is overhead). They also have lounges on the beach area that have a fee. Great beach area! Great shopping in the entire complex in front of the hotel.

Room Tip: Bottom line: Save on this type of room and stay in a standard one or take one in the tower since the...
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  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Gene8001
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RHCoordinator, Online Marketing Coordinator at The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort, responded to this reviewResponded September 20, 2013

Dear Gene8001,
Thank you very much for taking the time to thoroughly review your recent stay with us at The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort. We truly regret to learn that aspects of your vacation did not meet your expectations, as this was a very special trip for you. We've shared your concerns regarding the room assignment, breakfast and air conditioner in suite 269 with our management team to ensure appropriate follow-up and improvement. Please know that we appreciate your feedback, as this allows our team to continue to enhance our products and services to better server our guests. We're delighted that you enjoyed our private beach as well as our convenient location for shopping. We hope to welcome you back again to The Royal.
Warmest aloha,

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 14, 2013

We decided to splurge on the Royal Hawaiian for our anniversary and it was a great choice. The staff is all very welcoming. Every person we encountered seemed truly happy to see us and genuinely interested in meeting our needs. Our first day here we were chatting with some other folks a the bar who had stopped in for a drink before their flight. When the bartender heard them say it was their birthdays and our anniversary, she brought us all an ice cream treat! The rooms are small, but with the beach literally right out the door, you're never in the room anyway. Bed is very comfortable.We were also lucky enough to be invited to the welcome cocktail hour on Wednesday. Yummy food and fun to mingle with other guests. Bit of an older, international crowd, but if you want to visit the action you can walk next door to Duke's, or wander the strip. Couldn't be happier, truly felt pampered the entire time we stayed at the Royal Hawaiian, worth it if you're looking for a luxe treat.

  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank RachelBross
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RHCoordinator, Online Marketing Coordinator at The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort, responded to this reviewResponded September 20, 2013

Dear RachelBross,
We're delighted to learn that you selected the Royal Hawaiian to celebrate your anniversary. We're also thrilled that you enjoyed an exceptional vacation here at the "Pink Palace of the Pacific." Thank you for your kind comments regarding our ambassadors and Mai Tai Bar bartenders. We hope to welcome you back to The Royal again, perhaps for your next anniversary.
Warmest aloha,

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Reviewed September 14, 2013 via mobile

Welcome at valet was ok but concierge desk needed more personalisation. Stayed in garden historic suite which was huge and just beautiful, however noise from next room an issue. Mai Tai bar and pool bar service both terribly slow and needs improvememt please!
Concierge were nice and helpful. We just didnt feel that really friendly hawaii spirit that we did at another hotel in maui. We absolutely loved their royal ala a'aina (their version of a luaha) r highlight of r stay! Worth every cent!
Pool is small and I also agree beach lounges should be included in cost.
kids meals were supposed to be free with am adult meal but there were too.many restrictions on this!
There were s couple of other dramas. ....but overall it is the best location in wakiki! It/they just need a refresher course in certain areas!
Would we stay there again? Maybe. ....

  • Stayed: September 2013
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1  Thank Amoremio1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RHCoordinator, Online Marketing Coordinator at The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort, responded to this reviewResponded September 20, 2013

Dear Amoremio1,
Thank you very much for taking the time to share your feedback regarding your recent stay with us at The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort. We truly regret to learn that your experience was anything less than exceptional, but we appreciate your honest feedback, as this allows us to make improvements to our products and services to best meet the needs of our guests. We've shared your comments with our management team to ensure your remarks are utilized as we make improvements. We hope you will considering staying with us again at The Royal.
Warmest aloha,

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 13, 2013

Upon entering The Royal Hawaiian we were given lei, directed to seats at the check-in desk, given wet cloths to freshen up and offered a refreshing drink. We totally were not used to this as last October we waited on very long lines (40 minutes?) to check-in at The Aria in Las Vegas. We also loved the turn-down service at night.
The hotel is attentive to its guests and provides cabanas, chaise lounges and umbrellas for a fee (half price after 2 pm). This property sits on one of the loveliest sandy beaches in Hawaii. You can comfortably wade out quite a way from shore. The waves are not huge but fun enough for outrigger canoe rides. I highly recommend the outrigger canoe ride as it is perfectly safe - so safe that life jackets are not needed. If you have vertigo or are prone to motion sickness have no worries. You will be fine on the canoe. I paddled which took my mind off the sea. Some passengers paddle and some are passengers. The outrigger I was on held 8 (6 tourists and 2 captains) I believe 6 of us paddled. It was so exhilarating!
We realized that the end of August, beginning of September when we were there was perfect as children were back in school and crowds were less intrusive.
Mail your postcards by the mailbox next to the main elevators. My family actually got them while we were still on vacation in Hawaii!

Room Tip: Having an ocean view is lovely if you can splurge. Ask for a room where the elevators let you off ri...
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  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank earthox822
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RHCoordinator, Online Marketing Coordinator at The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort, responded to this reviewResponded September 20, 2013

Dear earthox822,
We are absolutely delighted to learn that you had an exceptional vacation with us here at The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort. We're also thrilled to learn that you enjoyed a canoe ride with our Waikiki Beach Services ambassadors. This is truly a special experience in Waikiki! Thank you for taking the time to share you review with us. We hope to welcome you and your family back again to The Royal.
Warmest aloha,

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 12, 2013

This is a truly beautiful resort. It's close to the action in Waikiki but hidden back from the main strip, so you don't have any traffic (or people) noise to disturb you. It's on a great stretch of beach and we had turtles swimming with us right out front on our first dip. Parts of Waikiki beach have hard coral reef (near the Outrigger Reef hotel area) but in front of the Royal Hawaiian is pure soft sand.

Note: They have a very small pool (backyard sized) and they share a second pool with the Sheraton next door that's overrun with kids, so if you're more of a pool person this hotel might not be for you (I love the beach so it suited me fine).

Only slight negatives: the resort has sun loungers on the beach but they charge $40 per day to use them ($40 gets you 2x lounge chairs & 1 umbrella - you have to rent the set). People seem to put their towels on the sun loungers by the pool and leave them there all day to save the spot - every time I walked past there were no free loungers & only about 1/4 of the loungers had people on them, if that. I've been to other resorts where they clear off the lounger if no one has used it in 1hr - this would be a good policy for the Royal Hawaiian to adopt as they don't have many loungers to go around.

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank Maile83
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RHCoordinator, Online Marketing Coordinator at The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort, responded to this reviewResponded September 20, 2013

Dear Maile83,
We're delighted to learn that you had an exceptional vacation with us here at The Royal Hawaiian. We're thrilled that you had the wonderful experience of swimming with turtles. We're very fortunate to be home to so many amazing sea turtles. We apologize that our current pool and beach chaise program did not fully satisfy your needs and we appreciate your honest feedback regarding this. Thank you for taking the time to share you review. We hope to welcome you back to The Royal soon.
Warmest aloha,

Report response as inappropriate
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Reviewed September 10, 2013

If you are looking to have a genuine understanding of what the “Aloha Spirit” truly is, then I would recommend you stay at the Royal. The entire staff went above and beyond to make us feel at home as if we were a part of their ohana.

Checking-in was a breeze as we were greeted with leis, juice, and a cool towel. Platinum status was recognized and we were upgraded to a wonderful 2-floor suite overlooking the pool.

The room itself was wonderful. Recently renovated and had gigantic walk-in shower with at least a 12 inch rainhead. Everything about this property is luxurious from the soaps to the linens.

The only downside, if there was one is the size of the pool, it’s very small. With that said, you have full access to the pool next door at the Sheraton with water slides.

We usually stay at the Sheraton, which is also a great property, but the Royal and its staff absolutely trump it. We will definitely be back.

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled with family
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Thank lindseybreeden
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RHCoordinator, Online Marketing Coordinator at The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort, responded to this reviewResponded September 20, 2013

Dear lindseybreeden,
We're absolutely delighted to learn that you and your family had an exceptional vacation with us at The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort. We appreciate your many kind words regarding our ambassadors, as this is always wonderful to share with them. Thank you for selecting The Royal and for your loyalty to Starwood as an SPG Platinum. We look forward to welcoming you back to the "Pink Palace of the Pacific."
Warmest aloha,

Report response as inappropriate
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 Spa Hotel in Honolulu
#7 Top resorts Hotel in Honolulu
#9 Romantic Hotel in Honolulu
#12 Luxury Hotel in Honolulu
#12 On the Beach Hotel in Honolulu
#15 Family Hotel in Honolulu
#18 Business Hotel in Honolulu
Price Range: $376 - $654 (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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