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“Leave Well Enough Alone”

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The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort
Ranked #18 of 84 Hotels in Honolulu
Certificate of Excellence
Hawaii
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Leave Well Enough Alone”
Reviewed August 17, 2009

Imagine my surprise when I entered a newly renovated room during our stay. While I am all for upgrades and improvements, I don't see how the recent renovation of this hotel achieved it. My first visit in 2003 was memorable. I stayed in the historic part during that visit and was struck by the beauty of the four post bed and the "old" feeling of the room. It was old in a sense of historic and elegant, and it matched the rest of the hotel. Now, I feel like the building, the grounds and the public spaces are all a facade for the generic rooms which could be found in any hotel these days. I don't understand the room rates based on this.
As far as the service goes, it started off well. The valets and everyone else all the way til we reached our room were excellent. Our breakfast was ok, the food average but not special, Eggs n Things down the street was more enjoyable. The down side to service started at the pool. In our time in a rented cabana, not once did a server come ask us if we needed anything. Another minus was that there was no information about the hotel amenities in our room. I wondered if they did away with the binders they usually have and programmed a channel on tv so you could watch what they had instead. I'd seen a second pool on the website, but didn't see anything about it the entire time we were there. It would have been nice to know where it was located. It would also have been nice to order room service if I'd known there was any.
Overall this hotel is no longer great, just average. What a shame.

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank demaintoujours
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Texas
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
Reviewed August 16, 2009

The hits (homeruns): (1) Check-in was a wonderful process. You are greeted by staff with white lei's for the ladies and Kukui nut lie's for the gents. You sit in nice comfy chairs for the check-in process, as opposed to standing "in que", which is how check-in probably used to be back in the day and which I have experienced most recently in Mexico at the Quinta Real hotel(s) in Guadalajara and Monterrey. You are also given some type of sour fruit-based drink while checking in. Sour is not my thing but my wife and two kids all loved it. Either way it added a nice touch to the process. (2) Great attention to detail in terms of facility upkeep. Despite the constant tracking in of sand from the beach you never saw any in the hotel itself. The hotel must have several dedicated personnel who's sole job is to go around constantly cleaning up and it showed. At least I noticed - I can't speak for the other quests. (3) Location, location, location. You won't need a rental car if you stay here (although we had one anyway--more about that later). (4) On many occasions staff went out of their way to greet us and ask us how we were enjoying our stay. These efforts seemed truly genuine. Sometimes at top end hotels these efforts seem "over the top", bordering on intrusive. I did not get that feeling here, and it is a fine line. Obviously hotel management has invested in considerable training/time for its staff in this area. Bravo. The misses (strikeouts): (1) As mentioned earlier, we arrived at the Royal Hawaiian in our rental car. As we pulled up front to check-in we did not seem to get the attention of the valet (actually valets, as there were several). After several awkward minutes of waiting we were motioned to go ahead and pull up. Not a good first impression, and quite frankly rather disappointing. (2) We ordered a pizza and a couple of soda’s for lunch for the kids at the Mai Tai bar while we were on the beach for the day. My 7-year-old son went back twice to get a refill of his Sprite and was ignored each time. I ended up having to go and get it for him both times. (3) The dirty forks, knives and plates from lunch were still with us at 6:00 PM. No one ever bothered to pick them up. In fact, we took the kids next door to the shared pool with the Sheraton because it has a good waterslide for the kids and while we were gone the beach-side staff, who unbeknownst to us starts picking up the umbrellas and beach chairs at 5:30pm, had taken all our personal items and removed them from our beach chairs and then, to top it all off, took the dirty dishes, etc. and place that on top of our personal items. 3-weeks later and I am still shocked by that. So, if you want to watch the sunset from the beach you can forget about it at the Royal Hawaiian, the staff let’s you know that they want you gone by 6:00 PM, and preferably by 5:30 PM. I cannot speak for every traveler, but for us, we go on a beach vacation to spend time at the beach. We have a pool at our house (thus I have no review of the Royal Hawaiian pool or pool service), so it was very disappointing to get run off the beach each day at 6:00 PM. In contrast, we just returned last week from the Marriott in Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands and had a wonderful stay. We got to watch the sunset every evening (7:30 PM) and there were still hotel staff waiting on us for whatever we needed. Oh, one final note. I wanted a Mai Tai drink from the Mai Tai Bar as several folks here in Trip Advisor had said it was a “can’t miss”. Well, I wanted to take one out to our beach chairs but was informed that you may not have any alcoholic beverages on the beach at all, even on the Royal Hawaiian’s private beach. So if you dream vacation is just sitting back and enjoying a nice “umbrella drink” (yes, this is my ideal way to spend my vacation), you won’t be able to do that here. The good thing is that I didn’t have that problem at the Marriott in Grand Cayman a few weeks later. Cheers!

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Mach_92
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Northern Kentucky
Level 3 Contributor
20 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
Reviewed August 13, 2009

What a gorgeous place! We stayed at three places on our trip and while the Halekulani was incredible as well, for the price and the surroundings, you can't beat the Royal Hawaiian. We were able to get a $250 a night rate, which beat the $550+ rate at the Halekulani. The place has unsurpassed staff who are fun, kind, and want you to have a great time. The pool is miniscule, but the Sheraton Waikiki next door (also a Starwood property) is available to all those staying at the Royal. Its pool is big and new, with a slide for the kiddies. Don't stay at the Sheraton Waikiki, though-- stay at the Royal Hawaiian.
The property is located on a great stretch of Waikiki beach, is right behind a stretch of great shopping, yet you have the feeling that you are on an Island Oasis when there. The architecture is stunning, as are the fresh flowers, the decor, and everything else.

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank renelaw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Texas
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed August 13, 2009

My husband and I stayed there with my brother and his girlfriend for one night. We got a really good deal because my brother lives there but right now they are offering low rates for everyone on the internet. This is a five star hotel but can get it as low as 280.00 a night. We stayed in the Royal Grove rooms which is in the restored historical wing. The bell captain, Allan, greeted us with a fresh flower lei, chilled juice, and a cold washcloth to refresh ourselves. Allan (who has been with them for 30 years) took us on a tour of the hotel, provided history and even took some steaks that I had brought for my brother to the kitchen freezer so we wouldn't have to keep them in a cooler! The room was very nice, king bed excellent, shower excellent, and TV huge! They provide banana bread in the room as well as small frig and coffee maker. The bathroom is very small and our view wasn't good (room 358/359). We didn't care about the view due to the rate we got and short stay. While there, we went to the beach and sat under pink umbrellas with pink towels. If you want to get a good beach chair, go early for sunrise (6:00 a.m.), the guys will set you up and those chairs are yours all day. We just left some stuff on the chair and they watch it for you! The hotel has a chained off section of the beach only for guests and right in the middle of Waikiki! My brother told me that Waikiki has been undergoing renovations (new sand, shops, etc) for two years and it looks great! The hotel also has a big pool that has a small water slide and a heated pool too. This hotel is walking distance (right next door!) to shopping, restaurants, and the Kona International Market Place. This was for us a great experience since we usually can not afford to stay in a 5 star hotel.

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank tland56
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dublin
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed August 12, 2009

Lovely hotel. Attention to detail. Chocolates at turn down, newspapers to the door every day and excellent staff. The rooms a little less luxurious than expected but clean. Lovely view from the towers. Would come back.

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank graDublin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, UK
Level 4 Contributor
30 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
Reviewed August 12, 2009

Family of 4 with 2 toddlers, 3 night stay in 'Garden' view room. Firstrly, disappointment that Garden view means 50% of the view blocked by random concrete walls with some grass of a non-descript lawn at the back of the hotel barely visible!
To be fair if cost awareness and getting value for a big expense is expected, then go somewhere else. My family have just spent 6 weeks in the USA, 5 of them island-hopping in Hawaii, and this was our most expensive rate but not our best experience - despite our high expectations given other reviews.
The room was good, well-equipped but nothing that justified $410/night for a normal King sized bedroom. Wireless internet was available at cost. Families on packages beware, we were sold a package which included breakfast - what they didn't say, even after we checked-in, was that they would still charge for our 2-year old - an ethical question in my view! And when I complained about it being their mistake for not telling us at check-in about their breakfast voucher system (which works from a different menu), they just said sorry but refused a refund! Now that's not service in my view. So ther $20 charge for my daughter has just cost them a several thousand dollar stay from my family in the future!
Overall though the hotel is brilliantly located - probably none better in Waikiki, service apart from above is good but not overly friendly (due to the busy nature of the hotel) - breakfasts staff definitely indifferent.This is probably one of the few accommodations we have been to that for example, provides no crayons for kids at breakfast - not a big deal you might think but perhaps a sign of the underlying values?

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank London_UKNeil
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed August 9, 2009

I would have to say (and I am an extremely fussy traveller) that this was the best holiday I have enjoyed for a very, very long time. My husband could not get away and Honolulu seemed a good place for a middle-aged woman travelling by herself for a week.

The Royal Hawaiian was just perfect, walk to shops, restaurants or food court at the centre next door for cheap eats,, or the Azure Restaurant which was a true five star dining experience. The Spa was ok, nice staff but wouldn't bother again.

Moreover, fall out the door of the lift and into the water.......who could ask for more. I stayed in the tower ocean view and we had our own concierge and drink/coffee/breaksfast area right near the pool (which ok, IS tiny). Rooms were not quite up to the beautiful period decorations of the older part but compensated with spaciousness, lovely bathroom, fabulous beds and linens and a balcony overlooking Waikiki and Diamond Head. Worth the extra $$$ everytime.

I did my homework and settled on the Royal Hawaiian and I am so pleased that I did, there really was no negative issues at all. Or, maybe it was all the great staff/ things just outweighed them to the point that I had a blissful holiday in truly beautiful and historic surroundings but with all the mod cons anyone could want.

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank ALKSydney
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort

Property: 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:
#6 Top resorts Hotel in Honolulu
#7 Spa Hotel in Honolulu
#9 On the Beach Hotel in Honolulu
#9 Romantic Hotel in Honolulu
#11 Luxury Hotel in Honolulu
#16 Family Hotel in Honolulu
#18 Business Hotel in Honolulu
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
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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