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“The best value, best location on Waikiki”

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Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort
Ranked #14 of 84 Hotels in Honolulu
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
Reviewed October 6, 2012

We just spent a week in Honolulu in late September 2012. (My husband, 2 teen boys and I). We've stayed before, 18 years ago on our honeymoon, and loved it then. We loved it this time too. Honolulu was around 28 degrees C at this time of year, and a bit humid. We thought the temp was very warm, but not uncomfortable.

First glance at this hotel from the street is a bit unimposing. But view it from the beach side and you'll see why it gets it's rave reviews. An attractive and well presented hotel on the inside, with nice foyer, restaurants and amenities doesn't disappoint. Read on for details:

After a long night flight from Sydney to Honolulu we were tired, arriving about midday. Our one minor complaint was that the room was not yet ready, and wasn't for another 1.5 hours. However, we had splurged on an ocean front 1brm suite. It was on the 8th floor. Wow. And Wow again. It was absolutely unbelievable. A beautiful view of Diamond Head, the whole of Waikiki beach, and wonderful sunsets from 3 lanai's (decks) greeted us every day. It was expensive, (for us) but worth it. If you are contemplating a room with a view, I would definitely recommend one of the ocean front rooms, ocean view at least. They're lovely.

PROS:

LOCATION: Right on Waikiki beach, but not in the main crazy hubub. The location of this hotel is simply unsurpassable. It sits on a jutting out point, situated between the Army Museum and Waikiki Shore Apartments on one side, and the Halekulani Hotel and Sheraton Waikiki on the other (closer to Diamond Head). The beauty of this position is it's unparalleled view of Diamond Head as it juts out from the point, it's situation on a main road Kalia Road, and also main shopping streets, The Beachwalk and Lewers Street, and closeness to shopping mecca Kalakaua Ave. The main section of Waikiki Beach and main street is only 5 mins walk away.
But the best reason? It is right on the beach, not just near the beach. It is Right On The Beach. Not separated by a road, or a park or shops. It literally pours onto the sand. It's Shorebird Beach Restaurant is ON the sand. Wow. For me, that's a no brainer.

ROOMS: It’s a great idea to look on the Outrigger Reef's website to see the coloured chart of where certain room types are. I've seen many reviews that were dissatisfied with rooms that did not live up to expectations, when the graph clearly shows where the room type is. We looked at the graph and chose our room type based on this.
The rooms are all well appointed, beautifully clean and amazingly situated for views (if ocean front or view). We were on the 8th floor in the ocean tower,which was great. The suites have 2 joined rooms, and a sofa bed in the second room. I wish the Outrigger did rollaways, but they don't. The decoration of the rooms is modern tropical. Simple and clean. The curtains and floors were lovely and clean. The view was staggering. You can sit on your lanai and watch for hours, people swimming, walking, eating, boats, sunsets, lights, Diamond Head, ...its just wonderful. At night it's lovely too, lights and beach. I would say this view made our stay at the Reef just perfect. The rooms were spacious and comfortable.
The bathroom even had a spa bath. They give you lots of toiletries which is lovely.
There's a coffee machine with REAL coffee that makes lovely cups. However, if you're a tea lover there's no kettle. There's tea, but no kettle, and no milk. (Just creamer powder).
They have the BEST beds I have ever slept in, with the BEST pillows. I thought I'd never top the Shangri La Fijian Resort for beds, but the beds at this Outrigger are wonderful. I slept like a log. They’re heavenly.
The Air Con works great, and easy to manage. The curtains are great and blackout for a good sleep. We had NO problem with any noise at all, not from the ground, not from the floor, ceiling or outside the room. I love the deck furniture so you can have a drink on the deck and admire the view, whichever view you end up with.

HOUSEKEEPING is great. The rooms were so clean, and nothing was broken or not working. The bathrooms (there were 2) were sparkling. If you're Australian, the tipping is a bit tricky, but we left $5 a day for housekeeping, as I'd read it was the thing to do. I'm sure you would get excellent service anyway. I just had to ring for extra pillows & towels, they probably should have known how many guests were accommodating the room, not enough for 4 people.

STAFF: I can’t fault the staff. All staff, from front desk to concierge, pool guy, to valets and bellboys. They were all great. Of course you have to find a few bob to tip some staff, I suggest you Google tipping in Hawaii before you go, and make a little purse list like I did. It was so much easier. I felt the front desk staff were extra helpful, they did more than just check in and out, they answered a lot of our questions. We were too ‘scared’ to go to the concierge desks after being ‘lectured’ to about time shares (see later in ‘cons’.) Note to Outrigger Reef: give the timeshare people the flick. Its annoying.

SHOPS: There are lovely shops in the foyer of the Outrigger Reef, a lot to look at and while not all cheap they are beautiful quality. The hotel is also situated so close to many other great areas to shop, you’ll find it hard to go past them. Lewers Rd and the Beachwalk are in the immediate vicinity. The Beachwalk is a street full of posh shops and ritzy restaurants that was partially funded by the Outrigger group.
ABC shops are a mecca for travelers as they have everything from milk to medicine, alcohol to souvenirs, clothes, postcards, pool toys and sandwiches. There is an ABC shop on every corner, and one just up Lewes Rd from Denny’s diner, about 2 mins from the hotel.

FOOD AND RESTAURANTS: The ShoreBird Restaurant sits on the ground floor, and spills onto the beach. It’s wonderful and atmospheric. It looks over this sandy section of Waikiki beach and serves wonderful casual drinks and food, from hamburgers and beer to something a bit more posh like sushi and cocktails. It was great value. They have $3.50? Mai Tai’s at their happy hour, but I forget the time. The drink was just ok, I preferred the regular drinks which may have been mixed a bit more generously. Another Outrigger restaurant is the Kani Ka Pila Grille that has more expensive and a bit more complicated food. Nicely placed around a waterfall and the pool, and very nice music at night. The food is not as kid friendly as the Shorebird, but still welcoming to families. We never went to the Ocean Restaurant which is the really posh one. Surrounding the Outrigger Reef is every type of restaurant you could imagine and in the immediate vicinity is Roy’s, a superb restaurant, and Denny’s Diner just across and down a bit…a fabulous place for breakfast, very family friendly and casual food all day and all night. Only minutes away from a myriad of other food choices.

POOL & BEACH: We found the pool a bit disappointing – not the location, but the style. I think it’s just that it’s a dark colour (dark blue looks so cold and uninviting) and surrounded by building (there’s no where else it could go really). So it’s not the nicely landscaped pool you would find in some resorts, though they’ve done their best with the small space they have. I would suggest some cabanas, umbrellas and more pretty greenery around there would make a huge difference. It felt either too hot, or too cold, depending on the time of day, and not really a relaxing place.
In Fiji I have enjoyed pool bar staff coming around asking if I wanted a drink, I suggest this is also something the Outrigger Reef could do. The Outrigger on the Lagoon in Fiji does it beautifully, and make a mint out of it!! (lol…I can’t resist a cocktail).
The Beach out the front, however, is fantastic. Nice amount of sand outside where some parts of Waikiki are very sand-sparse. Under the water the bottom is a bit rocky in some places and kids said you had to be a bit careful, but they got used to it and it wasn’t dangerous. The surf was small and gently rolling. Great for little floats and li-los. You can buy $3-4 float toys at the ABC stores, they’re heaps of fun in the ocean even for Big Kids. Just up the beach under the Waikiki shore is a small arcade where they sell shaved ice and zillions of other things. That’s a great beach treat. It’s hot, the sun is strong, even for us Sydneysiders, so take lots of sunscreen. I saw lots of lobsterized people!!

ACTIVITIES: The activities desk can organize anything you want, but I suggest you do it online before you go. There is a hotel shuttle though, that for a small price (like $14 a person to Pearl Harbour) can take you to the main attractions. It goes at certain times and meets you again at certain times. Very handy, and felt more confident doing this than the cheaper public bus.

CONS:
I don't like the current hotel trend providing only accommodation for 3 in the room, or just 2 beds. Most room types at the Outrigger Reef have either a King bed and a sofa bed, or two double beds. My children prefer a bed each. I have big men in my family and tall sons. It’s not convenient to have them sleeping together. The Outrigger Reef does not do rollaway beds.

The room wasn’t ready when we arrived. I guess checkout is 10.00 am. So why wasn’t the room ready by 12.00pm? We were so tired, and to have to wait another 1.5hrs was tough. Lucky the room made up for it. I think they should make check in’s a priority.

Tea. This was tricky for us, we love to drink tea. But the tea tasted like coffee as the hot water came out of the coffee machine through the same plastic spout as the coffee would. I never tried asking for a kettle. Probably should have. But I wonder how they thought we would make the tea?? Note to Outrigger Reef: A lot of Australians (and English) like to drink tea. You even supply teabags. You need clean boiling water to make tea, not water through a coffee machine.
You can buy milk at the ABC store, but can’t do anything about the hot water.

Beach chairs hire: Don’t start me. The beach recliners, umbrellas etc, are all for hire, for a ridiculous amount of money (something like $30 an hour). Not sure if they belong to the Outrigger or whether it’s just a business attached to the same area. It would be wonderful if the Outrigger offered their guests 1 hour per room of a double cabana hire on the beachfront.

Internet: It took us AGES to get the internet up and running without very good instructions. It did work but was not fast or easy.

TIME SHARE: Don’t get sucked in by the annoying Concierge/Activities people who try to get you to go to a presentation for time share property. Every time we approached the desk they started again. They tell you that you can have a free Shorebird breakfast, and other various benefits, but not that you have to go to the meeting first, they keep that bit of news until last. Let me tell you Outrigger, these kinds of spiels that treat your valued guests like suckers don’t go over very well. Not with Aussies anyway. After listening to the concierge or activities guy I started to figure something was ‘wrong’ when my questions weren’t being answered. A bit too cheesy? I thought. So when I still couldn’t get an answer I asked him straight out, ‘are you trying to sell something?’. Yep, Timeshare. I was annoyed. I gave back all the dockets and freebies, and left. I didn’t spend $1000s to come to Honolulu to waste on going to a meeting. It was the Sucker Spiel that annoyed me the most. I was too intimidated to go back to any of the activities desks after 3 goes. Outrigger – this stuff does nothing to enhance your guests’ experience.

Finally, we thought most all Ocean front accommodation in Waikiki was expensive, but the Outrigger Reef deserves every one of it’s stars and more. It was not cheap, but not outrageous as some are, and provides many choices of room. The rooms are great, the amenities are wonderful, it’s close to the fun, being only 5 mins walk from main Waikiki. The beach front location is it’s main attraction as is it’s wonderful views from ocean rooms. The beds are divine, the shops are nice, the food is great and staff excellent. We’d stay again, at the Outrigger Reef, in an instant! We loved it.

Room Tip: The Ocean Front Suite is a real treat if you can afford it.
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  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled with family
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12  Thank jenny2222
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed October 5, 2012

Outrigger Reef on the Beach wasn't anything spectacular. The room wasn't that spacious and wasn't too well cleaned -- if you looked hard enough at the inside of the toilet, it wasn't really cleaned that properly! While we did have a balcony, it really just looked into the courtyard / pool area inside the mini resort. A lot of families stayed there so perhaps a bit more suitable for small families. Parking is overpriced at $30 a night for the valet parking. You can just do a quick Google search for parking garages nearby (I found one on Seaside Avenue that was $9 for every 10 hours) and dinner places often provide validated parking that turn out to be either very cheap or free. The only benefit was that this was convenient, including having a Starbucks on the ground floor helped us to get moving in the morning. It's also right in the middle of Waikiki beach so expect it to be very touristy and have bigger crowds.

Room Tip: Definitely ask for a higher room if you end up coming here and make sure that you have a balcony roo...
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  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank gtsjyq
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 5, 2012

We spent 2 nights here in an ocean view room. We found it to be clean and comfortable. Great location to walk around. Pool and beach area are nice. Restaurants on property were great and good prices for this area.

Room Tip: Ocean view was great...loved our deck.
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  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled solo
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4  Thank LiseD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 5, 2012

I stayed at the Outrigger Reef for one night during a business trip. My room was extremely spacious with updated countertops and shower. The furniture was a little outdated and worn. The staff was friendly and courteous, and I was able to take advantage of the poolside towel service as well as the spa. The pool area is large and perfectly manicured. The lobby is large and partially outdoors. I loved the fact there was a full service Starbucks on property too. I had a fantastic breakfast at the poolside bar, which was on the expensive side, but then it was a hotel restaurant on the beach. I'm planning a family vacation to Hawaii for next November and there is no question that I'll be bringing the family to the Outrigger

Stayed: October 2012, traveled on business
4  Thank Thomas G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 5, 2012

An pleasant enough stay with a very clean, comfortable room. A few things disappointed us...we noticed a leaflet in the room advertising a fixed price breakfast but on taking that down to the hotel restaurant they abruptly said "it's out of date" and the price was a few dollars extra. We politely questioned that (more the principle than the price) and asked them to honour their advertising; they would not...so we unhappily agreed to higher price & asked for a table & told them our Room number, they then asked for photo ID. We didn't expect we'd need that as we'd had dinner at their hotel on the street the night before and they didn't ask for ID. So...inconsistent policy here and/or the waitress at the door in the morning just decided to be unpleasant because we commented on them not honouring the advertising which was left in our room by their staff. We attempted to tell the Concierge about this problem and also ask them a few other questions about the area but they were constantly busy. Perhaps another Concierge is needed for a hotel this size - really huge with quite a small pool. It was a hot day and the pool was crowded with kids, making it impossible to do laps like I usually do at similar hotels. The beach nearby was quite nice - sand fairly white and beach upkeep looked good. So disappointed we chose this hotel but partly our mistake as we should have done more research. For that reason we increased our rating to "average" and in the light of the problems as well.

Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
2  Thank NotMolly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 5, 2012 via mobile

We have stayed here a couple of times. The hotel has been renovated since our last stay, the rooms are lovely and the beds are comfortable which is really important to me. Sometimes I have had to resort to buying inflatable mattress to get some sleep but not here. The restaurants on site are very good. The hotel is in a great location and the beach is fantastic. This is a hotel I will come back to.There was only one thing and it is nit picking, each day we had to walk down through the shops to get outside and being accosted each time by girls from Ono cosmetics was not welcome one girl was down right rude when I said no thank you when she tried to give me a sample, I hope the hotel deals with this as its annoying.

  • Stayed: September 2012
    • Value
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5  Thank Brenda M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 4, 2012

We recently returned to the Outrigger Reef in September having stayed 15 months prior. We stayed for 12 days in a one bedroom suite. The suites are great because they offer extra space, small fridge, sink, table etc plus a fold out sofa bed for our 4 year old. The rooms are so clean and the housekeeping staff are REALLY polite and friendly. Our housekeeper gave my daughter a gift on our departure which was very kind. This is a also a great hotel because of it's relaxed/casual atmosphere and is terrific for kids for that reason. The hotel is very well located in the 'nicer'/ not so busy end of Waikiki and there are some terrific restaurants in very close proximity to the hotel including PF Changs, Roy's plus many more.The direct beach access is fantastic. Breakfast in the Ocean House is really nice, healthy, fresh food prepared to your order. Lunch by the pool is
good especially the salads and burgers! Great to see so many familiar faces of the staff. This hotel is small enough not to feel like a small city which is what some of the other hotels feel like.

Room Tip: Get a City view suite and ask for a high floor. Save your money to shop!
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  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled with family
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6  Thank Angela G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort

Address: 2169 Kalia Rd., Honolulu, Oahu, HI 96815-1936
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Hawaii > Oahu > Honolulu
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#6 Spa Hotel in Honolulu
#6 On the Beach Hotel in Honolulu
#6 Romantic Hotel in Honolulu
#7 Business Hotel in Honolulu
#8 Family Hotel in Honolulu
#8 Luxury Hotel in Honolulu
Price Range: $253 - $451 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort 4*
Number of rooms: 639
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Also Known As:
Outrigger Reef On The Beach Hotel Honolulu
Outrigger Hotel Honolulu
Outrigger Reef Beach
Outrigger Honolulu
Honolulu Outrigger
Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort Hawaii/Honolulu

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