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“Nice Hotel - Crowded Setting”

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Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa
Ranked #23 of 84 Hotels in Honolulu
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
Reviewed November 16, 2012

First off, let me say that our bed was the most comfortable bed the wife and I have ever slept in. Without a doubt. Period.

We stayed in room 232 and had heard that these 'city-facing' rooms could make sleeping at night an issue due to the street noise. We were overlooking the front of the hotel, right where everyone pulls up and walks by. But we slept like babies every night. Some of that could be attributed to the fact that we had very busy days, and to the fact that someone had left their sound machine in our room, but still, we are fairly light sleepers and got a good night's sleep every night.

The room was nicely appointed and small, but larger than we anticipated with a king-size bed, sitting area consisting of a bench, armoire, small bathroom with decent-sized glass shower, entertainment center, small desk, etc. Was enough room to move around comfortably, but not a place to spend a lot of leisure time.

Staff was helpful, but not plentiful, and were often catering to the MANY weddings being held by Asian brides. From our room, we could go directly downstairs to the lobby area, but were often walking right into a photo session of a bride and groom being photographed.

We expected the hotel to be less crowded during late October, but it was not. Fairly filled and fairly busy. We were happy to spend most of day away from the hotel itself as there really isn't much to do there.

Pool was clean and available during off hours. Beach access is plentiful, but hotel-reserved beach area is practically non-existent. Fortunately, Waikiki this time of year has plenty of open beach to move about. We jumped in the ocean at 7am and had the area pretty much to ourselves.

We did not dine much at the MS, but did dine at the Beachhouse and had an excellent meal (had a thai pepper whole snapper). We were a bit disappointed when after reserving their "best" sunset table months before, were relegated to their "second" best. Not really much of a difference, but not sure how far out you have to actually ask for that table. Service was good, food was pricey, atmosphere was very pretty, but also felt like you were an extension of the noisy beach bar area which sat adjacent.

Hotel took care of us adequately for our honeymoon with room treats and complementary dessert at dinner. Thanks!

Minor issue with valet parking being charged twice which was resolved, albeit after a call which lasted longer than it should have. Self-parking is "across the street" (not really) at their sister hotel. Give yourself an extra 5-10 minutes to get to/from your car each day. Parking is part of the resort fee, as is the adequate wireless internet service.

Overall, a decent stay at a historic hotel. But considering how much time we spent away from the hotel, we'd choose a less refined hotel and save some money next time.

Recommended.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank NHAnimator
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MoanaSurfriderTeam, Guest Experienced Team at Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded November 23, 2012

Aloha,
Mahalo for being our guest and sharing your experience with us. Congratulations on your new life together as a married couple! So pleased to know you’ve enjoyed the treats provided in celebration of your honeymoon. We are also happy to hear you enjoyed our signature Heavenly beds and received a restful sleep each evening. The beachhouse at the moana is a popular dining option for our guests, as well as those visiting Waikiki. We’re disappointed to hear of the issue’s you’ve experienced with both our valet and wedding photographers. Your review has been shared with our management staff so that we may continue to improve the experience for each of our guests. If you’d like to discuss your stay further, please contact 374guestexperienceteam@westin.com. We hope to welcome you back to the Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa for your next trip to Hawai’i.
Mahalo!

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Reviewed November 15, 2012

We are staying here for our honeymoon. I booked an oceanfront room...which is vey small but the views are beautiful. The decor is meh, but the bed is very comfortable. My major complaint is the service. It has been horrible. We sat at the pool for 1 hour and no one came to ask if we would like to order food/drinks. We decided to just go sit at a table at the beach bar so we could get some refreshments. We sat there for 30 minutes, and my husband finally had to just flag down a waitress so that we could order. Her response..."I'm not your server but I'll see if I can find her". After our drinks came no one checked on us for over an hour. The waitress finally came back...not to see if we needed anything but to tell us she needed to settle our bill because she was being cut. I've had better service from a fast food restaurant. It hasn't gotten any better either. Our room wasn't made up until after 3pm. Don't stay here, it's not worth it.

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank poolegrl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MoanaSurfriderTeam, Guest Experienced Team at Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded November 23, 2012

Aloha,
Thank you for your review. We’re glad to hear that you have loved the breathtaking views. It is regrettable to hear of your concerns pertaining to the service provided while dining at the Beach Bar. Our Beach Bar and Guest Services managers have advised our office that messages were left for you so that we could follow-up immediately. Should you wish to reach out to us, please do so via e-mail 374guestexperienceteam@westin.com. Our main goal is to exceed the expectations of each guest. We do apologize that this was not the case during your visit. We value our guests’ feedback as this allows us the opportunity to continue to improve our services. Thank you again for your comment and we look forward to inviting you back to the Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa for your next vacation.
Mahalo!

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Reviewed November 14, 2012

My husband and I were there November 5-10. Our arrival was perfect, we received lei's, there was water and tea to accommodate us. The feel of Hawaii was definitely in everyone that helped us.
The first 3 nights we stayed in the Diamond Wing Oceanfront room, it was lovely! Then 2 nights we switched to the Tower Partial Ocean room, We really enjoyed this room, it was spacious and loved the scenery!
The breakfast was to die for! The food was fabulous and drinks at the beach bar was delish! I can't wait to go back! The beds were truly heavenly! Thanks for a great stay!

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Barbara D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MoanaSurfriderTeam, Guest Experienced Team at Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded November 23, 2012

Aloha Barbara,
Mahalo for your review. We’re delighted to hear you had such a “great” stay! From our lei greeting to our heavenly beds and amazing dining options, it’s hard not to enjoy your stay at the Moana Surfrider. We hope to welcome you back to the “First Lady of Waikiki” on your next visit to Hawai’i.
Mahalo!

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Reviewed November 13, 2012

We stayed at this hotel for 10 nights, overall very pleased, but it didn't start off too well.
Upon check-in, we were given a city view room, which is what we booked. Do not book a city view room because they are loud (historic building, old windows), we thought the windows were open but they were closed, and the street noise was unbearable for us. No bathtub, and no dresser. We were a family of 4 and these are necessities! I tried changing rooms that night but was told nothing was available. After insisting I get a new room, they put us in a smaller room with one queen and told us they would bring in a twin bed. The room was so small, there was no way this was going to happen. Back to the desk, nothing else available, back to the original room. They told us they would try to get us a new room the next morning.
I went back the next morning at 7am and asked someone else for a room change. He was very helpful, worked a few things out and upgraded us to a partial ocean view. When we moved rooms, it was clear that this room was available the night before but the original attendant couldn't do the upgrade (even after I offered to pay more for an upgraded room!). After this, the stay was wonderful. Housekeeping were great, I suggest when you see them in the mornings, let them know your room is ready or else your room may not get done until the afternoon. I fond leaving them a nice tip each morning helps with the service as well. My wife was not feeling well one morning so I asked them to clean the room while we were at breakfast so that she could rest in the room uninterrupted. When we came back there was a little gift bag with fresh fruit, and misc items and a 'get well' card! Poolside attendants were also friendly and helpful. I also like to give them the occasional tip as they were fun and went beyond their jobs to help us. Valet did take about 15-20 minutes in the evening so I suggest calling them early to get your car. Kudos to the following staff that made our stay wonderful: Bellman Chris, Front Desk Keoli (sp?), our housekeeping staff (8th floor tower), the guys poolside.
The pool is more geared to adults, we spent more time at the Sheraton pool as our friends were staying there. Overall a nice hotel but I think geared more towards adults rather than families with young kids.

Room Tip: Don't book a city view room in the Banyan Wing) unless you are okay with street noise (buses, st...
See more room tips
  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank itrvl4work
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MoanaSurfriderTeam, Guest Experienced Team at Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded November 23, 2012

Aloha,
Mahalo for taking the time to share your experience with us. We apologize that your booked category did not meet your needs, but am very happy to hear that Keola at the Front Desk was able to arrange a room move the next morning. Here at the Moana Surfrider, we strive to ensure we provide services and amenities that will be of interest to many of our guests. We are glad to hear that you enjoyed the service from our Housekeeping staff. Our housekeeping associates are true examples of the spirit of aloha found here at the Moana. If I may, we do have hula lessons, lei making and ukulele lessons that may be of interest to our younger guests. In addition, we offer keiki (children) menus at the beachhouse at the moana as well. We are also currently reviewing summer programming, so stay tuned. Please send an e-mail to 374guestexperienceteam@westin.com to inform us of your next stay so we can personally help set-up a few activities for you and your family on your next visit to the Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa.
Mahalo!

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Reviewed November 9, 2012 via mobile

I love this restored hotel. The lobby kept its old world Hawaiian feel and banyan tree. Tower rooms have generic Westin decor but are huge, all have balcony and are quiet. The old wing is restored and rooms are decorated in traditional Hawaiian style but rooms are small and so is bathroom. So that's the trade off.

The hotel was full which is unusual for Nov so common area was busier than normal. All the service staff was helpful, only complaint is durin off hours, front desk may only have one person, so the line can be 3 people deep and 5+ mins wait for a spare key.

I know many complain about the resort fee, but I park, use the Internet, drink the 2 bottles of water, make calls and took the free yoga class. So I felt like I got my $26 value, and I appreciate the staff there.

The one item of note is the pool here is very small, so it's really the beach for swimming which is right there.

Anothe enjoyable stay at the Moana Surfrider.

  • Stayed: November 2012
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Thank Luvtosafari
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MoanaSurfriderTeam, Guest Experience Team at Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded November 20, 2012

Aloha,
Mahalo for taking the time to share your experience with us. Yes, we have been experiencing extremely high occupancies since summer, which has continued into the fall. We are so pleased that the Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa is such a favorite of many of our guests. Thank you for your comment pertaining to our Front Desk. Our staffing is based on the day’s arrivals and departures of the day, and when needed, our Guest Services Manager will assist when needed. Your comments nonetheless have been shared with our Director of Front Office to see how this process might be improved. We are also glad to hear that you have found the Resort Charge to be of value, so many of our guests do. So, Mahalo again for being our guest, and taking the time to share you valuable comments with us. It is appreciated.
Mahalo!

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Reviewed November 7, 2012

The Good:

A grand old hotel on Waikiki Beach. What more can you say?

The common spaces in this hotel are everything you expect from an historic property like this. It's decorated in style and built to impress. It's just a gorgeous place to be. Breakfast on the veranda looking out over the Pacific is one of those things you won't forget.

The Beach area is shallow and sometimes crowded, but it's clean and safe with the gentle waves Waikiki is known for. It's great for a swim, a soak in the sun, or for a little beginner's-level surfing or boarding. The hotel sits in a major shopping area with up-scale shops and restaurants within easy walk. The Honolulu Zoo is just down the street and on Hawai'i there's no attraction that isn't within a reasonable drive. A quick taxi ride will get you to the arts and nightlife centers in the city.

At breakfast you'll find an ample buffet serving American, Japanese, and Korean selections. Internet service is fast and reliable and is included in a $25 per day resort fee that also gets you other perks like free parking at the Sheraton just across the street (valet at the hotel itself adds $15 per day to that charge). Late check-outs are discouraged and the hotel charges for them, but they do have two nicely appointed "hospitality" rooms available where guests can shower and relax for a bit after checking out. If you've got a late flight out of Honolulu you can still get in a full day out and then grab a shower before the plane. SPG members should note that this is a "resort" property so the late check-out privileges don't apply here.

With one exception (see below), the service is magnificent. The cleaning staff goes out of their way to make sure your room is dressed and perfect every day. They greet you with a smile as you pass them in the halls and never fail to ask whether you need extra towels or supplies. The restaurant staff is busy, but friendly and efficient. The desk and concierge are all smiles.

This property is an equally magnificent choice for a stress-free romantic get-a-way or a leisure-filled week on the island. We've been here numerous times and will surely be coming back.

The Bad -

Of course, no hotel is perfect.

The rooms here are small (they describe them as "cozy"). The baths are particularly tiny with many rooms having only a shower with no tub. Think "European Size". The suites are spacious and have magical views and whirlpool baths, but the standard rooms start to feel a little tight once you're in them more than a couple of days. Rooms in the "historic" wings, Banyan and Diamond, have high ceilings, traditional windows, and are unbearably romantic once you squeeze yourself and all of your luggage into them. There's definitely a trade-off between romance and space. Rooms in the Tower Wing are much more modern, include lanais, and have higher, better views but they lack the panache of the historic parts of the hotel.

Others here have commented on odors from the plumbing in the historic wings. We've experienced that too. For us it's not a big deal as it wasn't that strong and we've been through it at other "historic" properties with "historic" plumbing. It is sometimes noticeable though.

The beds here are also not up the Westin standard. The mattresses are not pillow top. The linens are poly/cotton blends. It's not a Motel 6 bed, but it's also not a Heavenly Bed in any sense and it's not as comfortable as you would expect at a Westin.

The pool area also leaves you a bit wanting. It's very small, has no real lounging space around it, and there's no hot tub (although there is apparently one available inside at the spa). Guests outnumber pool chairs by about 50-to-1 so you'll need to get there early in the morning if you want a place to sit. They do offer daily rentals of beach umbrellas for $50, but we felt that was a lot to ask just to have a shady place to sit on a public beach.

The biggest down-side, though, is easily the CONSTANT live music in the courtyard. My wife and I actually like Hawaiian music but having to listen to it almost non-stop every day from noon until 9PM is just too much. On this last trip we were in a room in the Diamond wing facing the courtyard and we literally felt like there was a band staying in the room with us. It's music, music, music all the time. And don't even think about heading to the otherwise beautiful courtyard for a relaxing read or cool drink under the historic banyan tree. You'll be down there no more than five minutes before the music will make your head explode. I heard constant complaints from numerous guests about this. I don't understand how management can't get the clue about it. The only escape is a room in the Tower wing on a high enough floor that the music doesn't reach it or a room in one of the historic wings that face away from the ocean (and therefore have no view). Something really needs to be done on this one.

The Ugly -

As others have commented, check-in at this property is ATROCIOUS (and I would underline and put that word in bold if this site would let me). The staff is actually wonderful and they work like champions. The problem is that there's not nearly enough of them for a property of this type and size. It's rare that you'll see more than two people at the front desk. I once saw three, but that was only one time during a heavy check-in period. The desk agents quickly get swamped and there's a constant line at the desk all hours of the day and night. We've never gotten through check-in without waiting for at least fifteen minutes - and we're SPG Lifetime Platinums who get to use the express line! This has been a problem for this property for several years now and they just don't seem interested in fixing it. It's really a huge complaint too. You've just gotten off a multi-hour flight into Honolulu and the last thing you need is to stand around for another 30 minutes waiting for your room key. Management needs to step up on this one as well.

So overall the Surfrider is a flawed gem. It's a very, very nice place to stay, but there are just enough annoying problems to keep you from having a truly five-star time. The re-branding from a Sheraton to a Westin a few years ago should have solved some of the lingering issues but didn't. It's still not quite a full-fledged Westin when it comes to service and comfort. This property could really be a jewel in the crown but right now it's more of a precious metal. It's still a fine stay, but you have to wonder how great it could be with just a little more thought from the management.

Cheers,
Big.

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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10  Thank Big B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MoanaSurfriderTeam, Guest Experience Team at Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded November 20, 2012

Aloha Big,
Mahalo for being our guest and for taking the time to detail your stay with us. We are disappointed to hear of your feedback regarding our check-in process and thoughts on the Banyan Courtyard entertainment. We receive so many compliments about our daily entertainment, so am sorry that you had not enjoyed a similar experience. Your candid feedback is appreciated, and has been shared with our management staff so that we may review the current scheduling of our entertainment to see if there are adjustments in timing that could be made, while ensuring we continue to accommodate the wishes of as many of our guests as possible.
Our Guest Services Agents are scheduled on the amount of arrivals and departures per day and when required, are supported by our Guest Services Manager on duty. We have shared your thoughts with our Director of Front Office who will look further into the matter and will immediately begin to monitor the check-in process to see how we might improve on the timeliness.
Mahalo again for sharing your insight. It allows us to provide positive feedback to our associates and also to focus in on areas that may need a little more attention. If we can assist you further, please contact us at 374guestexperienceteam@westin.com We look forward to your visit.
Mahalo!

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Reviewed November 6, 2012

It's the historic grand dame of Waikiki and I'm glad I got a chance to stay here, but I'm not sure I would stay here again. The location is outstanding - smack dab in the center of everything, beachfront with convenience being a great asset. You are welcomed by the bell staff with a fresh lei. The common areas of the hotel are gorgeous. I love the entry, lobby, restaurant and small touches like the rocking chairs on the front porch. There are tons of weddings - mostly Japanese couples - getting married here. Just during the check in process I saw 4 different brides!

However I found some of the service lacking. As a Platinum SPG guest I was able to go to a designated line at check in, but as the first person it still took nearly 25 minutes to get checked in. When I inquired about an upgrade (SPG Platinums are supposed to get the best available room up to and including a standard suite) she at first told me they had nothing. I mentioned looking online on my phone and seeing many oceanfront options and suites. She seemed not to understand and kept saying she was trying to find me a view room. I was only here for 2 nights so when she put me in a partial ocean view room in the Tower Wing right next to the noisy elevator I just gave up. While I was checking in, the gentlemen in the line next to me being waited on by someone else was having equally challenging times and we commiserated together. The room itself was unremarkable, but I did appreciate having a small lanai. There is complimentary water, coffee, and robes as well as an in-room safe and plenty of towels.

The pool area is tiny, but we just grabbed towels and headed for the beach just steps away. The bar staff was nice, but remember you're on vacation when they present you with a bill for $25 for two drinks. Platinum guests get a continental breakfast (lots of fresh fruit, yogurt, small pastries and coffee/juice) and we just paid to add a side of bacon or ham to it and were plenty full. You can upgrade to the full buffet for $15 more, but seemed unnecessary unless you're a very big eater. The restaurant staff was pretty slow - it was also always very busy, but we weren't in a huge hurry on vacation.

This hotel does charge a resort fee - $25/day - but it can be a great value depending on your circumstances. Free internet for multiple devices, free self-parking and if you have kids under 12 they eat free all meals with a paying adult. As a Platinum guest without a car or kids it seemed a big cost for little to no value as internet is already complimentary for Platinums.

I wish the staff hospitality was warmer, but for the location it can't be beat. If I were staying in Waikiki longer I'd probably choose somewhere else.

Stayed: November 2012, traveled with friends
4  Thank OpEd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa

Address: 2365 Kalakaua Avenue, Honolulu, Oahu, HI 96815-5041
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Hawaii > Oahu > Honolulu > Waikiki
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#8 Top resorts Hotel in Honolulu
#8 Spa Hotel in Honolulu
#12 Luxury Hotel in Honolulu
#13 On the Beach Hotel in Honolulu
#18 Romantic Hotel in Honolulu
#22 Business Hotel in Honolulu
#31 Family Hotel in Honolulu
Price Range: $344 - $625 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa 4*
Number of rooms: 791
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Welcome to the Moana Surfrider, a Westin Resort & Spa, in Waikiki Beach on Oahu, HI. Visit Moana Lani Spa; or host a wedding on our rooftop terrace, or a meeting in our 10,000sq ft of event space. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Moana Surfrider, a Westin Resort And Spa
Moana Surfrider, a Westin Hotel Honolulu
Westin Moana Surfrider
Moana Surfrider Westin Resort
Westin Honolulu
Honolulu Westin
Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa Hawaii/Honolulu

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