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“Marginal service, great location”

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Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa
Ranked #23 of 84 Hotels in Honolulu
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
Reviewed December 11, 2012

First off- this is a wonderful location if you want to get into the beat of Waikiki. Beyond that, much of the experience was tarnished by some unpleasant staff members. This was our fifth trip to the hotel. Previous visits have all been excellent, however, this visit left much to be desired.

Sometime in the past 2 years, Westin determined this property is now a resort and now charges $25 a day for benefits that include Internet and bottled water, along with a pool that has always been there and a beach that has been there even longer..... Interestingly, I used to get bottled water and Internet service for free due to a status level with Starwood program. The point- there were no improvements to make this hotel "a resort"- they just did it to get more revenue per room, per day.

The pool- there are roughly 100 chaise lounges around the pool area and a few scattered tables. Get there around 7:00 AM to 'reserve' your space with a towel. If you don't occupy by 8:00 AM, you lose your spot. We followed these rules but also discovered there are 'hidden rules' that apply to special customers. 10-12 choice spaces are reserved for "10 year" customers we were told. The pool staff closes these off to other guests by reserving them before the 7:00 AM. We watched one table and four chaise lounges sit empty for 5 hours. Other hotel guests that paid $25/day had to sit on the beach or pay $50 for an umbrella (not included in the resort fee). So- not every guest is treated the same. Also- the one-hour time-frame seems to be completely ignored by pool staff and chairs sit empty for hours after guests abandon them and no one gets to use them.

Non-paying guests. We watched with humor as two guys staying at their own condo would waltz in every day like they owned the place, setting up their beach chairs just outside the ropes of the 'umbrella area'. When they needed water, they moseyed up to the towel service counter, got their water, chatted with the staff, then would casually wander over to the restroom, eventually making their way into the pool. This happened every day we were there (6 days). They did utilize the restaurant so perhaps that makes them 'resort guests'.

Pool service- slow and with attitude. I asked on lady for a few drinks and she tartly replied "I am not your pool server". "Who is?", I asked. "She's around here somewhere" and she walked off. Finally, we got the attention of our server (I had to track her down), and after about 20 minutes the drinks arrived, where she promptly asks "cash or credit", as we're sitting there as "resort guests" in our bathing suits. "How about a room charge?", I had to ask.

Desk clerks- it's apparent looking at this group of people that the recent changes have taken there toll. Somehow they have to manage to sell the 'resort' fee with a smile, which is apparently not something they can do. In previous visits, a lei and a fresh iced beverage were brought to each guest in line. No more.

The rooms- we saw four different rooms during our 7-night stay.

Let's start with Banyan Wing- if you are on the street side, well, you look at the street. If you happen to get the Banyan tree side, there are no decks so it's just a window with plantation shades. These rooms are very small and wouldn't accommodate more than two people for a short visit. There used to be suites but Japanese travel companies have consumed one or two of them.

City View Tower with miniscule ocean view- if you are higher up, you get a good view of the mountains and the city streets. It does get quite loud, especially early in the morning when the garbage trucks are operating. If you must be on the City view side, try to get a room number 85 or above. You will be looking directly at the Outrigger next door, a quasi-decent beach view and the noise is lessened from the city streets.

Ocean View Tower- Good stuff here- Great views of the beach and Diamond Head, minimal street noise. If you are below level 7, try to get numbers 78 and higher so you won't be looking directly at the Banyan wing wall or roof. Floors 9 and higher all have decent views so you'll just have to deal with more noise the closer to the street you are.

There aren't many ocean view suites but if you're fortunate to get one, these are the best.

The decor of all the rooms are in need of an update. The carpets are dirty and furniture is worn.

Needless to say, it wasn't our favorite hotel and certainly didn't live up to it's hype or perceived value. Previous visits will have to do with regard to memories because this last one was one to forget.

Something has gone awry with the management of this property. The attitude of the several front-line staff we encountered was lousy and we really felt like they couldn't care less if we were there or not. "If you have a problem, talk to the manager", I heard them tell other guests more than once while at this hotel.

I've read other recent reviews and it's obvious the management knows they have a problem. I won't be contacting them directly however. They should be fixing them and it's apparent they aren't. We're left with with less than good things to say. Yes- in real estate it's location, location, location but in hospitality it's the service that counts. This hotel needs a service makeover.

Room Tip: Avoid city view at all costs. There is no reason to stay here for the price if you have a city view...
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  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank Kitalexi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,691 - 2,697 of 5,233 reviews

Reviewed December 10, 2012

It was a short weekend visit to Honolulu. It was my second time to Hawaii this year. Stayed at this wonderful resort for two nights. Got a $25 food voucher and upgraded to a partial ocean view room as being a SPG Gold. The hotel was a little bit pricey, but you did get what you pay for. Great location on Waikiki Beach. Must try the breakfast at Veranda at the Beachhouse. It was so great to see all Starwood Resorts in Hawaii have hospitality rooms you can use after check-out. I will definitely return!

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled solo
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Thank xavierkuai
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 9, 2012

My wife and I stayed at this hotel for a quick one week vacation in the sun. We had read a few of the comments from others about the traffic of weddings coming through the lobby. The Moana Surfrider is the first of the luxury hotels ever built in Hawaii and has a history that draws people there. Be sure to take the historical tour. It is a romantic place for sure and we had a great time, the service was excellent. The food was outstanding as well.

Room Tip: The ocean view really is spectacular.
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  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Rhonda P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 9, 2012

A grand hotel with a lot of interesting history, but room location is very important. We stayed in the Diamond wing on an upper floor with a fabulous ocean front view; however, the walls are thin and the bathroom is a deal-breaker for further stays in this part of the hotel. It is a bit difficult to explain, but suffice if to say that I needed to be a contortionist to brush my teeth without banging my head on an ill-placed shelf. Also, make sure there are no large evening celebrations scheduled on the terrace below or you might as well go join in for the sound in the room. Don't get me wrong, this is a most enjoyable hotel and would definitely stay again, just elsewhere on the property. With one exception, I found the staff to have an aloha spirit and a big plus was seeing a Brothers Cazimero hula dancer working the front desk.

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled with friends
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Thank bin2oz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 8, 2012

Everything is pricey, but save your money its worth the trip. Everyone is nice and friendly you just need to relax and be in the" Aloha Spirit ". The Beach Bar is social and friendly just find seats early it packs quick. The outstanding bartenders are Craig,Harry and Peter although they were all nice and friendly. So, when you go there give them a big "ALOHA" for Terry and Amy from R.I. and have a great time. Thankyou Guys!!! a hui ho'u aloha

Room Tip: avoid Historic Waikiki view its noisey on street side. We changed rooms
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  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank uteryfied
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 8, 2012

This hotel is pricey but it can be worth it. I say can because you need to select your room before you go. We stayed in the banyan wing which is the older part right above the restaurant so we were woken up by the sounds of dishes and silverware.

I enjoyed the hotel overall and I found the staff friendly and helpful. Check-in was easy and it's nice to sit in the rocking chairs out front and people watch. Yes, it's expensive but compared to other hotels in the area the Surfrider is a little nicer.

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank jeffcat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 7, 2012

This hotel treats their guests with disrespect, don't waste your hard earned vacation dollars and time here, it isn't worth it. The staff is full of sorry's, and not sincere sorry's, more like "sorry you feel the way you do," and are not really interested in doing the right thing even when they know that they've given you bad service.... A hotel is really only as good as its staff and this one is a big failure......It's really sad to see such a beautiful hotel be run with arrogance like this one is....

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with friends
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3  Thank Stan G
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
#9 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: $321 - $606 (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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