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“The BEST hotel on Waikiki Beach” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Halekulani Hotel

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Halekulani Hotel
Ranked #7 of 84 Hotels in Honolulu
Certificate of Excellence
Perth, Australia
Level Contributor
7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“The BEST hotel on Waikiki Beach”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 5, 2012

This hotel has it all, best location, wonderful staff, gorgeous rooms, excellent restaurants and beautiful grounds !!
I have nothing more to say other than that I would not stay anywhere else !! It's really that simple !!

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
7 Thank kristym84
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,439 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (406)
Date | Rating
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San Francisco
Level Contributor
96 reviews
42 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 73 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 4, 2012

The location can not be beat and the staff make certain that everything is wonderful. It is set in a lovely position on Waikiki Beach within walking distance of just about anything that you might want. Each and every member of the hotel staff is so friendly and very helpful and added a lot of extra advice in places to go and things to eat.

Room Tip: Sunday brunch at Orchids is amazing but a reservation is required!
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Squirreletta1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kent
Level Contributor
81 reviews
36 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 65 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 30, 2012

My husband and I have just returned from an eight day stay in this amazing hotel. It really does deserve its title as a Leading Hotel of the World in every sense. It is set in a lovely position on Waikiki Beach.
Each and every member of the hotel staff is so friendly and very helpful. All give the impression that they want you to enjoy your experience of the hotel and are keen for you to return.
The rooms are spacious and the pastel furnishings give a very tranquil feeling. Bathrooms are the same - lovely shower plus a bath with a walk through wardrobe into the bedroom. Opt for a Diamond Head room which gives a stunning view over the volcano and the ocean.
Orchids Restaurant is a wonderful dining experience and the service is very attentive - it's also a good place for breakfast.
The House Without A Key serves a buffet style breakfast with plenty of choice but avoid the "rush" between eight thirty and nine! Lunch is also served here and at five thirty there is an evening show which lasts until eight thirty.
Can't praise this hotel enough and we intend to return.

Room Tip: Select a Diamond Head room for a stunning view
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank CollieDog58
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
8 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 27, 2012

I first encountered the Halekulani on a trip to Waikiki seven years ago. Like many others making the journey from one side of the main Waikiki beach to the other, I passed the Halekulani on the elevated walkway that borders the property. Looking in, the grounds were immaculate, the restaurant (Orchids) looked like an oasis from the busy, frantic surrounds, and the overall image of the hotel was one of elegance and sophistication.

Fast-forward to earlier this year and planning my return vacation I was determined to return to the Halekulani as a guest. Of course that involved a fair degree of justifying the price. As you are probably aware, staying at the "house befitting heaven" doesn't come cheap. We stayed during the height of the Japanese obon festival, which it turns out is one of the resort's busiest times, and were quoted full rack rate during this time. After some research and reading another review, I booked through luxuryhotelexperts.com and received a guaranteed upgrade (from Ocean View to Ocean Front) and complimentary breakfast at House Without A Key (buffet breakfast) or Orchids (full American breakfast only).

The Halekulani has recently undergone a complete renovation (or "renewal" in Halekulani speak) and to say the hotel is in better shape than ever would not be a stretch. As others have mentioned the grounds are impeccable. All the common areas have been completely redone - the abundant teak wood and stone is all new or at least looks it. The reception, lifts and lounges are beautifully decorated. The key here is less is more - beautifully understated. If you are looking for gaudy waterfalls, light shows and porters with headsets, this is not the right hotel for you. You will be rewarded with spectacular ikebana (Japanese floral) arrangements every where you look.

We requested a room on a high floor and were not disappointed. Our room was not quite ready for the 3pm check in so we were offered complimentary cocktails until our room was ready (a short time later). This was a small price to pay given the staff assured it was worth the wait for a fabulous room. Given we were busy enjoying cocktails, the staff skipped the walking tour of the hotel so we could head up to our room when it suited us, with the offer that we could come to reception at any time during our stay and receive the tour of the grounds (which we did, aided by a wonderful staff member the following day).

Our room - 1408 - was spectacular. On the second from top floor, we had no neighbour to the left, and no one above us. It felt like our very own secluded room in the clouds. As we arrived the porter had already placed our bags in the room and room service were delivering complimentary mineral and still water. We were blown away by the room - it is a sumptuous mix of natural tones - all white and light blue, all highlighting the amazing blue vistas outside our room. The quality of the renovation - sorry, renewal - is top notch. Everything in the room is new from the ground up. The rooms are a very good size, and the lighting and in-room electrical control panel are all new. The bathroom is beautiful, with fresh flowers and a wide range of amenities. The only reservation I have about the bathroom is the bath is very small (it's deep but for anyone over 5' 6" you will not be able to even lean back in the bath comfortably) and the air conditioning did not have a dedicated outlet which meant the bathroom was a little on the warm side.

As others have mentioned, there is a turndown service which means the comforter is removed from the bed and a trademark gift is left on the bed each night. Oddly, we found our comforter was left in different locations each night, sometimes tucked into the bedside table and others on the couch or footstool. Complimentary water is provided day or night and the ice bucket is always full after each room servicing. We ordered room service one night and were so delighted by the beautifully set table (again with flower arrangement) and gorgeous presentation. We wished we had of enjoyed dinner on our balcony more as we enjoyed it so much. The prices of the room service were very reasonable and there was a quick turn around on our order.

We rarely heard noise in our room but it's important to note that even though we were 14 floors up, Waikiki is noisy and you can still hear the police sirens and the occasional delivery truck with it's reversing alarm going off at all hours of the night. Opening the balcony doors allows in the peaceful sounds of the ocean at night and the hula show in the early evening. Both delightful. The TV was very large and had a huge array of channels, with excellent reception.

Whilst exploring the grounds of the hotel it is very evident this resort leaves nothing to chance. The service from the moment you arrive to the time you (sadly) leave is exceptional. The hotel clientele is predominantly Japanese and that means a few things - the hotel is a sanctuary from the loud, obnoxious people outside the hotel; the fellow guests are extremely courteous (just try and be the last person to exit a lift when there are other guests or staff on board!) and the low key, high grade levels of service never feel like a desperate cry for a big gratuity - in fact in several cases gratuities were discouraged (our complimentary breakfast expressly stated the gratuity was included). The other important factor to note when considering the service levels is that the staff here are very mature and clearly have worked here for many years. They take pride in the service they provide and it is a delight to get to know them and watch them as they go about their work, knowing they are the best in their field.

In terms of the restaurants, we dined at Orchids and House Without a Key on several occasions. I'll post more detailed reviews under their listings on tripadvisor but my brief comments are below:

House Without a Key - we were so pleasantly surprised by our many meals and cocktails here - the other reviews I have read had mentioned the pricing was too high or food was not a good quality. We found this to be anything but the truth. First off the level of service we received was equal to anywhere else we dined including Orchids. It was excellent - friendly, formal yet casual and highly attentive. The food was great and we thought very affordable (considering the cost of the accommodation). The only reservation I have is the wine list is very limited. The times we came here for cocktails, despite the venue being full, the cocktails came out within minutes (as opposed to other hotels in Waikiki where you had to practically mug the waiter/waitress to get them to take your order). Surprisingly, despite the hotel being full, we never found the lunch service to be very busy, which is a shock given the spectacular views of Diamond Head and the ocean. Even nights when the venue appeared full for the hula show, the staff put seats together for our large party, perhaps as they knew we were guests. All in all, we loved dining at House Without A Key and miss it dearly.

Orchids - I planned a birthday dinner well ahead of time, with 11 guests all staying in Waikiki, and it was a pleasure to deal with Ku'ulei in reservations. She was so helpful in organising the menu and a birthday cake (even organising place cards with names converted into Hawaiian!). I asked roughly what time the sun sets when our booking was made to ensure we would have the best seating time, and she responded within 4 minutes with the exact time it would set on the day we had booked (months in advance!). We had the best table in the house and our waiter, Gary, was extremely attentive and the food was excellent. There is no where else with the service and setting Orchids offers at this price. We did not dine at La Mer but it looked spectacular.

In terms of the dress code, the hotel places signage at dusk stating evening attire is required. We still wore shorts and t-shirts at House Without a Key without issue. For our dinner at Orchids our group ensured they were wearing collars and at least neat jeans for the men, and there were no issues. I would say that unless you are confident you may find this a little intimidating, even though we never saw it enforced.

Other facilities - we swam in the pool a couple of times and it's reasonably large compared to most other hotels in the area. The pool lounges are the most comfortable I have ever experienced (although they are a little short in length, perhaps catering to the Japanese guests) and as others have mentioned, I found the staff in this area a little unfriendly, although they are courteous and attentive. I did witness the pool attendant politely "shushing" two children in the pool who were playing ball and making a bit of noise. This was actually a great thing as the pool is below most of the rooms but I would suggest this place isn't for you if you are happy to let your children run riot. There were quite a few tiles loose on the floor of the pool so I suspect it's time it received the renewal treatment too. The gift shop is beautiful and contains an extensive collection of Halekulani goods from clothing to engraved glasses, and not forgetting the absolutely beautiful handmade chocolates you'll find in your room upon arrival. The staff here were wonderfully attentive.

Negatives - very few - the bath is too small to relax in (although it is deep) and although the room cleanliness was exceptional, there were a few odd quirks (comforter's random resting place after turn down, and also the ice buckets from our complimentary mineral water were not removed after two room cleaning visits, and two wine glasses were not washed but left as is after our room was cleaned). We also found the service at Orchids during breakfast time a bit 'stiff'. Glory Jean whom seated us was wonderful and warm (and organised birthday cake at breakfast when she found out it was my birthday!) but there were some male waiters who seamed quite huffy and overly formal for breakfast by the ocean.

As you can probably tell, we can't wait to go back to the Halekulani (especially off peak season when it's a little more affordable and perhaps not so busy), and if you can afford it I would definitely recommend it. In fact I would recommend going without a few luxuries ahead of time so you can justify upgrading to an Ocean Front room. Provided you love understated service and substance over style, this is the place for you.

Room Tip: 1408 was a spectacular room! See my review for more details.
See more room tips
  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
9 Thank ABMJRC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Honolulu, Hawaii
Level Contributor
62 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 26, 2012

My wife and i completed our holiday with 2 nights here. This was our 4th trip to hawaii.
Though overall the service here was good we experienced a few issues. On arrival we were escorted to our room to find twin beds. We requested a change and were met with laughter and ended with the beds pushed together. Unsatisfactory at these prices. The rooms have been renovated and are nice but very small even by local standards. The bathrooms are tiny and lack lighting. The pool area was crowded during our stay and service slow. We dined at both orchids and le mer. These two are probaly the best dining experience in hawaii and are not to be missed. The jazz bar of an evening was also pleasent but again we recieved poor service in here. The beach at the front of the hotel is very small, if you like the beach more than the pool the beach towards the front of moana surfrider and outrigger is the best.
Overall great for the dinning but left us disappointed for what we payed.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank 60982Mac
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Middletown, New York
Level Contributor
20 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 24, 2012

My husband and I went for sunset cocktails. We watched Miss Hawaii 2011 hula and had the best and most beautiful MaiTais ever.At first you think $13 for 1 drink~it's worth every penny. They also serve fresh chips. We had the coconut shrimp and for dessert the coconut cake~delicate, fluffy and to die for. Beautiful views of sunset and Diamond Head.Unforgettable.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank horlernm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Zurich, Switzerland
Level Contributor
8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 18, 2012

We have stayed at the Halekulani a year ago already, and were happy to come back to a nice hotel. But things improved alot since then and we got suprised of how this hotel has developed from a nice, relaxing expirience to a truly unique luxury retreat. Especially the service and the friendliness of the staff has become outstanding. We had rented a car for our stay, and got greeted by our name everytime we entered the building or left it. Aswell as we once were heading to the beach, and they gave us more towels and water without us even having to ask. The same for the breakfast at the Orchids, you get greeted by your name and the food and service we were treated by were to quality!
A very special recommondation, especially for couples, is the La Mer, right above the Orchids restaurant. We have never in our lives dined as amazingly as there. Our servers and the food was outstanding, and we wouldve given them a 11 out of 10 points!
So all in all, this hotel is a must-stay, if you can afford it!

Room Tip: Rooms with ocean view definitely are the best choice. Great view on the ocean and sometimes even on...
See more room tips
  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Ana M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Halekulani Hotel

Property: Halekulani Hotel
Address: 2199 Kalia Road, Honolulu, Oahu, HI 96815-1988
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Hawaii > Oahu > Honolulu > Waikiki
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#3 Romantic Hotel in Honolulu
#3 Business Hotel in Honolulu
#4 Family Hotel in Honolulu
#4 On the Beach Hotel in Honolulu
#5 Spa Hotel in Honolulu
#5 Luxury Hotel in Honolulu
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Halekulani Hotel 5*
Number of rooms: 453
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Halekulani has been hosting visitors to Waikiki Beach for nearly 100 years. Today its reputation for gracious hospitality, impeccable service and magnificent cuisine is unequaled on Oahu and renowned, throughout the world. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Halekulani Hotel Honolulu
Halekulani Hotel Hawaii/Honolulu

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