A decent value in a pricey hotel market, this well-located and nicely appointed hotel is connected to Oahu's largest mall, the Ala Moana Center, by a pedestrian ramp, and is a 10-minute walk to Waikiki. Business travelers can walk one block in the opposite direction to the Hawaii Convention Center. Swimmers, surfers, runners, and beachgoers can make the two-minute jaunt to Ala Moana Beach Park across the street. Rooms are like small, comfortable apartments, with cherrywood furnishings, microwave ovens, mini-refrigerators, flat-screen TVs, and balconies with outdoor seating. The recreation deck features a pool with cabanas and a bar, outdoor yoga and Pilates studios, and a fitness center. Signature Prime Steak & Seafood on the hotel's 36th floor offers perfectly aged prime steak, fresh seafood, and some of the best views of Honolulu in the city. Check the website for greatly reduced rates.
There are a variety of discounts and packages on their website, some of which includes free breakfast buffet, so be sure to check those before booking on third-party sites.
Rooms are fairly small, but include bright, fun furnishings, linens, and features. Rooms range in size and views (including city, mountain, ocean, and partial ocean), and include a few suites with kitchenettes. All rooms have air conditioning, free Wi-Fi, coffee makers, microwaves, and mini fridges.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Descriptions of the aren’t always as honest as they should be. If a nice view (whether ocean, mountain, or city) is important for you, call the hotel to make sure they put you in the best room.
Bathrooms are bright and chic, with contemporary fixtures and marble countertops. Some have tub/shower combos, while others have standing showers.
There is plenty of seating area, including the open Starbucks, throughout the lobby, accompanied by a straightforward marble reception desk.
The price difference for self parking ($20) and valet parking ($25) is minimal, so you might as well treat yourself, especially if you’re not planning to do any driving that day.
The medium-sized pool is surrounded by a lot of concrete, from the sundeck to the pillars surrounding it. There are a some loungers and tables with chairs, but none of them look particularly inviting. In all, there’s a pool that does the job, but it’s not really a place to lounge around.
The fitness room, complete with steam and sauna rooms and a variety of cardio and weight machines, is open from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.
The Signature Prime Steak and Seafood is where you’ll want to dine if you’re in the mood for a classic steakhouse dinner with the added bonus of incredible views of the Honolulu cityscape. For early morning meals guests can enjoy a buffet at Plantation Cafe or grab coffee and a pastry at Starbucks. For snacks, drinks, sundries, and souvenirs guests can visit Accents store on the ground floor of the hotel.
The bar at The Signature is pretty standard, with beer, wine, a full liquor menu, and some limited classic cocktail options. There is a nightly happy hour from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. where guests can find the best savings on appetizers and wines by the glass and a few beers. Starbucks also serves beer and wine if you’re looking for a quick drink.
Waikiki and surrounding areas are easily reachable from the airport by cab or rideshare. There is plenty to do in these areas without ever leaving (walking, biking, taking the bus, or hailing a car), so a rental car is only necessary if you want to explore other parts of the island.
Venture outside of your ramen comfort zone at Agu Ramen (9-min walk) by adding their signature “hot mess” – a heavy dose of parmesan – to your bowl. No really, it works! Their offerings include classic ramen bowls, options for vegans and vegetarians, and a ridiculously unctuous curry that will have you thinking about it for days. They also have a great happy hour at their multiple locations that includes 50% off appetizers and draft beers.
Without exaggeration, you will likely have the best omelet of your life at The Original Pancake House (15-min drive). Fluffy, huge, and stuffed with some unique items, they’re nothing if not memorable – and so is the décor. This strip mall offering sees Europe meet the Pacific at this German-styled restaurant with Portland roots and Hawaiian favorites like Spam and eggs and macadamia nut pancakes on the menu. They also brew up a damn fine cup of coffee.
If you’re in the mood for a bit of Irish aloha, Irish Rose Saloon (11-min walk) has nightly live music and that great pub feel that you’re looking for. It’s a true favorite among locals and visitors.
Though MAC 24/7 (8-min drive) is definitely a great place to grab a meal, especially breakfast, it’s their cocktails that we really love. Last call is at 3:30 a.m., so you can enjoy a nightcap with your late-night pancakes before heading back to your hotel. Fruity cocktails like the Frozen Mo’o and Lava Lava Rocks fill that island cocktails craving. They also have a great reverse happy hour from midnight to 3 a.m. (except Friday and Saturday), as well as a regular daily happy hour from 2 to 5 p.m.
WHY WE LIKE IT
The location is the biggest draw to Ala Moana hotel. Even though it’s not right on the beach, it’s super convenient for shoppers and diners, including a connected walkway to Ala Moana Center. The lack of resort fees is also a nice perk. It’s particularly great for business and convention travelers, but also makes a nice choice for families.