A trellised open-air lobby of Italian marble, a koi pond, hanging egg chairs, and a guava smoothie greet you on arrival at this Lewers Street hideaway (formerly the Waikiki Joy), about a five-minute stroll from Kalakaua Avenue and through one of the many public-access ways to the beach. Recently remodeled rooms include a refrigerator, soaking tub, slick audio-entertainment systems, and free Wi-Fi. Request a room close to the top of the hotel's 11 stories if you want to see the ocean from your lanai. The trip to the beach can be a bit of a haul if you're carrying beach chairs. Continental breakfast on the lobby veranda is included. Aqua hotels partners with Island Grocery Service, an online supermarket that allows you to shop for groceries online and have them placed in your guest room ahead of time.
YOU SHOULD KNOW This hotel is a bit off of the main strip, so there are no ocean view rooms as an option here.
There are only 96 rooms in this small hotel, which vary based on size. All but the standard hotel room have at least a mini fridge and bar area, and two of the suite options come with a kitchenette. The décor is a bit dated, but rooms are exceptionally clean and very spacious.
For traveling families and groups, the price difference between the junior suite and the 1-bedroom suite is not much, especially considering there’s an additional 200 square feet in the 1-bedroom. Just keep an eye on added per person costs when you disclose the total amount in your party.
Bathrooms are fairly basic, and a bit lacking is décor. Vanities are a nice size, as are the soaking tubs (part of a tub/shower combo with handheld showers).
The lobby décor is clean, simple, and refreshing, and the beautiful gardens surrounding it make you feel like you’re in the middle of the rainforest. Comfy outdoor furniture, including a few hanging wicker swings on the adjoining sundeck, as well as a garden complete with fish pond, make this area a place you’ll want to spend time relaxing.
The pool at Aqua Oasis isn’t exactly an aquatic oasis – it’s tiny and the views are of a back alley area. Luckily the beach isn’t too far of a walk! The attached sundeck, though small, is very charming, however.
Though there is no on-site restaurant, the hotel provides a continental breakfast in the morning.
You’ll have to sing for your drinks at this hotel, because the Karaoke GS Studio is the place to grab a drink here. Taking advantage of their early bird special can help you start your evening with some affordable fun where your drinks can be ordered over an intercom system.
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. This hotel also offers a shuttle service from Waikiki to Ala Moana for shopping and dining.
Venture outside of your ramen comfort zone at Agu Ramen (3-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 (18-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.
While Tiki’s Grill and Bar (7-min drive) has a pretty delicious Pacific Rim menu, you don’t need to go much further than the bar to have a good time. The drink menu is full of fun, tropical cocktails, including the memorable Son of an Itch. This tasty treat comes in your choice of glasses to take home, is served with a bamboo backscratcher, and the best part – it has dry ice in it, so it’s as playful as it is yummy. Live music helps make this popular place even more fun.
If you’re in the mood for a bit of Irish aloha, Irish Rose Saloon (5-min drive) has nightly live music and that great pub feel that you’re looking for. It’s a true favorite among locals and visitors.
WHY WE LIKE IT
A great value, close to the beach, and exceptional staff make Aqua Oasis a hotel that guests are happy to return to. Free continental breakfast and WiFi add to the value, and its location in the middle of walkable Waikiki make this a great fit for nearly every type of traveler.