Fodor's Expert Review Aqua Pacific Monarch
2427 Kuhio Ave., Honolulu, Hawaii, 96815, USA See on Map
One block from the western end of Waikiki Beach, this 34-story high-rise condominium resort has a rooftop deck—with a freshwater pool, hot tub, and sauna—with sweeping views of Waikiki and the Pacific Ocean. All suites have floor-to-ceiling glass doors offering wide-open ocean views of Waikiki. One-bedrooms have full kitchens; studios have kitchenettes. All accommodations have a lanai. There's a hospitality lounge with showers available for those arriving early or departing late. The one drawback here is that the rooftop-pool deck requires climbing a single flight of stairs after you exit the elevator on the top floor; however, the view is worth the climb.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Rooms can feel a bit dated and need an upgrade. If contemporary decor and furnishings are important to you, these might not meet your needs.
Spacious lodging options include studios with kitchenettes and 1-bedroom suites with kitchens. Each room has a lanai and free Wi-Fi, and decor includes lots of wood in the furnishings and island motifs in the linens.
This hotel doesn’t charge an enormous difference between rates to add an ocean view, so it’s well worth the upgrade for that Pacific Ocean splendor right out of your window.
The island vibe continues in the bathroom with the wooden accents and cabinetry. Hawaiian Tropics toiletries sit atop the vanity, and guests have the option of sitting or standing with the tub/shower combo.
The lobby has high ceilings and lots of natural lighting. It’s calming and inviting, with a variety of natural elements like stone and wood, along with a lovely indoor waterfall feature. The reception desk is long and well integrated into the landscape of the lobby.
The rectangular pool and separate, rectangular hot tub are both pretty small, but the pool is nice (the butterfly in the pool tile adds to the charm) and the sundeck area are very cute. Lots of bright paints and art in aqua and oranges combined with sweeping views of Waikiki make what might have been just a tiny pool into a nice place to hang out. The nearby sauna is also a delight.
Japanese restaurant Jinroku Pacific offers an authentic lunch and dinner dining experience with a variety of okonomiyaki, teppanyaki and yakisoba and a dessert menu that features milk pudding and shaved ice. All-day cafe Musubi Cafe Iyasume offers ramen, bentos, and musubi options, a wide array of choices that are great for eating on the go.
If you’re a fan of Chu-Hi, you’ll be happy to know that the bar at Jinroku offers five flavors of the sochu-based drink. In addition, guests can enjoy sake, sochu, and beer. There’s also a weekly cocktail reception at the hotel.
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. The Waikiki Shuttle offered by the hotel is also a great option for travelers to explore the area.
Located inside the sprawling Waikiki Marriott complex, Sansei Seafood Restaurant and Sushi Bar (7-min walk) Has a wide-ranging menu that features seafood in a variety of ways. Of course there’s a beautiful sushi menu, but there are also lots of other options like tempuras, poke, and a variety of rotating seafood specials. They also have a surprising array of vegetable sides that can appeal to any vegetarians in your group.
Have a picky group with you? Stop by Honolulu’s newest Whole Foods Market Queen (12-min drive) to pick up a variety of groceries, or stop by one of the variety of eateries inside this two-story complex. Options include their classic salad and hot bars, a banh mi counter, poke bar, and a non-dairy frozen banana stand. Don’t leave without loading up on ice cream mochi from Bubbie’s -- but good luck making out of the store before eating all of them! Pro tip: Though you can find Bubbie’s all over the island, Whole Foods manages to keep it perfectly stored so that the mochi exterior is as soft and luscious as possible. Try as many as you can here, you’ll fall in love with most of them.
While Tiki’s Grill and Bar (8-min walk) 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.
Visit the oldest sports pub in the entire state at Legends Sports Pub (5-min walk) for great deals (especially on their Mai Tais), a variety of screens, and a chance to watch NFL games at 7 a.m.!
WHY WE LIKE IT
These very affordable suites are great options for family, especially since cooking (or reheating leftovers) in the kitchens are great money savers. The Waikiki Shuttle and the hospitality room with TV, kitchen, bathroom, and seating, just off the pool area make nice extra perks that not too many hotels offer.