Fodor's Expert Review Doubletree by Hilton Alana Waikiki Beach
1956 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu, Hawaii, 96815, USA See on Map
A convenient location—10 minutes' walk from the Hawaii Convention Center—a professional staff, pleasant public spaces, and a 24-hour business center and gym draw a global business clientele to this reliable chain hotel. But these perks also appeal to vacationers. The intimacy of the property, the staff's attention to detail, and the signature Doubletree chocolate-chip cookies upon arrival resonate with leisure travelers. All the recently redesigned rooms in the 19-story high-rise have private lanai, but they overlook the city and busy Ala Moana Boulevard across from Fort DeRussy. It's not exactly oozing that Hawaiiana feel, but the location, dependability, and service make it a solid choice.
City/mountain and partial ocean view rooms make up the options at the Doubletree, in both standard rooms and suites that have more sitting space and wet bars. Each has its own private lanai, Sweet Dreams by Doubletree beds, air conditioning, and workstation. Bright, beachy-colored linens and soft furnishings combine with darker woods furnishings and accents to create a nice look for each room.
Though the rooms only offer partial ocean views, the higher your room, the better chance of a really great view.
The dark brown accents in the vanity, mirrors, and floor help to turn an otherwise boring bathroom into something a bit more serene and aesthetically pleasing. The bath/shower combos have rain shower heads and toiletries include Crabtree & Evelyn products.
The hotel lobby is bright and spacious, with a few benches for seating. It doesn’t really stand out in the decor or warmth department, but it gets the job done.
The heated rectangular pool isn’t too large, but big enough to hang out and maybe swim some laps. It’s surrounded by a sundeck with patio chairs and a few outdoor couches.
YOU SHOULD KNOW The gym overlooks the pool. Like directly next to and into the pool. It’s a little weird if you’re hoping for a little privacy while you swim.
The long, narrow fitness center is open 24-hours and features a nice selection of cardio machines, weight machines, and free weights.
This hotel has plenty of dining options, including Hiking Hawaii Cafe with smoothies and other fresh foods, an express kiosk with snacks and beverages in the lobby, breakfast and dinner room service, and Trees Restaurant & Bar. Trees stands out thanks to its small breakfast buffet and dinners featuring pizzas, burgers, steaks, and more.
The bar area of Trees Restaurant & Bar enjoys a daily happy hour from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. with cocktails, beer, and bar food on special. Note that the bar does not open until 4:30 p.m.
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.
You may find the staple Hawaiian food poi cooked many different ways during your travels, but you’ll rarely find it in as intriguing and utterly satisfying a form as in the donuts at Liliha Bakery (15-min drive). Sadly, once you try them, you’ll regret every morning that you don’t wake up to these chewy, sweet purple treats. If you’re in the mood for something besides donuts for some reason, find some incredible offerings for breakfast, lunch, and dinner at their coffee shops. Pro tip: Grab a dozen poi donuts to take home – one of the locations is between Waikiki and the airport.
Venture outside of your ramen comfort zone at Agu Ramen (4-min drive) 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.
If you’re in the mood for a bit of Irish aloha, Irish Rose Saloon (4-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 (7-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
From the warm chocolate chip cookie on arrival to the gracious staff, this Doubletree by Hilton is a welcoming place to be. Though things like meeting rooms and a 24-hour business center (and its distance away from the ocean) make it a great choice for business travelers, it’s also an affordable option for families.