Fodor's Expert Review Hilton Garden Inn Waikiki Beach
2330 Kuhio Ave., Honolulu, Hawaii, 96815, USA See on Map
In 2016, four hotels opened on Oahu, three in the heart of Waikiki, and the largest of them—and most moderately priced—is the Hilton Garden Waikiki Beach. The newly renovated resort is a welcome addition to the formerly crime-ridden area of Kuhio Avenue. (Hilton poured $115 million into the property.) Most rooms have a lanai, with seating, and you get either a partial ocean view or a Waikiki city view. The newly revamped International Marketplace is across the street, and Waikiki Beach is an easy two blocks away. The expansive resort also has a rooftop pool with a poolside bar.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Valet is the only parking option and is a bit high at $39 per night. Look for nearby public parking options for a better deal.
Guests can choose between a standard room or a one bedroom suite with king or double beds, which are all equipped with a Suite Dreams by Serta bed for the utmost in comfort. View options vary between city and ocean views, and unlike many other motels, they let you choose whether you want a lower or higher room to get a better view (but of course, they charge accordingly). Decor is chic and fun, with bold colors and patterns mixed with beachy whites and browns, including koa-wood inspired furniture. Rooms include free Wi-Fi, refrigerators, Keurig coffee maker, and microwave.
If you really want a view of the beach, call the hotel directly to help you. Some of the ocean view rooms have obstructed views, but some of them will get you what you want.
Bathrooms are sleek and modern, with white marble vanities, modern fixtures, and an elegant hand held, walk-in shower.
The lobby is very elegant, with wooden accents, dark, rich colors, and contemporary lighting and furnishings. The rounded reception desk isn’t too large, but has plenty of check-in slots, in a way that allows it to be unobtrusive to the rest of the lobby.
Though the sun deck is a bit small and tucked amongst other buildings (there is a nice partial city view), the renovation has done wonders to make it look nice. Stone tiles cover the sundeck and chic loungers and a few private cabanas offer relaxation options. The medium-sized pool is delightful and bright with a small waterfall feature.
The gym doesn’t have an overabundance of machines, but it doesn’t need them. There are standard cardio and weight machines and yoga balls and mats and free weights in a well lit room with large wood-framed mirrors.
The new TR Fire Grill is an open kitchen, American restaurant that features locally sourced, artisanal dishes for breakfast, lunch, brunch, and dinner. It’s a place where you want to hang out and enjoy a fun evening over a few dishes and a lot of drinks. The hotel also added Holoholo Cafe with a coffee bar and on-the-go foods to take out for the day or back to your room.
Holoholo Cafe and Market offers a lovely, casual drinking experience at their little market with a large selection of beers, including a nice tap selection and wine with wine flights. TR Fire Grill has a bourbon-centric bar with a small but impressive handcrafted cocktail menu, along with a large wine list and plenty of craft beer offerings. There is also a small, seven-seat pool bar.
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.
If you’re in or around the Ala Moana Center, the Hawaiian take on the gastropub is not to be missed. At The Brilliant Ox (12-min drive), guests will find an all day menu with incredible shared bites, lunch specials that include amazing ingredients on a bun, and a vibrant brunch menu. Late night hours on the weekend make it a great spot to linger and enjoy their handcrafted cocktails and beer menu while grazing through their menu.
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 (16-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.
While Tiki’s Grill and Bar (4-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.
Even if you’re not staying at The Modern, you’ll want to sneak behind the bookcases in their lobby to grab a drink at The Study (8-min drive). It may look small from the outside, but this bar with yummy cocktails, incredible live music that gives way to a DJ, and diverse crowd is large and inviting. Alas, you will definitely not get any studying done.
WHY WE LIKE IT
A recent multi-million dollar renovation has really done Hilton Garden Inn a lot of good. The casual, chic beach vibe in the decor, excellent customer service, and casual dining options make this a nice retreat for travelers.