If you want to be in central Waikiki and don't want to pay beachfront lodging prices, consider the Ohana Waikiki East. Next to the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani on the corner of Kaiulani and Kuhio avenues, it's a mere two blocks from the beach and within walking distance of shopping, restaurants, and nightlife. Its location and reasonable rates tend to attract plenty of group travelers. Don't expect any fancy lobbies or outdoor gardens here, but there is a laundrette, coffee bar, and pool. Certain rooms on lower floors have no lanai, and all rooms have showers only. Suites have kitchenettes.
Though there is a resort fee (Waikiki Connection Fee), it is a bit lower than most places at $22 per day, and unlike most places, it’s reduced to $11 for Hawaii residents.
Guests can choose between a standard room, studio or 1- and 2-bedroom suites with various configurations of beds and pool, city, standard, or partial ocean views. Rooms are quite small, and suites are a decent size, but not huge compared to other hotels with suites. Each has air conditioning, kitchenette with refrigerator, coffee pot, and free Wi-Fi. Bright and friendly decor and furnishings are a bit outdated.
Most bathrooms are quite small, with vanities that just cover the sink and standing showers.
The large lobby is a bit dated looking, but evokes a bit of old Hawaii with its furnishings and carpeting, as well as decor that includes portraits of Hawaiian royalty. There is plenty of comfy furniture for relaxing, and the reception desk is simple, but large and unobtrusive.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Parking costs are a bit steep at $30 for self parking (increasing to $35 in 2019) and it’s very limited. Try dropping your luggage with the bell stand and finding nearby parking in a public lot if you’re not going to be using your rental car much.
Though it’s not very large, the freshwater pool with attached hot tub is really nice to look at, thanks to beautiful blue tiling that features a cluster of hibiscus flowers. The surrounding sun deck is nice enough, with plain loungers and stone tiles.
The gym at the Ohana Waikiki East is less than impressive. There’s a handful of machines and a yoga ball inside a very plain room. It’s not the worst out there, but it’s far from the best.
Appetito Craft Pizza & Wine Bar serves up Neapolitan-style pizza cooked in a Kiawe wood oven for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Yep, they serve pizza for breakfast! If that doesn’t appeal to the kids in your group, who knows what will! Breakfast includes classic breakfast on a pizza and a fruit salad pizza, and lunch and dinner feature salads and other entrees, in addition to the pizzas.
The wine bar at Appetito serves up a wide selection of boutique wines by the glass, as well as beer and a focused selection of hand crafted cocktails. Offers two happy hours per day, including one in the morning -- 9:30 to 11 a.m. and a lengthy one in the afternoon from 3 to 6 p.m.
With a high cost for parking, if you plan on staying in the Waikiki area, it may be cheaper to use cabs/ride shares and public transportation than renting a car. This hotel is right on plenty of bus lines, plus the pink trolley can get you most places in the area.
One of Chinatown’s standout spots is trendy The Pig and the Lady (15-min drive), a Vietnamese/Asian fusion restaurant with creative dishes that appeal to a variety of palates. They are even able to modify many of their menu items to meet the dietary needs of vegetarians. Their dessert menu is quite stunning, featuring island flavors and a rotating soft serve program, as is their cocktail menu full of quirky drink names and ingredients.
Eggs n Things (6-min drive) will help satisfy those island breakfast cravings, with a large omelet menu, along with pancakes, crepes, and waffles, served with different fruits and towering dollops of whipped cream. You’ll have a hard time choosing between the daily specials and the classic menu, but you can’t really go wrong, either way. This popular eatery has been serving locals and visitors since 1974.
Enjoy live jazz music with your cocktails at Lewers Lounge (9-min drive) inside Halekulani Hotel. Music happens every night of the week from 8:30 p.m. to midnight (and until 12:30 on weekends). It’s a great option for dessert and a nightcap. Be sure to try the “Lost Passion,” a tequila/passionfruit/champagne concoction that will get you in the island spirit.
Though MAC 24/7 (5-min walk) 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 best thing about the Ohana Waikiki East (besides its wonderful and friendly staff) is that It’s in a great location, with restaurants, sundry stores, and shopping nearby, and the beach is a close walk. The free pink trolley that is available to guests to get around Waikiki and to Ala Moana Center is also a huge draw, and the free drawstring beach bag on arrival is a nice touch.