Close to the ewa (western) end of Waikiki, this older hotel comprises a pair of buildings, one with standard rooms, the other with one-bedroom suites that have kitchenettes. Although almost all rooms and suites here have lanai, the views are more city-and-concrete than foliage-and-ocean. The hotel also offers 48 sets of connecting rooms available for larger groups. Guests who return here year after year are those who fancy the property's proximity to restaurants and shopping, and its easygoing "come as you are" vibe. During major sporting events on Oahu, don't be surprised if you share the elevator with a triathlete and his bicycle or a marathoner just back from her run. An International House of Pancakes is located in the lobby and there are stops for the city bus and trolley lines right outside the front door.
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.
Rooms range from 331 sq ft in standard rooms to 510 sq ft in the 1-bedroom kitchenette, with different bed configurations and either Waikiki or partial ocean views. Room linens and furnishings make an attempt at looking tropical, but mostly look drab. Many of the rooms have small lanais, and there are connecting room options for groups or families.
Most bathrooms are fairly small and some have marble vanities, while others have only a standing sink. Many of them have recently been updated, so the fixtures and decor looks nice and new.
The lobby is friendly and bright, with lots of greens and browns and a bit of a tropical plant theme throughout. The reception desk area is open, with multiple stations, and there is plenty of furniture throughout.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Parking costs are a bit steep at $30 for self parking 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.
The small plunge pool and adjoining hot tub are open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. It’s definitely an odd set up, with the two squeezed in between two buildings and no sun deck (and really no sun, for that matter). It’s very different, but if you look more at it like an unwind spot rather than a place to frolic in the sun, it works.
Grab a quick bite at Slice of Waikiki--this pizza joint has window service for lunch and dinner hours and stays open late on the weekends. If you’re looking for a sit-down family breakfast, there’s an IHOP in the hotel. And sure, it’s an IHOP, but like most national chains on the islands, you’ll still get plenty of regional items to choose from for something a bit different.
Sit down with a drink and watch a game at the Las Vegas-style sports bar, Rivals Waikiki. During the day it’s a classy sports bar and by night it turns into a flashy cocktail bar, with what they claim is the most extensive whiskey collection in the state. And yes, it opens extra, extra early during football season.
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.
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 (14-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 (5-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.
If you’re in the mood for a bit of Irish aloha, Irish Rose Saloon (4-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.
Though MAC 24/7 (5-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
The hotel has recently been updated and refreshed, improving upon decor and linens, among other things. The location is nice, especially since it’s right next to a duty-free marketplace. 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.