Fodor's Expert Review Ritz-Carlton Residences Waikiki Beach
383 Kalaimoku St., Honolulu, Hawaii, 96815, USA See on Map
Three levels of suites are available, Deluxe, Grand, and Premier, as well as studio options, all with ocean views in either the Ewa Tower or the newly opened Diamond Head Tower. Room types differ based on elevation, for better views of the ocean, as well as interior décor and furnishings. Each has a full kitchen with appliances and dishes, washer/dryer, lanai, multiple televisions, free Wi-Fi, and wine chiller. Interiors are chic and refined.
Bathrooms at each level are spacious and luxurious. They include large soaking tubs with a rainfall shower right next to the tub (enclosed in their own room together), toilets in separate water closets with bidets and seat warmers, and large double vanities. There’s also an abundance of Asprey London toiletries, including standard items, plus dental kits, sewing kits, and more.
The Ritz-Carlton lobby helps start your vacation as soon as you walk off of the elevator from the ground level with an indoor/outdoor check-in. Cold towels and tropical fruit slush drink (with optional dark rum shot mixed in) help you relax as you check in with their incredibly pleasant staff. The design of this main hub for the Ewa Tower (the restaurants, pool, spa, and small business center are all accessed through the lobby) is influenced by an Hermes bag, with lots of leather and brass, made to feel timeless and luxurious.
The parking entrance can be a bit tricky to find -- pull up to the valet stand for Luxury Row shopping, and they’ll point you in the right direction.
After completion of the resort, guests will be able find two infinity pools at Ritz-Carlton Residences, both of which are at the highest elevation in the area. The Diamond Head Tower pool is larger, family-friendly, and includes a lava rock slide. The Ewa Tower pool includes two hot tubs and private cabanas for this adults-only area.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Ritz-Carlton Waikiki is not on the beach, and is a bit of a walk to get to it. However, nice pools and other amenities help to make up for that.
The Ritz-Carlton spa is a sleek and chic as the rest of the hotel, with four treatment rooms (including one couples room). Signature treatments combine local elements with traditional lomilomi massage to create a complete experience.
The extremely impressive gym, designed by Harley Pasternak, has everything a guest could want and is open 24/7.
Many guests plan their vacations in advance around Sushi Sho, a 10-seat sushi restaurant with just two seatings per night. Led by master chef Keiji Nakazawa, it is the restaurants first location to open outside of Japan. Another first is the hotel’s location of the gourmet food chain Dean & DeLuca, the first to open in Waikiki. The Market is another lovely dining option. Just off the lobby, this partially open-air restaurant serves up breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In addition, a new dining option and gourmet market will be opening soon in the Diamond Head tower.
Guests can grab a cocktail (or beer or wine) at the bar at The Market, set between the lobby and restaurant, this makes a nice place for socializing and meeting up with other guests.
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.
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.
One of Chinatown’s standout spots is trendy The Pig and the Lady (18-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.
House Without a Key (8-min walk) inside Halekulani Hotel provides some true upscale island ambiance along with its dinner and cocktails. The restaurant has a dedicated portion of its service area for those looking to enjoy a drink and an appetizer along with their nightly music and hula performances. Their signature drink is the mai tai but take our advice and try the off-menu “Lost Passion,” a tequila/passionfruit/champagne concoction that will get you in the island spirit.
Though MAC 24/7 (8-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 am, 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 am (except Friday and Saturday), as well as a regular daily happy hour from 2 to 5 pm.
WHY WE LIKE IT
The Ritz-Carlton Residences gives guests the opportunity to stay in high end accommodations but also to have the at-home perks that would come with a condo rental. This new property, with even newer additions that opened in late 2018, is beautiful, luxurious, and has wonderful staff to ensure a peaceful stay.