Two generations of the Fong family have put their heart and soul into the operation of this tiny (by Waikiki standards), pink six-story hotel that feels like a throwback to the days of boarding houses, where rooms were outfitted for function, not style, and served up with a wealth of home-style hospitality at a price that didn't break the bank. When the winds die down and high temperatures set in, seriously consider splurging on the higher-end accommodations, which include air-conditioning, lanai, and small kitchens. The hotel's pool is its social center in the evenings, where you can usually find at least one or more members of the Fong family strumming a ukulele, dancing hula, and singing songs in the old Hawaiian style. Little touches that mean a lot include free use of body boards, surfboards, beach mats, and beach towels. The hotel is two blocks from Waikiki's Kuhio Beach. Parking is available in a public lot down the street.
YOU SHOULD KNOW The booking engine on the hotel’s website tends to show the hotel booked for months in advance, but it isn’t always accurate. Try calling the hotel directly to make reservations or looking on a third party site.
Royal Grove offers studio and one-bedroom units in many different bed configurations. Most of these large spaces are equipped with kitchens or kitchenettes, air conditioning, and lanai. Rooms are kept very cleaned and well maintained, and though the decor and linens aren’t the best looking out there, there’s still a coziness about the place that satisfies visitors.
This is a really, really well priced hotel, so it books up very quickly. If you’re looking for a budget hotel, this one is a traveler favorite, which makes it hard to find a room. Book in advance!
Bathrooms are a bit snug and simple, with tub/shower combos.
The small check-in desk area is reminiscent of an inn, with lots of wood paneling and mail slots behind the desk. It’s a cozy place to meet up with people or settle in for a board game. Guests can also enjoy some quiet down time in the reading corner and free WiFi is available in the lobby.
The small outdoor pool sits inside a courtyard with a few loungers and tables with chairs. It’s the social center of the hotel, and a great place to meet other travelers.
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.
Without exaggeration, you will likely have the best omelet of your life at The Original Pancake House. Fluffy, huge, and stuffed with some unique items, they’re nothing if not memorable--and so is the décor. This strip mall offering sees Europe meet the Pacific at this German-styled restaurant with Portland roots and Hawaiian favorites like Spam and eggs and macadamia nut pancakes on the menu. They also brew up a damn fine cup of coffee.
If you’re looking for some hearty Korean BBQ or stews, Sorabol is a great option for classic Korean food, along with an extensive sushi menu. They’re especially great night for some late-night indulging, as they stay open until 1 a.m. during the week and all night on the weekend.
Visit the oldest sports pub in the entire state at Legends Sports Pub (-min drive) for great deals (especially on their Mai Tais), a variety of screens, and a chance to watch NFL games at 7 a.m.!
If you’re in the mood for a bit of Irish aloha, Irish Rose Saloon has nightly live music and that great pub feel that you’re looking for. It’s a true favorite among locals and visitors.
WHY WE LIKE IT
Clean, pleasant, and affordable, Royal Grove Hotel is well loved by its guests. We particularly love its charm and warmth and that it’s a family-owned and locally managed hotel. The Music Monday nights are great, too!