Fodor's Expert Review Sheraton Princess Kaiulani
120 Kaiulani Ave., Honolulu, Hawaii, 96815, USA See on Map
Starwood's Princess Kaiulani sits across the street from the regal Moana Surfrider, without some of the more elaborate amenities (such as a spa or a kid's club), but with rates that are considerably kinder to the wallet. Rooms are in two towers—some peer at the ocean over the Moana's low-rise historic wing. It's a two-minute stroll to the beach. The hotel's pool is streetside, facing Kalakaua Avenue, and the luau, "Creation: A Polynesian Journey," plays in the Ainahau Showroom. It can feel a bit rushed with guests coming and going, but the location can't be beat, and the rooms are more than adequate for the price. Many visitors stay at the PK (as it's called by locals) then spend their days at the beach and the bars across the street. The hotel also offers cultural classes such as lei making and ukulele playing. The property is also entirely smoke-free.
Room options include a variety of beds and views, including ocean, partial ocean, and city views. Each room has free Wi-Fi, private lanais, and the Sheraton Signature Sleep Experience. The look for the room includes lots of whites along with light or dark browns, depending on the room, with a pop of color or patterning. The decor is minimal, but keeps with the effortlessness of the aesthetic.
Be sure to ask for a room on the higher levels in the towers to guarantee the best views.
Most bathrooms offer simple elegance with marble or wooden vanities, sleek accessories, pops of color, and tub/handheld shower combos.
The lobby is bright, bold, and chic, with touches of Hawaiiana throughout. The black and white historical photo wall behind the reception desk is of particular note, with photos of Hawaiian royalty and special moments in history.
The medium-sized, oval pool is surrounded by loungers and a few cabanas with comfy furniture. The sun deck is a nice place for relaxing at one of the tables.
The fitness room is full of cardio machines and strength training equipment, with multiples of each type.
Guests can find all the buffets food their hearts desire for both breakfast and dinner at Pikake Terrace, the poolside dining option with outdoor seating. Sheraton Princess Kaiulani also offers one of the island’s best luaus; Learn more about Pacific history and culture at the Te Moana Nui Dinner Show, featuring performances, cultural activities, and an amazing dinner buffet, three times per week. Room service is also available.
YOU SHOULD KNOW The breakfast buffet gets really busy, so don’t put off going until it gets late.
Find an all day happy hour (11 a.m. to 6 p.m.) along with pupus, some menu items, and complimentary popcorn all poolside at Splash Bar. Be sure to give the mai tai flight a try to make sure you meet your quota of yummy tropical drinks.
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 (10-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. Have a picky group with you? Stop by Honolulu’s newest Whole Foods Market Queen (10-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.
Though MAC 24/7 (3-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. Enjoy live jazz music with your cocktails at Lewers Lounge (8-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.
WHY WE LIKE IT
Comfy beds and nice decor make this a welcoming choice for a Waikiki visit. On-site Polynesian performances and drinking and dining options also help to create a well-rounded choice.