If you don't mind crowds, this could be the place for you: towering over its neighbors on the prow of Waikiki's famous sands, the enormous Sheraton sits right at center stage on the beach. Designed for the convention crowd, it's big and busy; the ballroom, one of Oahu's largest, hosts convention expos, concerts, and weddings. Many rooms—80%, according to the hotel—have spectacular views of Waikiki. Dining options are plentiful: Kai Market showcases fresh, locally grown products in its daily buffet; RumFire is a favorite watering hole with a local-style tapas menu and stellar cocktails; the Edge of Waikiki Bar is a scenic and relaxing place to watch the sunset; and Hapa's Pizza brings Italian/Hawaiian fusion as a fast, on-the-go dining option. The resort's best beach is on its Diamond Head side, fronting the historic Royal Hawaiian Hotel. Lanai afford views of the ocean, Waikiki, or the mountains. The hotel's Helumoa Playground, with two swimming pools and a long waterslide, is a kid magnet, while the Edge of Waikiki pool is a more elegant and subdued, adults-only swimming and lounging destination. The advantage here is that you have at your vacation fingertips a variety of amenities, venues, and programs, as well as a location smack-dab in the middle of Waikiki.
This towering property located on the beach features over 1500 guest rooms, including 136 suites, all of which have ocean views. In addition to suites, the Sheraton Waikiki offers guest rooms with city, ocean front, partial views, deluxe, and luxury corner rooms. Many rooms on higher floors include access to the large club lounge where guests can dine on continental breakfast daily. Though decor and accents are acceptable, rooms have not been updated in some time.
Bathrooms are relatively small in the lower tiered guest rooms with shower/ tub combos. Larger rooms and suites, however, are big enough to accomodate bidets. Robes are provided as well as designer toiletries and toothbrushes and toothpaste.
The large lobby houses multiple check-in counters, with friendly staff happy to accomodate. There’s also a full computer center, various shops, and billiards tables.
Relax at two freshwater outdoor pools, open daily from 8 am to 8 pm. The family-friendly Helumoa Pool has a 70-foot water slide for the kiddos. The Infinity Pool, however, is adults only. Loungers at the pool are free but are difficult to nab unless you get to the pool extremely early. Cabanas and sunbeds are available for a fee as are loungers located at the edge of the pool. There’s also a hot tub, though it’s located at the Helumoa Pool. Water aerobics classes are also offered. A small number of loungers and cabanas are also located on the beach for ocean front sunbathing.
Spa Khakara features chic accents to complement the contemporary ambiance and provide a relaxing, serene setting. The spa includes eight treatment rooms, four of which accommodate couples. Facials, massage, and other body treatments are on the menu.
Open 24 hours a day, the fitness center features sculpting equipment, cardio machines, free weights, and complimentary workout classes.
A variety of options are available for your drinking and dining needs. Two casual Asian fusion restaurants are open for lunch and dinner. Breakfast and dinner are served alongside gorgeous views of the Infinity Pool and Waikiki Beach at Kai Market. A breakfast buffet is available, as is room service, and local restaurant delivery. There’s also a pizza place on-site for lunch and dinner as well as a Japanese restaurant offering breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
In addition, guests with club level access can enjoy pristine views while dining on a continental breakfast from 6 to 10 am and complimentary wine, beer, and appetizers from 6 to 8 pm at the Leahi Club Lounge.
Sip on tropical drinks at the extremely popular Rumfire, where Cruzan Rum serves as its flagship liquor that goes into a variety of classic and handcrafted cocktails. On Friday and Saturday nights Rumfire transforms into the only oceanfront nightclub on the island. The Edge of Waikiki serves light fare with its al fresco cocktails and ocean views and live music on the weekends. Poolside drinks are served at Kai Market.
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 (16-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.
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 (23-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.
House Without a Key (5-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 (7-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 a.m. (except Friday and Saturday), as well as a regular daily happy hour from 2 to 5 pm.
WHY WE LIKE IT
Located directly on the beach with views of Diamond Head, the Sheraton Waikiki has a wide array of features, including bustling shops and nightlife venues packed with both guests and Honolulu locals. It’s one of the few remaining Waikiki hotels with a nightclub in it, which makes it a great option if you’re looking for nightlife.