From the moment you arrive at The Laylow, it’s obvious that the design team put thought into every corner of this well-used space. It sits a little back from the ocean in the middle of the revitalized Kuhio Avenue area that is teeming with plenty of souvenir shops, restaurants, and other walkable places, including the high end shopping area, Luxury Row. The entire hotel is cool, laid back, and chic, with The Hideout Restaurant, coffee bar, pool, boutique, and activities desk all located around the central lobby hub. For a special treat, try one of the cabana rooms just off the pool or a well-priced suite -- all of the rooms include a fantastic welcome basket and other amenities. Enjoy a contemporary take on old Hawai’i at this charming, chic addition to Waikiki’s varied hotel offerings
YOU SHOULD KNOW There isn’t much of an ocean view, as the hotel is set back one block from the ocean, but higher level floors can see some of it.
Rooms come in a variety of configurations, and include some interesting options that include junior suites, cabana rooms, an executive level, and more. Most have king beds with an additional bed option. In-room amenities include a mini fridge, ukulele, and TVs that sync to your devices. Decor is cool and charming, a contemporary take on the ‘60s era Hawaiian vibe. It’s clear that every detail has been meticulously planned to create a nice little oasis in the comfy rooms.
All of the one-bedroom options, including suites, are very similarly priced. Go ahead and spring for a nice room option, like the Executive Level rooms, Junior Suite, or the Cabana Rooms (just off the pool) to give yourself the exact experience you’re looking for.
Bathrooms are spacious and bright, full of contemporary touches and fixtures (including an incredible Kohler shower head that includes handheld), and wood paneled showers. Showers are standing-only, vanities are large, and the toiletries are exclusive to the hotel brand.
The lobby at The Laylow starts your vacation off right. As you ascend the escalator to the second floor hotel hub you are greeted with a variety of tropical plants and wooden furniture and accents. There is plenty of comfy seating scattered about, including hanging wicker egg chairs. The reception desk is recessed and doesn’t take up too much space. The lobby is the central hub for everything, with the restaurant, coffee shop, activities desk, boutique, and pool all branched off from it.
The saltwater pool is relatively small, created more for relaxing than playing or exercising, but it’s quite lovely and certainly a focal point of the hotel. It’s surrounded by comfy daybed loungers, two cabanas, and there are loungers inside the pool, as well. Food and drink service from nearby Hideout Restaurant is available.
The gym is small, but spacious thanks to creative uses of mirrors and layout. There are six cardio machines, a weight machine, free weights, and yoga balls in a space that mirrors the charming aesthetic of the rest of the hotel.
The hotel has a signature restaurant, The Hideout, that offers open-air dining in a casual atmosphere. There are a variety of tables, including cafe tables and low tables with couches for drinking and lounging. There’s also a fire pit seating area at each end of the restaurant with a sand pit surrounding. The menu is Pacific-inspired, light, fresh, and tasty. Guests can find live music there every night.
The bar at The Hideout isn’t quite as comfy as the rest of the restaurant, but the cocktail menu includes some unique offerings (though a bit on the pricier side), and there are plenty of beer and wine choices to satisfy any drinking needs. Attached to the bar is also a small coffee shop that serves up basic coffees and a few breakfast food items.
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.
One of Chinatown’s standout spots is trendy The Pig and the Lady (16-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.
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.
Even if you’re not staying at The Modern, you’ll want to sneak behind the bookcases in their lobby to grab a drink at The Study (7-min drive). It may look small from the outside, but this bar with yummy cocktails, incredible live music that gives way to a DJ, and diverse crowd is large and inviting. Alas, you will definitely not get any studying done.
Though MAC 24/7 (8-min walk) 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
Chic, funky, and fun, this new addition to Waikiki’s hotel options keeps the Instagram set in mind, without making it feel inaccessible to families and other types of travelers. The rates are affordable, especially the kamaaina rate for locals that includes daily valet parking and waived resort fee. A welcome basket in every room includes treats, flip flops, and a fun rubber ducky to take home. They even make sure that your dog is well cared for, if you want to bring him or her along.