By TODD PLUMMER
Close your eyes, and go back to the moment you arrived: what was your first impression?
You may need to catch your breath when you step into this hotel’s stunning lobby, a soaring, light-filled space that is immediately serene compared to the busy streets of Honolulu. The grand lobby features wide open spaces, high ceilings, Hawaiian artifacts on display, a gorgeous coral sculpture behind the check-in desk, and best of all, an enormous two-story “oceanarium” at the heart of the hotel filled with tropical fish.
What backstory you can give us on this place?
Waikiki Beach’s longstanding Pacific Beach Hotel made waves in 2018 when it unveiled a $125 million renovation and rebrand into the ‘Alohilani.
Tell us about the rooms. How do they look, and what was it like to stay in one?
For a large hotel on Waikiki Beach, the newly renovated rooms have a clean aesthetic and plenty of light. Reclaimed wood headboards and accents throughout the room have a beach feel, and modern updates like bedside USB ports are a welcome touch. The bathrooms feature rainfall shower heads and sensor toilets. Most rooms have at least a partial ocean view, which is a nice touch.
Is there a charge for Wi-fi—and is the quality good?
Wi-fi is included in daily $40 resort fee.
Tell us about the F&B. What’s on offer?
If you’re a breakfast person, make sure to add breakfast to your room rate at the time of booking; there’s a phenomenal breakfast buffet that costs about $35 per person for walk-ins. A highlight is Morimoto Asia from famed Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto, which features a range of inventive pan-Asian delights. Other than that, the bar at the pool deck has a great all-day menu of drinks and snacks to carry you from morning till night.
How did you find the service, start to finish? Smooth and quick, or clumsy and forgetful?
The service is efficient and welcoming. Just off the lobby, you’ll find an especially large concierge area with a team of Honolulu experts waiting to provide tips and tricks for exploring the area. Thanks to the abundance of staff, especially at the concierge and front desks, it never feels like you have to wait long for an answer to your questions.
Tell us about the other guests: who will we see here?
Because of the hotel’s larger size and proximity to Waikiki Beach (it’s across the street), you’ll see a little bit of everything here, from conference-goers and business travelers to families of all sizes.
What about the neighborhood? Does the hotel fit in, make itself part of the scene?
Given the hotel’s top-notch Rockwell renovation, its location smack-dab on Waikiki Beach, and its delicious F&B offerings, it’s fair to say that the ‘Alohilani is almost a steal compared to some of the area’s pricier—and dustier—resorts.
Is there anything you’d change?
Tell us what we missed!
At 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. every day, a scuba diver drops into the oceanarium and feeds the fishes, which is fun to watch. You can also see the oceanarium from the lobby bar, so it’s a great way to kill some time before heading out for dinner or an excursion elsewhere.
Bottom line: Worth it? Why?
Absolutely. Rooms start at $309 a night, which is on the lower end for comparable resorts in the area.
ʻAlohilani Resort Waikiki Beach