By Jeanne Cooper, San Francisco Chronicle
February 7, 2018
Given that Waikiki’s old Pacific Beach Hotel was mostly known for its massive aquarium and Japanese clientele, it’s fitting that the final touches of its $115 million transformation will come from a sushi master, “Iron Chef” Masaharu Morimoto. Morimoto Asia Waikiki, the signature restaurant of the recently renamed Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach, is set to open Feb. 15 on the second floor of the high-rise hotel, while his more casual Momosan Waikiki, serving small plates and ramen along with craft beer and sake, is expected to open on the street level in March.
Setting: On the Diamond Head side of Waikiki, across the street from Kuhio Beach.
The appeal: “Aloha chic” (the resort’s favored hashtag) with convenience. The 839 previously redesigned, neutral-toned, beach-themed rooms now have access to equally stylish public spaces, from the soaring lobby’s O Bar lounge to a new pool deck with teak furniture, fire pits, bar and separate children’s pool. The luxury fitness center overlooks the resort’s 280,000-gallon Oceanarium, as does the breakfast restaurant, Lychee. Scores of other dining spots and shops are within an easy walk.
Insider’s tips: Enjoy the Oceanarium’s twice-daily fish feeding, but don’t miss the thoughtfully curated Waikiki Aquarium, a half-mile away in Kapiolani Park. The O Bar, which also offers Oceanarium views, has happy-hour specials 4 to 6 p.m. and 9 to 10 p.m. daily; try the Makaweli beef slider ($8) with a Kona Brewing Co. beer ($6).
Good to know: Plan to use the pool midday; it turns cold quickly in the shade. Parking is $30 ($38 valet) daily; the $30 daily resort fee includes Wi-Fi, welcome drinks, refillable water bottle and surfboard storage, among other items.
Details: 2490 Kalakaua Ave., Honolulu. (808) 922-1233, (800) 367-6060. www.alohilaniresort.com. Rooms from $364, including 14.96 percent in taxes and $30 resort fee; see website for introductory specials and other packages.