During my first visit, I was struck by the property’s location. Located right on Waikiki Beach and next door to the famous Pink Palace, the views of and from the beach are unparalleled: the sand, the surf, Diamond Head to the east, amazing sunsets to the west. In fact, I took my favorite picture of Diamond Head from the balcony of my room during my previous visit.
|Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head|
Properties in a popular location like Waikiki could be lulled into resting on their laurels. After all, when you’re on prime property, there area people who will want to stay with you almost regardless of any other factor. But Outrigger sets a higher standard for its properties and the service at the Waikiki Beach Resort is excellent.
On my recent visit, to cover the 13th annual Spam Jam, I arrived before the appointed 3 p.m. check-in time and learned my room was still to be cleaned. The desk clerk offered me an alternate room but, when I decided to wait, offered to store my luggage and alert me when my room was ready.
After a quick glass of wine overlooking the beach and the ocean, I was advised that my room had been prepared and that my suitcase would be sent up; no need to retrieve it from the bell stand. I opened the door to my room to see that it had actually arrived before I did. High marks there.
|Guest room 916|
A balcony with a small table and two chairs provided some outside space and, in the case of room 916, a nice view of the water.
I did not see a bathrobe in the room – one on my favorite creature comforts while traveling – but a phone call to housekeeping brought one to my door within minutes.
Two minor caveats about the guest room. First, the desk chair is not an office task chair, which makes it a bit less comfortable than it could be if working at the desk for long periods. However, the business center downstairs can be used if you absolutely have to work for long stretches (it IS Hawaii, after all!).
|Salmon and bagel at the Hula Grill|
No matter how nice a physical property is, service can make or break a guest’s experience. In the case of the Waikiki Beach Resort, service was consistently excellent. Without exception, every staff member I passed in the hall, lobby, or elevator smiled and said either “Hello” or, more usually, “Aloha”, which is as it should be in an upmarket property. Further, the servers at the Hula Grill were quite knowledgeable about the restaurant’s offerings, making suggestions and offering to explain the difference between their “loco moco” and the version served by the island’s famous Rainbow Drive-In. (The drive-in’s dish, they said, was more traditional while the Hula Grill “had some fun with it” and gave it a contemporary twist.)
|Hotel from the beach|
Located directly on Waikiki, the Waikiki Beach Resort is definitely in the thick of things. Kalakaua Ave., with its collection of high-end shops, stores, and upscale restaurants, is practically the Rodeo Drive of Honolulu, and the side street are just as popular (read: busy). That means guests needn’t rent a car unless intent on venturing beyond Waikiki, but it also means the action is right outside the front door, and it starts fairly early and goes late. If that aligns with your particular travel style, I highly recommend the Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort.
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Photos by Carl Dombek
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