No detail is missed in the ‘Alohilani (named after and dedicated to the last sovereign monarch of the Kingdom of Hawaii, Queen Liliuokalani) lobby. The gorgeous indoor-outdoor space reflects traditional Hawaiian living with its pillars wrapped in basket-woven teak and floor-to-ceiling window walls, all just steps away from the center of bustling Waikiki. Previously the Pacific Beach Hotel, the newly-renovated ‘Alohilani Resort opened its doors in 2018. The massive, 839-room property is defining what it means to be the new kid on the block with sustainability initiatives, roof-deck tennis courts, a saltwater infinity pool, two Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto restaurants, and street art murals commissioned by local artists … all without having direct beach access (you just have to cross the street to reach the sand). Read on to find out what it’s like to stay at this non-traditional (in the best way) Waikiki resort.
Located a block away from Waikiki Beach on the south side of Waikiki, the ‘Alohilani has unobstructed views of the ocean and Diamond Head from its upper floors. It’s also close to attractions—both the Honolulu Zoo and the Royal Hawaiian Center are about a 10-minute walk away.
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I stayed in a Diamond Head Ocean View room in the Seascape tower, which had a view of both Diamond Head and the ocean. Due to the hotel’s location, most of the rooms—with the exception of those on lower floors—have at least an ocean view. Since the hotel is only a year old (at the time of publication in mid-2019), modern amenities like USB outlets are an appreciated touch, as is the TV with stream-casting. All rooms are at least 330 square feet and have a balcony. The living space feels large, so if you are sleeping four in a room, it would still be comfortable. The bathroom has a functional layout with a separate vanity from the bathroom-shower area.
On-site, you’ll find five dining options, including two Asian restaurants by Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto. One is a more traditional restaurant with indoor-outdoor dining, while the second is a more casual space serving up noodles and sake. Other dining options include the pool deck with Swell Bar, the O Bar located off the lobby with views of the Oceanarium, and above the lobby area, you’ll find Lychee, a breakfast buffet room.
(All of the) Extras
If you’re booking a vacation to Hawaii, a beach or pool is probably at the top of your hotel amenity checklist. Not only is ‘Alohilani less than a block to the beach, it also has an amazing pool deck with a heated saltwater infinity pool, cabanas, fire pits, and bar-dining area. There’s also a kid’s club and separate family pool. A separate beach club is also coming soon to the hotel. Since it’s not technically beachfront, you’ll find nightly rates to be slightly less than you might expect.
On-site, you’ll find the Island Club and Spa, which is truly a fitness and health “experience.” There is a fitness center with a studio that offers daily classes as well as rooftop tennis courts, batting cages, and training turf. Activities range from sunset yoga to TRX classes.
Another surprising element is the resort’s Oceanarium, which came with the original property, pre-renovation. Developers decided to keep it for its history, and guests can watch daily feedings (10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.) by the hotel’s scuba diver. The massive saltwater aquarium houses over 550 indigenous marine animals of 44 different species.
Guests looking for an extra touch can opt for access to the Longboard Club (the price is inclusive of two adults and two children per room). The extra fee includes a separate indoor and outdoor lounge area and free draft beers and wine during an evening service. Complimentary light bites are also available throughout the day, with an acai bar and select breakfast buffet in the morning and cheese and charcuterie in the evening.
The hotel also is proud of its sustainability efforts, like charging a $5 Tree Planting Fee, distributing eco-friendly water bottles, providing communal water stations, and participating in recycling and compost programs. The resort also encourages guests to visit Gunstock Ranch and participate in a tree planting tour as part of its partnership with the Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative.
The $40 resort fee includes Wi-Fi and some non-traditional amenities too, like access to free fitness classes, Hawaiian cultural classes, surfboard storage, complimentary access to the Honolulu Museum of Art, portable phone chargers for use, a $20 spa credit per room per stay, English and Japanese-speaking concierges services, and more.
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