(800) 445-8667 or (808) 949-4321
2005 Kalia Rd, Waikiki
Where do we start? We’ve reviewed every resort in Hawai‘i, and this is the biggest kahuna of them all. On a typical day they’ll have over 6,000 guests serviced by 1,700 employees, which practically qualifies it as a small town. If you’re looking for a pulsating, always-moving resort, this place hums. If you’re looking for peace and quiet, you’ve definitely come to the wrong place. It can get very crowded at the pools, and their multi-level 5,000-sq.-ft. Paradise Pool has a 77-foot lava tube slide and a waterfall that is very popular.There are eight massive towers (the tallest is 38 stories) with the Rainbow Tower being the closest to the water and the Ali‘i Tower having the best services. The grounds are strewn with tropical plants, flowing ponds, swimming pools and some exotic birds. The Ali‘i Tower is the nicest (non-timeshare) tower. It’s the best furnished and offers more personalized services. (Ali‘i rooms ending in -05 are particularly nice.) There is a private second floor pool deck and bar. They have their own front desks here and in the Kalia Tower, so you can check in directly and avoid the often busier main lobby.
The Diamond Head Tower has some good ocean views, the Lagoon Tower is completely timeshare, and the Grand Waikikian and Grand Islander are currently being sold as timeshares. (You can rent a condo there until they are all sold. They’re stunning but very pricey.) The Tapa Tower rooms are pleasant. All the rooms are clean and contemporary with an island-style theme. The oceanfront category rooms on the Rainbow Tower—especially those on the Diamond Head side—have smashing views down the beach.
The beach defines the northwestern edge of Waikiki and has the calmest waters. There’s a lot to do on the beach and in the public lagoon (which is a clean, safer place to frolic). The vendors on the beach rent gear and such for fairly high prices—like $16 for a beach lounge chair and $31 for an umbrella.
They have two stunning wedding chapels with an on-site wedding coordinator who can help plan events there or on the beach. Their children’s program (Camp Penguin Kid’s Club) is on site for $110/day or $80/half-day. They will take kids to the zoo, aquarium and Children’s Discovery Center as well as providing the usual on-site games and activities. Mandara Spa has 25 treatment rooms, a pool, spa pool, a full salon and houses the fitness center. There are over 90 shops on the property to satisfy all your shopaholic tendencies.
If the prices of the restaurants here scare you, the Hale Koa’s beachside snack bar next door is open to you, but not their other restaurants. The resort is well known for their fireworks every Friday night. They have tons of cultural activities to choose from each day.
Rooms (300–810 sq. ft.) are $220–$440, suites (439–1,826 sq. ft.) are $350–$5,400.