Undoubtedly, the most historic, iconic, and well-known hotel perched directly on Waikiki Beach is The Halekulani, a 5-star destination that dates back to 1907 when only 5 bungalows made up the beachfront property. Named by local fishermen that frequented the hotel, the name means ‘house befitting heaven’ and 100 years later still holds up considering the luxurious accommodations and surroundings.
With outstanding views of the Pacific Ocean and Diamond Head volcano, this property is made up of five low-rise buildings, two of which are 17 stories tall. Within, 453-rooms offer a mix of standard guest rooms and 7 different suite types, all of which offer luxurious surroundings while decorated in the hotel’s signature decor of ‘7 shades of white’. While all suites include a separate living area, the higher-end suites (such as the Executive Luxury Suite and Premiere Suites including The Halekulani Suite, Royal Suite, and Orchid Suite) boast private butler service and daily in-room breakfast. The latter three were designed by the infamous Vera Wang. Each room and suite includes a deep soaking tub, an LCD TV, an MP3 docking station, and an electronic safe.
Despite the size, The Halekulani has an undeniable boutique atmosphere given the customer service and some of the more unique features, such as an onsite bakery and florist. Other amenities include such standard features as a fitness center, business center, and meeting and banquet facilities. Additionally, there is a spa featuring Polynesian treatments.
Three cocktail lounges grace the property – L’Aperitif, House Without a Key which specializes in Mai Tais, and Lewers Lounge which comes alive after dinner with live jazz music. Restaurants include the elegant La Mer for upscale dining of French cuisine and the fabulously decorated Orchids restaurant for casual all-day dining complete with a breathtaking view of the ocean. The Halekulani is known for its spectacularly lavish Sunday Brunch Buffets, which should not be missed if staying at the hotel. The presentation is awash with color and everything imaginable to tickle your taste buds.
One of the most photographed features of the hotel is the Orchid pool which is designed with 1.2 million pieces of imported South African glass tiles. These form the mosaic of the Cattleya orchid at the bottom of the pool, which is visible both day and night.
Close to shopping at the Ala Moana Centre as well as several other dining options that are a short walk or taxi ride away, this hotel boasts an excellent location and consistently scores high with guests.
Understandably, The Halekulani is on the pricey side but it’s undeniably one of the best hotels in the area and should be considered if you’re heading to Waikiki. Nightly rates fall into the higher end of moderately priced (considering it’s Hawaii). And package deals are available that include breakfast for two at Orchids or House Without a Key.
PROS: Impeccable customer service. Beautiful views and surroundings. Spacious rooms and suites – clean, comfortable, and well-maintained.
CONS: Expensive. A very small strip of beach is allotted to the hotel, which becomes even smaller during high tide. This makes sunbathing next to impossible. Some guests complain that check-in is a long process.