There are 82 hotels in Waikiki. Most of them were built 40 years ago and show their age. The most expensive are right on the beach. Most of the hotels — even the cheap and rundown — charge resort fees. Parking is very expensive everywhere. So how and why did we choose the Hyatt Place and were we happy with our decision? Here’s our story:
The all-wise Trip Advisor rates Trump International the best hotel in Waikiki. I guess that’s mainly because it is less than 10 years old and only about 100 yards from the beach. The Halukalani comes in as #4, Outrigger Reef #7, Outrigger # 10, The Moana # 32, The Hyatt Regency # 36. Hyatt Place is # 26, higher than the Moana or the Hyatt Regency which are both 4-star! So we dug a little deeper. We told Trip Advisor that we were looking for a midprice hotel with free internet access. The Hyatt Place climbed up to # 10. Trip Advisor rates hotels high if they are on or close to the beach and also close to central Waikiki. The Hyatt Place is two blocks from the beach and on the east end, seven blocks from the Moana. We don’t mind walking. We do mind resort fees and stay away from these hotels if at all possible. We checked the reviews and most people were satisfied with the Hyatt Place. So were we.
What we got
The Hyatt Place is one of those 40 year-old hotels. It was once called the Ocean Resort Hotel. Hyatt bought it in 2010 and completely gutted it and remodeled it in 2011-12. Check-in at the Hyatt Place is 3pm. We arrived a couple of hours early, dropped off our luggage and went to lunch (The Tiki Grill at the Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel on the corner of Paoakalani and Kalakaua). On our return the staff gave us our keys to room 1406 on the top floor of the east or Diamond Head tower. We had asked for a king deluxe with a mountain view and a higher floor (for both the view and less noise). The room we got had two queens and we phoned the desk and told them we wanted a king. They showed us a couple of rooms with kings. They were about half the size of 1406 and so we decided to keep the room with two queens.
The room came with two balconies. The living area included a sofa, two chairs, a desk, refrigerator, a large flat screen tv on top of the room divider that was also the bedroom’s dresser (you could swivel the tv to face the beds if you wanted to). The bathroom basin was separate from the toilet and shower. There was a safe in the closet as well as an iron and ironing board. The room also had a single-cup coffee-maker. The air conditioning worked fine during our entire stay.
We had free breakfast every day on the third floor next to the very small pool (not a con for us since we had no intention of using the pool). The birds were a nuisance at breakfast and we noticed that some people brought their breakfast back to their rooms. But we didn’t mind. Just be careful when you leave some food unattended because the pigeons will be at your table in no time! Mostly American but some Japanese food. Scrambled eggs were on the menu on weekends with bacon one day, sausage the other. I usually had a pastry or french toast and fruit (pineapple and melon chunks) and cold cereal, orange juice and coffee during the week.
Parking is very expensive but we didn’t need a car every day. So we rented a car for three days and parked at the Aston Banyan Hotel kitty corner to our hotel on Kuhio for $15/day. Hyatt Place charged $25/day for self-park, $30 for valet service. We either just walked or took The Bus on the other days. We also took the SpeediShuttle to and from the airport ($60 for the two of us).
Our room was right next to the elevator and the noise bothered us a bit the first night. We got used to it, however, and didn’t notice any noise at all during the remaining seven nights. We were in the northeast tower. Our view was the mountains to the north with a litle view to the east. The two buildings between us and the mountains were both taller than ours. So our view was mainly these two buildings.
At least one room at the east end of the hall in our tower had a view of Diamond Head. The other tower has primarily west and south views. The south views from both towers face the ocean two blocks away. There are a number of taller buildings between Hyatt Place and the ocean. The rooms facing west (Paoakalani street) got a view of the Marriott across the street and that’s about it. We heard that the rooms were generally larger in the other tower. But we also heard that some guests complained about the elevator service in this tower which is a few stories higher than ours. Some people had to wait five to ten minutes for their elevator. We seldom had to wait more than a minute for ours.
Off the lobby toward our elevators we would pass the food-to-go service (pick your cold meal and they will zap it in the microwave for you), lounge, bar, computer area, and concierge. There were a few shops back near our elevators. The bar was empty or nearly empty most of the time we passed. Once we walked from our room during a lei-making session. The lounge was filled with women happily making their leis while their spouses happily sipped their mai tais or martinis at the bar. My wife made use of the computers for her daily email check and we were able to print our boarding passes with the printer networked to the hotel’s computers.
There’s a Lawson Station (a Japanese convenience store) off the lobby near the other tower’s elevators. There’s also a good-sized ABC store on the next block of Paoakalani toward the beach.
Our walks from our hotel: two blocks to the Saturday Farmer’s Market at Jefferson Elementary School. Another four blocks to the Honolulu Zoo. Two blocks to Kalakaua and the beach. Six blocks to the Hyatt Regency (where we picked up and dropped off our Hertz rental car), seven to the Moana (where we met with family nearly every night), twelve to the Halukalani, and 13 to the Outrigger Reef, our longest walk. We had lunch at the Halukalani’s House without a Key once and at the Outrigger Reef’s Shore Bird restaurant twice. Then we either walked back Lewers to Kalakaua or strolled along the beach and walkways of the various hotels we passed on the way.
Hyatt charged us $214.00 a day plus $19.80 for accommodations tax (9.25%) and $10.80 for general excise tax (4.712%). We thought that was a fair price for our deluxe room.
Note: Click here to see a map of Waikiki that shows you where each of the 82 hotels are and if you click on that hotel number you will get a mini-review of that hotel including resort fee alerts.
Final word: I can’t end this posting without mentioning the friendly staff — front desk, housekeeping, breakfast personnel, concierge. All service with a smile. They did their best to make our stay comfortable. And it was.