For our visit to the island of Oahu, our final stop while island hopping Hawaii, we wanted to stay in a central location. We had been exploring extensively on the other islands and so we choose this Hawaiian island for a carefree family vacation. In our search for a modern, fresh and sophisticated hotel in a convenient Waikiki Beach location, we came across the newly (re)openened Alohilani Resort. It’s a sparkling new 4.5-star hotel, the result of a complete renovation of the former Pacific Beach Hotel. The new name is an ode to the past, since Queen Liliʻuokalani’s beachside cottage Kealohilani used to be located here. ‘Alohilani’ is the Hawaiian word for heavenly brightness.
The first impression when arriving at the resort, was one of grandeur thanks to the high ceilings and spacious entrance and lobby. Alohilani has a stylish and sophisticated style with an island feel
After a warm and welcoming arrival, the suitcases were brought to our room while we indulged in a complimentary cocktail. Even though it’s technically located in the bar, the large Oceanarium is an eye-catcher in the lobby too thanks to the open plan.
About an hour after our arrival, the front desk manager checked in to make sure we had found everything we need. That’s the kind of service we look for when traveling.
We stayed in a Premier Ocean Front Beachside room on the 12th floor which comes with unobstructed beach views. The private lanai (terrace) is such a highlight.
The room decor is contemporary and elegant, featuring neutral tones. With a surface of 330 ft² or over 30 m², the room is quite spacious. The bathroom not so much but there’s plenty of room around the bathroom sink to place all your personal items and the hotel is generous with its bath amenities from the Malie Organics Koke’e Collection. We’d have preferred a walk-in shower over the existing bath / shower combo but that’s a matter of personal taste.
When you choose to stay in the center of the action, you have to take some street noise into account too. Luckily the sound of the waves trumped the noise most of the time.
The amenities in this roomtype include bath robes and slippers, a hair dryer, a mini-fridge, an iron and iron-board and a safe. Reusable water bottles are provided and can be refilled at water stations throughout the hotel.
Food and drinks
Breakfast at Lychee
You may know that I’m very discerning when it comes to breakfast. To start off the day right, I look forward to an assortment of fresh fruits, smoothies, yoghurt or parfaits, nuts and/or seeds and smoked fish. All of which I’ve found at Lychee. My almost-just-as-demanding fellow-travelers also enjoyed their made-to-order omelet, pancakes, french toast, quiches and muffins. And what a treat to have breakfast in the company of these tropical fish.
Poolside lunch at Swell
Service here was a bit slow-paced but the food was just as yum. The avocado toast and chicken toast with delicious kabocha dip (finished it before Fatih could snap a shot, it was that good) were our favourites. And there’s no better way to refresh than with a smoothie with fruits of our choice.
Drinks or light mail at O Bar
We highly recommend the deliciously fine flatbreads. The aquarium and live music make it a relaxing place to spend the evening.
Dinner at Morimoto Asia
If you’re more into Asian cuisine, then Morimoto Asia is your place to be. It’s located on the 2nd Floor of the Beachside tower and features an open kitchen, a large bar and 2 lanais. Service is very friendly and informal and the food is excellent. We chose quite a spectacular menu during our first dinner: the crispy fish as a main and chocolate sphere for desert. The fireworks only added to our excitement. What a memorable evening.
Momosan by Morimoto
This more casual Asian restaurant, featuring ramen dining and a beer garden, will be opening soon.
What we love
The magnificent view from the room is just breathtaking and the spacious lanai (terrace) is the perfect place to watch the surfers. What a great place to both start and end a Waikiki day.
Another touch that we appreciated is the complimentary pool-side massage. This kind of unannounced pampering is exactly what sets a superb hotel apart from a great hotel.
The saltwater infinity pool is a great place to spend some lazy hours.
As a former hotel professional, I strongly believe that exceptional service can’t come from policy guidelines but that it comes from a hotel’s employees. A positive atmosphere among staff members is crucial for a hospitable spirit. And at the Alohilani Resort, you feel that the staff is warm and genuinely caring. They go above and beyond to make the guests’ stay memorable.
The beachfront location
Alohilani Resort is located in Waikiki Beach, right across from Kuhio beach. Thanks to its own breakwater, this beach is known for its tranquil waters. It’s even nicknamed ‘The Ponds’. A great family beach to go with this family-friendly hotel.
What the kids love
The MonkeyPod Kid’s Club and activities
While we didn’t schedule a day of play at the MonkeyPod Kid’s Club, we did get a sense of the aloha spirit during the complimentary activities that the childcare professionals offered throughout the week at 10 A.M. We participated in the lei making class, that takes place in the O Bar. It’s one of these activities that any kid (and mom) should take part in during a Hawaiian vacation. The girls carefully made a lei for themselves and joined forces making one for dad too. We kept the leis cool in the room’s refrigerator during the day and proudly wore them in the evening.
Another activity that was high on the girls’ Hawaiian bucket list, was hula dancing. Alegra and Jade happened to be the only children present in the Kid’s Club on that Thursday morning and so it turned out to be a private hula lesson in which I could participate as well. It took place indoor since it just started to rain. The teacher did a great job explaining the origin of the song and meaning of the moves which made it easier to remember the different steps. Below video shows the result after not more than half an hour of instruction.
The kid’s pool is located next to the Kid’s Club on a side of the deck that is mostly shaded. There’s plenty of space around the pool and even a small stretch of (fake) grass where the little ones can play. Even though the pool has a good size and a small jacuzzi-like section, the girls preferred to spend their time in the main whirlpool. This one was pretty hot so I really can’t see why they chose to stay there in this warm weather. Anyway, we just allowed them to be in the main pool area when not too many adults were present.
The girls noticed the massive aquarium as soon as we entered the hotel. They were thrilled to spot some of the fish species they had encountered during our snorkelling adventures on the other islands. And they were particularly quiet when during breakfast too, captivated by the fish. The hotel organises 2 feeding sessions daily, one of which at 10.30 AM, and you could see the fish preparing for their treat about half an hour before.
Alohilani Resort trivia
Number of rooms: The resort offers 839 rooms divided over 2 towers, one offering Diamond Head views (the Seascape tower), the other Waikiki Beach views (the Beachside tower).
Hotel identity: Member of the Preferred Hotels & Resorts collection and the Châteaux & Hôtels Collection.
Wifi: IPrefer members enjoy free internet, a room upgrade, priority early check-in and late check-out. You can enroll in the program using this link.
Price: Nightly rates start around $300 excluding taxes or $380 including taxes and resort fee. For the room type we chose, the nightly rate starts around $470 excluding taxes or $580 including taxes and resort fee.
Nearest airport: Depending on the traffic, the ride from Honolulu’s Daniel K. Inouye International Airport takes about 25 minutes.
Looking for a classy family-friendly hotel in Waikiki? You’ve found it! We had a great time at the Alohilani Resort and felt right at home. Also the kids felt very welcome and spoiled, which is exactly what a family vacation is all about.
The location couldn’t be better either: right across the bus stop for the most popular organized tours. There’s a carpark as well, which is ideal if you prefer to explore the island on your own and, for example, visit Pearl Harbour without a tour.
Can’t get enough of Hawaii? Then check out some of the other articles about our Hawaii island hopping adventure:
- 82 Facts about Hawaii
- Black sand beaches of Hawaii
- Things to do in Maui with kids
- 7 Spectacular Maui hikes
- Where to stay on Big Island
- Things to do in Hilo and beyond
- Colorful beaches on Hawaii Big Island
- Green sand beach Hawaii
- Best Big Island hikes
- Hiking the Kilauea Iki Trail in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
- Most spectacular Big Island waterfalls