Tuesday, February 2, 2010

All Smiles at the Sheraton Waikiki

I’ve stayed at a number of hotels in Waikiki, and last year I had the pleasure of staying at the Sheraton Waikiki, located on Kalakaua Ave, next door to the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. While we were only there for three nights, we had a fabulous time! Let me share my highlights:

1. The View – Wow, from our room on the 17th floor the view of Diamond Head was spectacular, and looking down from our balcony you were able to see Waikiki Beach and beyond, it was simply stunning.

2. The Restaurants – In addition to my usual favorites like Alan Wong’s, we also had dinner at Rumfire, which is on the ground floor of the hotel. Again the view was simply beautiful, and the food wasn’t bad either! The dish I had (pictured below) was asian-style chicken lettuce wraps, which were very impressive. The menu does change frequently, and you can view all their food and drink menus on their website. One small complaint – although the food and drinks were good, it made for an expensive meal –for the two of us it was over US$100 for two small appetizer dishes and two cocktails each!

3. The Location – This hotel would have to be in one of the best locations in Waikiki. Literally, the hotel is in the center of the action, and is in walking distance to everything. You can access the beach via the hotel pool area (see photo), and although there is not a lot of beachfront at the hotel, it’s a five minute stroll to Waikiki Beach or Fort De Russy Beach. The Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center is almost connected to the front of the hotel facing out to Kalakaua Ave, with plenty of coffee shops, restaurants and retail stores close by. In terms of location and value for money, this is by far the best Waikiki experience I have ever had.

All hotels have their weaknesses, so if you are looking for personalized service and Hawaiian hospitality, I probably wouldn’t recommend this hotel. With over 2,000 guest rooms, the hotel lobby always looks like an overcrowded train station with people coming and going at all hours of the day and night. It’s a busy hotel, and with only a small business center and limited concierge service it’s probably easier to bring your laptop and plan your own itinerary from your room (for a fee of course). Overall, the stay we had at the Sheraton Waikiki was fabulous and I would definitely recommend to other travelers. One final tip: Be sure to check the website regularly for travel specials; after we had booked our hotel, the price per night dropped by over US$80 per night and we were able to get a much better deal closer to our travel date, which we were able to update at no cost.

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