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“Disappointed!”

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The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort
Ranked #21 of 84 Hotels in Honolulu
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 1 February 2014

Living in Hawaii I always loved the Royal Hawaiian, the hotel is historical and beautiful. Back in the day it used to have a grand buffet breakfast on Sundays that I loved. So naturally after moving back to the mainland I always said when I visit I will stay at the Royal Hawaiian. And I did twice, the first time in 2007 it was amazing however when I returned again in April 2012 for my honeymoon it was HORRIBLE. I know I'm late on this review but I just found the letter I wrote to Starwoods complaining back in 2012 and it reminded me to review on TripAdvisor to warn others.

First the welcome service was not very friendly. Second, the room was filthy. I had to call as soon as we arrived because there were dirty coffee cups (from the people before us), hairs on the toilet. They came and recleaned. The next morning when I asked the maid who came in to clean the railing on the balcony (it was full of bird droppings) I watched her take a rag, clean the bird droppings on the railing and then take the same rag to the bathroom and clean the sink and toilet. I asked her to leave and I did report this to the front desk, only got a we are sorry we'll send someone up. I was so disgusted I went to the store to buy lysol wipes and clean the bathroom myself.

This hotel is definitely not 5 star in service, I would give it 4 stars. When I stay at 5 stars resorts the staff does everything for you. At the Royal Hawaiian when I would go to the desk and ask about a spa appt they would tell me to walk to the spa to talk to them (instead of them calling the spa for me) or we asked about reserving a beach umbrella and they told us to walk down to the beach area to see if they had on available. I wouldn't mind the 4 star service if that is what I paid for, however we paid a considerable amount of money for a 5 star resort with an oceanfront room in the tower.

Overall, I'm very disappointed as my first experience at the hotel in 2007 was amazing but it was less than stellar in 2012. We will not be returning to this hotel, I can't get past the cleanliness issue. Also, Starwoods nor the hotel cared to address my concerns when I wrote them a review back in 2012.

  • Stayed: March 2013, travelled as a couple
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7  Thank Jennifer S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
RHCoordinator, Online Marketing Coordinator at The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 4 February 2014

Dear Jennifer S,
We truly regret to learn that your vacation with us in 2012 did not meet your expectations and that our team did not properly follow up with you on your noted concerns. The cleanliness and service issues you experienced during your stay are inexcusable and we're quite embarrassed to hear the way these were handled by our our team. This is most certainly not the experience our team is trained to deliver and we truly apologize for our shortcomings in providing an exceptional vacation. We do truly value your feedback and we've shared your concerns with our management team.
Warmest mahalo,

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1,860 - 1,866 of 3,928 reviews

Reviewed 29 January 2014

We were lucky enough to stay nine nights in the Garden View suite. Our children (ages 9 and 6) were accommodated with a roll-in bed and converted chaise lounge - they were happy as they had the TV in their 'bedroom'. The gardens were beautiful and we delighted in seeing the hanging lanterns in the trees in the evening. We really enjoyed viewing the historical photos throughout the hotel.

I will admit the Garden View suite is more of a "roof view" (as reviewed by Dan P) but we really didn't spend enough waking hours to care. The suite is a little tired but this not a modern, minimalist, trendy hotel so it more or less adds to the charm. The carpets are looking a little tired but the room was clean and tidy. The kids were thrilled to have cable TV and we were satisfied with the amenities. For those of us with laptops, the use of the disabled powerpoint on the side of the desk would have been most useful.

Mostly, the staff at the hotel were fantastic - helpful, responsive and polite. My husband arrived the day before myself and the children, however we were still treated with a traditional lei and hearty welcome to the hotel. Coupons for Mai Tai drinks were definitely appreciated though service, even at not-so-busy times in the Mai Tai Bar, took a little effort to find. On many occasions we were overlooked to have orders taken. Azure for breakfast was super delicious. My favourite was the French toast with berry coulis but it's a tough call - eggs Benedict just as scrumptious. Our kids really enjoyed their breakfast choices. If you have young children, ask the staff for a plastic takeaway cup for their drinks though. Skim (low fat) milk is available for coffee/tea, just ask the staff.

I would suggest the bracelet making and koi fish feeding activities for the younger guests. Good fun and not too taxing. We enjoyed the use of the Sheraton pool as well (grab a chair early - it gets busy!) Would I do the luau again? Maybe. Although it was very informative, fun with nice food, it was quite expensive.

Shops and restaurants a-plenty just a stroll away and there's no lack of ABC Stores, they are fantastic and stock everything you need and didn't know that you needed. The Hawaiian Shopping Center is on the tourist strip and Peet's (just outside the Sheraton) will get you your better coffee hit, as will the Starbuck's nearby.

For a chilled-out day just head to the beach, right at the doorstep. Again, gets quite busy but it's not too 'surfy' nor deep for the kids so grown-ups can relax a little more. Nothing like stepping off the beach at sunset straight into the Mai Tai bar.

We have great memories and photos of the hotel and Hawaii in general. A fun day out in a hire car is also recommended. Ask the Concierge to organise and you will be dropped to the rental office. Sealife Park was good fun, though entry is expensive. Plenty of scenic lookouts for great photo opportunities. Cheeseburger Beachwalk thoroughly recommended - my kids have never enjoyed a burger so much, nor has their mum! Polynesian Cultural Center also recommended.

Hawaiian Airlines disappointed our entry/exit to Hawaii though. In-flight tablets, though promised when booking, were nought! Kids' meal orders must be confirmed - ours missed out on the way to Hawaii and I noticed several children without kids' meals when leaving Hawaii as well.

Room Tip: Stay in the historic building to gain more essence of the hotel.
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  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled with family
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Thank 3068Snow
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
RHCoordinator, Online Marketing Coordinator at The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 30 January 2014

Dear 3068Snow,
Thank you for taking the time to provide a very thorough review of your stay with us at The Royal Hawaiian. We're delighted to learn that you and your family enjoyed your time here with us and we thank you for sharing your kind comments and honest feedback regarding your experience. We apologize for the relaxed service you experienced at Surf Lanai for breakfast and we thank you for sharing this with us. We know you have many choices when selecting a resort in Waikiki and we thank you for choosing The Royal. We hope to have the wonderful opportunity to welcome you back again soon.
Warmest aloha,

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Reviewed 29 January 2014 via mobile

This was the first hotel we stayed at on our Christmas Hawaii trip.We had a regular ocean view studio room(two adults,one child 9 years).The room fit us nicely and was clean but a little outdated with the decor.The balcony was a nice size but the railing was a little wobbly so I didn't let my son go out on it.The beach was unbelievable!!It was perfect for everyone,no rocks,small enough waves to learn how to surf,and the bar was close to the beach chairs.The beach chairs you have to purchase for $50 dollars a day and are behind a rope but if you want you could bring your own towels and find a spot for free.Remember there's no drinking or smoking on the beach and on the balconies in Hawaii,it's the law,bummer,but it keeps the beaches nice.The food was great and so was room service.In the bathroom they also had one of those toilets that sprays and dries you clean... Lol,very cool!!The pool is very small but they give you bracelets for free to use the Sheraton pool which has 3slides,adult pool,and you could eat there and charge it to your room.I would could back here because we loved Waikiki beach and the shops are walking distance.It was great here !! The guys that teach surfing lesson were super nice and taught my son how to surf...thanks!

Stayed: December 2013
Thank TravelWithChrissy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
RHCoordinator, Online Marketing Coordinator at The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 30 January 2014

Aloha TravelWithChrissy,
We're delighted to learn that you and your family enjoyed a wonderful vacation with us here at The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort. We're very fortunate to sit on what we consider to be the most beautiful location on Oahu's south shore and we're thrilled that you and your family took full advantage of our beachfront location - and what better place to learn how to surf than Waikiki! We hope to have the wonderful opportunity to welcome you back again soon.
Warmest aloha,

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Reviewed 29 January 2014

I didn't have the opporunity to stay at this hotel but I will definitely stay here in the future, the hotel has a old world spanish/art deco type feel and gorgeous just to walk through!! And as a double plus bonus if you go downstairs there is a long hallway full of historical artifacts from the hotel!

Stayed: July 2013, travelled as a couple
Thank KerisaM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
RHCoordinator, Online Marketing Coordinator at The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 30 January 2014

Dear KerisaM,
Thank you so very much for taking a moment to share your comments about our resort. It's always wonderful to hear from visitors who truly appreciate our history and beautiful architecture/design. We hope to have the wonderful opportunity to welcome you to The Royal for future vacations.
Warmest aloha,

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Reviewed 29 January 2014

Stayed at The Royal Hawaiian for the first time during Pro Bowl Week in Honolulu. The hotel is the second oldest in Waikiki yet is still exhibits an understated elegance. The property is older but in a classic way. The grounds are still wonderfully maintained and the staff are extremely patient and hospitable. The standard rooms are large enough, particularly those with a "Garden View". Our room had a quaint balcony with seating for 2 overlooking the Garden Entry way.
Keep in mind that the hotel has a "historical" designation so significant remodeling is not allowed. That being said, the walls are a little thin and sometimes noise from the hallway can be heard. In spite of that issue, guests are usually very respectful when walking thru the hallways and we had very little noise issues even during a very busy time of the year, the Pro Bowl.

Room Tip: keep in mind that if you book with an agency, you get great comps, like free drinks, free deck chair...
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  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled on business
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Thank ma7514
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
RHCoordinator, Online Marketing Coordinator at The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 30 January 2014

Dear ma7514,
Thank you for taking a moment to review your recent stay with us. You certainly visited during an exciting time, as the Pro Bowl festivities in Waikiki are always fun to experience. We appreciate your kind comments regarding our resort's understated elegance and classic charm; as stewards of this historical resort and iconic place in Waikiki, we always enjoy hearing from guests who appreciate our place in history. We're thrilled to have had the opportunity to welcome you to The Royal Hawaiian for the first time, and we hope this the first of many more stays with us.
Warmest aloha,

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Reviewed 29 January 2014

Staying here right now in the tower, also stayed a week ago. Beautiful location, rooms are quite nice but the accessories could use a revamp. Most of the staff are outstanding, the odd one or two exceptionally rude. The air con in both the rooms I have had over my two stays, is so noisy you can't have them on at night, they would keep you awake. Hate to be here in the heat of summer! And to add to that, both rooms have had paper thin walls. I can literally here every word my neighbour is saying. I know their names, everything they are talking about and when she offered to make coffee at 7am this morning, I was going to say yes I would love one!! There is no privacy and I don't want to be awake because my neighbours are! I find this quite annoying. Don't come if you have secrets or your neighbours will know everything!!!! Location right on the beach and near the shops is fantastic.

Room Tip: No interconnecting doors to help with neighbour noise.
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  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank fizam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
RHCoordinator, Online Marketing Coordinator at The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 30 January 2014

Dear fizam,
Thank you for taking a moment to share your review of our resort. We apologize for the inconvenience experienced due to noise levels of surrounding rooms. We've sent you a private message requesting for your reservation information; if you're still staying with us, we'd be happy to have our Guest Service Manager assist with a room move. We appreciate your feedback and most certainly would like to make every effort to ensure your stay with us is as pleasant as can be.
Warmest aloha,

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Reviewed 28 January 2014

We stayed 3 nights in a garden view suite, in the historic RH, and I appreciated the hotel more and more each day. The room had a great amount of space, with a large bathroom, but I think they need a designer to come in and make the space really shine. The hotel is so quiet, yet you are a 100+ feet away from a shopping mall. There is a great breakfast area next to the beach, Azure Restaurant ( at night for great fish), and the always hopping Mai Tai Bar (closes by midnight). Everyone working is very friendly. The pool is small, but they do have lounge chairs on the beach, in a roped off area which looked like a good idea ( fee involved). Remember there is a $36 a day resort tax, so if you don't like it don't stay. There is a RH tower connected, a Sheraton next door, and a Westin 5 minutes away. All the properties have a sharing agreement, so ask about that. There are also lots of beach activities, so that might interest some people.

Stayed: January 2014, travelled as a couple
2  Thank Mike741776 .
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
RHCoordinator, Online Marketing Coordinator at The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 30 January 2014

Dear unclemike1776,
Thank you for taking a moment to share your review of The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort. We're delighted to learn that you enjoyed your stay here with us and we appreciate your kind comments and honest feedback regarding your experience. We hope to have the wonderful opportunity to welcome you back again soon.
Warmest aloha,

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort

Address: 2259 Kalakaua Avenue, Honolulu, Oahu, HI 96815-2515
Phone Number:
Region: United States > Hawaii > Oahu > Honolulu
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#6 Top resorts Hotel in Honolulu
#7 Spa Hotel in Honolulu
#9 Romantic Hotel in Honolulu
#10 Luxury Hotel in Honolulu
#11 On the Beach Hotel in Honolulu
#15 Family Hotel in Honolulu
#18 Business Hotel in Honolulu
Price Range: £285 - £622 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort 5*
Number of rooms: 528
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Built in 1927, the iconic Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort, ushered in a new era of luxurious resort travel to Hawaii. Situated in the heart of Waikiki, the hotel offers cultural activities, gold standard signature concierge service, valet parking, doctors-on-call, florist, currency exchange service, Japanese concierge, laundry and dry cleaning, dining service and world-class restaurants and bars, wireless internet access in rooms and all public areas, multi-lingual staff, 24-hour room service, business center, and beach and pool services. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Hotel Honolulu
Royal Hawaiian Honolulu
The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort Hawaii/Honolulu

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