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“Very relaxing but a few minor niggles”

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The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort
Ranked #17 of 84 Hotels in Honolulu
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 3 July 2014 via mobile

Overall a super place especially with kids. Not at all pretentious. Beach is fabulous and building looks amazing.
Minor things:
Coffee is either weak brewed or automatic espresso machine.
Nowhere in room to dry swimming gear
Food is ok but not amazing. Not of the quality of top European hotels.

Stayed: July 2014
2  Thank PFHK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 2 July 2014

This is one of my favorite hotels in Hawaii. it is old traditional Hawaiian elegance. We stayed here over Christmas with our kids and the property did an amazing job of making this a special time.

As we arrived on Christmas eve, there were carolers in the lobby and the property was impecably decorated. They also sent up a Christmas tree ornament with a picture of the hotel and the year on it. It was a nice trinket from or trip. They also sent up a bakery good and the recipe from the chef that was amazing.

At checkin, the hotel had acknowledge our SPG platinum status and upgraded us into a suite, despite the hotel being sold out. They also gave us two platinum amenities off of a list to choose from. Breakfast was in a beautiful setting overlooking Diamondhead on Waikiki beach and for a small charge you can upgrade to the buffet (which is common with this amenity at most hotels). The buffet was nice, but culturally diverse. There were many Asian influences at the buffet which we loved. It was a treat to have something different.

The location of the property is good as well. You are in the center of Waikiki and have full access to all shops and restaurants just steps away. One item to note is that most shops were open on Christmas. We were expecting everything to be closed, but were pleasantly surprised to see that everything was open.

Service was outstanding. Everyone from the valet, to the bellman, to the pool and beach attendants were great.

They also made the trip special for our kids. They brought baby toiletries and coloring books for them to play with.

The beach is busy, but there is a private roped off area for the hotel guest only. SPG platinum guests get free beach chairs and umbrellas, which are usually a charge. The catch is that the chairs can be reserve in advance via the online system (can be accessed via the hotels website) and the platinum free amenity is only based upon availability once you arrive at the property. During high traffic times it may be tough to get seats. As an example, for Christmas, seats are already reserved 6 months in advance.

The property is connected to the Sheraton compound. You can charge services back and forth and use the facilities of the Sheraton. My kids loved the pool at the Sheraton as it was more family friendly. The pool at the Royal Hawaiian would be great for couples and was peaceful, but not as much fun for kids. Having the Sheraton next door gives you the best of both worlds.

The spa is tranquil. It is not the fanciest spa that I have ever been to, but is extremely tranquil. The massage that I had was one of the best. It was in a private hut in the middle of Hawaiian gardens. You also get a discount if staying at the hotel, so don't forget to let them know this. They don't offer up the discount...you have to ask (I think it was 10% off).

Overall, we loved this hotel. The service was authentic Hawaiian hospitality and has drawn us back. We already have our next stay at this property scheduled and can't wait.

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled with family
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3  Thank SassyTraveler999
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 July 2014

The ambience is amazing. The image of the pink hotel at Waikiki is trully an iconic one. And it lives up to its image. This place has an atmosphere that harks back to the 1920's and 1930's and we delighted in the style. The position, of course, right on the beach at Waikiki could not be better. We loved the room in the old wing but there are those who might not. While it felt good and pleasantly old fashioned it was also a little tired. The bathroom was well equipped but tiny. The in-room fridge was bare --- no snacks or water or drinks for sale which seemed remiss.
Breakfast at the Surf Lanai while sitting under pink market umbrellas and looking out on the beach is lovely. The breakfast however is a la carte and I much prefer a buffet breakfast. We ate dinner once only at the Azure restaurant and found the fish to be simple and superb.
We would have liked to find a shop on site selling vintage-style memorabilia such as postcards and posters that reflected the past but if there was one we didn't find it -- the main souvenir shop seemed more interested in pink frippery. There is however a splendid panama hat shop and an excellent shop selling Hawaiian handicrafts including beautiful intricate quilts. The hotel staff were generally pleasant and helpful enough with the exception of a young woman on the concierge desk who had a better grasp of Japanese than English and whose advice was unhelpful and inadequate. It seemed a pity too that the beautiful public rooms didn't include a place that served tea or coffee and cakes in keeping with the nostralgic style of the hotel. However the general atmosphere is both stylish and relaxing and makes this a special hotel to stay in as a destination in itself.

  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled with friends
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3  Thank Susanne M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 July 2014

The Royal Hawaiian was beautiful! We stayed here in June 2014 for 5 nights during our wedding (up at Kualoa). We did not spend a whole lot of time at the property but I have to say the time we did spend there was well worth the cost. It was a great place to avoid the hustle and bustle of Waikiki. The grounds and hotel are so beautiful and open. My only complaint would be the smokers in the garden. I found that I would avoid that area because of the smokers polluting the fresh Hawaiian air. Also the mai tai's are a must!

Room Tip: We stayed in the cheapest room on the property and still loved it!
  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank BrittanyPR
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 July 2014 via mobile

Despite the 3pm check-in, we had to wait until 5.30pm for our room to be available. Once room was ready, more surprises: carpet in room was soaking wet and we spent the next two days laying down towels on the floor to make room acceptable (given the only other choices made available to us - an "upgrade" to a room that didn't have enough beds for family of 4 or a blower in our room to dry the carpet - were not acceptable).

I could go on and on about the lack of service, aged rooms in "new" wing, and other disappointments, but it is not even worth it. Head to the Halekulani instead. Our last vacation there was impeccable.

On the plus side I will say that the building and location remain iconic.

  • Stayed: June 2014
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4  Thank GiEve1010
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 10 July 2014

Dear GiEve1010,
We truly regret to learn that you experience with us was anything less than exceptional. We apologize for the extended wait for your room to be ready and we are embarrassed and disappointed that the room assigned was not properly prepared for your family. We know this was most certainly not the experience you'd hope to have with us and we apologize for our shortfalls in service. Please know that we've shared your feedback and comments with our management team for follow-up with the appropriate departments and individuals responsible for ensuring your family had a comfortable room. Thank you for your honest feedback.
Warmest aloha,

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 June 2014

The last time we visited Oahu we were lucky enough to attend a tea dance here with live orchestra. We vowed that the next time we came to the islands we would stay at the Royal Hawaiian and that is what we did. For exactly 7 nights this June.

We were given traditional leis upon arrival and fresh juice to help to ease the pain of waiting for check in which did seem to take longer than usual for a hotel of this calibre. I think that more checkin desks are definitely required.

Our room was very spacious on the ground floor and close to the public areas which was very handy. This would be my preference over the more modern Royal wing rooms.

The bathroom, though small, was well equipped and supplied with excellent toiletries of the Malie range. These may be purchased in one of the hotel shops. Turn down service was available nightly.

Breakfast in the Surf Lanai is a must, for the views of the beach alone. The food is well presented and reasonably priced. We enjoyed the special continental breakfast.

Food at the Mai Tai, though acceptable, was not stunning. Drinks there in the evening were, however, worth the effort for the atmosphere and music/dancing most evenings.

The Azure restaurant was for us the best with excellent fish and superb service. Wines were highly priced but again of fine quality.

The main benefit of the RH for us was the lovely laid back atmosphere, almost colonial in style, but still close to the beach, shops and nearby hotels.

Be sure to check out the swimming pool at the Sheraton. It is excellent and much more interesting than the RH pool which is more sedate. Remember your pink wrist band to do so.

I have just finished reading the short historynof the pink palace and feel one of a very lucky set to have entered it's doors. 7 nights was far too short so I will return for longer next time.

Room Tip: The ground floor rooms are really handy for accessing the public areas and the beach.
  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled with family
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1  Thank finisterre72
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 June 2014

Planned to stay 5 nights and after the first night I decided to depart. This used to be an amazing hotel not that long ago. Great service, good food, good location, plush comfortable rooms. Now from the second I got the front reception the hotel was different. Front reception staff were short tempered and non-accommodating. They accused me of using my AAA card after it expired and felt like I got put on trial. Only after a long-discussion with management did they agree to honor the AAA rate I booked. (my renewal card got sent to my old address and they emailed the hotel later that day confirming I was a member in good standing). Room they gave me was dark and the linens cheap like a motel. I move over to the tower which cost more and those rooms are small, and same cheap linens. Food at the hotel is only so so and for the price a rip off. The location is still good but unfortunately all of Honolulu is now in a state of decline, full of homeless and heavy drinkers. I would never go to this island again sadly. The hotel actually upon contemplation seems to fit the times and local and is no longer an oasis.

Room Tip: got to another hotel!
  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled with family
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5  Thank Lew21
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 3 July 2014

Dear Lew21,
We truly regret to learn that your recent stay with us was anything less than exceptional. We are quite disappointed to learn that our team fell short in service delivery and we apologize for the way this affected your vacation. Our bed linen is sourced from Frette, a luxury bedding designer; we're very sorry to learn that the Frette linens did not satisfy your needs and we appreciate your honest feedback. We understand that the changes in Waikiki can be frustrating for some and we apologize that your most recent trip was not as extraordinary as previous ones. Thank you again for your time and feedback.
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:
#5 Top resorts Hotel in Honolulu
#7 Spa Hotel in Honolulu
#8 On the Beach Hotel in Honolulu
#9 Romantic Hotel in Honolulu
#10 Luxury Hotel in Honolulu
#16 Family Hotel in Honolulu
#18 Business Hotel in Honolulu
Price Range: £254 - £619 (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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