Category Archives: Honolulu

Honolulu, Hawaii, USA

Embassy Suites Waikiki

Embassy Suites Waikiki Review

The final hotel that we stayed in when visiting Hawaii was the Embassy Suites Waikiki Beach Walk in Honolulu. As we don’t have any Embassy Suites in our part of the world, we thought it was a great opportunity to try one out as we had heard good things about the hotel chain. If you haven’t heard of Embassy Suites before, they are a part of the Hilton HHonors group and they provide all suites accommodation which makes them a perfect choice for families.

On arrival at the Embassy Suites Waikiki Beach Walk we were all provided with a lovely cold tropical fruit juice. We travelled as a family with our 2 boys who were aged 6 & 8 at the time. We stayed in a one bedroom suite which had a king bed and a single bed in one room and a pullout sofa bed in the living area. Our room was on the 17th floor in the Hula Tower which gave us a nice ocean view from the balcony/lanai. The room was a good size, with lovely Crabtree & Evelyn bathroom amenities and a little kitchenette that included a microwave, bar fridge and coffee facilities (they also gave us a bag of popcorn to use in the microwave). Cleaning staff did a good job and we loved the little history cards they left on the bed each night, great for the kids to learn a little bit about Hawaii and its culture.

The big bonus of the Embassy Suites chain are the inclusions it provides in the room rate, without the extra charge of a resort fee. This included full cooked breakfast daily and the nightly Managers Reception.

The breakfast that was provided had a good variety of hot and cold dishes and a great omelette station. Other foods that are available are pancakes, toast, donuts, pastries, fresh fruit, Japanese dishes like miso soup and fish and plenty of fruit juices. The breakfast area is semi outdoor next to the pool, just watch out for the birds though!

Our favourite part of staying at the Embassy Suites was the Managers Reception by the pool every night which was great! It went from 5.30pm to 7.30pm and serves complimentary beer, wine, spirits, selected cocktails, soft drinks, juices. Be aware though that the barman there are excellent and they don’t hold back, so some drinks can be quite strong! They provide 3 different snack foods during the Managers Reception every night like potato chips, celery, carrots & dip, corn chips etc. On a couple of nights there is also a band that provides some entertainment. It was nice to have a few relaxing drinks at night while the kids enjoyed playing in the pool.

The pool is not huge when you compare it to resort pools but our boys still loved it. We did stay off peak season though so it wasn’t too crowded. I could imagine during peak season that it may get quite overcrowded in there. There is the Pakini Bar by the pool where you can order food and drinks. They do stop serving drinks at 5.00 though due to the Managers Reception starting at 5.30. There are plenty of sun lounges available either in the sun or shade and they have an outdoor massage area if some pampering is required.

Other amenities included in the room rate are complimentary wi-fi, yoga classes and 24hr fitness centre. On arrival we also received a little gift bag which included a coupon book for specials in and around Honolulu.

While this is not a luxurious 5 star resort, it is a good little economical hotel for families, especially those with a few kids. The location is great in Waikiki, there are plenty of nearby restaurants and shops and only a couple of minutes walk to the beach.

For more information go to www.embassysuiteswaikiki.com
While in Honolulu we also stayed at the Hilton Hawaiian Village – you can read that review here

Hilton Hawaiian Village

Hilton Hawaiian Village Review

Hotel Review of the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Honolulu, Hawaii, USA

Another one of our favourite family Hawaiian hotels has to be the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Honolulu. It is Waikiki’s largest resort, 22 acres right on the famous Waikiki Beach strip. This resort has just about everything you need in a family friendly hotel.

Yes it is a big hotel, but we stayed during the off-peak season and found it easy to get around and didn’t find it at all overcrowded. We stayed in 2 interconnecting rooms in the Tapa Tower with our 2 boys who were then aged 6 and 8. We arrived on an early flight from Australia and were given an early check-in which was much appreciated. The rooms were nice and we had a great ocean view looking along Waikiki Beach.

The location is fantastic, right on the beach and easy walking distance to all that Honolulu has to offer. It is just a 10 minute walk one way to Ala Moana shopping centre and 10 mins along Waikiki Beach in the other direction to get to the heart of Waikiki. There is a pink line trolley stop at the hotel (if you are not much of a walker) which goes between Waikiki and Ala Moana and only costs $2 per person one way.

There are quite a few pools at the Hilton Hawaiian Village,  we mainly used the Tapa pool, the Super pool and the Lagoon Pool. A few of the other towers within the hotel have their own pools as well. The Lagoon Pool was our boys favourite as it had the water slides. As well as the beach, there is also the lagoon which you can swim in and try a few other water activities. We did the paddle boarding in the lagoon (cost was $35 for 1 hour or $55 for 2 hours). We were beginners and it was a great opportunity to try it out on nice calm waters.

There are plenty of restaurants and bars on the property (20 in fact!!) and we loved CJ’s Deli the best for great family value meals. Most of the bars have happy hours as well as nightly entertainment. As we were staying in the Tapa Tower, we would always stop by the Tapa bar for a couple of drinks and to enjoy the different musicians who would be playing each night.

If you are a Gold or Diamond Hilton Honours member, the Hilton Hawaiian Village provides a complimentary continental breakfast in the Rainbow Terrace, which we took advantage of and it was sufficient enough for us. It is mainly cereals, toast, bagels, muffins, pastries, fruit, juices and coffee. It gave you a great view overlooking the lagoon, just watch out for the birds (which is the same all over Hawaii though!). Diamond Hilton Honors please note that there is no executive lounge for cocktails at this hotel though.

There are so many shops at the Hilton Hawaiian Village to choose from, from the high-end Louis Vuitton & Co. shops to the market type Rainbow Bazaar stalls – there is something to suit everyone’s budget. If it is a shopping mall you are after then definitely walk down or take the trolley to the Ala Moana Shopping Mall. There is a fitness centre as well as the Mandara Day Spa if you looking for some pampering and a nice relaxing spa treatment.

On Tuesday and Friday nights the Hilton Hawaiian Village puts on a great fireworks display and some Hawaiian Dancing around the Super Pool (although I wouldn’t pay for the seats as you get a great view of the fireworks from the beach). The resort also provides plenty of other free daily activities at various times throughout the day such as Yoga, snorkelling lessons, hula lessons, ukulele lessons and lei making. Our favourite one was the free outdoor kids movie night that they have on Wednesdays and Saturdays at sundown near the Tapa Tower. There is a kids club (we didn’t use however as it was a bit expensive for us) called the Camp Penguin which you can use for full or half day programs. Cost for a full day (8.00am-3.00pm) is $85 or $90 with excursion. Half day program (8.00am-12.00pm or 11.30am-3.00pm) cost is $60 or $65 with excursion.

The kids did love continually walking past the Penguin and Turtle enclosure. If you are up by 8.00am (Mon-Fri) one of the keepers gives you an information session and they allow a photo opportunity with one of the Penguins (no touching allowed though).

You can also just walk straight out onto the famous Waikiki Beach. If you want to spend the day on the beach, there are beach umbrellas available to rent at an extra cost from the hotel.  Another fun thing to do with the kids is the Atlantis Submarine ride which leaves from the Hilton Pier. There are other boat cruises that leave from the Hilton Pier as well which is now and handy.

For those looking for a wedding venue, the Hilton Hawaiian Village has the most beautiful wedding chapel here as well. Definitely worth taking the time to go in and have a look.

The one thing we didn’t like as mentioned on other Hawaii hotel reviews was the resort fee, especially as for Gold or Diamond HH members, we get free internet anyway so you don’t really feel like you are getting anything for the $25 per day on top of your room rate. Also the internet can cut in and out a bit and the daily re-logging in is a bit annoying. We would definitely recommend this resort though and will be back on our next trip to Hawaii – Mahalo!

For more information go to www.hiltonhawaiianvillage.com

While we were in Honolulu we also stayed at the Embassy Suites Beach Walk – you can read our review here