My Favorite Hotel in Waikiki, Hawaii Will Surprise You

by Shelli

Hawaii conjures up images of island paradise, ocean breezes, beautiful sunsets, lovely flower leis, and amazing rainbows. Maybe you’ve been to Hawaii once, maybe you return to Hawaii year after year, or maybe you’ve yet to enjoy your first visit. One thing is certain though, when you visit Waikiki you’ll have a huge assortment of hotels to choose from. Hawaii, and especially Waikiki, is a wonderful destination. I’ve been reviewing Hyatt hotels for many years, and here’s my Hyatt Place Waikiki, Hawaii review.

My favorite hotel on Oahu has long been the Hyatt Place Waikiki, Hawaii. I know what you’re thinking: really, a Hyatt Place? Yes indeed. With this Hyatt Place Waikiki, Hawaii review I hope to show you why!

Main entrance to the hotel

Main entrance to the hotel

First though, allow me to give you some backstory on this property.

I sat down one morning and had a great talk with Ihab Kherati, the General Manager of the Hyatt Place Waikiki. He’s been with Hyatt for five years now. Kherati is one of the most hands-on hotel managers I’ve yet to meet, and I really enjoyed learning more about this property and how it’s managed.

History and Room Categories of the Hyatt Place Waikiki

For many years this property was a locally owned resort with one tower. In 2011, Hyatt added the lobby and one other tower off the main lobby. After that renovation, the Hyatt Place became a franchise property flying the Hyatt flag. The property is owned by Host Hotels and managed by Kokua Hospitality, a large hotel and resort management company.

Spacious open lobby with abundant seating

Spacious open lobby with abundant seating

Lobby and hotel front desk

Lobby and hotel front desk

What Makes This Hyatt Place Special

One of the features that makes this Hyatt Place different from all other Hyatt Place properties is the many different room categories. Guests have a whole host of room options to choose from. Another feature that differentiates this Hyatt Place is that ALL the rooms have pull-out sofas.

Living area pull out couch, ottoman, and breakfast tray

Living area pull out couch, ottoman, and breakfast tray

The room categories are: standard city view king, mountain view standard, ocean view with either king or queen beds, premium rooms which are larger, and specialty rooms which can accommodate up to 6 people. The specialty premium rooms with two queen beds are super popular during the summer months when kids are out from school and families head to Hawaii.

A big part of your room choice will be based on either how many people will occupy the hotel room or whether or not you’re willing to pay a bit extra for the view. Space vs. view is often a choice dilemma at properties such as this Hyatt Place. It is, after all, Hawaii, and who doesn’t want a great view of either the ocean or the mountains?

View to ocean overlooking Kapiolani Park

View to ocean overlooking Kapiolani Park

Ocean view from high floor room

Ocean view from high floor room

At 426 rooms this is by a wide margin the largest Hyatt Place property. At the Hyatt Place, year-round occupancy runs high at 92%. I talk with hotel management at every hotel I stay at and 92% year-round occupancy is the highest number I can recall.

The guest profile is interesting as well with 10-20% of the hotel guests being Hyatt members. The largest guest groups are from Asia, including teams and groups of kids that come to Hawaii for sports. It’s also true that American kids stay here in large numbers with their traveling sports teams. I’d say it’s a very family and kid-friendly property.

Breakfast Buffet

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, below is how this Hyatt Place served their buffet breakfast. Currently, though, for breakfast they are serving individually wrapped items or anything with a casing. To avoid as much contact as possible all items are placed in bags which are individually wrapped allowing the guests to be the last to open each bag. The offerings vary from nutigrain bars, fruit, muffin, cookies, oranges, and lunchables. The hotel also keeps coffee and tea available all day.

Previous breakfast offerings: If you’re a World of Hyatt member, a large breakfast buffet featuring both Asian and western style foods is included with the room. Otherwise, for a reasonable price, guests can purchase breakfast.

The Hyatt Place now uses cage-free eggs, nothing but the potato medley which is served every morning with garlic pesto is cooked in oil, bread is fresh and delivered daily, peanut butter is now the real deal instead of the processed nut butter, and the yogurt is Greek style yogurt. There really is nothing lacking at the breakfast buffet. The crowd is large and it’s a very busy and hectic breakfast buffet.

How busy is it? Glad you asked!

They serve between 1200-1400 guests a day. I’m impressed! The hotel does provide trays in each room should you want to bring your breakfast back to your room. They also will serve you breakfast (except for the Asian offerings) in the lobby when the breakfast poolside area gets too busy.

How Does This Hyatt Place Handle Housekeeping During the Coronavirus?

For housekeeping they are following the Hyatt guidelines, which I wrote about here.  However, they have added additional staffing in public areas that needed more attention. The hotel schedules on-the-hour cleaning and wiping of the gym and pool areas. All public rooms are individually checked for cleaning needs.

Of course, just like any hotel property, staff and guest safety is the top priority. The hotel made masks for all guests and associates mandatory. This was even though the mayor of Honolulu stated it was not mandatory for everyone to wear masks.  Associates at the front desk wear gloves and so does the housekeeping staff.

Attention to detail is vital, and that is what is being asked of all associates.

How I Paid For My Stay and My Room

For my stay I used World of Hyatt points. The Hyatt Place Waikiki is a World of Hyatt Category 3 property, meaning free nights start at 12,000 Hyatt points per night. Because of its location, the Hyatt Place can be an expensive Category 3 property, so it’s also a great choice for your World of Hyatt free award night certificate that comes with your yearly renewal on your Chase Hyatt credit card.

The all-cash rate for my stay was $256 per night. I’ve seen rates as high as $300 a night, and during the holidays and high season even as high as $550 a night. Remember, if you’re paying cash for a hotel stay, let Pruvo monitor your rate for price drops!

I had a nice surprise at check-in. Because of the high occupancy at the Hyatt Place, I never know, even given my Globalist status with Hyatt, if I’ll receive an upgraded room. I was indeed upgraded to a high floor ocean view room, which as you can imagine, made my stay extra special. I received a plate of fresh fruit as my welcome amenity and two large bottles of water were waiting for me in the fridge.

Fresh fruit welcome amenity

Fresh fruit welcome amenity

Globalist amenity of big bottles of water waiting in the fridge

Globalist amenity of big bottles of water waiting in the fridge

How High Does This Hotel Score On My Scorecard

Using my Hotel Room Scorecard I broke down the individual elements of my Hyatt Place Waikiki Ocean View High Floor room, which scored a 35 of 40 points.

Location (5/5)

Waikiki is essentially three blocks deep from the ocean to the Ala Wai Canal as the northern boundary. From east to west, Waikiki is a few miles long. When you choose a hotel, besides choosing a brand, you’re choosing a location within this densely populated area. My preference is the Diamond Head end of Waikiki, so for me the location of the Hyatt Place is perfect. It’s near the zoo, the aquarium, and Kapiolani Park. I enjoy hiking up and around Diamond Head. If like me you walk a lot, the walk to Ala Moana Mall, the main mall on Oahu, is an hour away.

Lighting (5/5)

The rooms have beautiful natural light coming in from the large lanai with sliding glass doors. Except for the entry way and bathroom, there is no overhead lighting. However, throughout the room there are well placed lamps, as well as a floor lamp alongside the couch.

View of room as you enter

View of room as you enter

Because I work when I travel, I need extra light in the room and requested a second floor lamp. This was not an issue, and within a few minutes of my request an extra floor lamp was delivered. Just one of many examples of the excellent guest services at the Hyatt Place.

Window Access (5/5)

In Waikiki there is no such thing as a street that isn’t busy with car, bus, and general street noise. Nonetheless, you’ll still want to open your sliding door to either sit out on the lanai (patio), enjoy whatever view you have, or simply let in some fresh air. The hotel is two blocks off the beach but still right in the thick of it. Yet with the doors to the lanai closed, it was amazingly quiet. I can’t speak about the noise level on the lower floors though, as I generally take a higher floor room. There are two levels of curtains for the sliding doors, one for sun/privacy and the other for black-out darkness.

Lanai chairs and welcome to Hawaii lei

Lanai chairs and welcome to Hawaii lei

Bed Comfort (3/5)

The bed was a bit too soft for me. When in Waikiki I average 8 or so miles of walking each day, which means that bed too soft, bed too hard, makes no difference. I sleep just fine.

Bedroom area as seen from the entry way to the room

Bedroom area as seen from the entry way to the room

King bed room with two side tables

King bed room with two side tables

Bathroom (4/5)

The bathroom is just off the entry way. The bathroom is a bit on the small side, with a sink area and then a separate toilet and shower area. There were enough hooks and racks for towels.

Bathroom just off the room entry way

Bathroom just off the room entry way

I had a great surprise when I looked at the toilet: it was a Toto Washlet bidet! If you’ve read any of my other hotel and room reviews you’ll know I’m a huge fan of Toto Washlets. While I’ve come to expect them in hotels throughout Asia, this was the first time I’ve seen one in a hotel in the U.S.

Toto Washlet as an add-on in the premium rooms

Toto Washlet as an add-on in the premium rooms

The backstory as told to me by the Hyatt Place General Manager, Ihab Kherati, is that due to the large numbers of Asian tourists choosing the Hyatt Place for their visits to Waikiki, the Hyatt Place changed out the toilets to Toto Washlets in some of their premium higher floor rooms. Hyatt also added hand-held showers in these premium rooms. Good call, Hyatt Place!

Interior Appointments and Furnishings (5/5)

I do prefer wood floors and often in Hawaii, because of the weather, carpet can get musty and moldy, but that was not the case at all at the Hyatt Place. Except for the bathroom, the room was fully carpeted. The carpet was in great shape. There were only two pieces of artwork on the walls. Given that everyone’s taste in art is so different, I prefer staying in hotel rooms with as little artwork as possible.

There was a full sized desk in a separate office-like workspace with a comfortable chair and desk lamp. In the living space opposite the bed there is a pullout couch and ottoman. One good feature to note about ALL the rooms at the Hyatt Place is that all the couches pull out into beds. The couch was comfortable and in good shape. Ottomans in a hotel room are one of my favorite design features. I find ottomans useful for many things and never understand why hotel rooms that have the space don’t include them.

Spacious desk and work area

Spacious desk and work area

Along the wall next to the bed is a long dresser with the TV on top. There is also a rather spacious refrigerator.

Dresser alongside the bed included a fridge

Dresser alongside the bed included a fridge

One of my pet peeves in hotel rooms is when the front door peephole is placed too high. In this room, the door peephole is a good height for me.

The rooms have a lanai with two chairs and a small table in between. Though ocean views in Waikiki are often blocked by buildings, my room had an unobstructed ocean view. Lovely to see the morning light as well as the sunset.

Electronics (5/5)

Plugs and outlets were plentiful and well-placed throughout the room. There were outlets near the beds and universal plugs and USB charging ports at the desk.

Snack and Minibar (3/5)

As I mentioned, the fridge is roomy and big enough for whatever you might want for drinks or snacks. Counter space is lacking because the TV screen and a lamp take up most of the space on the dresser where you might want to keep snacks and drinks that don’t need to be kept cold. There is an empty corner in the rooms with a full length mirror on the wall. This would be a great space for another cabinet which would provide surface space for beverages and snacks.

Helpful Hints When Staying at the Hyatt Place Waikiki

1. Getting to and from the airport to Waikiki can be expensive. However, Hyatt Place Waikiki has worked out a special deal for their guests with Charlie Taxi. The rate is $29 and is a special flat rate. I’ve used Charlie Taxi a number of times and can for sure recommend them.

2. It’s great when hotel management is both creative and proactive in helping guests navigate the issues that will inevitably arise during a hotel stay. The Hyatt Place does a fantastic job heading off complaints ahead of time. For example, guests most frequently complain about the slow elevators. The second most popular complaint is that, especially during the summer months, there isn’t adequate seating at the breakfast buffet.

In order to handle these two issues, you’ll receive a red/green/yellow timing sheet informing you of when the elevator and breakfast hours are the busiest. Pay attention to this sheet because having stayed at the Hyatt Place many times, I can attest to its accuracy.

Helpful hints about busy breakfast hours and elevator usage

Helpful hints about busy breakfast hours and elevator usage

3. There are destination fees at the Hyatt Place. In exchange for those fees guests receive the usual amenities such as beach towels. However, should guests need them, the Hyatt Place also provides beach chairs. Nice touch, Hyatt Place.

4.  Need coffee or tea but don’t feel like dealing with breakfast crowd? In the morning, head to the hotel lobby and you’ll find coffee and tea available.

Lobby bar and food service area

Lobby bar and food service area

Hotel Service

I can’t help but mention the service at this hotel because it really does tie into my being so impressed with the Hyatt Place Waikiki. You’ll recall I asked for an extra floor lamp. No problem. Housekeeping is quick and helpful with whatever they can do for you. This is a busy property, yet there’s always plenty of staff around when you need them. The general friendliness of the hotel team is impressive.

On occasion I would ask other guests in the elevator three questions: was it their first stay at this hotel, were they having a good experience, and would they recommend this hotel to their friends. While these people were an impromptu and random sample, everyone told me they would recommend the hotel. In a few conversations the guests even started telling me all the wonderful things the staff did for them. Nice to hear since this is my regular home when in Waikiki!

Final Thoughts

The Hyatt Place Waikiki is a great value, especially using free award nights combined with World of Hyatt points. For WOH members, breakfast is included, making the hotel an even better deal. I’ve stayed in many of the different room categories and the rooms work really well for me.

There are other Hyatt properties in Waikiki, with a Hyatt Regency in mid-Waikiki and a Hyatt Centric towards the Ala Moana side of Waikiki. That being said, the location, amenities, and exceptionally attentive staff puts the Hyatt Place Waikiki on my absolutely would-stay- here-again list. I hope you’ll get to experience Hawaii and the Hyatt Place Waikiki for yourself!

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20 comments
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20 comments

Robert January 25, 2019 - 12:38 pm

I loved our stay at the Hale Koa hotel…but since it’s a military hotel it won’t apply to everyone…

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Shelli January 25, 2019 - 12:40 pm

Hi Robert, Very true. The Hale Koa has a great location. I noticed their beachfront pool area is going through a major renovation. Should be grand by the time it’s done. Thanks for reading!

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Lara S. January 25, 2019 - 12:49 pm

Love this review! It was so thorough. Thank you. I like softer beds and find Asian hotel beds to be too firm for my comfort, so I am pleased to see that a hotel that caters to a large Asian tourist population still has softer beds. Makes it a must try hotel option next time I go to Hawaii.

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Shelli January 25, 2019 - 12:52 pm

Thanks so much for reading, Lara, and taking the time to comment. Glad you found the review helpful. There are many hotel options in Waikiki, but this one is definitely worth a stay whether you’re a Hyatt loyalist or not.

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Ray January 25, 2019 - 2:39 pm

I don’t think all rooms have a sofa. I stayed in HPWB two weeks ago and we were in the terminal room at the end of the corridor. No sofa but I enjoyed it as well. I’d say I would stay at HRWB next time, lol…

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Shelli January 25, 2019 - 5:50 pm

That’s strange, Ray. The GM mentioned all the rooms having a pull-out couch. I’ll check with him again. Good to try different properties within a brand. The stay at the HRWB will be quite different as the property itself is so different. Let us know what you think after you stay there. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment.

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Shelli January 25, 2019 - 7:02 pm

Hi Ray, I did check with hotel management and you are correct. In 2016 to create more space in some rooms, there were some bedding changes in 18 rooms . The pull-out sofas were replaced with only single couches. Those would be the standard CITY rooms. Sorry for the miscommunication and thanks for keeping me on my toes.

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Ray January 25, 2019 - 9:11 pm

Thanks for the investigation, haha. It is generally good. Pretty close to WB and with free breakfast. While I like the 15k point all-ocean front VA beach and Ocean City, MD, this 12k pts hotel in Hawaii is a steal…

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Shelli January 25, 2019 - 9:14 pm

Agree on the points value, Ray. I don’t give up my Hyatt points too easily, but this exchange was well worth it. I’ll keep your east coast ocean front HP’s in mind. Thanks for the recommendations!

John January 25, 2019 - 2:42 pm

What I had experienced at this hotel was dramatically different: hotel room issues, service failures and blatant lies from hotel management. We became so upset that we eventually had to complain to Hyatt before the hotel did offer a very reasonable compensation of almost 170K pts. But still, these pts cannot buy back our lost vacation time and the nightmare experience we had to go through.

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Shelli January 25, 2019 - 5:52 pm

That all sounds awful, John. Sorry to hear. I get your frustration as I’d be upset as well if that were to happen during my stay at any hotel.

Reply
My Favorite Hotel in Waikiki, Hawaii Will Surprise You – IPS MARKET January 31, 2019 - 5:39 pm

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Tatiana September 23, 2019 - 11:25 am

I would have to go for Hilton in Waikiki. It has lots of the same amenities but typically less expensive than Hyatt.

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Shelli September 23, 2019 - 2:31 pm

Waikiki has many hotel options. Something for everyone, that’s for sure. Which is your favorite Hilton property in Waikiki, Tatiana?

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ghostrider5408 July 9, 2020 - 12:40 pm

This particular property is a poorly done reflag on the cheap. I surprised you did not mention the “pool” and yes the rooms are smaller, soft beds their all soft again goes back to the lack of quality of the renovation. Disclaimer I am a LFT Hyatt, been staying and working in the island since the 80’s worked on many properties there two being Hyatt ( not this one)> If one reads the posts on FF under Hyatt they will see the large amount of negative comments on this particular property. As well as other travel bloggers. 10/20% Hyatt travelers I would venture that most of them are first time at this property. I think the GM fed you a long line of half truths its a dump with lipstick

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Shelli July 9, 2020 - 1:33 pm

Thanks for reading, GR. I do stand by my review. It’s a hotel I’ve stayed at many times and have never left with anything but a great impression. Of course a hotel cannot always please everyone. Reviews on Trip Advisor speak for themselves as to how many guests do leave the Hyatt Place Waikiki glad they chose this property.

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tim July 9, 2020 - 1:46 pm

Great review – thank you! But I have to agree with John and Ghostrider. Our stay here in 2017 wasn’t so special. The elevators alone are enough of a reason to not come back. They should have thought out the design better when converting the hotel to a Hyatt. If you’re staying on a top floor, there are times when you simply can’t get to your room, because the elevators don’t work. And if the hotel is reasonably crowded there’s no way you can pull a car or taxi into the hotel driveway – there’s just not any room. The whole hotel is cramped and crowded. And when we stayed there the coffee you speak of in the lobby is an expensive (like everything in Waikiki) paid Starbucks counter – it wasn’t connected to the breakfast at all – but maybe that’s different now? The whole stay was exhausting and we’ll choose a new hotel next time. Glad your stay was better though!

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Shelli July 9, 2020 - 1:54 pm

Hi Tim and thanks for reading. The hotel has definitely been updated since 2017. The elevators are of course the same. The coffee/tea I mentioned is free in the lobby in the mornings. The SB area is still there. Interesting what you said about cars/taxis and the cramped space. I don’t rent a car when I’m on Oahu, so wouldn’t know about that. I have stayed during peak season and off season and all of Waikiki gets crazy crowded during peak times, for sure. One never wants to leave a hotel exhausted, so I understand your disappointment. One comes to Hawaii to relax and rejuvenate. Hope your next visit to the island is better!

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June July 11, 2020 - 12:14 am

Hyatt Place Waikiki is the BEST hotel. I can’t say enough about the GM Ihab Kherati and the entire staff. You feel the Aloha when you check in and throughout your entire stay. The breakfast is awesome. A large variety of food. It does get a bit crowded sometimes but you step aside a couple minutes and you will get a seat. Housekeeping is awesome. The room is cleaned very good. Every staff member greets you with a smile. They all have the Aloha Spirit. Ihab does not sit still. If he is in the lobby and sees the check in line is long, he jumps right in and provides his help. If you are eating breakfast and something is needed Ihab jumps in. Ihab is the GM but also a hard worker. When his staff needs help, Ihab is there. The hospitality industry is hard, if I worked in the hospitality industry I would love to work at a place that has a GM like Ihab. As a matter of fact there should be an Ihab everyplace but Ihab is one of a kind. Takes pride in his work and passes that down to the rest of the staff. When Hyatt Place took over from Ocean Resort the first GM of Hyatt Place did not have the same mind set as Ihab. We did not think we would return, but what a difference when Ihab came to Hyatt Place as the Assistant GM apthen a well deserved promotion to GM. 37 years returning to the property on 175 Paoakalani Ave. Quality Inn, Ocean Resort and now Hyatt Place. Will keep returning. Keep doing an awesome job. Mahalo and Aloha.

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Shelli July 11, 2020 - 12:24 am

Hi June, and thanks for reading. Wow, 37 years history with this property. That’s a long time! I’m glad you enjoy the hotel, and especially the staff, as much as I do. Aloha!

Reply

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