When we prepared for our stay in Oahu, we immediately thought of our former island experiences. We have stayed in Maui and on Kauai, and this time we were staying in the heart of Honolulu, a different experience entirely. Kauai wins for most laid back, Lahaina town in Maui is a tad busier, but the overall island is kickback. When you are in Honolulu, especially the Waikiki area, it’s hustle and bustle, like L.A. We wanted to still have a very peaceful island experience, yet be in the hubbub of the action and our stay at the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani allowed that to happen.
Located at the former entrance site of the Ainahau Estate, once home to Hawaii’s beloved Princess Victoria Kaiulani, the resort is only a crosswalk away from Waikiki Beach and surrounded by shopping and adjacent to the International Marketplace. The hotel opened in 1955 and was refurbished in the 80’s.
A bellman took our luggage up to our room as we pulled up to the hotel, parking is self-parking only, no valet and at a rate of $25/day. Each day you show your pass and pull a ticket going in and out, parking is very secure, and we trusted the safety of our rental car when left. Garage floors are accessible from the Ainahau tower we were in, so it was convenient.
As you walk into the lobby, you pass the tours and activities desk, concierge, and see the business center with computers and printers and the breezeway to the pool. Checking into our rooms, one room was ready while we waited for the other. They are guaranteed by 3pm, as we arrived a bit early from our flight.
We had adjoining rooms which was nice for our family of 5. Our main room had a king bed and the second room, two doubles which my son had one and the two girls shared the other. Each room has all typical amenities, though we quickly learned that the kids’ channels were are based on east coast time, so most often a hit and miss. No worries, we weren’t in the room much other than to sleep! The views from 23 floors up were amazing of Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head in the distance and towards the east the buildings were dramatic especially lit up at night! Mini fridges kept our drinks and snacks cool, as well as our Leis! The beds were comfortable, the bathrooms were fashionably out of date and the doors didn’t close completely, but the rooms were just what we needed after a long day at the beach!
-high speed internet in your room
-self-parking for 1 car
-unlimited local and 1-800 calls
-2 bottles of water per day
-children 12 & under eat free from the kids’ menu at the dining areas with a paying adult
-use of sand chairs and fresh cold towels, fruit and water service twice between 10-2 on designated areas on Waikiki Beach (behind the Duke statue)
-and 2 Princess Punch drinks per stay.
We used all of the above during our stay, the waters came in handy for our beach and car trips, you save $ at meals, and the beach service was stellar, they came with water right when I ran out, and it’s HOT, so you need it, plus whole apples were offered. My girls thought the Princess Punch (a mixture of fruit juices) was out of this world and even after our allotted 2 we continued to order them!
Upon check-in you receive pool towels for everyone in your party. You can check out towels for the pool and the beach by showing your card and getting them back when you return the towel. Don’t lose them, you will be charged per card. The pool is a great size for the kids, oval in shape it has a boundary rope for the littles to stay in the more shallow side. Plenty of chaise lounge chairs are available around the pool and it sits adjacent to the Splash Bar and Bento for your food, appetizers and cocktails (I suggest their chicken wraps and a Mai Tai). Each night during our stay there was Hawaiian music from 8:30-10:30pm poolside and you can clearly hear it softly from 23 stories up too on our balcony!
Also adjacent to the pool and the entertainment stage is the Pikake Terrace. Serving breakfast and dinner daily with a mix of food of American and Asian flair, you can get a hearty buffet at either meal or order off a menu from a variety of selections. We enjoyed the buffet breakfast one of the mornings of our stay, the kids ate waffles, pancakes, bagels muffins, eggs, and my husband especially loved the Portuguese sausage that he had plenty of in Maui as well. The buffet includes juice (my younger 2 children and I love guava juice!) and coffee or tea. The thought of all you can eat was big for my 3 growing kids who enjoyed going back for seconds and thirds. The food was fresh and warm when it needed to be. You can sit under the umbrellas or slightly more indoors in a rain shower, but all seats are comfortable. For about $21 and kids eat free with an adult, it’s worth it!
Foremost, the Sheraton offers the show Creation, A Polynesian Journey, an exciting indoor Luau. (I will include a post solely on this!). Also, in the breezeway from the front desk to the pool, you can find tables set up on different days of the week with many cultural offerings like lei making, hula lessons, and la’u painting. There are also many fish around the property and feeding them is a hit with the young children, another activity Mon-Thurs afternoons.
Overall, our stay was pleasant, comfortable, and perfect for our family. The hotel had everything we needed, was a short walk to the beach, though not beachfront, and was centrally located to shopping, food, and activities. We would recommend the Kaiulani highly!
Our rooms were hosted for 3 nights along with one buffet breakfast, we did pay a comp. fee per room, per day. All opinions are our own.