Aloha from Waikiki! Hawaii is always a great idea for a vacation and it’s so good to be back, especially staying at ‘Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach. I visited Oahu back in 2015 with no real plans and a small budget. It took a while to finally visit this island again and this time, we decided to upgrade to a luxury vacation. ‘Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach had been on my list to stay for so long and I was so excited when finalizing our room for a whole week here!
The moment we walked into the open-air lobby, we felt a sense of warmth and welcome from the staff that greeted us. The check-in process was pleasantly smooth and quick and before you know it, we were already on floor 14 walking to our Premiere Ocean Front Room. We walked towards our balcony door and looked out in the busy streets of Waikiki. That’s when we knew, it’s officially vacation.
Aligning with the awards received in the past, ‘Alohililani Resort was recently voted top 20 resorts in Hawaii by Travel + Leisure World’s Best 2020. It’s situated in the heart of Waikiki where almost everything is within walking distance. Waikiki Beach is literally across the street! The design of this resort was inspired by Honolulu’s culture and the island’s lush landscape to create a tranquil oasis in the midst of a bustling city. In addition, this resort has been named in honor of the late Queen Lili’uokalani, the last reigning monarch of the Hawaiian Kingdom.
There are a few interesting points to learn about this property. ‘Alohilani resides on land occupied by Queen Lili’uokalani in the past, and is named after one of her beachside cottages, meaning “heavenly brightness” or “royal light”. In hone of her legacy and a deep commitment to preserving Hawaii’s forest, ‘Alohilani has partnered with Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative (HLRI), a non-profit organization committed to returning the indigenous koa, milo, and sandalwood trees to the Hawaiian Islands. A tree is planted on behalf of the guests per stay at ‘Alohilani, but guests are more than welcome to visit HLRI’s Gunstock Ranch on North Shore to plant their own.
There are two towers on the ‘Alohilani property. I stayed on the Beachside Tower which is closer to the beach, and the other is Seascape Tower, which connects to the Parking Garage on floor C (3rd Floor). Both towers connect on the 3rd floor. This is important if you’re self-parking, you wouldn’t have to take the elevator down to the lobby.
TIP: The quickest way to get to your room without having to go through the lobby is to park at Level C in the parking structure, walk through the towers, and take the elevator to your floor.
The room is bright and airy when you walk in. It’s modern and minimalistic at the same time. There was a welcome card waiting on the table and we received our very first leis in Hawaii. Our room had a queen-size bed with a fridge stocked with soda and water, complimentary. The toiletries are locally sourced and its storefront is located downstairs by the lobby. The balcony view was seriously the best. Literally front row seats with unobstructed panoramic views of Waikiki. It was the best spot to watch the sunset along the horizon. The other view Alohilani offer is the Diamond Head Ocean View, which is very unique as well! ‘Alohilani has a variety of rooms that fits your preference and you can check them out here.
It was already late in the afternoon when we checked in, and we were so tired from the flight that we ended up canceling all the plans on our first day. We made the best decision to start our vacation in our room by watching the sunset from the balcony and taking it easy. We situated our chairs and just looked out to the amazing sky. Being on the 14th floor was perfect since we were high enough to see the entire horizon of Waikiki Beach, stretching from one end to the other.
The sun setting on Waikiki Beach was pure magic and we didn’t let any seconds gone to waste. We were sitting out on the balcony listening to the sounds of the cars driving down the street and the voices of the crowds as they walk, all while having a conversation with each other on all the things we’re looking forward to.
It wasn’t until the last bit of light that we decided to unpack and settle into our home for the next week. I hung up all my dresses in the spacious closet and prepared all my photography gear. What I love about our room is the numerous outlets and USB ports on both sides of the bed.
By the time we officially settled in, it was past 8 PM and ‘Alohilani’s Momosan Ramen was unfortunately closed. To substitute, we ended up walking down Waikiki Street to find dinner for the night!
We set our alarms every night to try to get up for sunrise for the following morning, but it was impossible. The bed was so comfortable, making it difficult to stick to our early schedules. The majority of the days, we woke up pretty late, but on the last morning of my stay, I made a promise to myself that I would see the sunrise from our balcony. That morning when I woke up, the colors of the sky were so soft and dreamy and worth the early wake-up call.
We were given a sheet at check-in, outlining the daily activities on the property at check-in. The fish feeding at the Oceanarium, located next to Kai Coffee and adjacent to the lobby, stood out to me. You can’t miss it. The resort’s two-story, saltwater indoor 280,000-gallon Oceanarium is a must-visit when in Waikiki, containing a large variety of colorful native Hawaiian reef fishes, the diversity of colors, shapes, and species that have fascinated divers for generations are on display. You can witness the daily feedings from 10:30 AM & 2:30 PM and be awed by the special marine life.
There are other amenities on the properties such as an indoor gym, massage, and their Longboard Club, which is an exclusive guest experience that offers a private setting for guests to unwind ad take part in curated offerings designed to further enrich their stay at the ‘Alohilani. Unfortunately, I did not have time to check it out, but I’m sure it would have been an amazing experience.
Momosan Ramen Waikiki
We dined at Momosan Ramen Waikiki, one of the most popular restaurants near Waikiki Beach owned by Michelin Chef Morimoto. We ordered almost every side dish from pork gyoza, yakitori, to sticky ribs, and our Momosan Tantan Ramen, which combines both Japanese and Malaysian flavors into a unique dish packed with bold flavors. Don’t forget to check out their extensive selection of local and craft beers here.
TIP: Order the “Frozen Beer”. It’s a slushie top on their Kirin Ichiban and keeps the beer cool for 40 minutes!
Breakfast: 6:00am – 10:00am • Lunch: 11:00am – 3:00pm • Dinner: 4:00pm – 8:00pm
- Take out:
6:00am – 10:00am Breakfast • 11:00am – 8:00pm (full menu minus breakfast)
Swell Bar & Pool
One of the spots we frequently visited was the Swell Bar, located on the 5th floor of the Seascape Tower. The “Instagram-worth” infinity pool happens to be right next to the bar on where Waikiki Beach views from above match anywhere else. There are a variety of seatings to choose from and a limited amount of private cabanas that requires advance booking for half-day, full-day, or evening.
The poolside restaurant menu features a variety of food and beverage selections including gluten-free and vegan dietary options. Breakfast, Lunch, and all through the evening can be ordered here.
Swell Bar boosts to be one of the best bars in Waikiki, in case you needed another reason to check it out. It’s open to the public so you can experience the sunset from the infinity pool or enjoy a nightcap by the fire pit. t night, there’s live music performed by local musicians and DJs on weekends.
- Sunday – Thursday: 10am – 10pm
- Friday – Saturday: 10am – 11pm
- Live Music: Nightly 6 pm – 9 pm
- Earth to Cup: M-Th: 4 pm – 6 pm
- Open daily: Breakfast 6 a.m. – 10 a.m., Lunch 11 a.m. – 3 p.m., Dinner 4 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Check out their menu by scanning this QR code below:
Earth To Cup at Swell Bar
I got to experience the newest Earth To Cup Happy Hour Menu, a series of sustainable food and cocktail created on the recent Earth Day. The Earth to Cup menu centers around sustainable, local products that coincide with Earth’s elements, and the small bites are themed around the air. land, sea, and fire to reflect the bounty home to Hawaii. My favorite dish was the veal meatballs and a tasty cocktail I’d recommend is the Coconut drink, which consists of their local young coconut mixed with tequila.
Earth to Cup Menu is only available between Monday to Thursday from 4 pm – 6 pm.
Kai Coffee, located next to their Oceanarium, is their newest locally owned Hawaiian cafe serving a roasted coffee menu, creps made to order, fresh baked goods, as well as a selection of breakfast sandwiches.
- Mon – Thurs: 7 a.m. – 1 p.m.
- Fri: 6 a.m. – 2 p.m.
- Sat/Sun: 6 a.m. – 3 p.m.
*Hours may vary, please call ahead for current hours of operation.
Shops at ‘Alohilani
Did you know ‘Alohilani has an ABC Market connected to its property? It’s located on the first floor across the elevator on the Beachscape Tower and opens from 7 AM to 11 AM daily. It’s convenient when you have to purchase last-minute snacks, drinks, and cold sandwiches. You’ll find additional shops just around the corner from the elevator on the Beachscape Tower side.
Beachside Luxe has a curated collection of local and international apparel and accessories. I actually checked it out and had a variety of brands including Spells & The Gypsy with many cute styles to choose from.
Malie Organics is the closest shop to the lobby showcasing a collection of luxurious Hawaiian beauty and wellness products. They’re locally sourced, organic, smell divine, and located in your room as part of the toiletries.
The last store is Kolohe, where you can check out its paradise-inspired pieces of jewelry and attend one of the jewelry-making classes.
Overall, ‘Alohilani outperforms in location, views, and services which has made the time spent on Oahu a memorable one in our books. We really enjoyed our stay here and waking up to these breathtaking views! Alohilani is a complete vibe and a must-stay on your next travels to Oahu.
If you have any questions about our stay, drop a comment below or send me a message via Instagram or Email! Mahalo!
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