Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort

(866) 500-8313 or (808) 922-3111
2365 Kalakaua Ave.

793 rooms, pool, room service, 3 restaurants, a dozen shops, coffee maker with free daily coffee in the rooms, free laptop-sized room safe, free 24-hour fitness room, beachfront day spa, 5 conference rooms, high-speed Internet access in rooms, Wi-Fi in common areas, 24-hour business center. This is one of Waikiki’s most historic hotels, and the second floor has a nice display describing the legacy of this establishment. Their three buildings surround a century-old banyan tree that lends an air of timelessness to the ambiance. As an early player in Waikiki, their location is among the best on the beach. The $20 million renovations done in 2013 are tastefully in keeping with its architecture. Even the Banyan Wing rooms are now a tasteful blend of modern Hawaiian decor and convenience in a historic setting.

The buildings are compact enough that you won’t have to do much walking (except to where your car is parked behind the Princess Kaiulani). Valet parking is $15 per day. You have signing privileges at the other Starwoods in Waikiki.

The oceanfront rooms labeled Diamond Deluxe Ocean are the most recommended. The views are amazing and the sound of the ocean ever-present. Banyan Classic Ocean rooms are a mixed bag since some labeled this way don’t face the ocean head-on. Upper Tower Premier Ocean are best closer to the ocean. Avoid rooms nearest Kalakaua Avenue, especially in the Banyan Wing—traffic noises might be more than you’d expect, and the old windows there allow in lots of sound. In fact, if you’re not going to spring for the admittedly overpriced oceanfront rooms, consider staying elsewhere. The Standard and City View rooms are a real disappointment. There are almost no lanais in the Banyan Wing, and only the ocean side of the Diamond Wing has lanais. Some rooms in the Banyan Wing have showers but no tubs. They all have the trademark Heavenly Beds. There is nightly entertainment in the Banyan Court and in the lobby.

Their oceanfront Beach Club is available to guests for an additional $100 per room per day of up to 2 adults and 2 children. (With some room categories it’s included with your stay.) It offers free continental breakfasts and afternoon pupus, as well as free beer and wine. It’s open from 6–10 a.m. and again from 5–8 p.m. It’s accessible from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. via room key (with limited services) and has Internet access a large screen TV and plenty of seating. A great place to come and relax and grab a snack or juice.

The GEM rating refers to the grand beachside location and assumes you’re in an oceanfront room. In general, you’ll be happy with the oceanfront rooms here. The views were so good, we chose a shot taken from one of the balconies to start this chapter.

There is a mandatory resort fee of $30, which covers Internet, self-parking, local calls and some other items. After our stay, we left this hotel feeling delightfully relaxed—until we got our credit card bill. Starwood Preferred members get discounts off the rates listed. Rates (222–348 sq. ft.) are $605–$1,150, suites (460–788 sq. ft.) are $3,300–$6,000.

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