Honolulu is now hot and hip!

By LoneStar,

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Another story trumpeting Honolulu's resurgence as a world class destination.


From personal experience, I would say it's true. I started travelling to the Hawaiian Islands in the late 80s, and I hated Waikiki. Tony, tacky, useless. If I had an Oahu overnight, I'd find someplace else to stay on the island (no easy trick -- probably 98% of Oahu accomodations are in Honolulu). Two years ago, I happened to have a few days "to kill" on Oahu and -- lured by dirt cheap priceline rates -- tried Waikiki again. I was surprised and impressed -- this wasn't my father's Waikiki anymore. :) It was prettier, less asphalty, hipper and more fun. And I saying this as a "family man" -- not a late night party goer.

So this spring, I'm headed back to Hawaii, and I'm INTENTIONALLY leaving a few days to enjoy Honolulu before heading off to the neighboring islands' megaresorts and "Old Hawaii" b&bs. Those who say Waikiki "isn't Hawaii" are partly right, but of course the vast majority of Hawaiians LIVE in Honolulu, so you could argue the reverse, too. In any event, it's a "different" Hawaii that I think merits a visit, too.

FWIW, I think the best way to get bang for your buck on a Waikiki visit is to snag a good priceline 3 star (currently going for typically between $50 and $70). The "resorts" on the neighboring islands are more impressive, so save your money for them. And if Honolulu keeps getting this kind of press, you're soon not likely to be able to stay in good Waikiki hotels for this little money.

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Thanks for the link lonestar, I haven't registered for that site, so haven't got a chance to read it yet but will definitely check it out. This will be 4th trip to Hawaii, first was to Oahu & Maui, then Oahu, and last was to Kauai. I loved Kauai but by far Oahu is my favorite because of the fun mix of busy Waikiki and the more secluded North Shore. There's just so much to do there. This Oahu trip is in March and there is still much we haven't seen. I would just love it if Turtle Bay Resort showed up on Priceline sometime, IMO, the North Shore of Oahu rivals the beauty I have seen on the other islands and Waikiki has world class dining and lots of shopping. It's nice to hear that Waikiki is finally losing some of that stigma that's been attached by so many who have only passed through on their way to a neighbor island.

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I would just love it if Turtle Bay Resort showed up on Priceline sometime, IMO, the North Shore of Oahu rivals the beauty I have seen on the other islands and Waikiki has world class dining and lots of shopping.

Yes, it is a shame that there is no North Shore bidding on priceline. In the pre-priceline days, I stayed at Turtle Bay (it was a hilton then), but there's no way you can justify staying there now when Waikiki hotels are a fraction of the cost due to Priceline. I also checked for rates and deals at the small North Shore inns and b&bs, but again the value is horrible compared to a Honolulu priceline stay.

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Saw an interesting article about Starwood renovations and thought this was the best place to post.

In essence, there is a proposed plan to renovate and build that will turn the 4 properties into 6.

Demolition is expected in 18 months and includes tearing down parts of Princess Kaiulani and even the Diamond Wing of Moana Surfrider. If that happens, they are considering a new tower at PK and a new hotel in place of the Diamond wing (200-250 rooms ). Room renovations are ongoing at Sheraton Waikiki and will include historic sections of Moana and Royal Hawaiian. Royal should be more of a luxury class afterwards. There might be more rebranding with some properties, and PK might include a timeshare.

I should add that there has been proposed expansion on the North Shore as well that would include up to 5 properties with around 3000-3500 rooms if memory serves. There is a lot of opposition to that locally, but approval was given some 20 years ago when economy and traffic were very different on the North Shore.

LoneStar, not surprised you started this thread! :)

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Not surprised that a major hotel project is planned for Waikiki. It couldn't come at a better time, as the hotel scene there has been in somewhat of a time warp. Of course, with Oahu now hip again, it's hardly surprising that there's money willing to be invested.

Does anyone know of any other Waikiki hotel projects. Might somebody be (gasp) building a brand new hotel?

That said, rates are still lower on Waikiki than the neighboring islands, so I'd guess those places will take priority. You'd sure think that Maui was ripe for lodging investment given the current obscene room rates.

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Waikiki Parc is renovating. The cafe is closed and a Nobu restaurant is opening in December. This will make the Parc a true 'boutique hotel' in my opinion.

There is ongoing renovation around Lewers Street that you are probably aware of (Outrigger Waikiki Beach Walk project --numerous changes there including a famous 'Tower' that sounds condo hotel). More development at Ko Olina, too.

In Waikiki, mainland chain restaurants will be replacing local eateries. Cheesecake Factory is very successful, and I read a California Pizza Kitchen is also going in somewhere.

On Maui, Kapalua Bay Hotel is being torn down, and incredibly expensive timeshares are being sold there in the neighbood of 500,000. Luxury homes 4-7M. (You can probably find some references to that). Also I think there is a proposal for more condos or other properties in Wailea area.

On Kauai, there is construction on the South Shore for residential housing. And Princeville will be renovating and is slated to become a St. Regis. Lots of construction on BI as well.

As you know, plans and proposals change for many reasons, but I think the above is accurate for now. (!)

There are some travel bargains to be had right before renovations or property sales, which is what we are all looking for here!! This is a great place to exchange information. I do a lot of reading and it seems pointless not to share. Cheers!

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