There are certain hotels along world famous Waikiki beach that every traveller invariably considers while choosing accommodation and the Sheraton Waikiki is almost certainly one of those. The 4 star Sheraton Waikiki is not a budget option by any means, but it is always bursting at the seams and is highly rated on Trip Advisor so it must be doing something right. I recently stayed at the Sheraton Waikiki and am sharing my thoughts so you can decide if this is the Waikiki hotel for you. Read on for all the details …
Sheraton Waikiki Overview
Sheraton is a world class luxury hotel chain which has 435 hotels and 88 resorts in 70 countries. Sheraton was acquired by Starwood Hotels & Resorts group in 1998 which gives Starwood Preferred Guests (SPG) benefits in 1300+ hotels across 11 brands in 100 countries. Built in 1971, the Sheraton Waikiki has 11 room types starting at a city view room and going all the way through to the presidential suite so you are sure to find one to suit.
Sheraton Waikiki hands down occupies one of the finest locations in Honolulu. Situated on Kalakaua Ave, The Sheraton commands an enviable position mere steps away from the golden sands of Waikiki Beach. Out the front, direct access to the Royal Hawaiian Centre means you are surrounded with world class shopping and a host of restaurants. Make sure you also check out my guide to shopping in Waikiki plus my picks of the local eateries, both of which have been recently updated. The Hubs and I tend to walk everywhere and it’s about a 20 minute walk to the Ala Moana centre, Hawaii’s premier shopping destination and about 30 minutes to Diamond Head in the other direction. If the heat is too much or you are simply not inclined to walk all the trolleys stop just outside the front door and the local bus (actually called The Bus) motors along nearby. Taxi’s are plentiful and the hotel staff can organise one for you at a moments notice. Exit to the side past the parking garage and you will find yourself on Lewers Street in the heart of Waikiki Beachwalk which is always buzzing. The transformed newly-opened International Market Place is a mere 5 minute stroll from the Sheraton Waikiki and is set to change the face of shopping in the area housing Saks Fifth Ave, plus over 100 specialty shops and world class restaurants. There are lots of things to do in in and around beyond shopping and eating including an Atlantis submarine tour, photography tours, visiting Kualoa Ranch, helicoptor tours, and Jet Skiing.
The Sheraton Waikiki has 1636 rooms across a number of categories including 139 suites. We selected an ocean front room and having stayed in a mountain view room previously, I’m glad we chose the upgrade. The view from the compact lanai (balcony) across beautiful Waikiki Beach is breath taking. There is always something happening, with surfers, stand up paddle boarders, leisure craft, swimmers and mammoth cruise liners all competing for space on the clear aquamarine water. You could lose days simply staring at the ever changing vista with a wine glass in hand.
The Sheraton Waikiki is constructed in a double arc so each wing offers a slightly different aspect. We were on the sixth floor at the far end on the left hand side (looking from the beach) which provided a spectacular view to Diamond ahead across the beach. Those on the right would likely be treated to spectacular sunsets and glimpses of fireworks on a Friday night. Some balconies have railings while others have half-height solid walls. We lucked out with the railing in my opinion as it meant the views were uninterrupted. If you have a preference make sure you specify when booking and they will do their best to accommodate your request.
The room itself was compact with just enough room to accommodate a king size bed, a small lounge and a narrow desk. The bed is high, soft and very comfortable but the pillows were not to my liking and I had to use both to make them workable. The lighting in the room was lacking as is the case with nearly every single hotel I have ever stayed in. I cannot understand the American fascination with bedside lamps that have tiny little flimsy knobs that twist and feel like they may snap off at any moment. Of course all the standard facilities such as telephone, TV, air conditioning and a safe are all included. I never unpack properly and live out of my suitcase but there is a decent sized robe if you are not as lazy as I am. The one disappointment with being in an ocean side room is that it is directly over a night club that pumps tunes until 1am which can be clearly heard from your room if you have the balcony door open. My expectations of balmy nights sleeping with the door open enjoying gentle breezes while falling asleep to a lullaby of crashing waves were replaced by thumping beats and the sounds of drunken revelers enjoying the party below. But if you can’t beat them join them I say and we headed down for a few one night 🙂
The bathroom is small but perfectly formed with an electronic toilet (complete with heated seat!) which delighted The Hubs. The cantilever mirror opens up to the sleeping area which was a nice touch and makes the room feel much bigger when open. The shower is over a somewhat dated bath which seems out of sorts with the rest of the room. The shower head offers a variety of settings and while perfectly adequate the tap only allows you to control the temperature not the strength. I was disappointed to see a shower curtain not a glass screen. Towels are in plentiful supply and while not as luxurious as I would expect from a hotel of this standing they got the job done. The basic toiletries were supplied but the extras that I have come to expect such as a toothbrush, cotton balls etc were not. The Hubs always relies on a toothbrush being provided and was caught short this visit.
We arrived at the Sheraton Waikiki at 7.30am after a ten hour flight and a full house the night before meant that there was no chance of an early check in so our room would not be ready until 3pm. Our 6am departure also meant we couldn’t take advantage of Sheraton Waikiki’s later check out. The up side was that the queues were non existent when we checked in and out which was not the case at 3pm when I saw they snaked beyond the reception area past the shops. One thing I was not prepared for was the full amount of our stay to be held on my credit card at check in as I am used to paying on check out. A hasty loan redraw by internet banking was needed and as we had yet to buy our T-Mobile Tourist Plan we were offered complimentary use of the computers in the lobby to sort it out.
Housekeeping was absolutely spot on at the Sheraton Waikiki. The staff were like Vulcan mind readers, instinctively knowing exactly when we were out of the room to sneak and tidy up even when it was a very brief absence. In our seven days in residence we were never once bothered by a knock on the door announcing ‘housekeeping’ accompanied by the sensation that we were being an inconvenience by staying in our room when they had work to do. Absolutely top marks for this! Staff throughout the hotel were courteous and friendly and we were always greeted in the halls when we walked past. There were three examples of stand out service we received during our stay; the first was when we returned to check in a little earlier than the requested 3pm and joined the lengthy queue that had formed. We resigned ourselves to a long wait after an already very tiring day but we were thrilled when our server from earlier recognised us and called us out to efficiently finalise the process and get us to our room in record time. The second was the server at The Edge bar who was extremely attentive to patrons in the pool and on the lounges. We never had to wait long for her friendly smiling face to appear and offer another round. She even allowed us to order one last round when she had already finished up on the last night of our stay which I really appreciated. Finally, we were left a very nice plate of choc-dipped strawberries in our room which I assure you went down a treat.
Who doesn’t love an infinity pool? No one that’s who, and the Sheraton Waikiki has one of the best. It’s beach side, adults only and offers bar service direct to your bean bag. The temperature is a little cool in the morning before the sun has had a chance to work its magic but it is perfect for a late afternoon/pre dinner dip to ease away the tensions of the day. Grab a bean bag and hook your feet over the edge to enjoy stunning views of the impossibly blue Pacific Ocean. One thing that bugs me no end about hotel pools is that it is virtually impossible to get a sun lounge, not so at the Sheraton Waikiki. The house rule that unattended items will be removed within the hour is fiercely policed to ensure that all guests get a fair go. Love it! Because the infinity pool is adults only there is a large seperate pool complete with waterside for families to enjoy. Conveniently it is right next to the Baskin Robbins so an icy treat is never fair away. Little girls will love the hair braiding nearby. Cabanas and premium lounges are available at both pools at an additional cost.
If the pool is not your thing there are lots of other facilities including restaurants, bars, a gym, a nail salon, a spa and shopping. My pick of the bunch is Rum Fire. It is the perfect place to enjoy drinks while watching the sun slowly sink below the water.
Activities & Extras
The Sheraton Waikiki resort fee (see below) includes a raft of extras including free wi-fi, international and local calls, cultural activities and free parking. I can see how this might be great value for some (especially the parking given this can run high in Waikiki), but for us it amounted to approximately AUD$320 for use of the wi-fi, two swims in the pool (one with floaties) and a thirty second phone call home (voice mail!). We did try to attend the free lei making class on our last day, but despite arriving 15 minutes early it was full. Perhaps we shouldn’t have left it to the last day, but it was all the more soured by the attendant who was extremely dismissive, refused to acknowledge my presence in front of her until I spoke first and told us to come back tomorrow despite me explaining that was not possible. She shrugged her shoulders, repeated that they were full and advised that most people arrive an hour early to secure one of the coveted spots. Given the hotel has so many rooms they need to offer more than 25 spaces each session. Every night at 8pm and 9pm the Birth Of Hawaii laser show occurs poolside. We happened to be around one night and stopped in for a look. While the kids might enjoy it, I wouldn’t recommend staying in simply to see the show. Hula lesions are popular with the female guests and everyone can have a bit of fun with a ukulele lesson. Grab an activities guide from reception when you check in to make the most of your stay.
I said at the beginning that the Sheraton Waikiki was not a budget destination and even with the discount I was able to secure it was right at the top of our budget, but to be fair the weak AUD had a big part to play in that. Rooms start at around USD$274 (approx AUD$360) a night but it’s the hidden extras that bump up the bill significantly. For each night we stayed we were slugged USD$31.41 in resort fees, USD$12.25 in general excise tax plus an occupancy tax of USD$24.05 totaling a whopping USD$67.71 per night. These extra costs added about AUD$650 to our bill over the course of our seven night stay. Don’t get me wrong, I would still have stayed and am happy to pay but I prefer to be quoted the total price inclusive of the extras in the interests of transparency.
My Final Thoughts
We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at the Sheraton Waikiki, it delivered everything I would expect of a luxury hotel and there was very little that I could fault them on. The staff go out of their way to you make you feel like a very special guest and provide a level of personalised service that is often lacking in large hotels. The Sheraton Waikiki is a perfect choice for a special occasion trip such as a honeymoon, birthday or anniversary. If budget is a concern, consider splitting your stay and spending a few nights here with the remainder of your stay at a less expensive hotel to keep the costs down. I would not hesitate to chose the Sheraton again when I am next in Waikiki but I am really hoping the AUD will be somewhere near parity again soon to make it a better value proposition for Aussies. If you have never been to Hawaii my know before you go post is a great place to start your research.
Will the Sheraton Waikiki be at the top of your list for your next stay in beautiful Hawaii?
Until Next Time …
Disclaimer: I received a discounted rate and complimentary upgrade during our stay as part of my collaboration with The Sheraton Waikiki. As always, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links for which a small commission may be paid.
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