Hawaii Prince Hotel Waikiki Rating: 3.0 Pearls
Waikiki, Honolulu, Oahu

Oyster Review Summary

Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators

Pros

Cons

  • Isolated (15-minute walk to center of Waikiki)
  • Five- to 10-minute walk to the beach
  • No in-room Wi-Fi; fee for wired internet per day
  • Golf course is a 35-minute ride

Bottom Line

This bland, 578-room high-rise 10 to 15 minutes from the main Waikiki action -- and, alas, its beach -- features strong service and two good restaurants, but its worn, outdated rooms need a renovation. Newer rooms at lower prices and closer to the beach can be found at more than a few other area hotels.

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Oyster Hotel Review

 Scene

A large, uninspiring high-rise on the water -- but not on the beach -- and roughly 10 minutes from Waikiki's epicenter, the Prince appeals to its largely Japanese client base with Asian art, a bilingual staff, and two seafood restaurants.

The main lobby
The main lobby

In most places, 578 rooms in two 28-story towers would make you a pretty imposing player in the local hospitality industry. In Waikiki, it puts you in the middle and, if you play your cards right, in the thick of the competition. The problem with the Hawaii Prince -- the main problem, anyway -- is that it's nowhere near the thick of things. Worse still, it's not even on the beach -- a problem if you're a hotel in Hawaii. Instead it overlooks the Ala Wai Yacht Harbor, in the northwest corner of Waikiki, across the canal from the closest beach.

The hotel's two seafood restaurants, plenty of Asian art, and bilingual staff provides some character -- and also some truly delicious food. But the mood is still quiet and subdued. The lobby, beautiful though it is, is quiet and often empty. Ditto for the lobby bar, the Promenade Deck, and the pool.

 Location

Isolated from the beach and the heart of Waikiki, but convenient to the convention center

The Prince is nestled in the far northwestern corner of Waikiki, where the Ala Wai Yacht Harbor meets the Ala Wai Canal (the unofficial border of Waikiki). You have to hike a bit once you've gone to reach the restaurants and shopping centers on Kalakaua Avenue, Waikiki's main drag. They're a healthy 15 to 25 minutes away by foot (or a quick taxi). The nearest beach, in Ala Moana Park, is a five- to 10-minute walk (see Beach, below). Basically, it's as far away from the action as you can get while still remaining in the general vicinity. Unless you have business at the Hawaii Convention Center, staying at the Prince could very well make you feel like you're missing the party.

  • Not much nearby except the yacht harbor (pleasant enough) and the next-door Chart House restaurant.
  • Hawaii Convention Center is a five- to 10-minute walk.
  • Closer to the monstrous Ala Moana Center mall than any hotel in Waikiki.
  • Free shuttle to the main areas in Waikiki; once there, the local bus -- known, appropriately, as "The Bus"
  • Honolulu International Airport is a 20- to 25-minute cab ride.
  • Pearl Harbor, Hanauma Bay, and Diamond Head Crater -- three of the most popular tourist sites outside Waikiki -- can all be reached within 30 minutes by car.

 Beach

Five- to 10-minute walk to the nearest beach, Ala Moana Beach Park

The distance from the beach is probably the biggest drawback of the Prince. Unless you're here for a convention, you're most likely coming to Hawaii to spend some time on the beach. The Prince doesn't have one. Your best bet is to walk along the yacht harbor for 10 minutes till you hit the manmade lagoon at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. It's a nice little spot with tons of activities, especially for kids, but for a "real" beach, you'll need to walk five minutes further, to Fort DeRussy Beach. It's not as picturesque as its famous neighbor to the southeast, Queen's Beach, but it's far less crowded. The water is shallow, warm, and calm, making Fort DeRussy a decent place to swim, especially for kids. But the ocean bottom is a bit rocky, so tread gingerly. Lifeguards monitor the beach throughout the day.

For a more sedate beach experience, walk northwest on Ala Moana Boulevard, across the canal, to Ala Moana Beach Park. There you'll find decent sand, calm water, and more locals. There are no concession stands, though, so bring your own food, drinks, and equipment.

  • Both beaches are public.
  • Free towels provided by the hotel
  • At Fort DeRussy, umbrellas and lounge chairs must be rented from one of the many Star Beach Boys stands
  • Water sports equipment, like surfboards and boogie boards, available for rental at Star Beach Boys stands

 Rooms

Large, but outdated; generic and balcony-less

The Standard Room
The Standard Room

The rooms at the Prince are spacious (standard rooms are about 425 square feet) and well-appointed with a bench, desk, and multiple stuffed chairs, and feature decent views of the yacht harbor and ocean beyond. A very soft renovation to the Prince was completed in late 2011, adding new rugs, desk chairs, and lamps to the space that have brightened things up a bit, but plans for a major renovation have not yet been finalized. Overall, they get the job done.

  • Beds, like most in Waikiki, have cheap coverlets rather than duvets; the Simmons Beautyrest 350 Chadfield Luxury mattress is a bit firm (and certainly not "Luxury"); the 200-thread-count sheets (a 55% cotton/45% poly blend) feel scratchy.
  • Bathrooms are a highlight: separate showers and tubs, light-up vanity mirrors, light-knit, waffle-comb bathrobes, free slippers, typical hotel-brand toiletries, but shower water pressure is weak.
  • The Hitachi tube TVs are small (20 inches) and only show about 20 English-speaking channels
  • Wired Internet (there's no Wi-Fi) charged by day

 Features

The usual selection, plus some nice bonuses

The pool
The pool

The array of amenities is, along with the service, the best reason to stay at the Prince.

  • Nice pool, but nothing special: the Promenade Deck boasts picturesque, yacht harbor views at sunset.
  • Whirlpool looks a little sad: jets turned off, not enough water, faded tiles, and grout corroded by mildew.
  • The fitness room is two rooms -- two converted guest rooms, to be precise -- and small; equipment is pretty modern, though.
  • The business center is just four computers against the wall in the 2nd-floor lobby; Internet charged per minute (there's no Wi-Fi); in-room wired Internet is charged daily.
  • The Yamano Dayspa & Beauty Salon is, like most hotel spas in Hawaii, independently owned and operated; Prince guests get discounted treatments. For a complete list of treatments and prices, click here.
  • Free shuttle/discounted rates to Arnold Palmer/Ed Seay-designed golf course.

 Family

Not great for families

The buffet is half price for kids
The buffet is half price for kids

There's not much focus on kids here.

  • No child-centered amenities or programs
  • Free cribs (as is common in Waikiki) and rollaways are charged per night; either make the standard room feel tight.
  • Restaurants don't have children's menus, but buffets are half price for kids ages six to 10.
  • Nice pool, but nothing special

 Cleanliness

Clean, but the hotel needs an update

The Jacuzzi
The Jacuzzi

The Prince's last renovation was in 2005, and that was only a partial update (some furniture and technology, etc.). The hotel underwent a soft renovation in late 2011, but no major renovations have been planned so far. Although there were no disturbing cleanliness issues, this is a case of an older, slightly understaffed hotel.

 Food

Two solid restaurants, plus a snack bar and a lounge

Dinner at Prince Court
Dinner at Prince Court

I hope you like seafood. The Prince offers both a sushi place and a seafood buffet. Other than that, there's not a whole lot more here or in the nearby vicinity.

  • Prince Court is primarily a buffet -- in theory you could buffet your way through the day given the breakfast and lunch spreads -- but there's also an la carte lunch menu and three prix fixe dinner options. Either way it's expensive here.
  • Hakone serves Japanese cuisine (the Prince knows who butters its lobster tails), and it's just as pricey as the Court.
  • The only budget option on-site is the snack bar in the lobby.
  • You get more for your money if you head off campus, though there's not much nearby: next door is the Chart House restaurant; nearby are a few chains (Outback Steakhouse, Red Lobster, IHOP).
  • It's a 10- to 15-minute walk into the heart of Waikiki for many more options.

 Bottom Line

This bland, 578-room high-rise 10 to 15 minutes from the main Waikiki action -- and, alas, its beach -- features strong service and two good restaurants, but its worn, outdated rooms need a renovation. Newer rooms at lower prices and closer to the beach can be found at more than a few other area hotels.

Things You Should Know About Hawaii Prince Hotel Waikiki

Address

  • 100 Holomoana St, Honolulu, HI 96815

Hotel Is Also Known As...

  • Hawaii Hotel Prince
  • Hawaii Prince Hotel
  • Honolulu Prince Hotel
  • Prince Hotel Hawaii
  • Prince Hotel Honolulu

Room Types

  • Ala Moana Suite (One Bedroom)
  • Lanai Suite
  • Ocean Front Marina Room
  • Ocean Front Vista Room
  • Oceanfront Hokulea
  • Oceanfront Prime Room
  • Oceanfront Top Room
  • Prince Suite (Two Bedroom)
  • Royal Suite
  • Standard Room

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Hotel Features

Number of Rooms: 521
Pool: Yes
Fitness Center: Yes
Spa: Yes
Internet Access: Yes
Cribs: Yes
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Hotel Information

Location: Waikiki, Honolulu
Address: 100 Holomoana St, Honolulu, HI 96815
(See Map)
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