Hyatt Regency Waikiki Resort And Spa Rating: 4.0 Pearls
Waikiki, Honolulu, Oahu

Oyster Review Summary

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Pros

Cons

  • Smallish pool
  • No Jacuzzi in the spa
  • Pool deck can get packed
  • Busy atmosphere
  • Fee for in-room Wi-Fi

Bottom Line

With a hopping pool deck offering beautiful ocean views, four restaurants, a solid spa, and a 60-store, on-site shopping mall, there's plenty for couples and families at this 40-story, two-tower mega-resort across from Waikiki Beach. But the atmosphere can feel impersonal, and the noise from Kalakaua Avenue can be intrusive.

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 Scene

With a 60-store shopping mall on its ground floor and a central 40-story atrium, this hotel can feel too impersonal and tour-group focused, but its location across from the beach and its stellar views are redeeming factors.

The Hyatt Regency's soaring 40-story atrium
The Hyatt Regency's soaring 40-story atrium

It may be a challenge just finding your way to the check-in desk at this 1,229-room chain link spanning an entire block in the center of Waikiki. One of Hawaii's largest hotels, with a great location directly across from Queen's Beach and a 60-store shopping mall on the ground floor, the Hyatt Regency isn't the picture of relaxation. Its soaring, 40-story atrium, with tropical touches, screeching parrots, a waterfall, and noise wafting up from Kalakaua Avenue, can't quite shake a slightly corporate feel.

At least there's more Hawaiian flair on "Aloha Fridays," when performers showcase fire-eating, hula-dancing, ukulele-playing, and lei-making skills against a waterfall backdrop. And serenity can be found at the low-key, 10,000-square-foot Na Ho'ola Spa, which doesnt have the state-of-the-art features you'd find at the high-end Moana Surfrider, but it does the job with 19 treatment rooms and two relaxation areas sporting floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Pacific and the pool deck. It's a nice place to take in the pandemonium below, since the smallish pool -- with elegant urns that spill out chlorinated water -- attracts lots of kids. It gets packed quickly as well, so head there early if you want a lounge chair.

The Hyatt's closest and most similar midrange competitor is the Marriott Waikiki, also across from the beach and offering many of the same amenities. While the Hyatt has a dedicated kids' program, the Marriott offers two pools, and while rooms in Marriott's upgraded Kealohilani Tower are newer, the Hyatt's standards are slightly larger. The Hyatt, however, is a bit busier, noisier, and a touch more corporate.

The hotel underwent reservations in 2011 that introduced four new restaurants and updated the pool area and fitness center.

 Service

Casual and mostly efficient

The front desk
The front desk

For such a large hotel, service maintains a surprising individualized focus. Staffers could recall not just my name, but all of my personal preferences. One mother from Wisconsin told me that several staff members remembered her and her family from last year, and the day after inquiring where the business center was located a front desk staff member asked me if I had found what I needed. My server during breakfast at the Terrace Grille remembered that I liked milk rather than cream with my coffee. My requested early morning wake-up call was a real voice, not an automated one.

  • Daily housekeeping; turndown service available on request
  • Free toiletry items, like razors, are provided on request.
  • Beach towels and chairs available.
  • Dedicated concierge
  • Daily fee for Valet parking.
  • Same-day laundry and dry-cleaning services available
  • Room service is available, but not 24 hours/day

 Location

Across the street from the heart of the action on one of the world's most famous beaches

The Hyatt Regency is located on Kalakaua Avenue, a touristy, milelong stretch of shops, restaurants, and high-rise hotels that runs along Waikiki Beach on Oahu's southeast coast. Kalakaua offers a curious blend of mainland creature comforts and local flavor. On the sidewalks, Japanese tourists intermingle with tanned locals, surfboards under their arms, on their way to the beach to catch a few waves after work. On both sides of the street, high-end retailers -- Tiffany, Cartier, and yes, even an Apple store -- are interspersed with indoor malls and streetside vendors hawking cheap seashell jewelry and T-shirts. Seemingly every midmarket chain restaurant can be found here -- Cheesecake Factory, California Pizza Kitchen, Tony Roma's -- along with more than a handful of Starbucks and fast-food joints. And towering above it all: 40-story, thousand-room hotels dotting the landscape like pins in a cushion.

  • Wide variety of shopping, dining, and drinking -- all within walking distance
  • Kapiolani Park, an oasis of (relative) calm for people-watching and local flavor, is 10 minutes by foot.
  • Directly across the street from Queen's Beach
  • Honolulu Zoo is 10 minutes by foot.
  • Cheap and easy to get around Waikiki via "The Bus"
  • Honolulu International Airport is a 20-minute cab ride.
  • Pearl Harbor, Hanauma Bay, and Diamond Head Crater -- the three most popular tourist sites outside Waikiki -- are all within half an hour to 40 minutes by car.

 Rooms

Large standard rooms have a touch of Hawaiian flair

The City View Room
The City View Room

Standard rooms are, surprisingly, not too corporate cookie-cutter, and feature vintage Hawaiian posters and photos. There's a $60 difference between room categories -- from the City View to the Mountain View to the Ocean View. The only difference between the standard and deluxe Ocean View rooms is the breadth of the view. In order to take in the entire landscape from a standard room, guests must step onto the balcony, whereas guests can enjoy the view of the ocean from inside a deluxe room.

  • Standard rooms, starting at around 400 square feet, are larger than the nearby Marriott Waikiki's (which range from 245 to 352 square feet), though you'll get newly updated ones in Marriott's Kealohilani Tower.
  • All rooms feature one king or two double beds with summer-weight down comforters; all offer balconies with chairs
  • 32-inch (or larger) flat-screen TV with cable (including HBO); pay-per-view movies are about $14 each; standards at the Marriott include 37-inch flat-screens.
  • Mini-fridge, coffeemaker and safe provided, as is the norm in most Waikiki hotels
  • iHome stereo iPod dock in room; Marriott doesn't offer iPod docks.
  • Bathrooms feature full bathtubs and Portico bath products.
  • In-room Wi-Fi has a daily fee, less than at the Marriott.

 Features

A great pool deck with views, a good spa, weekly hula, and an on-site shopping mall

The pool
The pool

A quality pool deck, the award-winning Na Ho'ola Spa, and an open atrium shopping mall puts the Hyatt Regency high on the list of quality Waikiki resorts. But its features compare pretty evenly with those at the nearby Marriott Waikiki. Though the latter doesn't have as much shoppping on-site, it also offers a good spa, a so-so fitness center, business services, and Hawaiian-focused entertainment, plus two pools to Hyatt's one pool. If you're with kids, the Hyatt may be a slightly better choice, since it has a dedicated on-site children's progam while the Marriott doesn't; if you want a less frenzied environment, however, the Marriott may be the better choice.

  • 3rd-floor pool deck has ocean views, two heated whirlpools, plenty of lounge chairs, umbrellas, and Swim, the poolside bar/restaurant; the design -- with tipped urns spilling water -- is inviting.
  • Beach chairs and towels available at the pool-deck kiosk at no additional charge
  • On-site shopping mall features 60 high-quality stores
  • The 10,000-square-foot Na Ho'ola Spa offers sauna and steam room facilities (unlike the Marriott's spa) and relaxation areas overlooking the ocean and pool deck; yoga and hulacize classes.
  • Creave Hair Salon located on the 2nd floor in the Ewa Tower.
  • 24-hour gym features cardio and weight-training equipment
  • 24-hour business center similar to the Marriott Waikiki's, with several computer work stations, laser printers, copy and fax machines, and FedEx services
  • On-site Hyatt Surf Academy offers two-hour group lessons for a fee.
  • 24-hour laundry, located on the 4th floor in the Diamond Head Tower
  • On-site parking has daily fee, valet slightly more expensive
  • Family medical practice in the Diamond Head Tower

 Entertainment

Aloha Fridays event offers Hawaiian performances and activities

Aloha Fridays hula performances at the Hyatt Regency
Aloha Fridays hula performances at the Hyatt Regency

Amid the constant hubbub, the Hyatt Regency manages to offer a touch of aloha on a weekly basis. A Hawaiian show each Friday -- called Aloha Fridays -- features traditional performances and activities in the hotel's ground level Great Hall. With lei-making, as well as hula and fire-dancing, this event is a good introduction to Hawaiian performance. Guests even have several opportunities for a dance lesson.

 Beach

Across the street from the heart of the action on one of the world's most famous beaches

The beach
The beach

Loosely speaking, the entire 1.5-mile stretch of sand alongside Kalakaua Avenue is known as Waikiki Beach. In reality, it's more like three separate beaches, the borders of which vary depending on whom you ask. The Hyatt Regency is located directly across the street from the section called Queen's Beach, which is the part you see on postcards of Waikiki: manicured, palm tree-dotted lawns leading to a sunny white-sand beach. Children splash about in the shallow water near the shore, while surfers and standup paddle-boarders (the rad new thing to do) patrol the outer waters.

To summarize Queen's Beach in one word: packed. Packed with energy, packed with activity, packed -- most significantly -- with people. Towels carpet the sand like blankets at a sold-out concert. Families with small children, honeymooning couples, even locals taking lunch breaks -- they all merge here, sunning, swimming, and sandcastle-building, all the while doing their best not to kick sand in each other's faces.

  • Public beach
  • Warm, shallow water -- a decent place to swim, especially for kids
  • Sandy, not rocky, ocean bottom -- unlike neighboring Fort DeRussy to the west and Kuhio (aka "the wall") to the east
  • Lifeguards monitor the beach throughout the day.
  • Portable beach chairs and beach towels available at the Hyatt Regency pool-deck kiosk at no extra charge
  • Umbrellas may be rented from Star Beach Boys stands
  • Water-sports equipment, like surfboards and boogie boards, available for rental at Star Beach Boys stands

 Cleanliness

Clean

Though it's a well-trafficked resort, the rooms and common areas are impressively clean. Even in the public shopping mall, it's difficult to find traces of foot traffic.

 Family

Great pick for families

Kids learn to make orchid leis at the Hyatt.
Kids learn to make orchid leis at the Hyatt.

The Hyatt Regency definitely caters to families. And unlike the Hilton Hawaiian Village -- the star of Waikiki family-friendliness -- the Hyatt isn't overrun with endless lines and crowds (though it also doesn't have the Hilton's right-on-the-beach location or its multiple pools and activities). Depending on your needs, the Hyatt edges out its nearby, similarly priced competitor -- the Marriott Waikiki -- when it comes to family-friendliness. Though both have prime, center-of-it-all addresses across from the beach as well as decent enough pools, the Hyatt outdoes the Marriott with a dedicated on-site kids' program. Marriott doesn't offer one.

  • Camp Hyatt activities program available for kids ages five to 12, with special schedules during the holidays and summer months.
  • Decent-size pool with Jacuzzis and pretty ocean views
  • Cribs are free, but rollaway beds cost a whopping nightly fee, more than most others charge (and a fortune compared to the free ones at the Marriott)
  • Strollers are available for rental through housekeeping.
  • Concierge can arrange babysitting services; 24 hours' notice requested
  • Kids' menus available at all restaurants; Ciao Mein serves meals family style
  • Weekly Hawaiian performances in atrium mall during Aloha Friday
  • Family medical practice in the Diamond Head Tower

 Food

Four on-site restaurants offer a variety of food and drinks

Hyatt on the Beach serves up basics beachside.
Hyatt on the Beach serves up basics beachside.

In 2011, the Hyatt updated the restaurant spaces and brought in new restaurants, including Swim (the poolside bar and grill), Shor (serving up seafood and American classics), and Japengo, serving sushi and other Pacific Rim cuisine. Hyatt on the Beach offers casual options like burgers and fries.

 Bottom Line

With a hopping pool deck offering beautiful ocean views, four restaurants, a solid spa, and a 60-store, on-site shopping mall, there's plenty for couples and families at this 40-story, two-tower mega-resort across from Waikiki Beach. But the atmosphere can feel impersonal, and the noise from Kalakaua Avenue can be intrusive.

Things You Should Know About Hyatt Regency Waikiki Resort And Spa

Address

  • 2424 Kalakaua Avenue, Honolulu, HI 96815

Hotel Is Also Known As...

  • Honolulu Hyatt
  • Hyatt Honolulu
  • Hyatt Regency Honolulu
  • Hyatt Regency Waikiki
  • Hyatt Regency Waikiki Hotel
  • Hyatt Regency Waikiki Resort
  • Hyatt Regency Waikiki Resort Spa
  • Hyatt Waikiki

Room Types

  • Accessible Room
  • City View Room
  • Deluxe Ocean Front Room
  • Deluxe Ocean Room
  • Mountain View Room
  • Ocean View Double Room
  • Regency Club Mountain View Room
  • Regency Club Ocean View Room

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Hotel Features

Number of Rooms: 1229
Pool: Yes
Fitness Center: Yes
Spa: Yes
Internet Access: Yes
Cribs: Yes
Kids Club: Yes
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Hotel Information

Location: Waikiki, Honolulu
Address: 2424 Kalakaua Avenue, Honolulu, HI 96815
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