Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Big budget hotel with a nice pool, five blocks from the beach
Located on the eastern end of Waikiki, a colorful, five-minute walk from the beach, the 500-room Ohana Waikiki West is about affordable fun: franchise food at the on-site Chili's and cheap beers and country music afterward at the Nashville Waikiki bar downstairs. Free perks, like the pink trolley service around Waikiki or free local calls and a free 15-minute long-distance call to the U.S. or Canada, help to keep a vacation within budget.
But the main draw is its 600-square-foot pool. It's a good size for Waikiki -- though it'd be considered small in any other part of Hawaii -- and there's ample space for both college students to booze it up in the shallow end and kids to splash about in the deep end.
Rooms, however, are a sobering sight -- old, 20-inch tube TVs with awful reception, dirty polyester rainforest-print bed coverlets, and sagging mattresses. On the bright side, they are large enough to comfortably sleep a family or a group of four, and about half even have a kitchenette with a two-burner stovetop for cooking.
But in this price range, you can find a hotel that is closer to the beach or has a much nicer room (though you might have to sacrifice the stovetop). Consider the Park Shore Hotel (right by the beach), the Best Western Waikiki (excellent rooms), or the Aqua Waikiki Pearl (beautiful new rooms at typically lower rates).
Budget-level service; nothing special
If you need anything more than a room key, you'll have to wait in line first, then ask.
Among souvenir shops on the eastern end of Waikiki -- about four blocks from the main drag and five blocks from the beach
Ohana Waikiki West is located in the eastern section of Waikiki, about five blocks from bustling Queen's Beach. The immediate area surrounding the hotel is especially heavy with souvenir shops; an entrance to the colorful International Marketplace, a place to procure plenty of Hawaiian-themed plastic knickknacks, is less than a block away. Kuhio Street is busy with traffic, but not so loud that you can't get to sleep inside the hotel.
Kalakaua Avenue, a touristy, milelong stretch of shops, restaurants, and high-rise hotels that runs along Waikiki Beach on Oahu's southeast coast, is about four blocks from the hotel. It 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 like the Hyatt Regency and Princess Kaiulani dotting the landscape like pins in a cushion.
About five blocks from one of the most famous beaches in the world
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 Ohana Waikiki West is located five blocks 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 paddleboarders (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.
Starting at 400 square feet, all rooms are large, but they're also looking a little outdated and run-down since their last renovation in 2004 -- old tube TVs, synthetic bedspreads, slight mold and rust in the bathrooms.
Great pool for the price, and servicable features for a budget hotel
Not the cleanest of the budget hotels
Large pool, at least by Waikiki standards, but nothing too special for families
It might be popular among families, but Ohana Waikiki West is only a good, not great option if you're bringing the kids. The pool is large (for Waikiki), standard rooms can sleep four (all with a small kitchenette area and an optional stovetop), and there's plenty of finger food to be had on-site. Other than that, this may not be the most thrilling of accomodations for families.
Food at this hotel is mostly of the fast food and quick snack variety, but there is plenty to eat within walking distance.
Cheap booze and lots of college-age kids out to party
It's a bit dated, but this 500-room Ohana has some life -- it's always party time at the pool or at the Nashville-themed bar -- and free perks, like Wi-Fi and a trolley around Waikiki. But for the price, you can get a cleaner shower and a hotel that's closer to the beach, like the Park Shore. The hotel is currently closed for renovations and will reopen in 2016 as the Hilton Garden Inn Waikiki Beach.