Aqua Lotus Honolulu Rating: 3.5 Pearls
Diamond Head, Honolulu, Oahu

Oyster Review Summary

Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators

Pros

  • Large, stylish guest rooms with extremely comfortable beds, iPod docks, and flat-screen TVs
  • Great views: ocean or Diamond Head
  • Continental breakfast offered daily (for a fee); full restaurant forthcoming
  • Free coffee and tea in the mornings, as well as a free wine reception nightly
  • Free yoga offered 4 times throughout the week
  • Free bicycle rentals available
  • Personal fitness conceirge and in-room massages available, for a fee
  • Quiet, scenic location
  • 15-minute walk from central Waikiki
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout hotel
  • Pet-friendly: Dogs under 20 pounds stay for a fee

Cons

Bottom Line

Formerly the W Waikiki, this scenic and stylish 50-room boutique hotel is about a block from the beach and a half-mile from Waikiki's crowds. Features are few -- no pool; no fitness center -- but the standard rooms are huge, and though they still have the W's chic decor and incredible beds, they now cost much less.

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Oyster Hotel Review

 Scene

Swanky 50-room boutique hotel with a mellow vibe and solid prices

Lobby at the "old W"
Lobby at the "old W"

In many ways, the Aqua Lotus still feels like its predecessor -- the W Waikiki -- albeit a small, extremely laid-back one. The lobby is airy and bright, and the large guest rooms have lovely teak molding and wonderfully comfortable beds. And, after a 2012 renovation, the spaces are even more stylish and accomodating, with modern technology like flat-screen TVs and iPod docks to boot.

And for many guests, the Lotus' distance from the action is its best attribute. Kapiolani Park, Honolulu's equivalent of New York City's Central Park, sits both across the street and adjacent to the hotel. That big, beautiful ol' volcanic cone called Diamond Head looms over the hotel. But until the hotel opens a restaurant, the only place to grab a bite for lunch and dinner without getting in the car or taking a 15-minute walk is the New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel or Michael's Restuarant next door. For breakfast, the hotel offers a Continental spread on the second floor (for a fee). There is also free coffee and tea in the lobby each morning, as well as a free nightly wine reception.

The Aqua Lotus offers several other solid amenities, including free yoga four times a week and bicycyle rentals. For a fee, there are personal fitness conceirge available (though no fitness center is on-site) and in-room massage for guests to enjoy. The hotel also has free Wi-Fi.

 Location

Near Diamond Head hiking and away from the action of central Waikiki

The hotel is located on the eastern outskirts of Waikiki, a half-mile from Kapahulu Avenue and the eastern boundary of Waikiki, and another half-mile from most of the restaurants, shopping malls, other hotels (a 15-minute walk). Many guests seem to enjoy the hotel's quiet and relaxing location, but for some it may be too isolated. The only place to grab a bite that doesn't require a 15-minute walk or short drive is next door at the New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel, which has two restaurants and a small convenience store.

  • One block from Sans Souci Beach, a smaller, less-crowded beach than Waikiki's main stretch of sand
  • 2.5 miles (an eight-minute drive) from Diamond Head volcanic crator
  • Kapiolani Park, more than 100 acres of green grass and towering ficus trees, is across the street
  • Waikiki Aquarium and Honolulu Zoo are both less than a 10-minute walk from the hotel
  • Honolulu airport is about 10 miles away, or a 30-minute drive. A taxi runs $40 to $45 with tip, more than a ride into central Waikiki. (Note: Many taxi drivers still know the hotel as the W, not the Lotus at Diamond Head)
  • Parking is valet-only for a fee

 Beach

The nearest beach, San Souci, is about a block away.

The hotel is a half-block from the ocean, but it doesn't have direct beach access. (The New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel next door does.)

The nearest beach is Sans Souci Beach, a calm, small beach on the far eastern end of Waikiki that's a bit out of the way and attracts more locals than tourists. Since there's no direct path from the hotel to the beach, guests have to walk about a block, around the New Otani, to actually set foot on sand.

  • Calm waters, quiet beach, and lifeguards on duty make it perfect for little swimmers and relaxed sunbathers.
  • Less picturesque, but also less crowded, than Waikiki Beach
  • Slightly clearer water than at other beaches in the area, but the sand is coarser; occasional debris.
  • Shallow coral reef; good for beginner snorkeling
  • Hotel provides towels, mats, and chairs for free (refundable deposit)

 Rooms

Large and stylish; lots of comfort for the buck

Standard room
Standard room

Rooms were renovated in 2012, taking rooms from basic to urban-island-chic with wood floors, rich earth tones, and mordern accents. The generous space (455 square feet), teak furniture, and coral-and-coffee color scheme give them an airy, beachy feel, and the featherbeds are supremely comfortable.

  • All rooms (save the penthouse suite) are large -- between 380 and 455 square feet -- and have similar layouts.
  • Views -- either ocean (more expensive) or the nearly as stunning view of Diamond Head -- mostly differentiate room types.
  • Balcony in every room; corner rooms -- called "premium" rooms -- have a small, second balcony that is unfurnished and less than two feet wide (it's not worth the upgrade)
  • Beds, set atop elegant wood platforms, are extremely comfortable -- padded Simmons mattresses topped with a featherbed; 350-thread-count sheets; large down pillows
  • iPod docks and high-design Tivoli Audio alarm clocks
  • 42-inch flat-screen TVs
  • DVD player in every room, plus a DVD lending library with about 20 titles at front desk; pay-per-movies also available.
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Just one suite, a stunning two-bedroom Penthouse Suite on 13th floor, with a huge, wraparound lanai and full kitchen

 Features

No pool, no gym, and the business center is just a desk

  • Business center is a single computer in the lobby
  • Coin-operated laundry facilities
  • Parking (valet only) is a daily fee for hotel guests; a bit cheaper than elsewhere in Waikiki.
  • In-room spa services
  • Free beach cruiser bike loans
  • Free yoga classes in the park

 Family

Nothing for kids; just quiet nights and the nearby beach

With no pool, the Lotus at Diamond Head doesn't qualify as a kid-friendly hotel, though the large, 455-square-foot standard rooms can easily accommodate a family and the calm waters at the nearby beach, Sans Souci, is perfect for little ones.

  • No pool
  • No kids' club or daily activities
  • Standard rooms are available with two double beds or a single king
  • Cribs are free; rollaway beds are a nightly fee
  • Quiet location

 Food

Nearby dining options are thin until the hotel opens an on-site restaurant

  • Free morning coffee and tea in the lobby
  • Free nightly wine reception
  • Continental breakfast served daily on the second floor, fees apply
  • Next door, you can get a good but expensive breakfast at the Hau Tree Lanai restaurant in the New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel, or you can go to Michael's, a romantic spot nearby

 Bottom Line

Formerly the W Waikiki, this scenic and stylish 50-room boutique hotel is about a block from the beach and a half-mile from Waikiki's crowds. Features are few -- no pool; no fitness center -- but the standard rooms are huge, and though they still have the W's chic decor and incredible beds, they now cost much less.

Things You Should Know About Aqua Lotus Honolulu

Address

  • 2885 Kalakaua Avenue, Honolulu, HI, 96815, US

Hotel Is Also Known As...

  • Lotus At Diamond Head Honolulu
  • Lotus At Diamond Head Hotel

Room Types

  • Diamond Head View Premium Room
  • Diamond Head View Room
  • Ocean View Premium Room
  • Ocean View Room
  • Penthouse Diamond Head View Room

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Hotel Features

Number of Rooms: 51
Internet Access: Yes
Cribs: Yes
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Hotel Information

Location: Diamond Head, Honolulu
Address: 2885 Kalakaua Avenue, Honolulu, HI, 96815, US
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