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The Equus 2.5

Waikiki, Honolulu, Oahu

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Reasonably priced hotel, less than a 10-minute walk from the beach
  • Convenient to Ala Moana convention center and shopping
  • Clean rooms with air-conditioning, pillow-top beds, and mini-fridges
  • Small pool for cooling off
  • Free muffins and coffee in the morning
  • Free Wi-Fi and no resort fees

Cons

  • Small rooms with dated decor and no microwaves
  • Rooms facing streets are noisy
  • Pool is tiny, shaded, and too small for swimming
  • No actual breakfast or on-site meal service

Bottom Line

For tourists wanting a Waikiki location without major resort prices, this 67-room hotel is a decent two-and-a-half-pearl find. However, the hotel has a bit of an identity crisis, with an equestrian theme that doesn’t make sense for beachy Waikiki. The dated interiors and minuscule pool also diminish some of the shine. However, the beach is less than a 10-minute walk away, and the Ala Moana Center is nearby for shopping and conventions. Compact rooms are pleasant and clean, but old school, and include free Wi-Fi and air-conditioning. Noise from the road can be an issue. There are no resort fees here, but parking comes with a steep price tag. Most budget hotels in this area are similar, but check out Aqua Waikiki Pearl for an even more wallet-friendly option.

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Scene

Simple budget hotel with boutique aspirations, but a slightly dated style

For travelers who want a clean, budget-friendly place to crash near the beach and shopping in Waikiki, The Equus can be a fine bet. However, expectations need to be managed. First impressions are retro -- at best -- and the equestrian theme is a bit random for a hotel located in Waikiki. The horse motif was dreamed up by the longtime owner, who is a polo aficionado, and manifests itself in historic photographs of polo players and Hawaiian cowboys on the walls. The family-owned property is much smaller than almost everything option it, giving the hotel a more personalized vibe. However, compared with the Aqua properties nearby -- including the Park Shore, The Palms, and Waikiki Wave -- the Equus is a little more basic. To be sure, it's cheaper than the Hawaii Prince across the street and the Aqua Palms around the corner, but it also has less to offer. Unless, of course, you're a horse enthusiast. 

Location

In northern Waikiki, less than a 10-minute walk to the beach and major shopping

Map of The Equus

The Equus is conveniently located on busy Ala Moana Boulevard, among northern Waikiki's high-rise hotels, motels, and condos. The hotel is across the street from the Waikiki Marina. Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon is just a six-minute walk from the hotel, and is perfect for kids, as the water is warm and shallow. Kahanamoku Beach ad well as Waikiki Beach at the Hilton Hawaiian Village both take a little less than 10 minutes to reach on foot. The Ala Moana Shopping Center is also a 10-minute walk from the property. While the hotel has no restaurant of its own, there are a number of fast food options nearby. Honolulu operates a local bus that's a great way to cruise Waikiki and explore nearby Diamond Head and Pearl Harbor. Consider using a ride-hailing app or a local taxi service if you're only staying in town, as daily parking fees and car rental rates will likely be costlier. Expect a 20-minute cab ride to Honolulu International Airport. 

Rooms

Compact and dated, but clean, with air-conditioning, free Wi-Fi, and mini-fridges

The rooms at The Equus are clean, but the style is certainly lacking (as are some amenities). Expect to see bamboo furniture, lots of pale or neutral hues, and a few pieces of equestrian or tropical artwork. The views from the rooms are limited and are blocked by the many tall surrounding buildings in the area. They also have tiny balconies with oddly placed furniture, and all rooms are accessed by exterior hallways -- motel style. Standard amenities include flat-screen TVs, down comforters and pillow-top mattresses, free Wi-Fi, coffeemakers, safes, and mini-fridges, but no microwaves. Layouts across all categories are fairly compact, though there is generally a bit of additional seating in addition to the beds. Suites have separate bedrooms. Bathrooms are plain, decked out in tan tiling and granite surfaces. They include stall showers, toiletries, and hairdryers. Previous guests have reported audible traffic noise from the busy surrounding area, particularly in street-side rooms.

Features

Small pool and simple breakfast coffee and muffins, but little else

Features of The Equus hotel are slim, and while the hotel does have a pool, it's not the most enticing we've ever seen. The space receives limited sun during the day and there's not much poolside seating. During our 2017 visit, the hotel did mention making upgrades to its pool, so check ahead. Free coffee and muffins are provided in the mornings, but there's nothing else available for breakfast. The hotel provides free tickets to polo matches during polo season (April to August) and guests receive a 30 percent discount off beachfront trail rides at the Hawaii Polo Club, which is located on the North Shore (about a 45-minute car ride away). There are two iPad stations for guests to use for internet browsing in the lobby, though Wi-Fi is free throughout the hotel. Parking comes with a hefty fee, but there are no resort fees. 

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Things You Should Know About The Equus

Address

1696 Ala Moana Blvd, Honolulu, Hawaii 96815-1460, United States

Phone

(808) 949-0061

Also Known As

  • Equus An Aqua Boutique Hotel
  • The Equus - an Aqua Boutique hotel

Room Types

  • Bamboo Queen Room
  • Classic Double Double Room
  • Classic Executive Room
  • Classic King or Queen Room
  • Equus One Bedroom Suite
  • Polo Ocean View Room
  • Polo Photo Finish Room
  • The Equus One Bedroom Suite
  • Tower City View Room
  • Tower Deluxe Ocean View Room
  • Tower Partial Ocean View Room

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