Oyster Hotel Photos
Oyster Hotel Review
A 23-story, 297-room hotel owned by the Halekulani Group that's meant to be the younger, cheaper sidekick to the decadent grande dame across Kalia Road.
With a connection to the ultra-luxe Halekulani across the street, and a Hawaiian outpost of fabulous haute Japanese eatery Nobu in its funky lobby, the Waikiki Parc is one of Waikiki's more intriguing boutique properties. Yet the staff has little attitude, and rates can be very attractive -- not bad for a quiet location across the street from the beach, where semi-stylish rooms are decked out with high-def, flat-screen TVs and MP3 players.
At times the decor seems random, even bizarre, as if the owners imagined that this is how a hip boutique hotel should look. The main entrance leads to a trippy hallway illuminated in shades of blue and green, while the lobby features geometric furniture and icicle-shaped lights. At least the faded wood elevators, room doors, and the white-shutter window blinds evoke a retro, beachy feel (though keycard access for the elevators seems a touch too citified).
The majority of the hotel's guests are Japanese families, with a smattering of American couples and singles and other international travelers, who seem more interested in the convenient location and amenities here than its avant garde touches. For instance, the hotel touts its "urban chic" pool (named "Parc Blue"), a detail lost on the kids doing cannonballs into it.
Some may find rooms to be a bit tired, but overall the hotel is a convenient, quiet, affordable alternative for those aspiring to the much pricier Halekulani, even offering charging privileges there (but forbidding access to its beach and pools). Although this hotel is mellower and perhaps hipper than most in Waikiki's comparably priced Aqua boutique chain, its rooms aren't any nicer -- and at least Aqua has free Internet. But the Waikiki Parc is closer to the beach and great shopping on the Waikiki Beach Walk. It's probably best for those who aspire to $300-a-night rooms yet can't quite afford them, while Aqua is for those who want low rates and don't care who knows it.
Friendly and mostly solid service, with a few glitches
As expected, service isn't nearly as fawning here as at its much higher-priced big sister property Halekulani across the street, but the friendly staff, including an extremely helpful concierge, makes a mostly solid effort, with just a few missteps.
The bell stand is located on the Helumoa Road side of the building, so guests entering on Kalia Road risk losing out on bell services. After checking in three hours early with no problems (thumbs up for that), I received no offer of assistance with bags. At checkout, however, two staffers were more than happy to stow them in the luggage room. The welcome booklet does a nice job listing all of the hotel's services; among them, it touts the availability of items such a "toothbrush kits, sewing kits, and slippers." Around 11 p.m., I called to request toothpaste. "We don't have that here," the person at the front desk said curtly. Even stranger, someone knocked on my door five minutes later and presented me with two toothbrush/toothpaste kits.
- Staffed concierge desk -- the super-friendly concierge spent nearly an hour providing a thorough rundown of Oahu's best attractions.
- Hospitality room in the lobby offers free computers, printers, Wi-Fi, a flat-screen TV, couches, and a coffee and candy stand.
- Guests can rent a flashy Lotus sports car at fairly reasonable rates -- an Elise or the super-high-end XIGE fare both available
- 24-hour room service available -- a rarity in Waikiki
- Daily housekeeping service
- Turndown service is available on request.
- No poolside drink service (only a vending machine)
- Valet or self-parking in the hotel's garage is reasonable
Waikiki Parc has a convenient location that's slightly quieter than at larger resorts fronting the ocean. Beach access is two minutes away via a public path that runs between Halekulani and Outrigger Reef. The shops and restaurants of Waikiki Beachwalk are just around the corner.
Two blocks away is Waikiki's main drag, Kalakaua Avenue, a touristy milelong stretch of shops, restaurants, and high-rise hotels that runs along Oahu's southeast coast. Waikiki 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 "Hawaii 09" 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 20 minutes by foot.
- Honolulu Zoo is 20 minutes by foot.
- Cheap and easy to get around Waikiki via "The Bus"
- Honolulu International Airport is a 20-minute cab ride.
Across the street from the heart of the action on one of the world's most famous beaches
To get to the beach, guests must use the public right-of-way path down the block between the Halekulani and the Outrigger Reef. While Waikiki Parc guests do not have access to Halekulani's beach facilities directly across the street, umbrellas and water-sports equipment are available for rental in the small space between the Halekulani and the Outrigger Reef.
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 Parc is located a few minutes' walk 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.
- Free towels, provided by the hotel
- 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
Lackluster decor, though spacious for rooms this close to the beach
Although standard rooms are of decent size (315 square feet), and feature some cool high-tech amenities and a luxurious, microfiber duvet, the faded green carpet, boring off-white tile floors, and plain white walls are borderline tired. However, ocean view rooms offer stunning views of the water. You can find larger, more modern, standard rooms elsewhere at the same price level, but they wouldn't be as close to the beach. (The Best Western on Ala Wai Canal boasts 400-square-foot standards, for instance, and the Aqua Palm's are 325 square feet). But you'd be hard-pressed to find rooms this close to the ocean in such a prime part of Waikiki for the same price.
Still, you won't necessarily know you're on the ocean if you're in a standard room on the 8th to 10th floors -- generically called "Parc Rooms"; the same inland-facing rooms on floors 11 to 23 are euphemistically called "Mountain View". Both more accurately should be labeled "Garage View." My 10th-floor abode overlooked a parking deck, and the delightful sound of car alarms broke out no less than three times during the stay. A word to the wise: spring for an ocean view room, or request a high floor.
- 32-inch high-def, Sharp Aquos flat-screen TV sits atop a modern dresser with a mini-fridge. (There's no HBO or Showtime, but there are about 70 cable channels -- a bit more than at most Waikiki hotels).
- Stylish platform beds have an ebony headboard topped with a glowing backlight that sets off a baby-blue accent wall, while the sea green rug is bordered on all sides by off-white tile floors.
- Modern desk features an ergonomic chair, teardrop lamp, and plug-in Internet access for $9.95 a day; electronic safe in the closet
- Sony Dream Machine stereo with iPod capabilities emits a glowing blue light that can be annoying unless you drape a magazine over it.
- Smudges on almost all glass surfaces and scattered debris (like a gum wrapper in the mini-fridge) created a motel vibe.
- Bathrooms have rain showerheads and toiletries with floral scents.
- All Parc and Mountain View rooms have small step-out balconies, while ocean view rooms have full balconies with a table and two chairs.
Rooms and Rates
An impressive number of unique features, though a few are disappointing
For a small hotel that's quite literally in the shadow of its grander, much more expensive Halekulani sibling, the Waikiki Parc has an impressive number of unique features. True, the pool isn't that exciting, and the gym is disappointing, but the hotel organizes events to get guests socializing, it's the only place on the island where you can rent a Lotus sports car, and it offers access to the Halekulani's spa.
The rectangular, 8th-floor pool, dubbed with a cooler-than-cool name, ("Parc Blue" ), sets the tone with funky furniture and mellow pop music blaring from Bose speakers. But with lots of little kids splashing about, teenagers doing handstands, and older Japanese couples lounging, it doesn't exactly scream "hip." The pool deck has views of the ocean, the city, and the Sheraton Waikiki next door and offers an abundance of lounge chairs. Even if it's not the most exciting, it's better than some other pools at this price level. The bar area was stocked only with towels during my stay, but it plays host to Friday-night, bi-weekly wine socials.
- Weekly manager's wine and hors d'oeuvres party by the pool, Friday afternoons
- Free continental breakfast
- On-site branch of Nobu
- Hans Hedemann Surf School gives free daily poolside demos at 11:30 a.m, (though guests must schedule a session with the front desk by 11 a.m. or no one shows up); novices can join the noon group session out on the water. Would-be surfers don't receive any discounts, while those at the Park Shore do
- A 24-hour laundry room on the 8th floor has two Matyag washers and two dryers
- The small fitness room, adjacent to the pool, has old Precor treadmills and just a few weight machines and free weights.
- Appointments at the high-end SpaHalekulani across the street can be booked directly from the Waikiki Parc's in-room phones, with services charged to the room.
- "Connect," the business center/hospitality lounge located in the lobby, is lined with comfy couches and offers two PCs, one Mac, a printer (free for small jobs), a large, flat-screen TV, a selecton of reading materials and free Wi-Fi, coffee, and candy.
- Guests can rent a flashy Lotus sports car at fairly reasonable rates -- an Elise or the super-high-end XIGE are available; drivers must leave a $3,000 credit card deposit.
- Valet or self-parking in the hotel's garage costs is reasonable.
The vibe feels grown-up, but it's decent for families.
- Free cribs and rollaway beds (most other hotels charge for rollaways)
- The 315-square-foot rooms are a fairly decent size for this price level.
- The beach is just across the street and around the corner.
- Although the pool is a bit boring, plenty of kids enjoy it; fun pod-like lounge chairs perk things up.
- On-site Nobu, which serves dinner only, isn't geared to kids, but there's a Denny's around the corner and plenty of kid-friendly eats within walking distance.
- Room rates also include a free continental breakfast.
Public spaces are clean, but some rooms feel worn.
Though all public spaces are well kept, rooms could be cleaner. A few of the issues in my standard room:
- A thin film seemed to cover the windows.
- Thumbprints and smudges on the full-length mirror and other glass surfaces
- A hair on the dresser; a gum wrapper in the mini-fridge.
Nobu in the lobby -- at a discount! -- and a free continental breakfast
Though eating options are plentiful for just about any hotel in Waikiki, the Parc might have the best in-hotel dining of any budget boutique on the island, given there's an outpost of the world-famous haute Japanese restaurant Nobu in the lobby. Better yet, Waikiki Parc patrons get a 10 percent discount off dinner, and the front desk can make dinner reservations at check-in. For a full menu, click here.
- 10 percent discount off dining at Nobu
- Free (via coupon presented at check-in) daily breakfast to go (yogurt, muffin, unlimited Kona coffee)
- The breakfast restaurant, Parc a.m. -- set in Nobu's dining room -- offers morning favorites like waffles, French toast, eggs Benedict, and omelets, most packaged with coffee, fresh-squeezed juice, muffins, and fruit and yogurt; patrons receive a 25 percent discount.
- Eating options within a couple of blocks include Denny's around the corner and the highly regarded Hawaiian-fusion restaurant Roy's, a block down Kalia Street.
|Things to Do||
Mini Bar (with liquor)
|Address||2233 Helumoa Road, Honolulu, Hawaii 96815-1962, United States|
|Also Known As||