There’s a lot to see on Waikiki’s Kalakaua Avenue. Lined with luxury stores, restaurants and big name hotels, standing out here isn’t easy, but the multi-story green exterior wall at the Waikiki Beachcomber by Outrigger caught my eye. As I rode the 75-foot escalator to the lobby, I was excited by what might be waiting when I reached the top, and I was not disappointed.
While the Waikiki Beachcomber isn’t set directly on the beach, it’s clear that Hawaii’s much love surf and sand plays a big role in its design inspiration. The property bills itself as “Hawaii’s first and only craft hotel.” As part of a $35 million makeover in 2019, a number of local artisans contributed their talents to help give the space a colorful splash of modern aloha. It’s fun and makes you want to pull out your phone and take a ton of photos when you arrive in the lobby for check-in.
Keep your phone handy as you make your way to the elevators to head to your room. Stunning, hand-drawn flora murals by local artist Erin Ibarra are located next to the elevator banks on every floor. Strategically placed floor by floor, each flower illustration matches the elevation they naturally grow in Hawaii.
The hotel features 498 rooms spread across 25 floors. I stayed in a Deluxe Ocean View room with two beds on the 20th floor. In every guestroom, the walls behind the headboards are filled with underwater images captured by surf photographer Zak Noyle.
A beachy palette of blues and grays, combined with natural light streaming in from the balcony, to give the room a relaxing, airy feel. In-room technology like flat-screen televisions with the ability to stream from mobile devices, electric outlets and USB ports blend in, but are still easy to access.
The bathroom featured a single sink and large vanity; the shower and toilet were tucked behind a sliding door making it easier for two people to share the space, but still have some privacy.
Traveling with a couple college-age kids in tow, the balcony not only provided a lovely ocean view, but extra space to spread out.
The Waikiki Beachcomber by Outrigger has a small pool and hot tub located on the lobby level, in between Hawaiian Aroma Caffe and Maui Brewing Company. Open from 6am to 10pm, Hawaiian Aroma Caffe serves everything from coffee and tea, to waffles, acai bowls, panini sandwiches, and a full bar. Live music is offered on select nights.
In addition to 36 craft and specialty beers on tap, Maui Brewing Company serves cocktails, pizza, burgers and sandwiches.
About a five-minute walk from famous Waikiki Beach, the beach is a big attraction for many hotel guests. The property is also steps away from the International Market Place and the 80 retailers and restaurants that call it home. Area attractions including Kapi‘olani Regional Park and the Honolulu Zoo are within walking distance as well.
An added perk for those that prefer to travel light, the hotel has a 24-hour, self-service laundry room equipped with clothes washers and dryers operated with the swipe of a credit card or coins.
Rates at the Waikiki Beachcomber by Outrigger start at $195 for a Waikiki View room. Rates for a Deluxe Ocean View room with two beds start at $287. There is also a $30 daily resort fee that covers a list of things including Wi-Fi, souvenir beach bag, disinfecting wipes, and in-room Hawaiian coffee and tea. Valet parking is available in the hotel garage for an additional fee.
Outrigger Hotels and Resorts is participating in the Malama Hawaii campaign. The program, spearheaded by Hawaii Tourism Authority and Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau, provides visitors with an easy way to give back when traveling to Hawaii.
Guest that book Outrigger’s “Malama Hawaii Experience,” can participate in a hands-on, two-hour voluntourism activity at Kualoa Ranch Private Nature Reserve. In addition to learning about Hawaiian culture and conservation, guests receive every third-night free when staying at the Waikiki Beachcomber by Outrigger or Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort.
Review and photos by San Francisco Bay Area travel writer and television correspondent Dana Rebmann. Her stay was organized by the Waikiki Beachcomber by Outrigger, but as always her thoughts and opinions are her own.