Located steps away from Waikiki Beach, Halepuna Waikiki by Halekulani, entices Oahu visitors who are looking to be in the heart of it all. “The House of Welcoming Waters” is within easy walking distance of the area’s top attractions, but once you arrive you may find it next to impossible to leave.
Opened in October 2019, the AAA Four Diamond® hotel was only open for five months before the COVID-19 pandemic caused the property and a majority of its Waikiki neighbors to shutter. During its temporary closure the Halepuna Waikiki was named the number one hotel in Hawaii by Conde Nast Traveler’s Readers Choice Awards and Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards. The luxury boutique hotel took a conservative approach to reopening, taking time to develop safety standards, before welcoming back guests.
The Halepuna features 284 guest rooms, and four suites. I stayed in a Deluxe Ocean View Room on the 21st floor. Elegantly appointed, but not stuffy or pretentious, the room’s furnishings and décor were contemporary. Its white, grey, and soft blue color palette complimented, but didn’t try to compete with its Waikiki Beach location, which thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows flowed beautifully into the room.
Modern, easy to use, conveniences were easily accessible, without standing out or taking away from the overall relaxing feel of the room. The nightstand between the room’s two double beds had electric outlets and USB ports built in to each side; a touchscreen on the nightstand controlled all of the lights. Window shades also went up or down with the push of a button.
The well-lit bathroom boasted porcelain floors, a marble vanity, and Toto Washlet toilet with a number of bells and whistles. Hot water came fast and furious. Everything in the bathroom and entire guest room, from bath amenities to the tongs for the ice bucket, and the pad of paper and pencil, were wrapped in plastic and marked clean.
From the beach to shopping and sightseeing, I had a list of things I’d planned to do and see while in Waikiki, but my priorities changed after what was originally planned as a short stop on the 8th floor. The infinity edge Vitality Pool makes it feel as though you could swim right into the ocean. With comfy chaise loungers, hot tub, ample shade, and an attentive staff, it offers the relaxing escape many vacationers crave.
The 8th floor is also home to a 24-hour fitness studio and The Gardens. Along with colorful plants, comfy seating and outdoor art, guests are encouraged to kick off their shoes and walk along a reflexology path.
Led by a talented team of bakers, Halpuna’s Halekulani Bakery offers a rainbow of pastries worth getting out of bed early. Favorites like the Salted Caramel Croissant and Three-Cheese Bread sell out more often than not. The lunch menu offers soup, salads and sandwiches that can be taken to go, or enjoyed on the outside patio.
The Halepuna is located directly across from its iconic sister property, Halekulani. The Daniel K. Inouye International Airport is located 11-miles away. For guests who prefer to pack light, the hotel has a coin-operated laundromat. It’s a rarely seen, but always appreciated perk.
Starting rates at the Halepuna Waikiki by Halekulani are $309 for a Standard Waikiki Room. Rates for a Deluxe Ocean View Room from $449. There is no resort fee. You can also compare rates and book through Hotels.com, Expedia or other OTAs. Guests receive complimentary admission to the Honolulu Museum of Art, The Bishop Museum, and the Manoa Heritage Center.
Review and photos by San Francisco Bay Area travel writer and television correspondent Dana Rebmann. Her stay was organized by the Halepuna Waikiki by Halekulani, but as always her thoughts and opinions are her own.