With so many choices available in Waikiki Beach, how’s a wanderboomer to choose where best to stay? Fortunately, I had the chance to try out the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort and Spa for a couple of days on a recent vacation. Here’s why the resort ranks high on my list for solo and family travelers:
Location, Location, Location
The resort lies at the southernmost end of Kalakaua Avenue, the main road through Waikiki. Kuhio Beach Park is right across the street, for easy beach and ocean access, with Diamond Head and the Honolulu Zoo close by. Even the Waikiki Sand Restoration Project, well underway during this visit, couldn’t diminish the pleasure of having the beach just footsteps away, since most of the beach still remained accessible.
The good news is that the restoration is now complete!
Guests can book a room in one of two towers at the resort: the beautifully renovated oceanfront Kealohilani Tower with its own private balconies or the older Paoakalani Tower. Can you guess which one gets my vote?
Bright, tropical colors and cozy down comforters inside sheeted duvets define the look and feel of rooms in the Kealohilani Tower. Having reading lights mounted into the headboards is a welcome touch, along with outlets and connecting jacks for electronic devices.
Cultural Connections & Activities
So much of why I love to travel is wrapped around learning about and experiencing different cultures. The Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort rests on land that was once the summer palace of Hawaii’s last reigning monarch, Queen Liliuokalani. To honor her legacy, the resort renamed the twin towers, together translated as “heavenly fragrance,” to represent her two homes.
Lucky VIP guests can book the Queen Liliuokalani suite, thoughtfully designed to include her love of flowers and music composition.
In a further nod to the Queen’s musical background, nightly entertainment at the resort presents authentic Hawaiian music. What a treat to sit in the warm open-air of Moana Terrace overlooking Waikiki Beach, listening to music masters George Kuo, Martin Pahinui (slack key guitar) & Aaron Mahi (bass)!
And if watching hula dancers is on your must-do-in-Hawaii list, you’ll be happy to know that performances are presented throughout the day in the resort’s enormous main lobby.
Active wanderboomers can also take advantage of the Surf Package offered by the on-site Pro Surf School Hawaii, owned and operated by professional surfer Kai Sallas. For $244./night, guests can stay in a deluxe room with balcony, and receive a two-hour lesson with professional surfers and a two-day surfboard rental. Classes are offered at all levels in how to surf, stand up paddle and bodyboard.
With 1,310 guest rooms, 5 dining facilities, plus Seattle’s Best Coffee House, two outdoor pools and whirlpool, a free 24-hour state-of-the-art fitness center and a spa salon, is it any wonder that staying at the resort feels like living in a small village? Oh – and don’t forget over 55,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space and a Business Center (if you must work while you’re here), plus a host of places to shop throughout the property, including the always popular ABC Store.
Maybe it’s because the ever-present sun and timeless, natural island beauty bring out the best in people. Whatever the reason, the spirit of warm hospitality runs deep in Hawaii. From the fragrant floral leis presented to visitors at airport arrivals to the heartfelt expression of “Aloha” in greetings and partings, Hawaiian hospitality is legendary. A little bit of kindness extended by chef Chuck and server Janice in the Kuhio Grill, for example, went a long way in making this WanderBoomer a happy camper.
* Special thanks to the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort and Spa for hosting a portion of my stay.
There’s still time to enter our special Travel Writing Contest, Wanderboomers! Win a 5-night stay (and fantastic extras) on Hawaii Island at the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa. For details, click here:
But hurry – entries must be submitted by September 14, 2012 11:59 p.m. PST!