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Hotel Check: Outrigger Waikiki Beach

Honolulu, HI

VERDICT This hotel is in a great position with plenty of island flair at just the right price.

TESTED BY Ramsey Qubein

BEST FOR Sunset views of Waikiki and loads of free activities

DON’T MISS Top entertainers headlining at the Blue Note Hawaii

PRICE Internet rates for a traditional room start at $216

CONTACT Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort Honolulu, 2335 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI, 96815. Phone 1-800-442-7304.

BACKGROUND One of Outrigger’s most well-known properties, this resort commands an exceptional beachfront location and is home to two legendary dining spots, Duke’s and Hula Grill.

WHERE IS IT? All of the best shopping and dining are just outside the door, and the surfing in front of the hotel is among the best in Waikiki.

WHAT’S IT LIKE? Packed with Hawaiian culture and island art, Outrigger provides exceptional sense of place. Public areas display plenty of historic photos and surfing memorabilia. During certain hours of the day, live hula and Hawaiian music performances welcome guests. Cold towels and chilled fruit drinks are part of the check-in experience, too.

ROOMS The hotel acknowledges that not all of its 524 rooms and suites are the most fashionable, but that is changing with ongoing renovations. Guest rooms have pillowtop mattresses, four thick pillows, duvets and excellent air conditioning. All have furnished balconies and wide desks with readily accessible power outlets. Bathrooms have walk-in closets and tropically scented toiletries. Voyager 47 Club rooms enjoy extra perks such as access to a club lounge for breakfast and evening appetizers with free wine and beer. The panoramic terrace overlooking the beach is reason enough to upgrade. As part of the $35 resort fee, all guests receive a beach bag and daily bottled water. Several suites are in the mix, too, and those with full-on oceanfront views are among the best in the hotel.

RESTAURANTS AND BARS The iconic Duke’s Waikiki in the hotel offers prime sunset views along Waikiki Beach, along with its famous Hula Pie (an ice cream pie with more calories than one should eat in a week) and classic Hawaiian cocktails. The restaurant focuses on supporting local organizations and nonprofits including the Girl Scouts of Hawaii and the Hawaii Olympians (especially important given that 2020 is the first time surfing is included as an Olympic sport). With such a great location along Kalakaua Avenue, there is a lot of local traffic, too. Many pop into Sunrise Shack for a sandwich or acai bowl (the owners are legendary local surfers that have conquered waves beyond our imagination) or Pai’s Deli for a great shaved ice. Hula Grill serves three meals a day from a spectacular waterfront terrace.

LEISURE FACILITIES On the top floor, a fitness center comes with great views, but it’s the roster of free guest activities that is truly impressive. Guests can enjoy free lessons from surf pros (as part of the hotel’s Surfers in Residence program), and your room key entitles you to free rides on the Waikiki trolley, access to area art museums, and a schedule of daily activities.

MEETINGS AND FITNESS Facilities Wireless Internet is free although the signal can be spotty in some public areas. Several meeting rooms feature the latest audiovisual equipment plus ample natural light.