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The Outrigger at Waikiki

By:
Staff Writer
 

Waikiki has shaken its image as a congested tourist trap with weary hotels inhabited by loud “mainlanders” in Hawaiian shirts sucking on cheap cigars - and the Outrigger Waikiki can claim a major part in the area’s transformation. Now a more sophisticated crowd is heading to the island of Oahu to dig their toes into the sand and learn a little of Hawaii’s rich history at the same time.

Outrigger Waikiki is one of the absolute beach front hotels but there’s more to this stunning property than a refreshing contemporary design and to-die-for views of the world’s most famous beach. It’s led the trend of offering a range of cultural and historical programs for guests who want to learn more about local culture. Workshops cover history, art, music and language and artefacts are on permanent display throughout the hotel.

The Rooms:

As soon as you step into your room, the first thing you do is head straight for the lanai, or balcony, to savour one of the world’s most famous views. Most of the 525 guest rooms have uninterrupted views of the ocean and/or Diamond Head, with the exception of some of the city view rooms. The rooms themselves are tastefully designed with elegant wood furnishings and have all the usual trappings of a top class four star hotel. The one bedroom deluxe oceanfront rooms are the pride and joy of the hotel, and for good reason. In the morning you can sip your coffee and watch the “line up” of surfers, tandem surfers and outrigger canoes on the world’s most famous surf break on one lanai, and in the evening you can move around to the other lanai with a cocktail and watch the sunset over Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head.

Dining:

Duke’s Canoe Club is a Hawaiian institution and not just for the tourists - locals also flock to the Barefoot Bar for the amazing sunsets over Waikiki. During the day you can literally step from the middle of Waikiki Beach into the bar, and there’s usually live music going on during the day which makes for a really fun atmosphere - and the drink prices are okay considering its location. The restaurant itself is also very casual, as you’d expect, and they’re open for breakfast, lunch and dinner - and they’re evening menu is seafood-oriented and gets rave reviews.

The Hula Grill is upstairs from Duke’s and is a more refined version of the famous beach bar and restaurant - no barefoot dining here, but the atmosphere is still very relaxed. The views of the ocean and Diamond Head from here are outstanding, even if you’re seated back from the front of the restaurant, and the decor is reminiscent of a 1930’s plantation style beach home. Breakfast is hugely popular, probably because it’s good and inexpensive with offerings like crab cakes eggs benedict. At dinner, seafood takes centre stage with dishes like macadamia encrusted mahimahi and flame grilled ono.

Other Facilities:

The Waikiki Plantation Spa is a fairly new addition to the Outrigger Waikiki and naturally features a number of Hawaiian-themed treatments including the Lomi Lomi Massage which features a technique used by the ancient Hawaiian healers. And if you’ve taken in too much sun down on the sands of Waikiki, then their mango facial which incorporates plant elastins and Vitamins A, C, E and K from tropical mango extracts is a great way to revitalise the skin around the eyes and neck. Complimentary high-speed internet access is available in all guest rooms, and there’s complimentary wireless access in lobby, meeting rooms, and at the pool. Phone calls to Oahu, neighbouring islands, the US mainland and Canada are also free.

The Verdict:

Very few people leave the Outrigger Waikiki feeling disappointed - this is right in the heart of Waikiki, perched right on its famous sands, and is just steps away from the International Market and the main shopping and dining strip. Because of this, it’s a busy hotel and check-in and check-out can be a little chaotic - although the staff remain calm, composed and courteous. This hotel is a vibrant introduction to Waikiki, and its bars and restaurants are top quality, without the excessive prices of some of the other beach front hotels.

The Hotel:
Outrigger Waikiki, 335 Kalakaua Avenue, Honolulu, Hawaii. Call 0011 1 808 923 0711, or visit www.outriggerwaikikihotel.com.

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