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I have had the ‘Alohilani Resort on my list for quite some time now and making this visit happen was a delight.
As I child and young adult, I visited this hotel countless times (it was the Pacific Beach Hotel back then) for special dinners and to see the giant aquarium. Until this point, I never had the opportunity to actually stay here.
If you happen to be nearby, swing into the lobby for a peek and you will see why. A unique oasis in the middle of Waikiki, especially with a signature guava mai tai in your hands.
Without a doubt, the ‘Alohilani has one of the most unique features of any hotel in Waikiki putting it on par with the pink facade of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel.
A two-story, 280,000-gallon oceanarium
It is literally a Waikiki attraction in itself and if you happen to be in the area put it on your list. Daily feedings are at 10:30 am and 2:30 pm and the best part of all is it’s free. Yep, just walk into the lobby and you will see it right off to the left, enjoy.
You can book the ‘Alohilani direct or if you are a member of the Preferred Hotels and Resorts loyalty program book via their portal. I recommend that you book via A Preferred Partner agency that will get you VIP perks like free breakfast for 2, a $100 property credit, and priority on upgrades when available. Finally, always check reviews, like the one you are reading, and others on Tripadvisor to see the latest scoops.
There are two towers at the ‘Alohilani and I was booked for the one nearest the mountain, I was bummed not to be nearer the ocean until I saw the view from my room, even in the early morning hours it was impressive.
Just myself but a double queen never bothered me like it does some other travelers, I have bigger fish to fry. Clean, comfortable, and perfect for enjoying the nespresso machine while looking out onto Diamond Head.
A basic bathroom that was spotless along with good water pressure, very important after a day in the sand, trust me. The door cleared the toilet by about .5mm which I found funny because my stay at the Ritz-Carlton Washington D.C. was similar, go figure.
When booking your room at ‘Alohilani consider getting one that gets you access to the Longboard Club. The website says continental breakfast but take a look at the photos below, what do you think? A full spread down the center buffet section really made this a full breakfast in my opinion.
Come back in the evening because the wine and beer station was ready to go and although I didn’t get to see it the website says a pasta station also runs. Keep the club access room in mind when booking, it may be a less expensive option than eating out each day.
Dining at ‘Alohilani Resort
Momosan Ramen Waikiki
If you are staying at the ‘Alohilani Resort (or just nearby) you may be tempted to visit the McDonald’s next door, walk the extra 10 feet, and thank me later.
One nice thing about the restaurant is it’s linked in with the ‘Alohilani system and you can charge back to your room, very convenient.
The coffee was good but I was really there to try the Wagyu beef loco moco. I normally get mine with scrambled eggs but the waiter did not ask and I was so focused on our discussion on gravy that I forgot to ask as well. I will prevail.
It was delicious! When I do an article on the best loco moco in Waikiki this will make the list for sure.
The meat patty was very “light”, not the heavy ground beef patty I am used to when eating a loco moco. Wagyu beef is fatty and you could see the oils sitting on top of the gravy when it first came out. Stir into the rice and you are good to go.
Let me mention the rice, it was steamed perfectly and had a bit of a rounder shape to it vs the usual long-grain rice shape. You would expect from a place named Momosan that the rice would be good and they did not disappoint.
A hip cool staff with a smile and spring in their step is always good to see in the restaurant industry. I will be back and will bring friends, highly recommend this place.
I enjoyed the Saturday breakfast buffet here and it happened to be during a live broadcast of the KSSK morning show. Fun local chaos with an energized atmosphere.
My server Cole helped me with re-booking my time from the day before and was also there during the buffet and provided great service. The owner (I think) is loud and fun, chased me down after I left to make sure I got some chocolates, lol, love it.
Stand-out options at the buffet.
Bacon – The bacon, wow, this stuff was good, like crack candy bacon good. Grab a piece and nibble on it while you check out the rest of the buffet, no one will fault once they try it.
Guava Danish – Grab the guava danish from the center section, these are light and flaky and the guava filling was very flavorful.
Pasta Salad – I don’t normally grab pasta salad for breakfast but I wanted to try a little of everything. I was pleasantly surprised at how light the seasoning was and the crispy, crunchy, vegetables were perfect.
Yogurt & Fruit – The yogurt seemed to be vanilla flavored, can’t remember exactly, but it was nice and cold. Load up on the strawberries and blueberries and enjoy.
Bulk-prepared scrambled eggs can be tough to maintain but I thought they did a good job in a busy situation. The potatoes were also crispy on the outside and cooked well on the inside.
The fried rice, one of my buffet favorites, was also quite good but not as good as the Marriott Waikiki Beach Hotel’s Kuhio Beach Grill restaurant. It was quite good though and loaded with sausage bits, almost a meal in itself.
I would pass on the cinnamon roll and mini pancakes, on the dry side and more of a novelty than anything else.
Finally, the omelet station was friendly and quick. I like the options they had available but nothing unique or special. I picked my options like usual and noticed he added salt to the omelet without consulting with me first, not ideal.
Morimoto Asia Waikiki
I really enjoyed my dining experience here on a busy Friday night and would recommend this restaurant to anyone, local and visitor alike.
Asking if they had a signature drink the smoked old fashion immediately came up. I was able to get it on film so check out the Youtube video if you can, it should be at the top of the Dining section in this article (if it’s not up I’m still editing). The torching of the chicory root was fun and a great way to start the night.
Very smoky, obviously, and it had a cold crisp bite, a very nice drink even for the under-50 crowd. Made with Elijah small batch bourbon, carpano Antica vermouth, luxardo liquor, and angostura.
The appetizer I got was the recommended sticky ribs, a pork spare rib with hoisin sweet chili, cilantro, and chive. It was fall off the bone tender, I don’t know how this stayed in one shape.
After eating just one I felt like all the sauce was a bit much and overpowered the rib itself. The sticky ribs and a bowl of fried rice would be a fully satisfying meal.
My main entree was the 1/2 duck and while the presentation was nice I wasn’t impressed. Flavor and temperature were lacking and the flour tortilla was not a good combo. Why redirect away from the traditional bao bun you get at Chinese restaurants? If you have had this dish do you prefer the flour tortilla, let me know in the comments.
As a side, I ordered Chinese vegetables with tofu, delicious, the vegetables were crispy and seasoned perfectly. Next time I may try this with the whole steamed fish which I was also considering.
The ambiance and service were excellent, you can’t beat this view while having a meal in Waikiki.
Swell Restaurant & Pool Bar
If you have read my other reviews you know I always try the Mai Tai at each hotel I visit, I hope to have the best Mai Tai list for Waikiki up soon. Until then I will toil onward.
This Mai Tai is one of the best I have had in Waikiki.
Comparable with the White Sands Hotel Mai Tai? I will have to try it again to make sure 🙂
Made with Bacardi gran reserva light and Mahina dark rum, Pierre Ferrand dry curaçao, Disarinno amaretto, pineapple juice, guava, and fresh lime. Great flavor, and is well balanced, one of the best I have had. You can taste the lime, and the hint of guava is very nice. Goes down very easily.
I was recommended the Aloha Aina Vegan Bowl with Ahi Poke and boy was I impressed. Mind you this is the pool bar and restaurant so when you see something this beautiful, and tasty, come out to your table don’t be surprised.
Made with organic mixed greens, Okinawan potato, sea asparagus, cucumber, roasted beet, sweet onion, avocado, edamame, sensei farm greens, kukui nut, and ginger dressing.
The presentation was 10/10, absolutely beautiful!
The Okinawan potato was perfect in the salad along with the edamame and avocado. I think next time I will hold off on the poke as it had its own seasoning, was healthy and tasty, and can’t go wrong. The sweet and purple onion was also a nice touch with a bit of “heat”.
Would recommend and order again.
Double Fat Ice Cream
You have to go around the corner and down a side street for this sugar haven. Pass the brand name ice cream store and don’t collect two scoops. Double Fat is up a ramp and serves up some tasty ice cream, real whip cream from a pastry chef bag and you are good to go. I got strawberry ice cream with strawberries and whip cream. Light, flavorful, and delicious.
The O Bar is a popular spot right near the oceanarium and also doubles as the Kai Coffee in the morning, very popular so get there early or head out onto Kalakaua Ave. and find one of the dozens of other coffee shops.
Take note that the O Bar is going to be phased out and a new restaurant is going to take its place, should be exciting to see and hopefully I can update you when it’s ready to go.
The time I spent at the hotel was crazy windy and I did not see anyone in the infinity pool but look at that view!
Even in the late evening, this would clearly be a spot to hang out, especially with the bar so close. This definitely beats the adult pool over at the Waikiki Beach Marriott on the views alone but Sheraton Waikiki still takes the top spot for its oceanfront infinity pool.
However, the “nightclub” vibe with the live DJ and projection on the side of the tower makes this the best pool party deck I have seen yet. Sheraton has the Rumfire lounge and the scene is indeed very cool, I thought this was a bit better, even without the beachfront. Have you partied here? thoughts?
This is one of the few self-parking locations in Waikiki that doesn’t feel like you are squeezing into a sardine can. Lots of room on the road and easy access just past the main entrance.
I did valet my car and had mixed results, friendly on drop off but picking up the car was a letdown. A “here you go” and leave is sub-par.
Valet $55 (1st night at $48, part of Resort Amenity Fee benefits)
Good news on parking in Waikiki (rare!) to eat at Morimoto Asia or Momosan: Complimentary 3 hours valet or self-parking is available
SWELL or O Bar: Complimentary 3 hours of self-parking or $12 for 3 hours of valet parking for guests who have spent $30 or more at the restaurant.
Make sure you get validated and hold on to your receipt.
I am racking my brain trying to think of another hotel in Waikiki that has a tennis court on the property, if you know of one leave me a comment.
The ‘Alohilani Resort does have a tennis court on the 9th floor and I had to go up and see it to believe it. It really exists. At first, I noticed a lot of locals showing up to hit and what looked like a regular class so I checked with the front desk. Sure enough, the courts are open to guests, very nice.
I took a peek into the fitness center area and it looked clean and had a wide assortment of equipment, but I didn’t get to use any of them, shucks. Right across is another fitness room with balance balls and an open floor space for yoga or other activities.
I am so glad I was able to visit the ‘Alohilani and try all of their amazing restaurants. The staff, location, amenities, and overall vibe really reflected Aloha and what we all look for in a vacation spot. I would recommend this hotel to friends and family anytime. If you have stayed here let me know your thoughts in the comments below.