Review: Hyatt Regency Waikiki, Amazing With An Achilles Heel

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Hyatt Regency Waikiki from the beach

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A wonderful stay, the staff was excellent and the location was perfect, but I don’t think I will stay at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki again until they make one important change.

Inside waterfall at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki

When I do my reviews I make every effort to look at the entire experience and not let a singular event outweigh everything else. A broken toilet or a rude employee is to be noted but I also consider the other employees I engaged with and how the broken toilet situation is dealt with.

In the case of the Hyatt Regency Waikiki, I encountered a situation that happened multiple times, each day.

Employees at an on-site tenant, Adore Cosmetics, treated my wife and me (along with other guests that I observed first hand) in a rude and aggressive manner each time we passed by the store.

To insure it wasn’t just me or those I saw, I also looked online and found a dismal 2-star review on Yelp, several mentioned the same experience.

I was shocked that Hyatt allows this on their property.

Ignoring me on each pass and advancing straight towards my wife on the way out of the hotel and on the way in was just flat-out irritating. I have encountered these types of aggressive sales tactics in malls before, but the Hyatt Regency while on vacation?

This is an absolute no go for me.

Quite a shame when the hotel staff was just amazing with smiles from everyone we encountered. Take heed management.

Unique Features

Putting the above aside, let’s look at the rest of the property and my experience there.

The center atrium in this twin-tower resort is simply breathtaking.

The large waterfall cascades down in a curtain of shimmering water and sets a relaxing tone for everyone in the area. Visible from the check-in lobby and when walking from one tower to the next you can’t escape the wonderful sound it creates.

Waterfall at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki

If you happen to be there on a clear day like I was don’t miss the photo opportunity from the back side of the waterfall, as well as the top area.

Booking and Check-In

I booked this hotel via the AMEX FHR portal a few months prior to the stay and had a nice smooth check-in. I was able to check in early and had the early check-in fee waived for being a Hyatt Loyalty member.

The front desk agent was quick, efficient, and knew her stuff quite well, always a nice start.

Room

I got lucky with a high floor and an amazing view from room 3804. The colors of the ocean were just amazing.

Review: Hyatt Regency Waikiki, Amazing With An Achilles Heel

The room was large and I really liked the open layout along with the positioning of the desk along the far wall. I thought the open closet was also nice even though I initially thought it odd.

We usually travel with people we know so why have a closed closet right?

The view was amazing and this wasn’t even an oceanfront room. I could see the Moana Surfrider below us along with the Sheraton Waikiki, Princess Kaiulani, and the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, all amazing hotels on Oahu.

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Even at night, it was a breathtaking view to enjoy with lights visible all the way down Kalakaua Ave.

Review: Hyatt Regency Waikiki, Amazing With An Achilles Heel

I had two queen beds that unfortunately were not comfortable at all, hard and lumpy my arm would fall asleep if I was on that side. What’s up with that!? I have slept on dozens of hotel beds here in Hawaii and these are officially the worst.

Review: Hyatt Regency Waikiki, Amazing With An Achilles Heel

The room design was really well done and I liked the flow from the main room into the bathroom area along with the long desk along the wall where the tv and additional items were located.

It felt “extra” large and spacious when laying in bed and the floor space was great for luggage or towels without crowding the rest of the room.

Bathroom

A nice open layout that wasn’t very private when using the sink but I liked it nonetheless. The bath products were excellent and the towels all seemed to be extra fluffy, something I look for at hotels.

The water pressure in the shower was very light so if that is important to you consider it early on. I was on the 38th floor (40 max) so I am sure that adds to the challenge, even so, it should be a bit stronger.

Hyatt Regency Waikiki Dining

In addition to the restaurants below, there are several spots to grab snacks and drinks in the Pualeilani Atrium Shops. All are located within the two towers and believe it or not, an ABC store on both levels.

SHOR Restaurant

I made reservations here for dinner at 5:30 pm when they opened. I was celebrating a special occasion with some family and convinced them to let me take pictures of all their dishes.

Review: Hyatt Regency Waikiki, Amazing With An Achilles Heel

At check-in they notified me that not only was there a prix fix menu available but it was discounted by $20 per person if you ordered between 5:30 and 6:00 pm, my lucky day.

The cocktails we got all looked great and fit the Waikiki holiday brand on point but I was not impressed with the margarita or any other drink for that matter. Fun and instagram-able for sure.

Review: Hyatt Regency Waikiki, Amazing With An Achilles Heel

I ordered two dishes for appetizers coconut shrimp and tofu lettuce wrap, both were delicious. The lettuce wrap was nice and cold with a tofu filling that was unexpectedly tasty.

The coconut shrimp was also fried perfectly, not to oily, and came with a spicy mayonnaise sauce.

We had an assortment at dinner with 3 ordering the prix fix and choosing the prime rib option, while 2 others ordered the lobster fried rice and pancetta & kim chee bucatini

The prime rib was done medium and all remarked that it was delicious. Paired with mashed potatoes, Au jus, asparagus, and mushrooms all 3 who ordered this dish love it.

Review: Hyatt Regency Waikiki, Amazing With An Achilles Heel

My dish was the lobster fried rice and it was quite large, loaded with lobster and vegetables it could have easily fed two people. I imagined it would make a great breakfast option with a fried egg on top.

Review: Hyatt Regency Waikiki, Amazing With An Achilles Heel

The pancetta & kim chee buccatini was labeled the “cousin to carbonara” by all who tasted it. A nice heat to the sauce and filling.

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Review: Hyatt Regency Waikiki, Amazing With An Achilles Heel

Hours

Breakfast 6:00 AM – 11:00 AM

Dinner 5:30 PM – 9:30 PM

Prix Fixe Happy Hour 5:30 PM – 6:00 PM

Late Encore Menu 8:30 PM – 9:00 PM

Live Music Friday-Sunday 5:30 PM – 8:30 PM

SWIM

I am beginning to find that these “Pool Restaurants” are actually some of the best places to eat at some hotels and the SWIM was no exception. Nestled right next to the pool on the 3rd floor of the hotel you can sit inside or out and they had a nice bar area with a TV.

Review: Hyatt Regency Waikiki, Amazing With An Achilles Heel

I ordered a couple of cocktails right off the bat and of course I had to try the Mai Tai. This one was delicious, with lots of fruit juice, a little on the light side but it was nice and cold.

Review: Hyatt Regency Waikiki, Amazing With An Achilles Heel

My first time trying a watermelon Mojito, it was also a bit “light” but the refreshing watermelon flavor was a hit.

Review: Hyatt Regency Waikiki, Amazing With An Achilles Heel

Knowing I would be doing a lot of eating the next couple of days I opted for the ‘Aina salad bowl which had Waipoli field greens, cherry tomatoes, avocado, cucumber, pickled Maui onion, and sesame ginger vinaigrette.

It was tasty and fresh but the salad I had at the Swell pool bar, ‘Alohilani Resort, still can’t be beaten.

Review: Hyatt Regency Waikiki, Amazing With An Achilles Heel

The poke bowl came with fresh yellowfin tuna, Maui onion, tamari shoyu, sesame oil, green onion, and steamed rice. The shoyu sauce and onions were perfectly paired, on par with the one I had at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel.

Poke bowl at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki

If you haven’t tried Kalbi ribs then I encourage you to give this one a try. The grilled Kalbi steak (Korean style short ribs), came with scallions, mac salad, and steamed rice. The kim chee and furukaki rice were excellent.

Kalbi bowl at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki

In addition to the salty Kalbi ribs above nothing is better on a hot day after the beach or pool than some salty fries. The Beach burger is a grass-fed patty with a brioche bun. The thick patty and crispy fries were cooked perfectly.

beach burger at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki

Open from 11:00 AM – 10:00 PM, dining 11:30 AM – 9:30 PM

Happy Hour 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM

Live Music Daily 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM (Fridays 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM)”

Kirin Restaurant

I didn’t eat here this go round but I was lucky enough to enjoy a great meal a few months back. See my full review and thoughts on a fun night at Kirin Restaurant in Waikiki.

The entrance is located on the first floor of the Ewa tower and is open daily for lunch from 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM and dinner from 5:00 PM – 10:00 PM. 

Review: Hyatt Regency Waikiki, Amazing With An Achilles Heel

Regency Club

If you book a club-level room you will have access to the Regency Club lounge with includes daily continental breakfast, refreshments, evening hor d’oeuvres, and wine or beverages.

Maybe next time for me as I didn’t have access this time around.

Spa

I didn’t get a chance to visit the Nā Ho’ōla Spa but it is open daily (9am-5pm) and judging from the photos on the website it looks to have some amazing views.

Resort Fees

The resort fee charge on my bill was $49.55, (the website says $42), hmmm. I think most of the resort fees in Waikiki are just an easy money grab but some hotels seem to offer some unique items.

Here is what the resort fee includes at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki according to the website.

  • Premium WiFi in guestrooms and public areas
  • Two re-usable souvenir Hyatt water bottles (with water stations located on each floor)
  • One re-usable Hyatt Regency Waikiki tote bag
  • Biki Bike bicycle ride sharing service ($4 per person credit, two people maximum, one-time credit)
  • Delicious frozen treats provided poolside
  • Discounted surfing lessons and rental of beach equipment from Billabong
  • Resort interactive cultural activities (lei making, hula lessons, ukelele lessons)
  • Stayfit Gym access
  • GO Pro usage
  • Use of beach amenities and chairs
  • Use of beach toys for children
  • Chromecast service for in-room television viewing
  • House slippers and personal amenity items pre-set in guest room
  • In-room coffee and tea
  • Long distance and international calls – up to 60 minutes per day
  • Unlimited local and 1-800 telephone calls
  • Yoga classes
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I thought the reusable water bottles and tote bag were great but including in-room coffee and tea with the resort fee, was a bit much. What are your thoughts on resort fees?

Parking

The valet area is a bit discombobulated but it somehow manages to work itself out. Great staff who clearly know what they are doing, fast and friendly.

If you are only staying a few nights get the valet parking as this area can be congested and tight during peak periods.

Valet Parking – Per night, plus tax, $60

Self Parking – Per night, plus tax, $50 

Pool

The pool and hot tub were perfectly situated on an oceanfront deck that was also near the SWIM restaurant and bar. Like most pools in Waikiki, this one was on the small side and really just for cooling off or hanging out with a cocktail.

Review: Hyatt Regency Waikiki, Amazing With An Achilles Heel

If a large pool is important to you then the Sheraton Waikiki and Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort are better options.

Busy at both the pool and jacuzzi but not completely full, I saw lounge chairs open around noon when usually the pool situation is dire. Great views of the Duke Kahanamoku statue and Waikiki beach right over the wall.

Daybed

  • Shaded cushioned daybed for up to 2 people from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
  • Complimentary water and a box of Hawaiian Host Milk Chocolate Covered Macadamias

MAX GUESTS 2 PRICE $60

Cabana

  • Premium shaded cabana with lounge seating from 9 am – 5 pm
  • Complimentary water and a box of Hawaiian Host Milk Chocolate Covered Macadamias

MAX GUESTS 3 PRICE $160

Fitness Center

A clean and spacious fitness center at the Hyatt Regency is just what you would expect as a part of their Stay Fit program. In the room, there was also a map of a running route that took you up and around Diamond Head.

This center was never busy and the most I saw were about 5-6 people using equipment at one time.

Final Thoughts

The location is A+ for Waikiki. Being right across the beach and near so many excellent places to eat is just ideal for any stay in Waikiki. The 3rd floor pool deck makes for some amazing views of Diamond Head and the ocean, any time of day.

Every staff member I engaged with from the valet, front desk agents, housekeeping, and the maintenance guy were all quick with a smile and helpful.

Until they remove the aggressive salespeople from the bottom of the Ewa escalator I just can’t recommend this hotel.

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