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Looking to make the best choice for your Hawaiian vacation? Explore my in-depth comparison of two iconic resorts: Sheraton Waikiki vs. Moana Surfrider. From stunning beachfront views to luxurious amenities, find out which hotel best suits your dream getaway.
Don’t want to read? Video below 😉
If you want to get into additional details you can read the full review on the Sheraton Waikiki and Moana Surfrider.
Topping my list are the pools. When comparing the pool facilities between these two iconic hotels, it becomes a one-sided competition. The Moana Surfrider, built in a bygone era to cater to different traveler needs, houses a pool that’s considered small by contemporary standards.
The Sheraton Waikiki, however, truly excels in this aspect. Its beachfront family pool sprawls across a significant portion of the hotel’s property, complete with rock formations, hot tubs, slides, a mini waterfall, and an abundance of chairs and cabanas. Despite the pool’s popularity, securing a pool chair at a decent hour is usually feasible if you’re willing to sit a bit away from the pool.
But that’s not all—the Sheraton Waikiki also features one of the best adult infinity pools in Oahu, conveniently situated next to a cocktail bar. If you’d rather not wake early to reserve a chair, consider booking a cabana; demand begins early each day.
Architecture and Design
Secondly, let’s consider architecture and design. For some, including myself, the design and architectural elements significantly contribute to the hotel experience. In this domain, one contender is head and shoulders above the rest.
The Sheraton Waikiki is a wonderfully designed hotel, integrating elements that seamlessly connect the rooms and common areas to the beach. But can it genuinely compete with the “First Lady of Waikiki”?
The Moana Surfrider radiates charm, characterized by intricate details and architectural design elements that make lounging on its rocking chairs an absolute delight. From the grand entrance pillars and the stairway that has welcomed thousands (tens of thousands?) of newlyweds, to the veranda adjacent to the legendary banyan tree, this hotel is a feast for the eyes.
If architectural aesthetics are important to you, book the historic wing. While I recently enjoyed my stay in the tower due to its Instagram-worthy views, the room itself was relatively basic.
Onsite Dining Options
Thirdly, let’s delve into onsite dining options. Granted, Waikiki is brimming with eateries, most within a short stroll. But if you prefer room service or staying on the property, it’s crucial to consider these options.
The Sheraton Waikiki offers two primary dining venues: the Rum Fire for dinner and the Kai Market for breakfast, supplemented by the Edge of Waikiki pool bar near the adult infinity pool.
See the latest reviews of the Sheraton Waikiki on TripAdvisor.
On the other hand, the Moana Surfrider boasts several onsite dining venues, albeit with erratic hours and limited availability. Options include the Beach House (Wednesday-Sunday), Veranda (6:30-11am), and Afternoon Tea (Friday-Sunday).
Given that neither hotel provides in-room dining and the average “American” breakfast costs around $30-$34, I’d strongly advise venturing out for meals.
The fourth point pertains to beachfront access. While there’s a clear winner here, I’d like to dispel the myth that the Sheraton Waikiki lacks beachfront access. In fact, direct beachfront access is available from the family pool deck area, which connects with the Royal Hawaiian’s prime beach frontage in Waikiki.
However, when compared to the Sheraton Waikiki, the Moana Surfrider undoubtedly provides superior beachfront access. If direct access to pristine sand at any time of the day tops your list, the Moana Surfrider is the clear choice.
The fifth point, cost, doesn’t present a clear winner. Hotels in Hawaii are generally quite expensive.
I surveyed rates during peak season (mid-summer), finding the Sheraton Waikiki consistently priced around $346 per night, while the Moana Surfrider ranged from $314 to $384.
Use the booking.com widget below to get current pricing on either hotel.
The Sheraton Waikiki, with its main tower, probably affords the highest likelihood of securing a room with a view. In contrast, the Moana Surfrider offers several different options with its historic wing and tower. Choose the room that best suits your preferences and enjoy your stay.
Lastly, let’s consider crowds. Both these hotels tend to be busy, and the lobby and valet areas can get packed during check-in and check-out times. The Sheraton’s pool is legendary and bustling all day, as is the Moana’s smaller pool, which is popular with children and parents alike.
Both hotels are family-friendly, but if you’re seeking a quieter atmosphere, the Moana Surfrider has a slight edge. However, the Sheraton’s sprawling property does provide a greater sense of space. For moments of tranquility at either hotel, early mornings and late evenings are your best bet.
Those are my six points to consider when choosing between the Sheraton Waikiki Vs. Moana Surfrider.
Have anything to add? Leave it in the comments, and let’s discuss it.