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The question of Sheraton Waikiki vs. Royal Hawaiian Hotel comes up in just about every travel group I am in.
Like most things in life, the answer is “it depends” and can only be answered when we know what is important to you, the visitor. Here are 5 things to consider that will help you make the best decision when comparing the Sheraton Waikiki vs. Royal Hawaiian Hotel.
The best family pool in Waikiki and all of Oahu is at the Sheraton Waikiki. I said it and I will defend it until something new comes along. With 2 hot tubs, 2 slides, a wading area, rock formations, and direct Pacific Ocean views it just doesn’t get any better.
Lots of chairs and a decent selection of cabanas also help make the Sheraton Waikiki a great place for the day. My review of the Sheraton Waikiki points out lots of other details but the family pool is definitely a standout.
The Royal Hawaiian has a small pool tucked away on the far side of the hotel and it accommodates about 30 or so beach chairs. I did see some kids there during my recent review of the Royal Hawaiian but other than that it was mostly adults in the 40+ yr. category.
Honestly, I think the Royal Hawaiian keeps their pool small to discourage a younger and more boisterous crowd from jumping in. If you are staying at the Royal Hawaiian you have full access to the family pool at the Sheraton Waikiki and can also reserve cabanas there.
You do not have access to the adult infinity pool at the Sheraton Waikiki however, you need to be a guest there to use it.
The adult infinity pool at the Sheraton Waikiki is also the best available on the island of Oahu. There are several other hotels with infinity pools like the ‘Alohilani but none with the views that the Sheraton boasts.
So if pools are important for you then the Sheraton Waikiki is the place to be, just remember you can use the family pool if staying at the Royal Hawaiian.
Without a doubt the Royal Hawaiian has the best beachfront access between the two hotels, the entire frontage is direct beach access.
However, the Sheraton Waikiki is right next door and has easy access to the exact same area as the Royal Hawaiian, yes you literally walk out onto the same sand.
I don’t know why this has become such an important difference between the two hotels, it seems to me that it is just a technical difference more than anything else.
Enjoy the beach no matter which one you choose.
The design, architecture, and history of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel is hands down one of the best on the island and arguably in the state.
Like most historical buildings, of which the Royal Hawaiian is one, there are details throughout the hotel that really speak to the craftsmanship and design elements rarely found in newly built hotels.
If the history of this building is important to you then I encourage you to take the stairwell down a flight, just to the left of the check-in lobby. You will find the walls covered with photos from a bygone era, a trip into the past really.
Now the Sheraton Waikiki is also designed exceptionally well from the standpoint of maximizing ocean views from the largest number of rooms possible. Ocean views, Diamon Head views, and sunset views can be found in the majority of the rooms.
Pair this design with the world-class pools and expansive lobby and it is clear the entire property was well thought out.
The Sheraton Waikiki caters to families and the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, not so much, which one do you think will be less crowded?
Both hotels are busy, year-round, and once you exit onto Waikiki beach you will really feel the crowds, especially during the busy times of the year.
Walking the lobby and halls of the Royal Hawaiian is relaxing, open, and much quieter than the Sheraton Waikiki. Consider this when choosing one or the other.
The Sheraton Waikiki is filled with families enjoying themselves and excited kids dashing around, a wonderful thing to see and the energy is contagious.
Both of those hotels share a parking structure so those prices are usually identical along with the resort fee. Remember you can use, and charge back to your room, just about anything from either hotel.
Looking at a period of 7 months using Google Flights and taking some averages is seems that the Sheraton Waikiki will run about $45-75 less, even during the holiday season.
Take some time to consider these 5 things when comparing the Sheraton Waikiki vs Royal Hawaiian Hotel and you should be in good shape. At the end of the day, both are world-class hotels and you will enjoy yourself no matter which one you decide on.
Let me know in the comments if you have stayed at one or the other, or both!