When planning a family holiday to Hawaii there are a few things to keep in mind when choosing your hotel: location to the beach and family-friendly facilities. I had both of these in mind when I planned our first stay at the Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach.
The hotel is located right between Waikiki Beach and Kalakaua Avenue, the main street in Waikiki. This gives you the best of both worlds: city and beach. It was great being able to go from elevator right out to the beach for the day. And when we felt like doing a little shopping or dining or just walking around, it was all at the front door, no need to drive anywhere. The taxi ride from the Honolulu airport to the hotel took us about 20 minutes during non-peak hours (longer during rush hour).
All the rooms at the Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach come with either two double beds with a double sleeper sofa or a single king bed and a double sleeper sofa. All rooms are designed to sleep 4 people but if you’re a larger family you can get adjoining rooms. With five in our party (two adults and three kids) we opted for two adjoining rooms. This is a great set-up, especially if you’re staying for an extended period of time (we were staying for 10-days).
With adjoining rooms we could enjoy a spacious king sized bed while the kids enjoyed their own room with the two doubles. The two rooms were joined by a door near the entrance of the room which really gave a nice separation feel (versus the room door being located in the middle of the room). Two rooms mean double the space, double the bathrooms (important in the morning or during evening bath time) and double the TVs (kids could watch NickJr while we watched something a little more serious). It was really nice having all the extra space.
The beds were very comfortable. The bathrooms had the toilet and shower/tub separate from the vanity which was nice for privacy. I also loved that the room had a mini fridge, great for storing water and other drinks we bought at the store.
A must have feature for me is Internet access in the room. The Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach not only had wifi in the room but throughout the hotel. And it’s FREE!. I used this feature often.
There are 4 room views you can book: city view, partial ocean view, ocean view and ocean front. This hotel map gives you an idea of where the rooms appear within the hotel and the cost difference. We had a partial ocean view which was just fine for us. I like being able to see the ocean from my room not so much for the view (which is nice) but more to gauge the weather and water and beach. You can see if the water looks rough or the beach really busy and plan your day before leaving the room. The balconies were small but still nice enough to step out for the view, maybe even have one person sit out for a bit.
You can see all the room types on their site.
When traveling with kids, especially young kids, having restaurants on site is a big benefit. Spending a full day on the beach or visiting local sites can wear younger family members out which can mean crankiness or out-right sleeping at the table. The ability for one parent to excuse themselves to take the tired child upstairs is much easier when the restaurant is located in your hotel.
The Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach has three on-site restaurants: Hula Grill, Duke’s Waikiki and Chuck’s Steakhouse. All three are casual dining but with high quality food. You will also find kid’s menus and booster or high chairs if required. Our family had the chance to enjoy dining at all three of the restaurants at Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach.
For coffee lovers, there is also a Seattle’s Best coffee shop in the lobby area and it’s open early. But if you walk down the street you are bound to find other local or mainstream coffee shops.
Waikiki Plantation Spa
If you’re looking for a soothing mind and body experience you can visit the Waikiki Plantation Spa, located in the penthouse of the Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach. Body treatments, massage, hand and feet, visit their site to discover all the treatments you can experience.
Beach and Pool
One of the best features at the Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach is the easy access to Waikiki Beach. No worries about walking the streets to get the beach, from your room down the elevator to the beach lower lobby; it’s that easy. Having the beach so close is a huge benefit with kids; they may have lots of energy in the morning but after spending the morning romping in the ocean and sand they’re bound to be tired and not that co-operative walking a long way to your hotel. Having the beach so close also meant we spent more time on it.
Waikiki beach outside of the Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach has nice sand for playing and sandcastle building as well as a sandy beach bottom in the ocean for little toes. The beach is pretty shallow for quiet a ways out as well though the waves can cause the water to rise and fall. My non-swimmers loved hanging out near the shore, splashing in the waves. My 8-year old and I tried our hand at some boogie boarding. Surfing lessons and board rentals were available on the beach though we didn’t try it out.
If you don’t like waves, there is a small salt water pool available near the ocean. The shallow area was close to 4 feet so little ones won’t be able to wade in. Most days the pool wasn’t that busy, the longe chairs were full but the pool usually empty. There is also a whirlpool outside near the pool area.
You may be visiting the Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach for a family vacation but that doesn’t mean it can’t be a honeymoon experience for you. Couples staying at the Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach can participate in the Hawaiian Wedding Vow Renewal Ceremony. What a perfect addition to your visit to Hawaii, professing your love to each other again at sunrise on the Waikiki beach and you receive a certificate commemorating the ceremony. We didn’t have a chance to experience this but knowing about it now it will be on my list for our next visit.
Hawaii has such a unique culture to it, when visiting we wanted to experience some of it. The Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach offers it’s guests a number of cultural activities for free right on site at the hotel. You can make a flower lei, learn to hula or play a ukelele. There are different lessons offered everyday. You can see their schedule online plus they post it outside of the elevator so you can plan your day. My kids tried their hands at a few of these activities and loved them.
Sight Seeing and Tours
Our trip sort of fell together last minute, which meant we didn’t plan much beyond where we were staying. The Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach had an onsite tour desk, Outrigger Activities, that helped us with a few ideas. I wanted to visit an active volcano but it’s not recommend for young kids and their developing respiratory systems. We did make arrangements to visit Pearl Harbor. There were all sorts of tour activities you could book and if you didn’t have a car (like us), the folks at Outrigger Activities could also make travel arrangements for you if you tour started at a different location. Hopefully next time I’ll be able to visit the volcanos.
Service and Staff
Although often overlooked when choosing a vacation destination, the staff is the face of the hotel. The food can taste great and the bed can be comfortable but if the person serving you is rude or unpleasant or seems disinterested, it can ruin your whole vacationing experience. Everyone who worked at the Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach seemed to love what they were doing and that came out every time we encountered the staff, from the front desk and wait staff to the cleaners and maintenance crew.
For a first time experience visiting Hawaii, we couldn’t have chosen better than the Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach for our family hotel. Amazing location, fabulous facilities for a family and superb service, made this vacation one of our best so far. We look forward to visiting the Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach again.