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Of all the places we have ever been, my favorite destination is still Hawaii, so when I recently had the chance to head there, even for just a night, I was all-in. This particular night was spent in Waikiki, which may not be my #1 spot in all of Hawaii, but I found plenty of great things to do and eat in the Waikiki area during my 24 hours in paradise.
One of the harder decisions for this one night trip was actually figuring out where to stay. My favorite Waikiki hotel thus far has been the Westin Moana Surfrider as it is simply grand, historic, majestic, and truly oceanfront. However, it is also 20,000 – 25,000 SPG points per night and paid rates were higher than I wanted to spend on this solo trip, so it was off the list this time around.
The multiple Hyatt properties in the area were a better value on points or dollars than the Moana Surfrider, so I decided to choose between the Hyatt Place Waikiki that is the cheapest on points at 12,000 points per night, the Hyatt Centric Waikiki Beach that was the cheapest on dollars, or the Hyatt Regency Waikiki that was just a few more dollars than the Centric but a bit more of a full-service property with a Regency Club and true ocean views. The Centric and Regency were both 20,000 points per night, so I instead opted to pay about $200 all-in to enjoy and review the Hyatt Regency Waikiki for the first time.
Location of the Hyatt Regency Waikiki
The massive two-tower Hyatt Regency Waikiki is very close to the ocean, but it is technically across the street, so you can’t just walk off from the property to the sand without first crossing the road. This does make for some great views of the water from the property, but it can add a tiny bit of complexity to getting the family to the water and back.
In terms of proximity to the airport, I took an UberX ride back to the airport that cost about $26 and took about 25 – 30 minutes. From the airport I took a regular old taxi that cost a bit more and took a bit longer due to traffic at that late-afternoon time.
Rooms at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki
Thanks to my Globalist status with Hyatt I was upgraded to a room with a jawdropping view of the ocean. There were no complimentary suite upgrades to be had here, and based on a conversation I overheard at check-in, that is often the case. If you want a suite at a popular resort property such as this one, be sure to confirm it in advance with whatever means are necessary as freebies may be few and far between. For my solo travel purposes, a room with a view was perfect.
There are over 1,200 newly renovated rooms at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki, and I was in room 2563 with a comfortable king bed, a daybed, patio, great blackout curtains, and a five star view. While many of the public areas in some of the Hyatt resort properties in Hawaii feel a little bit 70’s style and dated (in a truly charming way), the room itself was modern with a calming color palette and lots of plugs and outlets.
Seriously, the view from the patio was pretty fantastic. I was upgraded into that view, but if you are taking a special trip to Hawaii, I can see the view being worth a little extra.
After a whole lot of travel starting pre-dawn in Houston, then on to the final United 747 flight from San Francisco to Honolulu, and eventually to this hotel, I slept like an exhausted baby by the time night came. Of course, given the five hour difference from my normal Central timezone, I was still up well before the sun the next morning, but I see that as an advantage in Hawaii and certainly not the fault of the room. That said, if I were to nitpick one thing about the room it would be that I could very clearly hear everything happening in the hall, especially when doors near mine were opening and shutting in the middle of the night. I was too tired to really care, but it was noticeable.
The bathroom in my room at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki had a vanity area with one sink and then the actual separate bathroom with the toilet and tub. I know that showers may be more popular with the adult crew, but as a traveling mom, I was happy to see that there was a tub to bathe sandy children fresh off the beach. Not pictured is a fancy Toto toilet.
The Pool at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki
Of the Hyatts in the Waikiki area, my understanding is that the Hyatt Regency Waikiki has the best pool area. However, even with that relative distinction, the pool area is nothing compared to what you will find at the Hyatt Regency Maui or the Grand Hyatt Kauai.
At the Hyatt Regency Waikiki there is one relatively small pool and then an adjacent hot tub.
On the plus side, there are plenty of chairs and umbrellas surrounding the pool area, as well as food and drink service available.
At the pool area there are cabanas for rent by the full or half-day starting at just $40 as well as information on surf lessons and beach gear rentals.
The pool area was totally fine, but nothing spectacular, especially when compared to the Hyatt properties on other Hawaiian islands. However, when you are just steps away from Waikiki, you presumably aren’t coming for the pools.
Hyatt Regency Waikiki Regency Club
While the pool at this property wasn’t overly spectacular, the Regency Club was pretty solid. I ate here for dinner and then breakfast the next morning and wasn’t disappointed. If you haven’t already noticed from the pool amenities image, this hotel has a very large percentage of Asian visitors, especially from Japan. In fact, I would say Asian travelers made up the majority of the guests on my early November visit. As an American, I personally enjoyed the international vibe this created, but if you aren’t expecting it, it may come as a surprise at first when some of the lounge offerings have an Asian flare and the signs around the property are often in English and Japanese.
I accessed the Regency Club again thanks to Hyatt Globalist status, but you could also use one of your four Hyatt Explorists annual lounge passes or book a Regency Club room for 27,000 points per night. Breakfast in the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Regency Club is served from 6AM – 10AM and on my visit consisted predominately of pastries, sweet bread, sliced meat, muffins, brie, fruits, salad, salmon, rice, and miso.
I had ‘first breakfast’ consisting of the meats and fruits and then came back a while later after surfing to have a late breakfast/early lunch consisting of the rice and miso soup.
Of note is that there are not bottles of water in this Regency Club available for the taking, although there are soft drinks available in the fridge.
In the evening, the offerings in the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Regency Club consisted of sliced meats, cheeses, cold veggies, soup, and one hot fried item that I didn’t try. I used what was available to make a very decent and free-to-me salad. Evening appetizers are served from 5PM – 7PM with desserts making an appearance from 7PM – 9PM.
If you are into evening cocktails, they are available in the Regency Club for $4 – $6 per glass.
Overall Impressions of the Hyatt Regency Waikiki
One of my favorite things about this property was actually the farmer’s market that was happening on the ground floor the first evening I arrived. It happens twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4PM – 8PM and I enjoyed the heck out of the mango sticky rice I bought here and enjoyed across the street watching the sunset over the ocean. It was worth way more than the few dollars I paid.
While I didn’t experience it on this visit, my understanding is that on Fridays from 4:30 PM – 6:00 PM there is a Polynesian show, hands-on lei making demonstrations, hula dancing, Polynesian art tattooing, and a Samoan Fire knife dancer that perform near the waterfall on the first floor.
In terms of a kid’s club, there is not currently a Camp Hyatt at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki property (something to do with a contract issue I heard), but the nearby Sheraton Waikiki has an actual drop-in daycare available to anyone with children ranging from 3 months old to 12 years old. This is run by a Japanese company, though they do also speak English and offer outdoor programs, field trips, and swimming in addition to the nursery care for the younger ones.
It took a little bit of back and forth to get the hotel to confirm a 4PM late check-out, which is something they don’t techically have to do for Globalists due to being a resort, but since I only had one day there with an evening flight home I was very grateful for their help with securing a room until 4PM. I did have to move from my oceanview room to a mountain view room by standard checkout time, but that was not a problem at all. Below is a picture from the mountain view room I had for the final few hours of my stay.
All of the staff I encountered at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki was very professional and gracious. The location isn’t perfect as you do have to cross a busy street to get to the beach, but that isn’t that hard to do and then you are on one of the most famous beaches in the world. I think for Hyatt elites with access to the Regency Club this hotel can represent a very good value for the area, especially when paid rates are reasonable. As a Globalist they proactively waived the $35 resort fee, which was very helpful.
This very commercial area of Honolulu will never be as special to me as some of the more remote spots, but it is still special and enjoyable in its own way. I would not hesitate to return to the Hyatt Regency Waikiki in the future, though my first choice, if the price was right, would still be the Westin Moana Surfrider.
Where do you like to stay with your family in Waikiki?
Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.