Photo courtesy of Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa
Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa, Waikiki Beach
Smack in the middle of Waikiki’s perennial party, the Moana Surfrider has elegant old bones and the bustle of a big-city hotel. On any given day, the Victorian-era lobby is full of young Japanese brides and grooms, trailed by their photographers; giddy business travelers in town for a Planters Punch–fueled conference; and family pods in between morning Diamond Head hikes and surfing lessons. The Banyan Wing, the oldest of the hotel’s three wings, dates back to 1901, and there’s a fine little museum on the second floor that covers not just the Moana Surfrider’s history, but all of early Waikiki. While the rest of the hotel has undergone big changes over the years—including the addition of a 21-story tower and a massive spa—there’s an enduring charm to the place, especially on the beachfront patio with its iconic century-old banyan tree and always-congenial bar scene.
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The hotel sits between one of the island’s best beaches (not surprisingly, it’s also the most crowded) and the shopping and (chain) restaurant hub of Kalakaua Avenue.
Need to Know
Rooms: 791 rooms, including 42 suites. From $325. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: The restaurant, with its rattan ceiling fans and birdcage lanterns, is the place to be, especially at breakfast (the kitchen makes a mean açai bowl, with fresh berries and local honey) or a traditional afternoon tea. For a dressy dinner, there’s the elegant Beachhouse, and for pool and beach fare (ahi tuna nachos, burgers), there’s the Surfrider Café. The Beach Club also serves food throughout the day. Spa and gym details: The hotel has an enormous beachfront spa and an exceptionally big, bright, and well-equipped gym, with free yoga classes every morning; like all Westin hotels, guests can borrow New Balance workout clothes and sneakers for $5 a day.
Who's it for: Bachelor or bachelorette parties looking for sun, sea, and spa time; Starwood-point junkies; and history buffs (this is the oldest hotel in Waikiki, after all). Our favorite rooms: Ocean-facing rooms in the Tower wing; those in the Banyan Wing have historic charm, but tend to be smaller and noisier. Good to know: Guests in higher category rooms and SPG Platinum Members get complimentary access to the Beach Club and all the grub there—including breakfast, midday snacks, and evening appetizers, including wine and beer. Other guests can buy access—for $80 per day, per room, which may be worth it for families of four.