Both of Waikiki’s Outrigger hotels are a good value, but this one is a little bigger and a little quieter. It’s right on the beach, just north of the main resort cluster, and though a short walk to the middle of the action, far enough to feel out of the fray. The hotel itself is a quintessential Hawaiian family resort—big and friendly, with an unmistakable good-time vibe, old-school Polynesian decor throughout, and any number of activities on offer. The pool is set back from the beach and nothing fancy (no waterslides, no swim-up bar, and up against a giant wall), but it’s large enough for a serious game of Marco Polo, and there are plenty of lounge chairs to go around. Perhaps the best reason to stay here is the beach—a fairly narrow but sparkling white strand with more elbow room than its sister beaches; the rocky bottom may have something to do with that, but it’s a good place to learn to surf and a great place to catnap in the sun. One warning: the hotel lobby may feel overly commercial to some, what with a row of gift shops, including a Christmas store, and a hard-to-miss timeshare desk, but it’s easy enough to ignore, if you wish.
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The Outrigger Reef has two terrific neighbors—on one side is the Halekulani, a member of the AFAR Collection, and the other is Fort Derussy Beach Park, a local’s favorite beach, not just for the stretch of sand, but because of the great big grassy lawn (perfect for picnics) and a seaside running track.
Need to Know
Rooms: 635 rooms. From $285. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: Two of the hotel’s three restaurants (not including the on-site Starbucks) are steps from the sand, with prime views of Diamond Head. The more casual of the two, the Shore Bird, has ample breakfast and lunch buffets and a swell happy hour; for dinner, patrons can grill their own fish, chicken, and steaks, with easy-to-follow instructions from the kitchen. Just next door is the slightly more formal Ocean House, which specializes in local seafood. Set back from the beach, near the pool, is Kani Ka Pila Grill, which turns out pizzas, sandwiches, and salads for lunch, and a wide selection of appetizers in the evening. Spa and gym details: There’s a fairly large spa with a full menu of treatments, and a decent-sized gym, but the latter is below ground, near the parking garage, which doesn’t make for the most motivating of workouts.
Who's it for: Families of all sizes and ages; couples traveling with other couples; conventioneers (the hotel is a short drive to the convention center and has scores of meeting spaces on property). Our favorite rooms: All the oceanfront category rooms have unobstructed views; for a less expensive standard room, go for ones in the Pacific Tower, which are extra spacious (they used to be two rooms before the 2009 renovation). Evening highlight:You’ll find some of the island’s top musicians performing nightly at the poolside Kani Ka Pila Grill. Locals and visitors gather for shows and snack on appetizers such as kalua pork quesadillas and pupu platters.