Sculptures of sealife grace the garden.
At the Wyland Waikiki, sculptures of dolphins and sea turtles flank
the walkway and a whale waves its tail as it seems to disappear
beneath the surface. Waterfalls and streams replicate tides, ocean
currents and waves. Above it all, three palm trees outline the
W stands for Wyland, for Waikiki, for Welcome to Hawaii’s first
art-themed hotel. The 405-room property opened last April at the
corner of Royal Hawaiian and Kuhio Avenues in the heart of Waikiki.
After multi-million-dollar renovations, the former Ohana Waikiki
Surf and Ohana Waikiki Surf East were transformed into a sleek,
contemporary hotel under the management of Outrigger Enterprises
The timing couldn’t be better. Over the past 10 years, Waikiki
has experienced a multi-billion-dollar renovation that has added
high-end shopping complexes, hotel upgrades, new properties and
enhanced public areas.
Renowned artist Wyland, who goes by his last name only, is
famous for his massive murals depicting sea creatures and
underwater habitats. His first mural, Whaling Wall 1, was painted
on a building in Laguna Beach, Calif., in 1981, and since then,
Wyland has completed marine murals in 12 countries on four
continents. His 100th mural, created with the help of thousands of
young artists, will be unveiled at the Beijing International
Sculpture Park next year.
In Wyland’s mind, the leap from executing grand sweeps of color
to overseeing hotel design makes sense.
“Artists are always looking for new ways to express themselves
and showcase their work,” Wyland said. “I had the unique experience
of developing the Wyland Waikiki from the perspective of an artist
and as a guest.”
Guestrooms feature woven floor
coverings and pillow-top beds.
At times, Wyland’s ocean theme is as subtle as the scent of salt
air, at other times, it’s as clear as the slap of a whale’s tail on
the water. The lobby’s fiber optic cove lighting imitates changing
tides, ceiling cutouts emulate air bubbles and tiles replicate
sand. Wyland’s original abstract painting “Van Gogh Sunset” graces
the wall behind the glass reception counter, and his brush art and
sculptures decorate public spaces and guestrooms. In all, over $4
million worth of Wyland artwork is displayed throughout the hotel.
Wave and surf videos play on 65-inch plasma televisions in the main
lobby and the “Chill Room,” where massage chairs and X-Box gaming
stations provide further diversions.
A 400-gallon saltwater aquarium near the elevator offers a
calming distraction while you wait for a ride to your room. Exit
the elevator and the Wyland influence continues. Wave-patterned
sea-and sand-colored carpets cover the hallways, and room door
numbers are mounted on sea-glass panels. Each room has copies of
“Wyland’s View” and his brush art.
Bed linens are printed with Wyland’s Escher-like kissing fish,
and leaf-toned floor coverings resemble woven mats. Bamboo-inlaid
custom furniture reinforces the Hawaiian theme, and pillow-top beds
insure a good night’s sleep.
Several one-bedroom “art suites” are planned that will be
decorated with original work by Hawaiian artists and photographers.
The first showcases photographer Kim Taylor Reece’s evocative
black-and-white images of Hawaiian dancers, providing a sharp
contrast to Wyland’s bold, colorful work.
Outside the Wyland, Waikiki pulses, the trade winds dance
through the buildings and two pools on the property offer lushly
landscaped retreats. Kimobean Hawaiian Coffee, adjacent to the
lobby, serves locally baked pastries and sandwiches. Additional
amenities include free high-speed Internet access and a business
center. A day spa, fitness center and bistro will open by year’s
The Wyland Waikiki is within walking distance of Waikiki Beach
and is ideal for clients who want to be in the center of activity
or those with an interest in iconic Hawaiian art. The hotel’s
suites are a particularly good option for families.
Environmentally minded guests will appreciate the fact that
Wyland uses his art to help preserve the world’s oceans and marine
life, and his non-profit Wyland Foundation has been recognized by
institutions such as the United Nations and Sierra Club.
All in all, this is about as close as you can get to the deep
blue sea without donning a snorkel and diving in.
400 Royal Hawaiian Ave.
Honolulu, HI 96815
Rates: Standard $299-$319; kitchenettes
$329-$359; one-bedroom suites $379-$409. Rooms have city or partial
Opening Package: stay three nights and get one
free. Free room upgrade. Daily continental breakfast at Kimobean.
Rates from $299-$409 double per night, per room. Valid through Dec.
Wy-Fire: Three night accommodations, three
days’ Chrysler Crossfire convertible rental. Free room upgrade.
Daily continental breakfast at Kimobean. From $858-$1,098 double
per night, per room. Valid through Dec. 15.
Layover: $99 day rate for stays that do not
include an overnight. Good through Jan. 4.