First-name Basis

At first glance, the entrance to Aston Waikiki Beachside Hotel seems to get lost in the shuffle amid the more elaborate porte cocheres of Kalakaua Avenue. But don’t let its understated exterior fool you. The 79-room, 12-story Waikiki boutique hotel overcomes its small size with a big emphasis on guest satisfaction.

By: Marty Wentzel

HONOLULU At first glance, the entrance to Aston Waikiki Beachside Hotel seems to get lost in the shuffle amid the more elaborate porte cocheres of Kalakaua Avenue. But don’t let its understated exterior fool you. The 79-room, 12-story Waikiki boutique hotel overcomes its small size with a big emphasis on guest satisfaction.

For instance, there’s no restaurant on-property, which might have been a problem for clients like me who don’t like to travel far for good meals. But the Beachside has turned that shortcoming into an asset by providing guests with free continental breakfast each morning. I found more than enough sustenance to start my day during the 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. repast, with its fresh fruits, juices and baked goods.

Breakfast is set up on the Beachside’s mezzanine level, which features comfortable arrangements of tables and chairs in an open-air courtyard enhanced by palms, soft music and trickling fountains. The courtyard is a refreshing place to relax on a warm day.

The mezzanine provides an equally pleasant setting for the Beachside’s afternoon tea service on Saturday and Sunday afternoons from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Available at $20 per person, it’s a high-class, three-course affair with such goodies as scones, finger sandwiches and sherry cake served on delicate plates, accompanied by a variety of freshly brewed teas.

When I wanted to eat in my room, the Beachside staff provided me with information about a meal-delivery service from a variety of Oahu restaurants. While there isn’t any on-property parking at the Beachside, Aston has come up with an easy solution. After dropping off my bags with a hotel staff member in the lobby, I drove around the corner to the garage at Aston Waikiki Beach Tower, where registered Beachside guests can park for $9.50 per day.

At 200 square feet, the average size of a Beachside guest room is relatively small, but I found my accommodations to be smartly designed to maximize space. Well-placed mirrors and views from the lanai opened up the room considerably. The Beachside lives up to its boutique hotel status by paying extra attention to its guests. Several times I was greeted by name in the hotel lobby. The concierge was on hand round-the-clock to answer questions and take care of individual requests.

It’s hard to beat the Beachside’s location, steps away from Waikiki Beach and four blocks from Kapiolani Park. Due to the size of the rooms, I wouldn’t recommend this hotel for a family vacation, but it’s a good option for couples who want a cozy base of operations in the heart of Waikiki.

The Beachside is a suitable business hotel as well, with such amenities as in-room voice mail, complimentary local newspapers at breakfast and a mezzanine-level computer terminal for e-mail and Internet access. When it’s time to head downtown, the property is easily accessible to the H-1 freeway, which also leads directly to Honolulu International Airport.

For a small hotel, Aston Waikiki Beachside makes a big impression, right down to the pair of Godiva chocolates placed on the pillow at turndown each night.

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