Guests at the Renaissance Ilikai Waikiki Hotel willing to admit
they are old enough to remember “Hawaii Five-0” might recognize the
view. It was on the penthouse balcony that Jack Lord, who played
the lead on the TV crime drama, posed with the Pacific Ocean in the
background. The brief but memorable shot was shown at the opening
of every episode from 1968 to 1980.
The penthouse is now privately owned, but Ilikai Waikiki guests
have the same sweeping vista of the Pacific from most of the
property’s more than 700 rooms and suites.
“Gilligan’s Island” fans can catch sight of the nearby Ala Wai
Yacht Harbor from their rooms or the pedestrian bridge that links
the hotel with Waikiki Beach. The harbor is where Gilligan, the
Skipper and five passengers set sail for their “three-hour tour.”
(Guests can also reminisce with a sailing tour booked through the
Since it opened in 1964 as Waikiki’s first high-rise, luxury
hotel, the Ilikai Waikiki has courted the entertainment industry.
Scenes from the TV series “Magnum P.I.” and “Jake and the Fatman”
were shot here, and “Hawaii” used the Ilikai for both on- and
off-camera purposes. “Lost” fans might recognize the Aloha Suite,
Canoes restaurant and lobby all used to set the scene for the
popular TV drama. Crews from the films “Windtalkers,” starring
Nicholas Cage, and “50 First Dates,” with Adam Sandler and Drew
Barrymore, called the Ilikai Waikiki home while shooting.
As Waikiki’s only hotel with an onsite screening room and
offices for managing shoots and storing props and equipment, it’s
no wonder the hotel hosts production crews. But the Ilikai also has
much to offer its less-Hollywood guests.
Now managed by Renaissance Hotels and Resorts, the hotel’s two
towers recently underwent a $27 million-plus transformation. So
far, most of the renovations have been at the Ilikai Tower, which
still maintains its original identity as a mix of hotel units and
private condos, while the Yacht Harbor Tower is currently
undergoing a floor-by-floor renovation to its hotel rooms.
From the outside the Ilikai Waikiki looks almost the same as it
did in the 1960s, but the interior has been revamped to include
modern amenities like wireless Internet access, dataports and cable
TV in each room. Guestrooms also feature Hawaiian decor that’s not
over the top. The sage green and deep red color scheme is accented
by light wood furniture with mother-of-pearl inlay, and the baths
feature granite finishes. Another draw for crews as well as
families is the hotel’s 187 units with full kitchens.
The renovation also opened up the once closed, dark lobby to
give it a boutique feel, and a Wyland sculpture of a mother whale
and her calf has been added at the entrance. Beyond the lobby waits
a newly landscaped courtyard with waterfalls and a wooden walkway
connecting the hotel’s two towers.
The hotel’s restaurants Tanaka of Tokyo West (tableside
teppanyaki service) and Paddles (poolside bar and grill) spruced up
their menus with new choices. And the double-onion steak sandwich
and seafood pasta at the Canoes restaurant ranked among the best
dishes at last year’s Taste of Honolulu. For panoramic Pacific
views, send clients to Sarento’s Top of the “I,” an independently
owned restaurant at the top of the Ilikai tower.
Aside from the Hollywood highlights, the hotel keeps clients
busy with a shopping area complete with its original terrazzo
floors and glass storefronts. Clients can cruise several boutiques,
including bridal and flower shops for guests getting married in the
hotel’s Angel Chapel by the Sea or its adjacent garden. A business
center, medical clinic, Dollar Rent A Car office, massage services
and the Ultrazone a 4,000-square-foot laser-tag arena and video
arcade round out the offerings.
Renaissance Ilikai Waikiki Hotel
1777 Ala Moana Blvd.
Honolulu, HI 96815
Rates: $270-$800 a night
Commission: 10 percent
Packages: The Renaissance Ilikai Waikiki Hotel’s
Paradise Plus packages start at a nightly room rate of $219 for
city-view accommodations and $234 for oceanview accommodations.
Guests choose between a Room and Car plan, which includes an
economy-size rental car each day of their stay, or a Room and
Breakfast plan, which includes daily buffet breakfast for two at
Canoes. The package is available through Dec. 31; blackout periods