The hotel’s fourth-floor, roof-top pool
is the heart of the property.
The evening’s visitors strolling along Kalakaua Avenue pulled me
along like the current of a slow-flowing river as I took in
Waikiki’s streetlife: Crazy Shirts, ABC Store, sushi joint, a man
painted to look like a robot. Suddenly, the crowd made a hard left.
Welcome to the Beach Walk and the latest addition to Waikiki.
In the heart of this excitement sits the Embassy Suites Waikiki
Beach Walk. If the new retail development is a people magnet, then
the Embassy Suites is its true north. Despite the chain’s
reputation for mid-priced consistency, this $80 million flagship
location is anything but boring. As one longtime Honolulu resident
put it: “Every time I drive by that hotel these days, I just get
the feeling something is happening there.”
Opened in December of last year, the hotel features 421 suites
(353 one-bedroom units; 68 two-bedrooms) with compact kitchen areas
ideal for families. While we found the bedroom a little small with
barely enough room to walk between the foot of the bed and the
desk/flat-screen TV console the living room had plenty of space for
a pull-out queen-size sofa bed, coffee table, second flat-screen
TV, breakfast table and chairs. In one corner of the living room
was the kitchen area with a mini-fridge, wet bar and coffee maker.
Other amenities include in-room safes and MP3 and CD player clock
A nice plus is that most rooms located in the two 22-story
towers feature balconies with dramatic ocean views.
The hotel itself felt more upscale than any other Embassy Suites
property I’ve visited. The open-air lobby and porte cochere where
guests receive their complimentary welcome beverage upon check-in
was active day and night. Equally lively was the Grand Lanai on the
fourth floor serving as the main restaurant for the hotel’s
complimentary breakfast. Far beyond the typical chain fare,
breakfast here means cooked-to-order omelettes, fresh fruit and
plenty of other choices. Lines were manageable, and for the most
part there were inside and outside tables available without
The restaurant area is also the setting for the complimentary
Manager’s Reception from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. each evening with
drinks, appetizers and live entertainment. Guests and locals alike
sit by the pool with a drink and some pupus and enjoy the sunset
while listening to Hawaiian music.
Other dining options are available downstairs in the Beach Walk
itself, including Roy Yamaguchi’s Roy’s Waikiki, Ruth’s Chris Steak
House, the Holokai Grill (which offers room service too), the Yard
House and more.
By the Pool
The open-air lobby greets guests
with a more upscale feel.
Of course, most families at the Embassy Suites Beach Walk will
become familiar with the hotel’s pool. Luckily, while not the
mega-pool of some resorts, there was plenty of room for everyone,
especially in the extra-large Jacuzzi. There was also no shortage
of lounge chairs available, which can pose a challenge at some
hotels. Warn clients, however, that in the late afternoon the wind
can kick up. Since the hotel is just a block from the beach, it’s
easy for guests to take a quick walk over and join the crowd that
gathers to view the sunset from the nearby rock jetty.
Other hotel amenities include a 24-hour fitness center; a
24-hour business center; complimentary in-room high-speed Internet
access; a complimentary daily newspaper; and more. One unique
amenity was a free CD featuring some of the biggest names in
contemporary Hawaiian music, including several Grammy winners.
Despite all the extras, however, the hotel’s main draw is its
location. Just a block from the ocean and a block from the Kalakaua
strip, clients will enjoy being so close to the excitement. With a
wide variety of shopping, dining and nightlife, the Embassy Suites
Beach Walk will make guests feel like they’re at the center of it
As Dawn, a bartender at the always-happening Yard House
restaurant put it: “There’s a bit more sophisticated crowd these
days. Nobu is moving in next door [at Halekulani] and it’s just a
whole new world down here. There’s a whole new feeling.”