Suite Success

Embassy Suites Waikiki Beach Walk is action-packed

By: Kenneth Shapiro

This is the first Image
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.”

In-Room Amenities
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 radios.

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 waiting.

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.

This is the second Image
The open-air lobby greets guests
with a more upscale feel.
By the Pool
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 all.

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.”


Adventure Travel JDS Africa Middle East JDS Destinations