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Adjust your Ray-Bans and raise your mojito glass — there’s a hip new kid on the block. On Jan. 28, Hokulani Waikiki by Hilton Grand Vacations celebrated its grand opening at a stunning location. Local dignitaries, special guests and media gathered at the hotel’s Na Lani Sky Lounge, Waikiki’s only open-air rooftop pool bar, boasting views of Diamond Head, the Koolau Mountain Range and the Pacific Ocean.
Hokulani occupies the former Ohana Islander Waikiki Hotel and is managed by Outrigger Enterprises Group. The contemporary 143-room property is located in the heart of Waikiki and is the final addition to the Waikiki Beachwalk.
“This place pops — the setting is cutting-edge, modern and cool,” said Kirk Caldwell, the mayor of Honolulu, during the grand opening. “Hokulani is about being different in terms of style, taste and presentation, and I hope it sets a new standard for other developments in Waikiki.”
Beyond its rooftop bar, which features a heated plunge pool, a Jacuzzi and six private cabanas, the hotel sets itself apart with sophisticated design elements, from living walls to fire urns that are suspended over a pool of water in the lobby lounge. Los Angeles-based Indidesign has incorporated natural and native materials into the decor that subtly reference classic Hawaii, although the overall aesthetic of the property could best be described as “urban chic.”
Hokulani’s one-bedroom guestroom suites are the real star, however. Accommodations range in size slightly, from 545 to 575 square feet, but offer the same amenities, including a private Juliet balcony with either a city or skyline view. One of the most impressive aspects of my room was the mosaic-tiled bathroom, with thoughtful floor lighting to help guests find their way around in the middle of the night. Its stand-alone soaker tub caught my attention with its dramatic faucet that allows water to cascade from a height that seems ceiling-high. To top it off, the bathroom features an LCD television (one of three TVs) integrated within the vanity mirror and a Toto toilet that could rival any in Tokyo with its adjustable heated seat and customizable bidet functionality.
Staying at the Hokulani is like having your own condo in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Waikiki, except that you never have to make your own bed. If guests plan it right, they can save a significant amount of money by utilizing the unit’s boutique kitchen. It features a microwave, a refrigerator, a Kitchenware cooktop, a set of Ginsu knives, a Tassimo espresso maker and a dishwasher, although it was never in use during my stay, thanks to an attentive housekeeping staff. There is no restaurant on property, though the coffee shop offers some light snacks and packaged sandwiches, so guests are encouraged to live like a local. Fortunately, an ABC Stores location with a grocery department is only an escalator ride away. Additionally, the Waikiki Beachwalk is packed with name-brand dining options such as Ruth’s Chris Steak House, the Yard House and Roy’s Waikiki.
Other amenities include a small gym with top-notch equipment, a Business Center, a laundry room on each floor and valet parking that is accessible on Lewers Street. The contemporary timeshare property offers commissionable room rates, starting at $329.