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As Oahu’s newest visitor accommodation, Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach has several distinctive selling points. What unifies them is the property’s stylish dedication to Hawaiian culture and nature, a concept the company calls “aloha chic.”
I stayed at Alohilani — a $115 million transformation of Pacific Beach Hotel — last month, which was timed with its grand opening. Based on my visit, it’s clear that the resort is well on its way to becoming Waikiki’s hot new place to stay — at a reasonable rate.
Arriving guests find themselves in an expansive lobby with walls of windows and soaring ceilings. Behind the reception desk, a stunning, white coral wall sculpture emphasizes the hotel’s devotion to Hawaii’s aquatic world.
Alohilani feels like an entirely new hotel, with just one holdover from the old Pacific Beach: the three-story Oceanarium. The refurbished, 280,000-gallon aquarium will eventually showcase some 1,000 indigenous marine life creatures and coral reef formations. Twice daily, clients can watch divers feed the fish, while curators hold tank talks on the dry side of the action.
The Oceanarium flanks O Bar, the hotel’s sleek lounge for drinks and appetizers calling on island ingredients. O Bar heats up in the evening thanks to live music. One level up awaits Lychee, the site of a bounteous breakfast buffet each morning. In the first quarter of 2018, the hotel will take the wraps off two indoor-outdoor restaurants created by famed Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto.
Alohilani’s 839 guestrooms offer a range of ocean, Diamond Head and city views. With a white and beige palette, blue and green accents and the use of natural materials, the modern-beachy decor draws inspiration from Hawaii’s great outdoors. Rug designs evoke the patterns of shifting sands at the ocean’s edge. I was a big fan of the Kauai-made Malie Organics soap, shampoo and lotion in each guest bathroom, which imparted a sensual, tropical forest aroma. Only one other Waikiki property — The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort — features Malie products.
The hotel’s fifth floor lays claim to the impressive Swell Pool & Bar. Sporting a voguish vibe, it boasts a saltwater infinity pool with views of the ocean. Guests can take advantage of its five cabanas hovering above a reflecting pool, a hot tub, tiered daybeds, tiki torches and fire pits. In between dips, clients can order food and beverages from the outdoor bar, which serves an all-day menu. Nearby, on the same level, Monkey Pod Kids’ Club stands ready with its own pool, games, cultural activities and evening movies screened on an outdoor wall.
For health and wellness buffs, Alohilani presents Island Club and Spa, with three treatment rooms for massages, body treatments and facials. A state-of-the-art fitness center overlooks the Oceanarium, and a movement studio holds daily yoga and fitness classes. Visiting travel agents should ask for a tour of the rooftop tennis courts, batting cages and training turf, unique features for a Waikiki hotel.
Leon Bolivar, marketing manager for Alohilani, describes the property’s demographic as upscale leisure visitors.
“We’re expecting travelers who are 30 to 50 years old,” Bolivar said. “We appeal to people who love to travel and enjoy being active but who also want to pamper themselves.”
Groups will comprise up to 20 percent of the overall occupancies, Bolivar says. With that market in mind, the property has redeveloped its meeting facilities; gathering spaces range from 1,500 to 12,000 square feet.
With so much to offer, Alohilani has upped the ante on the Waikiki hotel experience.
“We wanted to build a resort that you don’t have to leave if you don’t want to, a place with an all-inclusive feeling,” Bolivar said. “At the same time, we do encourage our guests to explore Oahu.”
Alohilani is promoting an introductory package called Sneak Peek at Aloha Chic, which includes free self-parking, a breakfast buffet, cocktails and appetizers for two people. Rates start at $289 per night, and the package is good for stays through December 2018.