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In 1990, when a sleek high-rise opened on the west end of Waikiki, its name was a real mouthful: Hawaii Prince Hotel Waikiki and Golf Club. Today, following a $55 million renovation and rebranding, the updated Oahu property is simply named Prince Waikiki, and it’s letting its attributes speak for themselves.
“We hang our hats on the pillars of art, service and location,” said Brian Soma, director of sales and marketing for Prince Waikiki. “Thanks to our redesign, we’re able to offer a more thoughtful guest experience, through and through.”
The reinvented 563-room hotel boasts a decor that reflects the area’s rich heritage. In the lobby, for instance, a dramatic wood-slatted sculpture represents a nearby estuary where freshwater streams once converged, and a copper ceiling installation recalls the schools of fish that thrived in adjacent ponds.
In the renovated guestroom corridors, subtle designs symbolize ocean waves. In each accommodation, a rug pattern recalls the soft sands of Hawaii’s beaches, and large drawings of indigenous naio blossoms grace the walls. Bathrooms feature organic, Hawaii-made products from Malie Organics, whose heady aromas evoke the islands.
Underscoring the hotel’s authenticity, my room’s floor-to-ceiling windows presented a mesmerizing view of the Ala Wai Boat Harbor, Oahu’s southern coastline and daily sunsets. Better yet, the open windows invited the tradewinds inside.
Prince Waikiki’s tribute to its environment extends to its dining offerings, as well. Honolulu Coffee Co. holds forth in the lobby, selling brews made from Hawaii beans. In Katsumidori restaurant, ultra-fresh seafood informs the vast sushi menu. Then there’s the highly praised 100 Sails, where meals are enhanced by appetizing ocean vistas. The eatery’s Saturday Hawaiian lunch buffet showcases island specialties such as lomi lomi salmon, huli huli chicken and pork lau lau.
I found one of the most appealing results of the upgrade to be the infinity-edge pool on the fifth-floor deck. According to Soma, it’s the most popular spot on the property for snapping selfies.
Perhaps my favorite hangout at the hotel is the new club lounge, a bonus for guests of select accommodations. The indoor-outdoor oasis on the fifth level provides not only privacy and ocean views, but also breakfast, afternoon snacks, evening pupus and free drinks, including wine and beer on tap. It’s the perfect perk for discriminating clients.
The hotel remains affiliated with the 27-hole championship Hawaii Prince Golf Club, which is a 40-minute drive west of the property. Clients have access to a free shuttle to and from the course, where they get preferred tee times.
At the end of my visit, I felt like I had experienced an entirely new property in a time-honored setting.
“Our guests are seeking out their vision of Hawaii,” Soma said. “We provide that by perpetuating the legacy of our very special surroundings.”
Since Prince Waikiki’s renovation wrapped up in April 2017, it has been drawing a better-traveled demographic than before, notes Brian Soma, director of sales and marketing for the property. However, while the resort’s rates cater to higher-end clients, Soma shared the following tips to help guests save money and add value to a Prince Waikiki stay:
- Prince Express Breakfast is a laid-back alternative to the first meal of the day. Its small, economical menu features quick options such as two eggs and toast for $5, making it particularly attractive to solo travelers and budget-conscious guests.
- Happy Hour in Sails Lounge runs daily from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. and 8 to 10 p.m., with discounts on savory pupus and drinks.
- This summer, Prince Waikiki is launching a quarterly culinary series to highlight the creativity of its chefs. For $85 per person, clients can enjoy a four-course meal with drink pairings.
The DetailsPrince Waikikiwww.princewaikiki.com