Waking up at sunrise to witness the spectacular early morning glow above Diamond Head is an incredibly memorable experience, and this glorious spectacle can be enjoyed from Sheraton Waikiki, an iconic oceanfront resort overlooking a postcard-perfect crescent of beach.
Celebrating its golden anniversary this year, Sheraton Waikiki is as vibrant as ever, and at 32 floors, it towers over the neighboring hotels. In 2020, the property unveiled a completed refurbishment of all 1,636 guestrooms (most with ocean views) and continues to attract visitors who adore its waterfront location and sprawling swimming pool area.
During the pandemic, the Sheraton Waikiki renovations were in full swing — so, making good use of the shutdown, the transformation shifted into high gear without disrupting the guest experience. The project included aesthetic and functional upgrades to all guestrooms, hallways and elevator landings.
I stayed at this newly renovated resort in November 2021, and was extremely impressed with the revitalization. The new room design includes calming neutral hues of cream, taupe and white with splashes of color that reflect the ocean’s aqua and teal.
My room, the Malia Ocean Suite, felt fresh and modern from the moment I stepped inside. It was comfortable, spacious and functional, with a new tiled entrance area that opens into an 875-square-foot, one-bedroom suite. (The hotel features two of these rooms on most floors.)
Each room has new carpeting, a living room with a pull-out sofa and ample seating. The adjacent dining room has a table for four, plus a credenza. The reconfigured suite also includes a welcome abundance of storage, including two separate closets, dresser drawers and shelves. Other amenities include a convenient in-room coffeemaker and tea kettle, a mini-fridge and reusable water pouches. I was personally thrilled to see the addition of electrical (and USB) outlets in all the right places, so it was easy to charge my phone and tech devices during my stay.
What I found most enchanting about this suite was the unique outdoor space featuring two lanais (balconies). The first lanai is off the main area, and offers jaw-dropping views of Diamond Head and the beach. With two chairs and table, it was a lovely space to unwind and soak in the sights.
The second lanai is situated in a somewhat surprising area — it’s adjacent to the sizable bathroom and opens onto a tiny alcove. This naturally lit bathroom offers exceptional and much-appreciated lighting for getting dressed, and an awe-inspiring vista. Additionally, the bathroom is airy and lovely, with new chrome fixtures, double mirrors and sinks, a full-length mirror and a vanity with plentiful counter space. An oversized, walk-in rain shower includes a soaking tub. The bathroom has a smaller, separate room with a Toto washlet/bidet.
With a king-sized platform bed, two side tables with lamps and enough space to easily walk around, the sleeping area also includes a dresser and a flat-screen television. It’s refreshing to stay in a room with extra privacy, and the floor-to-ceiling sliding doors between the bedroom and living room are ideal — there’s zero guilt if a guest wishes to close the doors and watch their favorite show while their roommate is sleeping.
The Resort’s Popular Pools
Sheraton Waikiki is known for its two oceanfront swimming pools: The main deck with a water slide attracts families, while the infinity pool is designated for adults. I had the opportunity to enjoy a “luxury cabana” at the infinity pool for a day, and it was a fantastic experience.
It was great to relax on a shaded daybed (surrounded by curtains that can be opened or closed) watching the waves. As a cabana guest, I also received a cooler with water, soft drinks and snacks, along with two complimentary beverages. Poolside food service was offered, but I opted to have lunch at the resort’s Edge of Waikiki pool bar, a casual restaurant with dreamy ocean views (open from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.).
There are only five luxury cabanas here, so book in advance via the Sheraton Waikiki’s website, where you can also reserve mini cabanas and water loungers at both pools. Guests should keep in mind that the regular lounge chairs are offered on a first-come, first-served basis, so plan to arrive early if you wish to ensure a spot at either pool.
Guests can also dine on the property at Kai Market (for breakfast); and RumFire (for dinner), both offering a picturesque beachfront panorama. Strolling through Sheraton Waikiki’s expansive lobby is a bustling experience, but it offers nearly everything a guest could want — from souvenirs and convenience items to ukuleles. But if clients can’t find what they’re looking for, the hotel is in the heart of Waikiki, so they are just steps from many restaurants and stores.
Additionally, the elevator-lobby areas on each floor were enhanced during the renovation, though the elevators were still a bit slow during busy times. Conversely, sometimes the elevator doors closed too quickly, so guests might feel like they’re in a game to guess which door will open next.
When checking into Sheraton Waikiki, guests must show a valid ID and vaccination card. When dining at any of the restaurants on property (and throughout Hawaii), guests must show a valid ID and vaccination card, even if they have done so at check-in. Masks are required in elevators, shops and all common areas at the resort.