While Waikiki is reminiscent of the glitz and glamour of old-school Hawaii tourism — besides a few notable exceptions — the number of upscale properties there is limited. Luxury travelers often head to five-star resorts on Maui, Kauai or Hawaii Island instead.
The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach bucks that trend. When it opened in 2016, The Ritz Waikiki immediately reshuffled the top end of the hotel scene, and with the opening of the 245-unit Diamond Head Tower in 2018, the hotel planted its luxury flag on one end of Kalakaua Avenue.
Guestrooms and Suites
With 552 units total, the hotel is the largest Residences property in the brand’s portfolio. Post-COVID-19, the demand for self-contained, apartment-style accommodations has never been stronger, and The Ritz Waikiki answers that call with a wide range of accommodations, from standard hotel rooms to four-bedroom suites. On a recent visit, I stayed in a Grand Ocean View one-bedroom suite in the 307-unit Ewa Tower, which included a full kitchen, a living room with a sofa bed, a dining area, a bedroom, a large bathroom, a walk-in closet and a washer and dryer. I felt like I lived in my own high-rise apartment in the heart of Waikiki.
I especially appreciated the ocean and city views from the large terrace on the 23rd floor. It’s great having an oceanfront hotel on Waikiki Beach, but there’s plenty to be said for a view that takes in both the ocean and the sparkling city lights.
Amenities and Restaurants
While the suites feel like something you would find in a luxury condo complex, the hotel features the amenities travelers expect at an upscale resort.
The valet and porte cochere are on the ground floor, but the hotel lobby is on the eighth floor, which is also where The Ritz’s two infinity-edge pools are located. One is for all ages, while the other is just for adults, and both are flanked with lounge chairs and cabanas (for an additional cost). Because they are on an upper floor, the pools have a chic rooftop vibe.
On the same floor as the pools, the Ewa Tower features open-air French dining at La Vie, which serves breakfast and dinner. Next to La Vie is Sushi Sho, an intimate 16-seat venue that offers omakase-style meals designed by renowned chef Keiji Nakazawa. Meanwhile, the Diamond Head Tower is home to Quiora, an open-air Italian restaurant that’s available for lunch and dinner. Both La Vie and Quiora also feature live music most evenings.
During my stay, I appreciated being able to sample the hotel’s restaurants or go off-site to explore local favorites just steps away in the heart of Waikiki. It’s a benefit you generally can’t enjoy at more secluded high-end resorts on the other islands.
The hotel also features a state-of-the-art fitness center with a yoga studio and boxing equipment, a spa and meeting/event space.
The Ritz Waikiki recently launched a new wellness package called Healing in Hawaii, which includes a guided foraging experience in the Manoa Valley, a meditation excursion at the Makapu’u Tide Pools and more.
The hotel also offers a Malama Hawaii program where guests can assist with an initiative to restore and transform the Ala Wai Canal.
If you have clients who have always dreamed about having their own place in Honolulu, then The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach fits the bill perfectly. A stay here will give them a taste of local life — but with a large dash of luxury.