After a $US125-plus million renovation, this 839-room hotel was unveiled in 2018 with a decidedly modern aesthetic – think herringbone flooring and floor-to-ceiling windows in the lobby. What didn’t go? The huge aquarium in the O Bar, just beyond the lobby; the plan now is to fill it with 1000 fish. Rooms here have minimalist leanings but there’s plenty to keep hipster types busy beyond the lodgings. Head to level five to find a relaxed club vibe with cabanas, double daybeds, a saltwater infinity pool and fire pits; stay for the video art projected on to the hotel’s beach-facing tower while DJs spin at night.
While one tower faces the beach and the hotel has a main street address, the entry is set back from the fray on a side street. You’re just a two minute stroll from the surf, less than 10 minutes walk to Honolulu Zoo and half an hour by car to the airport.
There are five room types and two kinds of suites; entry-level rooms offer city views, mid-range rooms have spectacular views of Diamond Head or the beach and the most premium spaces deliver both or uninterrupted views to the water. At the mid-range level, expect rooms in a neutral palette, with wooden accents, a king or two queen-sized beds and Hawaiian-inspired prints of surfers and palm trees. Maile Organics bath products are a touch of luxe.
Food and drink
Alohilani is home to five eateries. Three lie within the hotel – Lychee, which is popular for the breakfast buffet (nab a spot under the aquarium window to keep kids happy); O Bar, which has a sunken-lounge vibe and the hotel’s best aquarium views; and Swell Pool and Bar, which serves up a solid bar menu including fish tacos and cocktails (order an Orange Spartacus Protein Shake and add vodka or rum). Fronting the street is Momosan, a walk-in only Japanese diner – sit at the bar or look at the horizon through the palm trees. Overseen by chef Masaharu Morimoto, the food is casual-cool and flavoursome. Its more sophisticated sister restaurant sits upstairs: Morimoto Asia. It’s open for evenings daily, with pan-Asian dishes ideal for sharing.
For business travellers
Take a few steps beyond the O Bar area to find a “business centre” that looks more like a chic lounge space. There are two Mac computers and a printer for guest use.
For wellness travellers
The Island Club and Spa includes a gym that’s also frequented by locals. It’s well equipped with plenty of treadmills, bikes, step machines and weights, and also offers group classes (such as aqua fitness and Zumba). There is also a rooftop fitness zone for aerial yoga, TRX classes and more. The gym is open from 5am until 11pm Monday to Thursday and until 10pm Friday to Sunday. The spa offers a concise menu, including massages that can be enjoyed in your room or in a cabana.
The fab factor
Sometimes exclusive guest clubs can feel a little flat. Not so with the Longboard Club. Open for breakfast bites and aperitivo hour, this indoor-outdoor space has wooden decking, deep couches, fire pits and bar seating overlooking the street. Go here in the morning to “build your own” acai bowl or at night for a cool collection of craft beers.
Best for: Hipsters
Number of rooms: 839
Wi-fi: A smooth, free connection
Parking: $40 per night for self-parking and $45 for valet parking
Address: 2490 Kalākaua Avenue, Honolulu
Telephone: +1 808 922 1233