There’s a magical feel to the Victorian-era edifice of Moana Surfrider, a Westin Resort & Spa, which greets the street with a grand colonnaded entrance and an open-air porch famously furnished with timber rocking chairs. Inside, the charm offensive continues with a luxurious spa, quaint beach-backed eateries and ocean-view oriented rooms. Read on for the full review.
If walls could talk, this iconic Waikiki beachfront hotel would spill many a juicy tale of hearts won, grand gestures made and life-long holiday memories created. Although she’s over 120 years old, the celebrated “First Lady of Waikiki” retains her historic allure, partly due to the hotel’s location right on the sand of Waikiki Beach, where the sound of rolling waves, the strains of feel-good live music and the endless turquoise ocean compels you to stop and relax.
Where is Moana Surfrider?
At Waikiki Beach in the heart of the strip, about 20 minutes from Daniel K. Inouye Airport. Catch a taxi or an Uber or there’s a service to the resort operated by Fly Shuttle Tours.
What’s near Moana Surfrider?
The hotel is walking distance to high-end boutiques as well as the Royal Hawaiian Center and International Market Place. If you’re with kids, Kapi‘olani Park, Honolulu Zoo and Waikiki Aquarium are all an easy stroll away. For active types, the hike up Diamond Head is a must. Book your entry online then take a short Uber ride from the hotel to the trail head. The climb is quite strenuous in the heat so take plenty of water and go early. Mix it up by descending the passageways and an internal spiral staircase beneath the battlements at the top. Need a pick-me-up afterwards? Swing by cash-only Monsarrat Shave Ice on your way back to the hotel – the real-fruit flavours are worth the stop.
If money is no object, the newest luxury suites, complete with expansive glass-walled balconies, are on the top-level Penthouse Floor in the Tower Wing. Otherwise, the Tower’s Ocean Suites offer the perfect combination of space, comfort and stunning views, with oceanfront balconies, a generously sized bedroom, well-appointed bathroom and a large living space with desk, dining area and kitchen nook. For more traditional décor that references the hotel’s history (and an excuse to climb the Grand Staircase every day), stay in the historic Banyan Wing, located above the Lobby.
Restaurants and bars
Moana Surfrider has a “Stay at one, dine at all” concept with its three sister Waikiki hotels. Across the road at the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani, Splash Bar’s breakfast buttermilk pancakes topped with toasted coconut and ube sauce are phenomenal. For dinner and dancing, head to Moana’s Vintage 1901, a wine bar with great Asian-American food and an excellent pianist belting out popular classics. When it’s time for a treat, go all-out with Afternoon Tea at The Veranda facing the ocean and the hotel’s banyan tree, planted in the 1890s. Choose the Royal Tea, which includes a fruit-tea-infused Mimosa flight, an appetiser, finger sandwiches, delicate cakes, scones, berries and sorbet (you also get to take some with you in a gift bag). Wash it all down with a pot of delicious Hawaiian Coconut tea.
Travel for work
A small business centre with computers, copier and printer is located in the lobby by the Grand Staircase and is accessible for a nominal fee. Rooms have desks and wi-fi. There are seven event rooms, seating up to 300 (in the Ballroom), and areas of the Terrace, Roof Garden and Diamond Lawn can be booked for private functions.
Spa and gym
The 1672-square-metre Moana Lani Spa offers massage, facials and a range of treatments. Book a Lomi Ho’okipa Hawaiian-inspired massage for ultimate relaxation or a Lomi Stone manicure and pedicure using hot stones in the nail salon. For fitness, head to the ocean right in front of the hotel, where you could end up doing laps alongside one of the green sea turtles that are known to frequent the shallows. For a gym session with a view of vibrant Kalākaua Avenue, hit the well-appointed 24-hour Westin Workout Fitness Studio on level two of the Tower.
What you need to know
Depending on when in the week you’re staying, the daily resort charge (USD$42 plus tax) includes activities ranging from hula instruction to lei making, ukulele lessons, yoga and a Hawaiian sunrise ceremony. Heading out? Book a complimentary day’s rental of a MiFi device and a GoPro camera to record and stream your adventure.
Best for: Couples or groups
Design: Grand Victorian
Ambience: Relaxed sophistication
Number of rooms: 749 rooms and 42 suites
From: US$339 per night
Wi-fi: US$42.53 per day
Parking: US$35 per day (self parking); US$45 per day (valet parking)
Address: 2365 Kalakaua Avenue, Honolulu
Telephone: +1 808 922 3111
Earn 3 Qantas Points per $1 when you book your next stay at qantas.com/hotels