The Outrigger experience in Oahu, Hawaii: 5 reasons to stay at the Waikiki Beachcomber
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Editor’s note: Waikiki Beachcomber by Outrigger provided a complimentary stay to TPG to check out the property. The opinions expressed below are entirely from the author and weren’t subject to review by Outrigger or any external entity.
There’s big news to report from the hotel scene in Honolulu. Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort has partially reopened after a major remodel as it completes phase one of an $80 million overhaul.
The hotel is currently in a soft opening period and offering some decent deals if you want to check it out. Be sure to take a selfie in front of the dramatic A-frame lobby entrance built in a traditional Hawaiian style.
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I got to stay recently for one night at one of its sister properties — Waikiki Beachcomber by Outrigger — on a visit to Hawaii in March. I was really impressed with this small hotel even though I was just there for a day. I really liked the rooms and the chill vibe of the place, despite being located in the middle of an otherwise hectic city center. The rooms are really nice, and while you won’t get the amenities of the nearby mega-resorts, I think you’re better off at a smaller hotel like this one — especially now. I had a disastrous stay at the nearby Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki, so a night at the Beachcomber was especially welcome.
Here’s why I think it’s a good option for visitors who want to be in the heart of the city.
Great location in the heart of Waikiki
While the Beachcomber is not on the beach, there is easy access to the best of Honolulu and you are just a five-minute walk to the famous Waikiki beach. You are across the street from the Moana Surfrider hotel and within a few minutes of some of the best shopping in the city. The Royal Hawaiian Center Shopping Mall, International Market Place and Waikiki Shopping Plaza are just a few blocks down the street.
Spacious, modern rooms
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The hotel bills itself as “Hawaii’s first and only craft hotel curated by local artists and influencers.” I found the rooms to be modern and clean. There were plenty of outlets, and I loved the eclectic variety of fixtures and furniture. The bedding was comfortable, the bathrooms were large (especially for Hawaii) and there was even a small kitchenette (well, at least a fridge) in my one-bedroom room.
There is Hawaiian and ocean-inspired modern art throughout the hotel, including the individual rooms.
Unlike the nearby Hilton, there were no crowds at the Beachcomber. There weren’t long check-in lines, and there was social distancing being enforced at the pool and in the dining areas.
In fact, there was a reservation system for the pool. They only wanted eight people around the pool at any one time (though this wasn’t strictly enforced in my experience).
I really loved the pool. It was a relaxing space, and there were a lot of seating or sunning options. The hot tub was small but perfectly functional.
Related: A review of the Hilton Waikiki
It is very crowded once you leave the hotel property, but it was calm and relaxing inside the hotel. There was live music coming from the lobby cafe, and the staff was warm and friendly.
The lobby restaurants
The hotel calls Hawaiian Aroma Caffe “Waikiki’s most Instagrammed coffee shop.” I could understand why — there were a ton of little seating areas that made for some great pictures.
One of the highlights of my stay was picking up a bite to eat at the cafe and getting to listen to live music in the late afternoon. It added a local element to the hotel’s ambiance.
Also attached to the hotel is the popular Maui Brewing Company with multiple floors and open-air seating for those who are nervous about COVID-19 (and crowds). There’s a separate entrance inside the lobby of the hotel for guests. The menu features 36 craft and specialty beers on tap, including locally-produced Maui Brewing Co. beer. There’s also live entertainment Friday to Sunday.
Related: 10 reasons to visit Timbers Kauai
I received a comped stay so that TPG could check out the hotel, but the Beachcomber is modestly priced for Hawaii. Rates at Waikiki Beachcomber by Outrigger start at $179 a night. If you book seven nights, room rates drop to as low as $129 a night. There is a $30 per night resort charge on top of that, so keep that in mind when booking.
Edwin Torres, General Manager at Waikiki Beachcomber by Outrigger told TPG, “I’d argue there’s never been a better time to visit. For an even more enriching vacation, we encourage our guests to explore the Malama Hawaii Experience and book an eco-adventure with our partner, Kualoa Ranch, that encourages responsible tourism and is sure to leave a lasting impression. Not to mention, guests will get every third night free at Waikiki Beachcomber when booking this experience – it’s a win-win.”
In the meantime, if you want to stay at the classic Outrigger, the second phase of the remodel is expected to be completed sometime this fall. Phase two includes an overhaul of the Diamond Head Tower, Waiola Wellness Wing, Coral Kids Club and the ‘Ōlelo Cultural Center.
The hotel is offering a special deal right now — the “welcome back to Waikiki” sale with 33% off regular prices. I found rooms starting around $300 a night in June (plus that pesky resort fee).
The rooms look really nice (plus, check out that view).
After a couple of rough stays at Hawaii Hiltons during this trip, the Outrigger was an oasis despite being in crowded Waikiki. The service was kind and attentive, the rooms were modern and clean and the location gives easy access to the beach, shopping and the heart of Waikiki.
If I was to go back to Waikiki, I would definitely avoid the mega-resorts in favor of the Beachcomber.
Featured image by Outrigger Hospitality.
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