advertisement

Waikiki needs reliable moderate-priced hotels, and the Princess Kaiulani is one of the most longstanding and respected ones. Actually three towers built in the 1950s and 1960s and joined by an open-plan lobby that sweeps to include an inviting oval courtyard pool, it's busy night and day because of its central location—you're right across the street from the legendary Moana Surfrider hotel and steps from the endless shopping and food of Kalakaua Avenue. Not all views are of the beach, but those are sensational. This isn't a hushed, cutting-edge luxury enclave (rooms are predictable for a chain hotel and well-soundproofed but blah-'90s in tone—they're gradually being refreshed—and the building itself wears its age, if well), but it is a solid high-rise beach hotel that's excellent for the price you pay. You're also allowed to eat at the other nearby Sheraton properties (including the Moana Surfrider and the Sheraton Waikiki) and charge it back to your room. In 2015, the hotel premiered a roof-shakingly energetic new evening show that tours Pacific cultures through dance, Te Moana Nui, performed three times a week. What do you give up for the price point? Well, you're not on the beach itself, but you're steps away (the pool is under-utilized and closes around dinnertime because the Pacific Ocean is so close) so the distinction barely matters. The connected parking structure is terribly crowded, too, but again, you get one space with your resort fee, which is more than many hotels are willing to give. With a limited budget or points to spend, we wouldn't hesitate to make the "PK" our beach base.