Post World War II
Waikiki was the ultimate America’s vacation paradise. Then it became built up,
the jet age and then airline deregulation made it a mass destination, and the
mainstay of Hawaii’s luxury accommodations were found on the outer islands.
Nonstop flights and private jets meant that Honolulu stopovers became
unnecessary. However, our growing foodie culture, desire for retail therapy while
on vacation combined with the desire for a bit of soft adventure is now making
Waikiki a hot spot again since it offers all of the above. Until The
Ritz-Carlton Residences opened in 2016, The Halekulani, Royal Hawaiian, Trump International
and perhaps the Ali’i Tower at The Hilton Hawaiian Village were the only luxury
outposts. Others, such as the W have come and gone.
Ritz-Carlton Residences is opening a second tower in October, which will give
it over 500 residential suites and studios. So, what’s the difference between a
Ritz-Carlton Residences and one of their other resorts? The units are all individually owned,
however, they are each furnished to Ritz-Carlton standards and owners don’t
have input – so there are no orange couches. One of its penthouses sold for $22.4 million last year, tops on Oahu.
The other difference you will find
is there is no Club Floor or Club Lounge – other than that it’s the same: Twice-daily maid service, valets and
bellboys, 24-hour room service, on-site dining, two pools – a second being
added with the Diamond Head Tower – and a full spa and fitness facility.
Using Waikiki as
your base puts you on its iconic beach, but also steps from high end shopping such
as Chanel and Tiffany’s. What’s
more, Waikiki and Downtown Honolulu have become recognized as an exceptional
dining scene – everything from fine dining to authentic local hang-outs and
food trucks. What many people also forget is on the other side of Oahu you can
find deserted beaches, see the big waves that attract surfers from around the
world and experience the same rural side of Hawaii that made the Outer Islands
so popular. There is everything from biking and hiking trails to waterfalls and
even zip-lining, and of course that epic hike to watch the sunrise atop Diamond
Head. In other words, staying in Waikiki enables you combine the best of urban
and resort activities. And of course, there are numerous museums, The Iolani
Royal Palace and Pearl Harbor. For golfers, Oahu is home to 40 public and
private golf courses ranging from municipal courses to championship layouts
such as the Waialae Country Club, host to the PGA Tour’s Sony Open.
attributes of The Ritz-Carlton in this format is that each residence from
studio to four-bedroom suites has a kitchen, including four-burner cook top,
refrigerator and washer/dryer, something that comes in handy if you want to
avoid those pricey hotel laundry charges when all you want to do is wash a
couple tee-shirts or swimsuits. The three-and-four bedroom suites, something
most hotels can only configure via connecting rooms, are good for family groups
while maintaining a logical flow.
The hotel gets a 4.5 star rating from Trip Advisor. Only 9 reviews out of 423 were Poor/Terrible with all of the ones in the past six months related to a pricing error on its website the hotel apparently wouldn’t honor. Other negative comments were about the need for a second and larger pool, which will be addressed with the new tower.
There are three
categories of accommodations – Premier, Grand and Deluxe – which are segmented
by floor with Premier on the highest floors (33 to 36), Grand from floors 23 to
32 and Deluxe (9 to 22). While the size of the suites gets bigger in each
category, you will also find higher end finishes and appliances the higher you
go, however, even the entry level is to Ritz-Carlton standards.
While reservations are not specific to a tower, the hotel does itsbest to accommodate preferences. If you stay in the existing Ewa Tower, you will be an elevator ride to the restaurants, fitness center, spa, yoga room, adults-only infinity pool and car park. Staying in the new Diamond Head Tower means you will be convenient to the new private movie theatre, the meetings space and the family pool.
With views of
Waikiki and the Pacific Ocean, at 1,603 sq. ft., the Premier Three Bedroom
Suites includes a formal dining space for up to eight people and
gourmet kitchen, oversized lanais ranging from 206-303 sq. ft and bathrooms with
Hawaiian koa-wood millwork. There are Miele appliances including four-burner
cooktop, dishwasher and full-height refrigerator, and in-residence washer and
dryer. Theses suites are located between the 33rd and 36th floors.
views, at 1,262 sq. ft. with lanais 279-323 sq. ft, you can have seated dinners
for up to six people. In the kitchen there are Miele appliances including
four-burner cooktop, dishwasher and full-height refrigerator, and in-residence
washer and dryer. Three bathrooms each have luxury finishes. These residences
are located between the 33rd and 36th floors.
GRAND FOUR BEDROOM
OCEAN VIEW SUITE
The 2,988 sq. ft. Four
Bedroom Grand Ocean View Suites are two-story duplexes located on the 23rd and
24th floors with five bathrooms, dining for up to 10 people, living and den
areas for entertaining, and Cerused oak hardwood floors, marble bathroom
floors, walls, and countertops and natural oiled-walnut millwork. The luxury
kitchen features Miele appliances including convection oven and microwave, dishwasher
and full-height refrigerator. There is counter with seating for five you’re
your 619 sq. ft. oversized lanai offers sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean.
GRAND THREE BEDROOM OCEAN
Located on floors
23 to 32, the 1,504 sq. ft. Grand Three Bedroom Ocean Suites feature a dining
table seating up to eight, the same luxury kitchen amenities as in the four
bedroom variety and a 179 sq. ft. lanai.
GRAND SUPERIOR TWO
BEDROOM OCEAN VIEW SUITE
Also on floors 23
to 32, these suites range from 1,013 to 1,062 sq. ft with lanais from 218 to
251 sq. ft. within dining up to six people, and all the same amenities as the
larger Grand category cousins.
GRAND ONE BEDROOM
OCEAN VIEW SUITE
With similar views
and amenities on the same Grand Floors, the 813 sq. ft. Grand One Bedroom Ocean
Suites have lanais from 162 to 194 sq. ft.
3. RESTAURANTS and
The Market serves
daily breakfast, lunch and dinner menus based on selections from local
purveyors; weekend brunch and in-residence late-night dining are also offered.
Antique farm tools, reclaimed wood furniture and an earthy color palette
reflect the farm-to-table approach. A private dining room is also available.
DEAN & DELUCA
A glass display is
filled with fresh breads and pastries while shelves are lined with culinary
staples and treats. A second-floor wine bar provides ocean views. You can enjoy
a casual bite or use ingredients to prepare an in-residence meal.
With sushi master
Keiji Nakazawa at its helm, Sushi Sho is his debut restaurant location outside
of Japan. Respected for his mastery of the techniques of the ancient Edo sushi
masters, Nakazawa pairs varying temperatures of rice seasoning to more than 40
different types of fresh fish to maximize flavor. With only 10 seats, the
restaurant offers an exclusive experience featuring an omakase-style dinner
with each course selected by the chef. The restaurant is open Mondays to
Saturdays and has two seatings, at 5pm and 8pm. It’s $300 per person before
taxes, drinks and tips, and fans plan their stays around being able to secure
4. SPA and FITNESS
The spa at this
Waikiki beach resort draws from local offerings, including volcanic stones. The
ocean is framed through picture windows and from outdoor terraces. Like most
high-end spas, relaxation doesn’t come without a price, with treatments
beginning at $155 and most in the $200 range, not outrageous. You can sleep in.
The spa doesn’t open until 9:30am although it remains open to 8pm in case you
want to get a treatment after a day of fun and before dinner.
fitness center, designed by celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak includes a yoga
studio to accommodate group and private classes. Cardiovascular machines
include elliptical riders, stationary bikes and treadmills. Free weights,
machines and other strength-focused equipment are available.
With the new tower there will be two pools, including an adult and family pool. It will also mean not having to close the pool during events.
5. MEETINGS and
The resort offers
6,000 sq. ft. of indoor and outdoor event space, including a boardroom and 8th
floor terrace overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The addition of a second pool
gives the hotel the ability to use one pool for private events, and private
gardens and parks provide a multitude of event opportunities for business
meetings or family celebrations. The hotel will block up to 75 rooms for
6. VIP CONTACT