It's a bit hard to review a hotel or resort that is in the process of renovation. In fairness you can only review that which you can see and at the same time try to envision what things will look like once all of the work is completed.
On my September 2008 trip to Oahu I stayed at the Outrigger Reef on the Beach. The hotel is in the final months of a lengthy and extensive $110 million top-to-bottom renovation that involves almost every aspect of the hotel.
At the time of my visit, all rooms in the Ocean tower had been completed as had the porte cochere, seated reception and most of the lobby. The hotels two main restaurants, The Ocean House and the Shore Bird Restaurant & Beach Bar are also open.
The pool deck and adjoining restaurant, spa and some of the rooms in the Pacific Tower will be completed by early 2009.
Let's take a closer look at the hotel itself and the results of the renovation so far.
You can't ask for a better location than that of the Outrigger Reef on the Beach. This location was not always so ideal especially in the latter years of the last century when the Lewers Street area was in serious decline. With the opening of the Waikiki Beachwalk development, however, this area has become the hot spot in Waikiki with great shopping and great restaurants and nightlife.
The hotel is located on a narrow stretch of beach within feet of the Waikiki Beachwalk, next to the prestigious Halekulani Hotel, and across the street from the new Embassy Suites®-Waikiki Beach Walk® and the Trump International Hotel and Tower which is still under construction.
In short, the Outrigger Reef on the Beach is perfectly located in the newest and most exciting area of Waikiki.
Porte Cochere and Lobby Areas
Traffic Patterns around the Outrigger Reef on the Beach are confusing. In order to reach the resort you need to make a right from Kalakaua onto Lewers Street and then a right onto Kalia Road. The hotel will be on your left almost immediately.
Check-in is quite a simple process. All parking is valet parking, but you won't have to wait long to get your car. All vehicles are parking in an adjoining underground garage. During my stay I found the bell and valet service fast, friendly and efficient. You can't ask for more.
One of the products on the renovation is the new seated reception area which is both comfortable and restful, and aesthetically pleasing with a backdrop of beautiful paintings by renowned Hawaiian artist Herb Kane. The new welcoming Anuhea Service including a refreshing cool towel at check-in and a complimentary bottle of water in-room upon arrival.
Adjoining the reception area is a large new sitting room with a library of Hawaiian literary works and showcases of curator-managed artifacts courtesy of the Bishop Museum, the State Museum of Cultural and Natural History.
From the reception area it's just a short walk to the elevators to the guest rooms. The Outrigger Reef's elevators all now require a card key to select a floor number. It's an excellent security feature that you'll find at most of the newer hotels.
Easily the highlight of the renovation is the new guest rooms. This extensive renovation involved creating two guest rooms out of what were previously three rooms. This has resulting in much larger and more comfortable rooms ranging in size from the 240 sq. ft Moderate Category rooms to the 405 sq. ft. Oceanfront rooms. The suites, of which there are many, range in size from 729 sq. ft. to the large 1 Bedroom Oceanfront Suite which has 1008 sq. ft.
The rooms all offer a tasteful blend of contemporary and cultural décor including such modern amenities as blackout drapes, 32" flat-panel LCD televisions, free long-distance telephone calls within Hawaii and to North America, complimentary in-room safe, empty mini-refrigerator and free high-speed Internet access. Stunning undersea photography, full-sized tubs, spacious new vanity with lighted cosmetic mirror and made-in-Hawaii bath amenities are included in every room.
You'll note that many of the amenities for which resorts often charge a mandatory "resort fee" are free at the Outrigger Reef.
The suites offer even more amenities including bathrobes/slippers, turndown service and upgraded bath amenities. The largest 1 Bedroom Oceanfront Suites offer themed decor, two televisions, a dining area, a large living room area, huge whirlpool tub and giant walk-in shower.
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