Aloha friends! Yes, I am still imagining we are in Hawaii even though we’ve been home for almost two weeks! This year, in honor of our 20 year wedding anniversary and my son’s 8th grade graduation, we chose Oahu and Maui for our family vacation. It’s a big year for all of us so why not take a big vacation?!! Since we live on the east coast, a trip to Hawaii really has to be saved for a special occasion.
I will give you a full trip report with details on all our activities in another post. For now, I will start with the fabulous hotel we stayed in during our 3 nights in Oahu…the classic, Westin Moana Surfrider Hotel in Waikiki…
I had been wanting to stay at this hotel for years. Since my husband travels frequently, he has accumulated a bunch of Starwood/Westin points so it didn’t take much to convince him to book this hotel. A win-win for everyone! With his Starwood status, we are able to upgrade rooms, obtain later check-out times and use the club lounges in the hotels we stay in, along with other nice perks. Not all the Starwood resort hotels have a lounge but luckily the Surfrider does. Because of their location, I imagine they cater to the business crowd as well. Each day in their “Beach Club Lounge”, they provided a wonderful continental buffet breakfast, an afternoon appetizer hour and snacks, all with a gorgeous view of Waikiki beach!
Besides those Starwood perks, so many other things made our stay memorable…
What I Loved About the Moana Surfrider Hotel:
There is no denying that the hotel is a beauty! Known as the “first lady of Waikiki”, the classic architecture dates back to 1901 when they opened their doors.
I wanted to just stand around and take pictures all day. The hotel was that pretty.
And since I have a thing for hotels with rocking chairs, I was thrilled to see these! I made sure I found plenty of reasons to sit in them. These chairs overlook the street and the valet area so they make a great place for people watching.
I also have a thing for pretty stairs so this staircase really caught my eye. Apparently, I am not the only one because it seemed like every time we walked by, someone was shooting wedding pictures there. I also love the beadboard, the black and white surfing photos, the lantern…I could go on on and on…
The stairs led up to a landing area where you could take a self-guided tour of the historical memorabilia from the hotel’s earlier years. So charming.
With the bustling city street on one side and the beautiful water of Waikiki Beach on the other, the location was just perfect. We rented a car at the airport but we didn’t even use it the whole time we were there. Everything was so close by and on the day we went to Pearl Harbor, the tour company bus picked us up.
On our first afternoon, I took this photo looking out over the valet area so you can see how the hotel is centrally located. We were sitting in the big cushy chairs on upper lanai. It was hard to stay awake that first day after our long flight from the east coast and the soft chairs didn’t make it any easier.
Somehow, the back patio and Beach Bar managed to feel like worlds away from the city streets.
Their famous Banyan Tree shades the Beach Bar area and has been here since the beginning.
We had to be tourists and pose in front of it with our leis. At this point, we were messy and delirious from our long flight.
Pool and Beach
The beautiful pool is situated just steps away from famous Waikiki Beach which made it easy to bounce back and forth between the two. When we arrived on our first afternoon we didn’t have any problems finding a chair.
Selected lounge chairs and umbrellas were available for rent but because we had so many activities planned each day, we didn’t bother reserving any. It worked out fine because there were usually people coming and going so we always had somewhere to sit.
The pool closed at 6:00 p.m. as things quieted down for the gorgeous sunsets!
On the day we arrived, the beach was a little crowded so we considered reserving lounge chairs with umbrellas for the next day. Unfortunately, the only ones they had available were set way back from the water…plus I think they were around $50 for the day. I am glad we didn’t bother because we discovered you could rent just the beach chairs for much less and you could place them anywhere along the beach. Like I said, we bounced back and forth from the pool to the beach anyway. My boys don’t sit still for long!
The water along Waikiki beach was gorgeous and we loved watching the surfers out in the waves each day.
And like most hotels situated on Waikiki Beach, we had the perfect view of Diamond Head in the distance.
Restaurants and Entertainment
In addition to a few local restaurants, we ended up having some of our meals at the hotel. As mentioned above, we took advantage of the Beach House Lounge each day for breakfast and we enjoyed a delicious beach side lunch at the Beach Bar.
Each day, musicians would perform soothing Hawaiian music at the Beach Bar. The live music added such a lovely ambiance to the outdoor area and had me thinking that it was exactly what a Hawaiian vacation should feel like.
And what’s a vacation without a few indulgences? The convenience of the poolside Surfrider Cafe allowed us to grab a few treats during the day. The kids got pretty comfortable just charging things to the room! Ahh, vacation!
For our last dinner, we decided to check out the hotel restaurant, the Beachhouse. I had read mixed reviews on it but we were so glad we tried it. Our dinner was incredible and its beachside setting was just perfect.
Service and Cleanliness
Not only is the Moana Surfrider Hotel classic and beautiful, but the upkeep on the hotel is impeccable. All the finishes are updated and everything was spotless. One afternoon, I had a massage in their luxurious Moana Lani Spa and was so impressed with their services and attention to every detail. I only wish I had taken a picture of the spectacular view from the windows overlooking the beach!
(This photo shows the second floor spa from the outside)
From the minute we arrived and checked in, we felt welcome and were treated with professionalism from every member of the staff. Obviously, the hotel is managed very well and they pay very close attention to the needs of their guests. I guess that’s why the Moana Surfrider has stood the test of time!
The only regret I have about our stay at the Moana Surfrider was that we didn’t stay longer!
I don’t remember loving Oahu this much on our first trip to Hawaii twenty years ago, then again we didn’t stay at the Moana last time!
If you want to learn more about this lovely hotel, visit their website – Moana Surfrider. Be sure to check out the photos of their amazing spa. As I said, I wish I took some photos during the day I had my massage but I guess I was distracted from all the pampering!
In my next post, I will share all the places we visited during our time in Oahu. Then it’s off to Maui for the second leg of our trip!
Have you ever traveled to the Hawaiian islands?
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