Although Waikiki, which means "spouting water" in Hawaiian, boasts one of the most-visited city-side beaches in the world, visitors staying at area hotels -- even the skyscrapers -- will find most hotels also have swimming pools of varying sizes to give travelers the privacy and quiet that might be lacking at the beach. Most offer poolside beverage and food service.
The Queen Kapiolani Hotel
Situated near the corner of busy Kapahulu and Kalakaua avenues, the Queen Kapiolani Hotel offers a convenient location across from attractions including Kapiolani Regional Park, the Waikiki Aquarium and the Honolulu Zoo. About two blocks from bustling Waikiki Beach, the Queen Kap, as it is affectionately known to locals, has a pool deck with adjoining cafe that serves simple sandwiches and soda. Guests can enjoy the pool and then walk to town for sushi, casual dining at Lulu's (right on the corner, fronting the ocean) or shopping at surf shops or designer boutiques.
Hawaii Prince Hotel Waikiki & Golf Club
The Hawaii Prince Hotel Waikiki features all-oceanfront rooms with peaceful views of the Ala Wai Yacht Harbor. About one block from the busy international Ala Moana Shopping Center, the Prince offers a pool and hot tub on the fifth floor, along with a beverage bar where you can purchase sodas, alcohol and even shaved ice. Within about 10 minutes from Waikiki's main drag, the Prince has a lobby that looks a bit dated as of October 2010 but the hotel nonetheless features unblocked views, comfortable beds, bathrobes in every room and one of the better Waikiki locations for guests interested in shopping.
Maile Sky Court Waikiki
Although it is many blocks from Waikiki Beach and a bit on the outer range of the tourist area, the Maile Sky Court provides an affordable alternative for guests wanting to stay in Waikiki for a reasonable rate. The inviting solarium pool and hot tub deck make up for the hotel's distance to the beach and shopping. The property is in good condition, although the very top floor rooms were once smoking rooms and still bear the faint trace of tobacco. A decent lobby restaurant, Vit's Hawaiian Steakhouse, and excellent staff hospitality make this Waikiki skyscraper experience one worth considering, especially for the budget-minded.
The Royal Hawaiian Hotel
The Royal Hawaiian Hotel, with its iconic architecture dating from the 1920s, recalls the era when the only way to get to Honolulu was via Matson steamer and no other hotels higher than a coco palm blighted the landscape. Right on the beach, the hotel's pool area is famous for the adjacent presence of the noteworthy Mai Tai Bar, where one can order a signature mai tai at sunset. The hotel's 2009 renovations were spearheaded by famed island designer Mary Phillpotts, who updated the look with new furnishings, carpets and artworks. A long walk through the gracious lobby takes you by an eclectic assortment of posh shops.
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