Hotel Review: Does the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa offer the best ocean views in Honolulu?

There’s no shortage of incredible hotels on Waikiki Beach in Honolulu – and many claim to have the best views of the iconic stretch. But does the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa take the cake? Last December, I spent a night at the hotel to find out for myself – not only discovering the incredible ocean views, but also the thought and care that has gone into every aspect of the stay at this beautiful resort. Which – it should be added – has recently undergone a massive renovation across all its 1,310 rooms. Read on!

Checking In

After arriving from a shuttle out of Honolulu International Airport (which is the best way to get to any hotel on Waikiki Beach – at least until the train to the airport finally arrives!), I was greeted by a lovely check-in team at the hotel’s front desk in the Nanea Lobby. It’s a large building with 1,310 rooms, so I’m sure there would be times of the day where you’d be met by a large queue. But with 3pm check in time, and my 1pm arrival, I was able to immediately approach the desk.

They provide each guest with a shell or flower lei on arrival, as one has come to expect from a hotel in Hawaii, and I was grateful my room was ready and they checked me in quickly. Of course, don’t count on an early check in, but it’s good to know they’ll do if when they can – as they can’t always! Check out is at 11am.

Photo provided by Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa

The lobby is spacious, and has a 60-by-20-foot carved wooden artwork, Ka Maka Hinu (The Bright Face), as its beautiful centrepiece, by local artist Kaiwi Nui Yoon. According to the hotel’s website, “the artwork is intended to reflect the love of Queen Liliuokalani, Hawaii’s last reigning monarch, for the people of her kingdom”.

The Room

From the lobby, I headed straight for my room, and I don’t know if I’ve ever had quite as loud an “Oh. My. God!” response to a space as I had to this one. Firstly, the sheer size of the space feels rare for any hotel – with so much floor space for activities. But let’s put that in context – this is a space designed with the knowledge that you’d be heading to the beach and bringing lots of wet items back with you. I’m sure many a surfboard has taken refuge in this space.

But it’s the panoramic views across two separate balconies that make this Corner King Suite one of the best rooms in the hotel. They really give you ample opportunity to soak up that view, and it’s hard to want to leave, whether you’re on the larger balcony with a chair to lay down, directly facing the water, or on the smaller west-facing balcony with its table and chairs.

The bed is comfortable, with massive pillows and plenty of charging space on either side, ensuring a good night’s rest. You’ll find the room sits at a very comfortable temperature, and the air conditioning works wonders. The L shaped lounge in the corner is also a great place to relax and watch TV at the end of the day.

Speaking of, the LG smart TV is massive, though I wish it swiveled better to face the bed – this room is BIG. Showtime is free with your stay and there’s endless channels and streaming opportunities beyond that. The work station under the TV is fantastic, with all the modern features – 1 USB-C charging port, 3 standard USB charging ports, 4 spots for AC plugs, and a light on the table.

The bathroom was split into two sections, one with a large sink, that also had the closet space, and then another room with shower, toilet and another sink. Amenities come from This Works, with some big pumps on the wall with shampoo, conditioner and shower gel. You’ll also find soaps and moisturisers in a more traditional portable, toiletry form.

Your room also has a coffee machine, with tea also available. You’ll find a hair dryer and ironing kit all in the space, a large safe and fridge, and if you need any ice there was a machine available on the same floor as my room. I was on the 20th floor of the Paoakalani Tower.

The Resort

But this is more than just a hotel room – it’s a resort – and from my beach facing balcony you could see a lot of the action happening in the main pool area.

As the sun set, a fire twirler performed with a drummer at the edge of the third floor, family friendly pool, serving as great entertainment for those down on the deck, as well as those of us with balconies above it.

The fountain area on the edge of that pool looked amazing, especially lit up at night. The Queensbreak Restaurant sits near the pool, offering a reduced menu at tables by the pool. As you walk from the pool to the restaurant’s main seating area, you’ll find a play area with games like giant connect four, foosball and shuffle board.

A stage for live music sits at the restaurant, as a duo performing covers sat on stage taking requests and playing plenty of crowd pleasing songs to the hotel guests – with lots of entertaining banter to go along with it. This made for a lovely atmosphere in an outdoor patio for cocktails, beers and plenty of island drink options.

Meals included standards like flatbreads, chicken sandwich, fish tacos – and then more “Hawaiian” items, like the Hulu Hulu chicken, the Kauai shrimp pad Thai and drunken clams.

I got the half rack of ribs – smoked with mango bbq glaze and served with citrus cole slaw and a furikake mac and potato salad. The ribs themselves were a bit overcooked for my liking, but the flavours were incredible.

Prices range from $19 (for mushroom bruschetta) to $48 (for the dry aged strip steak), which is more than reasonable for the location. Cocktails are $16 for 12oz and $26 for 20oz and offer a wide range of signature cocktails, with a focus on local spirits (Koloa white or coffee rum, Pau Vodka, Kyla Rum, Fy Organic Hawaiian Gin etc.).

Up some stairs above the restaurant, you’ll find a hot tub (that was super packed at night), a bar, and the adults pool area. There’s also a gym up there, indoors, overlooking the pool.

Of course all this only scratched the surface of what the hotel has to offer – with only one night, my ability to explore was limited. But you can read more about what the resort has to offer at their official website.

The Location

While your room views are looking west, the hotel sits on the east end of the beach, right by the pools – which makes it one of the best places for the family to go for a swim. And though you can’t see Diamond Head from the hotel – it’s just a quick walk down to the beach where you can see the iconic dormant volcano.

You’re a very short walk from the Honolulu Zoo as well as the Waikiki Shell, an outdoor Amphitheatre used for concerts and events. There’s endless shopping and food options in walking distance – Waikiki is a very walkable, tourist driven stretch. If you’re in the mood for a quality burger, check out Teddy’s Bigger Burgers around the corner, it’s long been one of my favourite spots in the city. And there’s even a Gelatissimo up the road, if you are craving a taste of Australia.

If you’re looking for a convenience store that also sells a lot of tourist items, the ABC Stores (no relation to the American or Australian TV networks) are everywhere – including in the hotel’s building. More substantial markets can be found on the west end of the beach.

And after a long day of exploring the surrounding area, and hopefully fitting in a swim at the beach or in their pool, you’ll still be able to enjoy that view. Even in the darkness, the moonlight and sounds of the crashing waves are a perfect way to end your day in Honolulu.

Final Verdict

Hand to heart, this is one of the best views of a beach I’ve ever enjoyed at a hotel. Sure, there are plenty of hotels on the strip of Waikiki Beach, and all of them offer their share of unique attractions and views – it would be hard to argue that any view of Waikiki is anything but a beautiful treat. But they have gone above and beyond at this hotel to ensure that – if you’re willing to pay for the right room – and don’t mind missing out on a view of the iconic Diamond Head – you’ll be hard pressed to find a more expansive beach view than this.

And the recent renovations ensure that you have every creature comfort you could need – as well as seemingly endless room in your space. And maybe I was there on a quieter night, but you would never have known that this hotel has over a thousand rooms. Great food, great service, incredible views – what more do you need?


To book your next stay at the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa, head to their official website.

Hotel Address: 2552 Kalākaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815, USA
Phone Number: +1 808-922-6611

All listed prices were correct in December 2022, and in US$. The author travelled to Honolulu at his own expense, and stayed as a guest of the hotel for one night in December 2022. All photos by the author unless otherwise credited. 

Larry Heath

Founding Editor and Publisher of the AU review. Currently based in Toronto, Canada. You can follow him on Twitter @larry_heath or on Instagram @larryheath.