A Wonderful Compromise – Review: Hyatt Centric Waikiki Beach

READ MORE FROM THIS TRIP

Introduction: Dream Trip for My Wife (and daughter) To Hawaii
Review: Delta Airlines 767-400 (Business Class)
Review: Delta Sky Club Lounge (Detroit)
• Review: Hyatt Centric (Honolulu)
• Review: Experience Flying SWA Inter-Island (HNL-OGG)
• Review: Fairmont Kea Lani (Maui)
• Review: Experience Flying SWA Using Companion Pass (OGG-ATL)
• Review: Hyatt Centric (Honolulu)
• Review: Experience Flying SWA Inter-Island (HNL-OGG)
• Review: Fairmont Kea Lani (Maui)
• Review: Experience Flying SWA Using Companion Pass (OGG-ATL)

After arriving at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) from Detroit on Delta’s 767-400, we headed directly to the ride share pick-up area to catch our uber.

It wasn’t long before I remembered why I was not a fan of this island when I came many years ago. Traffic was horrible on the main highway (H1) to Waikiki. It took us nearly an hour to drive 9 miles to the hotel. If possible, I strongly urge you not to depart HNL (at least, in the direction of Waikiki) at rush hour.

Interestingly, the uber driver said that traffic “wasn’t bad” and that it would be “really bad next week as it is the first week of school.” Ouch.

BOOKING

Part of my motivation for choosing this hotel was:

  • Past Experience with Hyatt Centric: We loved our stay at Hyatt Centric (Miami Beach) a few weeks ago.
  • Location: The Hyatt is just a few blocks from Hawaii’s famous Waikiki beach and NOT in the middle of all the action.
  • Price: Although we used points to stay here (completely free) the cash price was a bit outside the budget (~$300+/nt). I knew from prior experience that finding a great hotel in Oahu could be quite the challenge. In my opinion, even the higher-end chain resorts tend to look tired (both, inside and out). Additionally, depending on when you’re visiting, base rates for a hotel room can skyrocket.

Important Note: Our Hyatt Centric experience began a week before we arrived at the hotel. I received an email from the Manager, that welcomed us to the HC and requested if there was anything they could do to make our trip more enjoyable, to let them know. I simply replied “my wife and I are looking forward to celebrating a great week in Honolulu. We’ll see you soon.”

Once we arrived at the the hotel, we were directed by the valet attendants to take the elevator to the 8th floor lobby. As you enter the physical building you’ll notice a Starbucks Reserve (a very fancy Starbucks) on the ground floor and an elevator that will take you to the lobby level.

The lobby was spacious with plenty of seating.

Hyatt Centric Reception
Hyatt Centric Lobby
Hyatt Centric Lobby

An associate welcomed us and offered us a glass of pineapple juice. She thanked me for my Hyatt loyalty and then said “I remember your email and we’re so glad that you and your wife are staying with us. Who is this cutie (referring to my daughter)?” And then stepped from behind the desk and placed a Hawaiian lei around our neck.

We were also informed that there was a daily “Resort Fee of $37.94” that would be added to the rate. Fortunately, I had redeemed points for our stay and one great aspect of redeeming points at Hyatt properties is that you do not have to pay resort fees when redeeming points.

Pineapple juice – Sorry, I started drinking before I took the photo
Hyatt Centric Hawaiian Lei

Within minutes we had our keys in-hand and ready for Hawaii.

Hyatt Centric Key

On the lobby level, you will also find access to most of the hotel amenities (e.g. fitness center, pool/sun deck, and restaurant,).

AMENITIES

The fitness center was small. The equipment appeared new and included free weights and a few cardiovascular machines. In the corner, there was also a filtration station.

Hyatt Centric Fitness Center
Hyatt Centric Fitness Center
Hyatt Centric Filtration Station

Outside the fitness center is a shallow wading pool and hot tub with approximately two dozen chairs surrounding it. On Sunday afternoon, there was a “social hour” and pool party that included a DJ, however, during the few days that we stayed at the HC, the pool was generally not busy.

Hyatt Centric Pool

Three cabanas were available for use but, generally, were not occupied.

Hyatt Centric Cabanas

You will find a restaurant (and bar) called “The Lanai” next to the pool. It’s not “fancy” but may be worth the convenience.

Hyatt Centric Restaurant – The Lanai
Hyatt Centric Restaurant – The Lanai

Breakfast in “The Lanai” have, both, an a la carte menu and buffet.

The first morning I visited the restaurant and was able to snag a photo of the menu options. Frankly, I thought the buffet was underwhelming so we ventured into various neighborhood restaurants during our stay.

Hyatt Centric Lobby – The Lanai Breakfast Menu

There is also a full-service bar that offers beer, wine, and cocktails in the lobby.

HYATT CENTRIC KING ROOM DELUXE

Our room was very spacious. Although the shades are closed, after we took pictures we gladly opened them to allow the warm natural light spill through the floor-to-ceiling windows.

I would not expect balloons in your room if you stay at this hotel but I appreciate the small touches because it lets me know that the staff went out of their way to actually do it. But my theory is management thought my wife and I were celebrating…something because of my poorly worded email. Or, perhaps, we received someone else’s honeymoon suite by mistake?

The king bed was very comfortable, with both hard and soft pillows

On the work desk, you will notice two orange water bottles. The hotel provides these reusable water bottles and a note detailing the locations to refill them. They are included in the “resort fee” and are yours to keep.

I found the desk very interesting because it “expanded” and was extremely functional if you need additional space to work.

The bathroom was adequate but I was somewhat disappointed because I know that some rooms have exotic Toto toilets and bathtubs. If you’ve never used these before, google it. They are amazing!

Anyway, our room just had a standard toilet and shower.

Typically, Hyatt Centric features BeeKind Products but this HC featured its own Hyatt products.

I thought the floral wallpaper inside the toilet area was an interesting choice. They were going for a Hawaiian…jungle…theme, perhaps?

One aspect that I found intriguing was the fact that you could draw the shower shade from INSIDE the bedroom. However, I’m not sure how to address this concern because it wouldn’t make sense to put the draw string INSIDE the shower.

The closet included a small, empty fridge. I did not mind, given that I’ve almost never splurged on mini-bar items. The closet also included a Keurig coffee machine, an ice bucket, large safe, additional pillows and storage.

I appreciated the power plugs and USB ports built into the nightstand. You can never have enough charging stations.

RESORT FEE

I know a lot of people strongly dislike resort fees (me included) and avoid hotels that charge them. However, even with the resort fee, the Hyatt Centric is one of the more affordable hotel options in Waikiki. This list is not all-inclusive but according to the the website, the fee included some interesting amenities that I took advantage of including:

  • Pool (& Beach) towels, blankets, toys, and large umbrellas
  • Beach Chairs
  • Hawaiian Welcome drink (offered upon check-in)
  • Two gifted logo’d sports bottles
  • Filtration Stations
  • Go-Pro Camera
  • Cultural Hour. Four nights a week guests are offered uniquely local experiences

Yup, you read that correctly! You can rent a Go Pro at anytime during your stay…so I did. It’s the first time I’ve ever used one and I enjoyed it. Everthing that is in BOLD, I was able to take advantage of. Unfortunately, I was unable to take advantage of the cultural experiences.

As I mentioned before there is a Starbucks next door but the hotel has a door on the ground floor with direct access. Additionally, there is a Jamba Juice, literally, 20 feet from the front door of the hotel if you’re searching for something different.

LOCATION

While the Hyatt Centric Waikiki Beach has “beach” in its full name, it is by no means on the beach. It’s actually a few blocks (5 to 10 minute walk) from the beach.

FINAL STAMP

Waikiki is not my favorite place to be in Hawaii. Having said that, if you enjoy the hustle and bustle of a touristy-feeling city with plenty of high-end retail shops and chain restaurants, this is your place.

So on a scale of 1-10…

  • Location Score – 9 – I chose this location because it was located a few blocks away from the über-touristy beachfront neighborhood of Waikiki which was ideal.
  • Check-In Score – 9 – As I mentioned before, “check-in” started days before I arrived at the hotel and the personal attention spoke volumes.  
  • Service Score – 8 – The attendants at the valet stand / front door weren’t warm and inviting. But we requested a crib at check-in and room service was already standing at our door with the crib when we arrived at the room.
  • Vibe Score – 9 – This hotel was fun, comfortable, and had a laid-back vibe.
  • Restaurant / Food Score – n/a – It’s difficult to provide a score because, admittedly, we ventured to neighboring restaurants during our stay.
  • Amenities Score – 9 – An outdoor pool, complimentary wifi, beach chair rentals, umbrella, Go Pro…everything I really needed for a family stay.
  • Check-Out Score – 10 – Checkout was fast and efficient. It was unfortunate because I enjoyed my stay.

Overall, I would give the Hyatt Centric a 9!

The challenge that I have with Waikiki (and Oahu in general) is there is A LOT of hotel demand but everything is dated and old. And hotels have no incentive to update anything because of the level of demand.

There are so many beautiful places to stay in Hawaii that are relaxing and serene, however, this part of Waikiki is not one of them, so it boggles my mind that people go to this area to “vacation.”

If I had to stay in Waikiki, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the Hyatt Centric as I had a great time but I’m not a fan of Waikiki.

Have you ever stayed at the Hyatt Centric (Waikiki)? If so, what was your experience? What is your favorite hotel inWaikiki?

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