This year, we already stayed at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel and the Westin Moana Surfrider. That’s two out of three Waikiki oceanfront hotels owned by Kyo-Ya Hotels & Resorts. So, why not complete the trio and give the Sheraton Waikiki a try?
As I’ve mentioned several times before, I’ve long had a rather ridiculous goal of staying at and reviewing all of Marriott’s Waikiki hotels. Well, with the fantastic rates available to us earlier this year, that goal finally came within reach. It started with the Royal Hawaiian, continuing on with the Moana Surfrider, and now on to the Sheraton Waikiki. I’m still debating whether or not I want to review the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani since I know it’s a terrible hotel. But, at the same time, I can at least use a certificate to stay there. We’ll see, though.
Sheraton Waikiki Location
The Sheraton Waikiki is the western-most of Kyo-ya Hotel & Resorts properties. It’s sandwiched between the Royal Hawaiian to the east, the Halekulani to the east, and is set behind the Royal Hawaiian Center and the Halepuna.
Like the Royal Hawaiian, the Sheraton Waikiki’s location away from busy Kalakaua Avenue helps to minimize noise. At the same time, though, its central location makes it incredibly convenient. The hotel is within easy walking distance of most of Waikiki’s shopping and dining. It also means that, while the Sheraton Waikiki has no beach of its own, one is nearby – fronting the pool the Sheraton shares with the Royal Hawaiian.
Booking the Sheraton Waikiki
With occupancy this past spring remaining relatively low, I booked the base room type. I then applied a Suite Night Award, which ultimately cleared right when the five-day window opened. I didn’t get an upgrade to a suite, but I did receive an upgrade to a Deluxe Oceanfront King Diamond Head view room. The upgrade stuck through check-in, as you can see below.
Arrival and Check-In
My rate came with free parking, so we self-parked upon arrival. Luckily, self-parking at the Sheraton Waikiki is fairly convenient. Unlike the Royal Hawaiian and the Moana Surfrider, the parking structure is immediately adjacent to the lobby. Unfortunately, valet parking still isn’t available right now.
Now, the Sheraton Waikiki is a MASSIVE property with an equally large lobby. In fact, it is one of the largest hotels in Waikiki. So once you get to the porte-cochere, it’s a bit of a walk to the front desk itself. On the way, you’ll pass the iconic turtle sculpture that I didn’t take a picture of, as well as a bunch of shops and a sand sculpture that changes periodically.
Once we got to the front desk, there was a short line. Despite this, there was a bit of a wait. Pandemic check-in procedures cause the process to get drawn out a bit.
Our room was already ready when we arrived, so it was a simple matter of going through the necessary paperwork. Though long, the whole process was relatively painless. What’s more, the associate assisting us – all associates we interacted with here – were simply fantastic. There was a genuine warmth and friendliness here, which contrasts our Royal Hawaiian experience. It’s also interesting to see how each of these three related properties handles things so differently. Once we got through the process, though, we were presented with a large elite welcome gift and sent on our way. Oh, and room keys here come in the form of silicon wristbands reminiscent of those used at Disney World.
By the way, the single elevator bank that serves the whole resort is just past the front desk and is in front of the Sheraton Waikiki’s infinity pool and restaurants.
Sheraton Waikiki Oceanfront Room 1627
Despite the room type shown on my reservation, that’s not the room type we ultimately received. At least our room was still an ocean view one. As our room number suggests, our room was on the 16th floor – about halfway up the building. Like all standard rooms, ours clocked in at 240 sq/ft. That’s on the smaller side of what we’re used to, but they make smart use of what they’ve got.
Immediately upon entry, you’ll find the bathroom on the right (when looking into the room) and the closet system to the left.
While small, the bathrooms at the Sheraton Waikiki are at least bright and a little airy feeling. That’s a strong contrast to the tiny bathrooms at the Courtyard Waikiki. However, what I’m not a fan of is that the wall between the sink portion of the bathroom and the rest of the room isn’t solid. Instead, the wall is a bunch of wooden slats. So, if someone needs to turn on the light in this area to use the bathroom at night, you’ll definitely light up the rest of the room. That said, the rest of the bathroom is much better. Toilets are of the Toto washlet variety, while the shower/tub combo has an impressively deep tub.
Toiletries at the Sheraton Waikiki include individual bottles of Le Grand Bain shampoo, conditioner, and body lotion, bar soap, and a couple of toothbrushes with toothpaste. Nothing spectacular, but nice.
The water temperature was good, by the way. Water pressure? Meh. But that’s nothing new.
Immediately across from the bathroom are your closets and a small powder area. It’s here that you’ll find a single-serve coffee maker, an iron and ironing board, an electric hot water kettle, a decently sized safe, and a mini-fridge. There is, however, a single sliding door to cover this entire area, so one portion must always be closed, and you can have only one portion closed at a time.
Double Guest Room
You know, it wasn’t just my upgraded room type that I didn’t get. I also didn’t receive my bed type, which is normally a Marriott Bonvoy guarantee – we got a room with 2 double beds rather than a king. But, being that we were only here for one night, I decided to just roll with it. Plus, all standard rooms are virtually the same. The bed size, number of nightstands, and view are literally the only differences. Oh, and, yes, the second bed is smashed right up against the glass door.
Aside from our two double beds, our room featured a single nightstand with a phone and lamp, a single sitting chair with a floor lamp, a desk/dresser combo with another chair and lamp, and a wall-mounted large screen TV.
Interestingly, in our room, the radio/alarm clock is on the desk. I’d think that it’d be better to have the phone on the desk and the alarm clock on the nightstand, but oh well. The nightstand, at least, has a ton of power outlets on it. In fact, it has both sides of the nightstand had two standard ac outlets, two USB-A outlets, and a single USB-C outlet – future-proofed!
Also waiting for us in our room were two reusable bag-style water bottles and a single pack of disinfecting alcohol wipes.
HVAC and WiFi
Like at the Westin Moana Surfrider, the HVAC at the Sheraton Waikiki is fairly unobtrusive. What’s more, when they renovated the rooms recently, they installed the cool new controls.
WiFi at the Sheraton Waikiki is quite mediocre. I tested it a couple of times, and each time got a download speed of about 27 Mbps.
Overall, our room was nice and clean. But, even though the Sheraton Waikiki just finished a complete renovation, the floor lamp lampshade and the comforter on one of our beds had strange yellow stains on them. That was a bit disappointing.
Sheraton Waikiki Ocean Front View + Balcony
So, since we didn’t get our Diamond Head view, I’m sure you all are dying to know what kind of view we ultimately got. Well, if you look straight out, you’d see nothing but ocean. However, look a bit to the left, and you’ll see the edge of Diamond Head jutting out to the ocean, which is the Kaimana Beach area.
Perhaps better than the expansive ocean views, though, was the wildlife. Yes, Waikiki does have wildlife. And I’m not talking about the occasional monk seal here. Both days we were in our room, we saw green sea turtles feeding just offshore.
Like the rest of our room, the balconies at the Sheraton Waikiki are quite small too. In fact, the below picture is basically it. That said, we spent a lot of time out there watching the turtles!
By the way, if you look to the west/right from our balcony, you’d see more ocean and the other side of the building. Remember, the Sheraton Waikiki is not only a vaguely Y-shaped building, but each wing is curved too.
During our stay, we got a large bag of goodies at check-in – a thanks for my Titanium Elite status. In that bag were two bags of chips, a bag of mini pretzels, a box of Kauai Kookies, and a Sheraton Waikiki mug.
Around the Property
Of the three oceanfront Kyo-ya properties, the Sheraton Waikiki is, perhaps, the most amenity-filled. for example. on the lobby level, there’s a little seating area with a couple of billiards tables.
Beyond the billiards table is a small landing with a few rocking chairs – a theme with Kyo-ya – overlooking an infinity-edge koi pond with ducks!
To the right of the pond is the large family pool shared with the Royal Hawaiian. The pool is quite large for Waikiki and has one of only two slides In the area, with the other being at the Hilton Hawaiian Village.
Between the family pool and the ocean is a grassy area that boasts great views of Diamond Head.
Then, to the right/west of this grassy area is the signature adult infinity pool.
Oh and, what I thought was a bit interesting is the fact that, aside from the ground floor elevator lobby, each elevator lobby has a seating area. Also, there are only two elevator call buttons per floor despite the sheer number of elevators here.
The Sheraton Waikiki has a few restaurants. The most popular one is probably Rum Fire Waikiki, which is more of a large, oceanside bar that features live entertainment. It’s a popular hangout for both locals and visitors alike.
The Sheraton Waikiki’s primary restaurant is KAI Market. In the before times, KAI Market was primarily a dinner buffet. Today, it serves solely as a breakfast venue, which I’ll be covering a little later. Right next to KAI Market is the only dining venue that’s currently open all day – Splash Bar.
My favorite restaurant at the Sheraton Waikiki, which hasn’t reopened yet, is Hapa Pizza. Overlooking the infinity pool, Hapa Pizza has good brick oven-style pizzas.
Of course, the Sheraton does have a couple of other food venues, such as Lawson’s Station (think like a Japanese ABC Store or 7-Eleven), Cookie Corner, and an ice cream shop. There’s also a lounge, the Leahi Lounge, but that hasn’t reopened yet either. Located on the top floor of the Sheraton Waikiki, the Leahi Lounge boasts the best views in Waikiki and offers up complimentary continental breakfast and light bites in the evening.
Sheraton Waikiki, Final Thoughts
Despite a few bumps here and there, I was pleased with my overall experience at the Sheraton Waikiki. Sure, I didn’t get the room type or view I was hoping for, but I did get an oceanfront view room with early check-in and late check-out. So, yeah, no complaints here. I do wonder, though, if the early check-in and late check-out requests were the reason for the changes? If so, being given the option would’ve been nice. But, again, not a big deal at all.
Overall, I’d say that the Sheraton Waikiki might have been my favorite experience of the three Kyo-yo waterfront properties. Though, if I’m honest, I’m having a hard time deciding which is better – the Sheraton or the Moana. Let me mull that a bit more and maybe I’ll make a comparison post sometime in the future.
The Hale Koa has 2 water slides in which both are bigger than HHV and the Sheraton.
Island Miler says
True, but most people can’t stay at the Hale Koa.
George Jungle says
Why can’t most people at the Hale Koa?
Island Miler says
Hale Koa is a Armed Services Recreation Center, so you have to be in or retired from the military to stay there.
Tom Vela says
I couldn’t agree more, we’ve been going to the Sheraton Waikiki for the last 10 years. And each time we arrive, it feels like coming home. The staff is always friendly and the amenities are amazing. We’ be there in December and can’t wait.
Island Miler says
Nice! I must say, in terms of front desk service, the Sheraton was one of my better Waikiki Marriott experiences.
Hi. How did you get free parking? I am titanium elite and they told me parking is still 35.
Island Miler says
Aloha! It was included with the local resident rate I booked.
Bill Gibbs says
My wife & I stayed there a couple of times! Enjoyed it ! Great customer service’ great ocean view ‘loved sitting on the balcony enjoying a cocktail. Enjoyed the overall experience of staying there 🌈☀️🏄🏼🍍
Tami mckenzie says
I am surprised you didnt mention The Edge pool bar and their incredible ahi poke flatbread.
Island Miler says
We chose not to dine on property, instead opting for better options nearby. In my past experiences, I found the food at the Sheraton to be decent, but wildly overpriced – even for Waikiki.
How far is it really to get to the beach?? Can I just take a stroll in the morning while husband is sleeping. Trying to decide between here and Hilton Hawaiian Village. Like the Sheraton for its proximity to surrounding area but HHV seems to have it all
Island Miler says
The beach isn’t far from the Sheraton, it’s just that getting to it can be a little dicey if you take the shortest route via the beachfront walkway. The portion that leads to the beach in front of the Royal Hawaiian is severely eroded and can be dangerous depending on what the tides and surf look like at the time. Of course, you could always just walk through the Royal Hawaiian from the Sheraton – 5 to 10 minutes. The HHV definitely has one of the best beaches in Waikiki and it’s extremely convenient. That said, the rooms feel more dated and, as you’ve said, they’re far less convenient. I’m not a fan of their on-site dining options, so that’s a major consideration too. At least Sheraton has endless possibilities nearby!
Could you recommend a hotel directly on beach in same price point?
Island Miler says
Unfortunately, beachfront properties in Waikiki are at a premium regardless of price point. Under the big brands, your only other options are the Royal Hawaiian and the Westin Moana Surfrider. Outrigger has the Outrigger Reef and Outrigger Waikiki. Finally, there’s the Castle Waikiki Shore. The Halekulani has a tiny beach, but only when the tide is low enough to expose it. If, however, you’re willing to stay in a hotel that’s directly across the street from the beach, then your options are much better. You’d have Waikiki Beach Marriott, the Hyatt Regency Waikiki, and the Alohilani Resort, among others. I haven’t stayed at the Hyatt, but I’m a regular at the Marriott and did enjoy the Alohilani. I’d also choose the Westin over the Royal.
Thank you for the input, the choice of hotel is overwhelming! I am fine with staying across the street if hotel is worth it :)
Island Miler says
You’re very welcome. I’m not sure what current pricing looks like, but I’d recommend looking at the Westin Moana Surfrider first (be sure to get a tower room and always book an ocean view). The Marriott is a pretty average hotel. It won’t win any awards for comfort or features, but it’s nice enough for me. Having Sansei and DK Steakhouse on-site doesn’t hurt too ;). People rave about the Alohilani, but like the Marriott, I thought it was just ok. Some of the public spaces are awesome, but I felt like they could’ve done more with the rooms.