Hotel Review: Hyatt Regency Waikiki (with Oceanfront Suite Upgrade)

REVIEW OVERVIEW

Location
Amenities
Room
Service

Quick Take

My wife and I really liked this property. The location is fantastic, and the view from our room couldn't be beat. The check-in experience was a bit disorganized, but we loved the lounge access, the hotel features, and our overall experience. I definitely recommend this property.
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Hotel Review: Hyatt Regency Waikiki (with Oceanfront Suite Upgrade)

Hotel Review: Hyatt Regency Waikiki (with Oceanfront Suite Upgrade)

My wife and I recently stayed at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki, and it was great. Let’s state that right away. There are a few things that could be improved, but the hotel overall has a lot of strong positives. Let’s take a look at our stay to learn more about the location, amenities, staff, and our upgraded room.

How We Booked

The Hyatt Regency Waikiki is a category 5 hotel, so it costs 20,000 points during standard pricing. It’s 17,000 points during off-peak periods and 23,000 points during peak periods.

Since this is a category 5 property, it’s out of reach for category 1-4 free night awards you can get from your Hyatt credit card or the Brand Explorer perk. However, I had a category 1-7 free night award as a milestone award from staying 60 nights with Hyatt last year.

Even though this is just a category 5 property, and I had dreamed of really maxing out this category 1-7 free night award, we went to Hawaii at the last minute. I couldn’t find availability for any Hyatt property on any other islands during our trip, so we decided to scrap plans for Maui, and our new plan included a night here before going to the big island. Plus, this award was set to expire in April 2022.

The standard room rate for World of Hyatt members was $234 during our stay. This is for a “1 king bed, city view” room. Ocean view rooms cost $306, while oceanfront rooms with club access cost $414. Suites cost $630 (1 king bed family ocean suite), $720 (Penthouse suite), or $1,000+ (Ambassador and Presidential suites).

We were upgraded to a “1 king bed family ocean suite”. My redemption value on a free night worth 40,000 points is not great against the standard room rate: 0.6¢. Against the 20,000 points if you pay that way, it’s a value of 1.2¢. However, we were happy to save the $234 and got outsized value from our upgrade.

Resort Fee

Note that there is a daily resort fee of $49.55 per room. Since we were on an award stay, this was waived. It’s also waived on cash stays for Globalist members.

RELATED: Resort Fees On Award Stays – Which Hotels Charge Them?

View of people walking on Kalakaua Ave in Waikiki as seen from the Hyatt Regency lobby

Location of Hyatt Regency Waikiki

The Hyatt Regency Waikiki Resort and Spa is located right on Kalakaua Avenue, the main shopping street in Waikiki, and has direct views to Waikiki Beach. In fact, from our room’s balcony, we could look down at the famous status of Duke Paoa Kahanamoku on the beach.

Pointing at the Duke Paoa Kahanamoku statue from the balcony in our room

The Hyatt Regency is also located near numerous restaurants, shops, stores, and bus stops in Waikiki. It’s a block away from the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani (review here), which we stayed at the previous three nights. The location puts the Hyatt Regency within walking distance to numerous attractions and stops for the hop on / hop off bus. Because of the centralized location, we didn’t see the need for a rental car during our stay.

RELATED: How to Visit Oahu Without a Rental Car

Prior to Arrival

Four days before check-in, I received an email from the Executive Assistant to the General Manager/VIP Relations thanking me for being a Globalist member and providing updates on the latest Covid requirements for travel to Hawaii. The email also included information about activities and amenities at the hotel and a form letter from the hotel manager to all guests.

Before receiving this email, I had already contacted my Hyatt Concierge to ask her to reach out to the hotel. Since we were going to Hawaii to celebrate my wife’s new job, I asked each hotel in advance to ask them to put a note in the room congratulating her. (Spoiler alert: 1 of 3 hotels managed to successfully do this) My concierge corresponded with the hotel to set this up.

Check-In

View of main entrance to Hyatt Regency Waikiki with people coming toward the exit

We arrived on foot, since we were coming from another hotel a block away. While there are multiple entrances to the ground-floor lobby/atrium, we went around to the main entrance, since we weren’t sure exactly where the lobby is located.

Photo of escalator going up and sign toward the check-in area

It’s a good thing we went this way, since the lobby is actually on the 2nd floor and requires following multiple signs to get there. Go up the escalator first.

Signage pointing toward the lobby / check-in area at Hyatt Regency Waikiki

Hang a left here to go to the check-in area on the 2nd floor.

View of check-in area in the lobby

When we arrived in the lobby to check in, there was a big line. I came back to take this picture later, so I wouldn’t be taking a picture of strangers’ faces. I counted 5 families in line to check in. Luckily, there is a separate line for World of Hyatt elites on the left. I went there and was the only person in line.

A friendly agent called me over to help us check in and requested our IDs and proof of exemption from quarantine. We provided our green checkmarks from the Hawaii Safe Travels program and proof of vaccination.

While I was checking in, my wife went to look around the giant atrium/shops/lobby area. I took this opportunity to ask about the “congratulations” note I’d requested and also asked about upgrades. The woman at the front desk had no clue about the note, and it seems like this request had disappeared into a Black Hole. She didn’t see anything about it in the computer, so I just let it go. Oh well.

Waiting for our room

The friendly woman at the desk said two suites were available for upgrade, but she needed to find out if they had been cleaned yet. She asked us to sit down and wait on some benches nearby. We took the opportunity to scope out the surroundings.

There’s a really nice waterfall and pond in the big, open atrium in the center of the hotel, located between the two towers of guest rooms.

We also watched people setting up for the twice-weekly farmers market. This happens Mondays and Wednesdays inside the hotel atrium from 4pm-8pm.

Once she was ready, the woman from the front desk found us waiting in the area she had indicated. She presented our guest keys and walked us through some information about the farmers market, Regency Club access, amenities, and our room.

While the check-in was a bit slow, the final outcome left us happy. We got an upgrade to an oceanfront suite on the 34th floor of the Diamond Head Tower.

Hyatt Regency Waikiki Amenities and Public Areas

The hotel has a lot to offer, and I want to highlight these.

What’s Included with the Resort Fee?

Photo of welcome information, part of which includes the items covered by the resort fee at Hyatt Regency Waikiki

So, what do you get for that $49.55 daily resort fee charged to each room?

  • Premium WiFi in guestrooms and public areas
  • Two re-usable souvenir Hyatt water bottles (with water stations located on each floor)
  • One re-usable Hyatt Regency Waikiki tote bag
  • Biki Bike bicycle ride sharing service ($4 per person credit, two people maximum, one-time credit)
  • Delicious frozen treats provided poolside
  • Discounted surfing lessons and rental of beach equipment from Billabong
  • Resort interactive cultural activities (lei making, hula lessons, ukelele lessons, by appointment only)
  • Stayfit Gym access
  • GoPro usage
  • Use of beach amenities and chairs
  • Use of beach toys for children
  • Chromecast service for in-room television viewing
  • House slippers and personal amenity items pre-set in guest room
  • In-room coffee and tea
  • Long distance and international calls – up to 60 minutes per day
  • Unlimited local and 1-800 telephone calls

Photo of Hyatt Regency Waikiki reusable water bottles

Thoughts on Resort Fee Amenities

I think some of these could be great amenities–if you want them. You can use a GoPro for free, free beach chairs and toys for kids, popsicles by the pool, and the ability to connect your Chromecast to the room TV. Cool. Having these if you want them is awesome. Paying for things you don’t care about is how hotels make money on breakage.

Other items are ridiculous to charge customers for: in-room coffee and tea (many budget hotels provide these for free), cultural activities (people can sign up and pay if really interested), and then there’s the laughable stuff like having the robe sitting in my room when I arrive.

I also have to point out that the fee includes my having the ability to book a discounted price on something. Glad I didn’t have to pay this resort fee, because it’s more silly than useful.

Pool, Gym & Spa

We didn’t visit any of these, since we stayed only one night. The pool area was quite popular, though, since we could see it from the balcony of our room. The pool is located on the 3rd floor overhang, above shops on the ground floor and near the overhang which provides space for the Regency Club.

Water Stations

Photo of water station near the elevator, so you can fill up water bottles with drinking water at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki

While a benefit of World of Hyatt membership is free daily bottled water, I prefer the approach the Hyatt Regency Waikiki is using. Each room had reusable water bottles (covered by the resort fee) and water stations around the property, near elevators. You can use these to fill up or fill up from the tap in your sink.

Parking

Photo of parking information at the hotel

There is parking available in a garage across the street from the main entrance. Valet parking is $60/day, while self-parking is $50/day. Ouch.

Restaurants

There are several restaurants: SHOR (breakfast), SWIM (poolside bar, with light meals), Furusato Sushi, Kai Coffee, Kirin (Chinese + dim sum), and Tucker & Bevvy (salads, sandwiches, smoothies, and açaí bowls.

Regency Club

Photo of Regency Club information at Hyatt Regency Waikiki

When staying in a room with Club Access or if you are a Globalist, you can access the Regency Club. At the Hyatt Regency Waikiki, this is on the 3rd floor, behind the SHOR restaurant.

Photo of entrance door to Regency Club at Hyatt Regency Waikiki

Using your room key, you can tap to enter. Since we arrived in the afternoon, we went to check out the afternoon snacks.

There wasn’t much available during snack time. There are bags of gummies, some pieces of fruit, and drinks.

The outdoor area is where it’s at. This area sits on the 3rd floor above Kalakaua Avenue and has views right over to Waikiki Beach. It was super empty in the afternoon but packed during breakfast.

Elevators in the Diamond Head Tower

I really liked these elevators. The insides are super cool.

They have a wood shack / grass hut motif. My wife and I both said “wow” when we walked in. Props to the person who had this idea.

Our Room – Suite on 34th Floor of Diamond Head Tower

We stayed in a “1 king bed family ocean suite” at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki. This family suite comes in the form of two rooms with separate entrances. Thus, we had rooms 3459 and 3460.

34th Floor, Diamond Head Tower at Hyatt Regency Waikiki

Photo of empty waiting area near elevators with sparse decorations, no people on the 34th floor of the Hyatt Regency Waikiki

While the elevators and the downstairs waiting area had a great vibe, the waiting area near the elevators on the 34th floor has…pretty much nothing.

The layout of the guest rooms on the 34th floor is an octagon.

Photo of emergency exit map on the back of our hotel room door, showing the layout of the 34th floor

From the map, you see that our room entrance was exactly opposite the elevators, with the stairwell in the middle. We could go left then right or right then left to get from the elevators to our room.

Photo of small room with ice machine and sign saying "ice" outside the door

There is also a small room with an ice machine near the elevators.

Family Ocean Suite, 1 King Bed

The Family Ocean Suite has two options: 1 king bed or 2 queen beds. The setup for either is comprised of a master room and a 2nd room with a Murphy bed and living room.

The two rooms are joined by connecting doors, and each room has its own entrance to the hallway.

Photo from entrance to guest room, showing furniture and layout

Master Room

The master room has a spacious layout. Along the wall on the right, there’s a large desk with a chair, then a dresser/cabinet under a TV on the wall.

There’s a mini fridge, coffee supplies, and a small safe inside part of the dresser. On top of the phone, there’s a phone and multiple outlets for your devices.

Photo of artwork and clock without numbers on the wall above a lamp

We really liked the minimal approach to the artwork and clock on the wall. Attractive, not huge, and adds to the room without creating an eyesore. I liked the clock style a lot.

The bed was really nice. It was comfortable, and the sheets were great. Pillows were mediocre but not as bad as other places we’ve stayed recently. They didn’t disappear into nothing when you put your head on them.

Each side of the bed had a night stand with USB and power outlets for your devices, plus a lamp and an alarm clock.

Bathroom in Master Bedroom

Photo of sink and toilet area in our hotel room bathroom at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki

I wouldn’t classify the bathroom as “big”, but it also wasn’t cramped. When you first walk in, you pass the shower on the way to the sink and then the toilet. Interestingly, there is one light switch for the shower/closet area, and then there’s another next to the sink for the sink/toilet area.

The sink was not large, and I was a bit surprised that there wasn’t more counter space. However, it was sufficient and came with the standard toiletries. Above the sink, there’s a large mirror, while a makeup mirror sits on a stand on the counter. Under the sink, there are spare towels and a hairdryer.

The toilet has a built-in warming system to avoid cold seats and spry that is controlled by the remote control on the wall.

Photo of the shower in our guest room at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki

The shower isn’t anything special. It has an overhead or hand-held option, plus a tub option. It feels similar to what you would get at a basic hotel along the highway. However, it worked as expected and had good pressure.

Photo of the closet area with spare pillows, iron + ironing board, and luggage rack inside. The closet doors are open.

Next to the shower but inside the bathroom area, there is a closet. It has hangers, a spre pillow, luggage rack, and an iron and ironing board.

2nd Room / Living Room

Photo of a hotel room showing a sofa on one side, TV with dresser on the other side, part of a bed at the bottom of the frame and a glass door to a balcony on the far side

The other side of our Family Ocean Suite at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki provided a great area for sitting around. Since we stayed only one night, we decided to not use this space, so housekeeping wouldn’t need to clean it. Staying longer, I would absolutely hang out / work on this side and sleep on the other side.

There’s a large L-shaped sofa and glass coffee table on the one side of the doors to the balcony. A small chair flanks the other side of the doors.

Photo shows the Murphy bed on the left side, a nightstand in the middle, and a dresser with TV above it on the right side

Across from the L-shaped sofa, there is a dresser that matches the one in the master room and a TV above it. Next to that is a night stand with drawers, phone, and a lamp.

The bed in this room is a full-sized Murphy bed. I felt like the bed blocks the path from the master room a bit and tried to put it up into the wall. Photo of a hand holding up the Murphy bed, which won't close properly in our suite at Hyatt Regency Waikiki

When I tried to put the Murphy bed into the wall, it hit some resistance. Yes, I had taken the pillows off. From the noise and the pressure, I worried that I would crack the wood paneling or break something, so I gave up and put the bed back down.

Second Room Bathroom

Photo toward the sink & mirror area with the toilet and shower beyond in our suite at Hyatt Regency Waikiki

Interestingly, the bathroom area in the second room has the same features but in a different layout. The sink has the same items underneath it but a bigger counter, bigger mirror, and this stuff is outside of the “bathroom”, where the toilet and shower sit inside a small room with a door. However, the shower and the toilet are the same as in the master bathroom.

Photo shows an open closet next to a sink, with iron, ironing board, luggage rack, and spare pillow inside the closet in our suite at Hyatt Regency Waikiki

The closet in this room is next to the sink. It’s actually bigger than the closet in the master bedroom and has shelving that the master closet lacks.

Views from Oceanfront Room at Hyatt Regency Waikiki

Photo of the glass sliding doors opening to a balcony with 2 chairs and small table, looking over the ocean and beach from our room at Hyatt Regency Waikiki

Both rooms have a balcony, which you access via sliding glass doors. Each balcony has 2 chairs and a small table; you cannot walk from one balcony to the other, though. They are separate.

The views were excellent. We sat 34 floors above Waikiki Beach and had great views toward Diamond Head on the left and toward the city on the right.

Photo of sunset beyond the beach and ocean at Hyatt Regency Waikiki

We enjoyed sunset from our balcony and watched early morning surfers the next morning.

Photo of many surfers going out into the ocean, plus people on the beach, view from 34th floor balcony at Hyatt Regency Waikiki

Overall Thoughts on the Room

Our room at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki was excellent. The Family Ocean Suite set up is interesting, since I’m not sure if the hotel would really sell the “second room” to someone for a night, but you could theoretically separate the rooms for different guests.

The rooms both felt spacious, features worked as advertised, and the views were fantastic. The bathrooms weren’t special and weren’t large, but they got the job done and left extra space for the bedrooms. The internet in the room worked without issues, as well. Great room.

Breakfast at the Regency Club

Photo of breakfast buffet inside the Regency Club at Hyatt Regency Waikiki

While we saw only one other person during the afternoon snacks visit the day prior, breakfast at the Regency Club in the morning was a different story. It took us a minute to find some open seats.

Breakfast was buffet style, and it had a lot of options. French toast, eggs of a few styles, several kinds of meats, fruits, and cold cuts sat on the main buffet. To the side, a separate counter had several types of breads (sliced, bagels, muffins) and individual cereal containers. A big fridge had tons of containers of milk, soy milk, yogurt, butter, and cream cheese.

Behind the buffet, you can see the drinks station. Coffee, cappuccinos, hot tea, several kinds of juices and more were available. There was also a station with miso soup, which I had never thought of as a breakfast food before.

There were tons of options for breakfast in the lounge, and the price (free!) was excellent. While it was very busy and full of people, we didn’t have to wait long in line and didn’t find anyone being rude or pushy in the buffet line.

Check-Out

We spent the morning walking around in Waikiki and then returned to the Hyatt Regency when it was time for our van to the airport. Check-out was super easy. There was no line, and we had no bill to pay. The friendly woman at the front desk confirmed that everything was at 0, since we had an award booking and waived resort fees.

She offered to call for our car from valet, to speed things up. It was a nice touch, but we didn’t have one, so we merely went down the escalators to meet our van outside.

The valet area was really busy with lots of activity. However, multiple employees still thanked us for our stay as we passed, even while busy with other tasks. It was a friendly send-off to wrap up a really positive stay.

Final Thoughts on Hyatt Regency Waikiki

Would I stay here again? Definitely. That’s the best evaluation you can give a hotel, I think.

Not everything was perfect: some disorganization at check-in and the failure to deliver on the note (which my Hyatt Concierge later showed me a screenshot of the hotel confirming they would do this). However, those were minor in comparison to a great room, amazing views, central location, and a comfortable bed to sleep in.

If you’ve got Hyatt points to burn or some free night awards to stack up for a future stay, the Hyatt Regency Waikiki is a deserving spot for your next trip to Hawaii.

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Ryan Smith
Travel hacker in 2-player mode, intent on visiting every country in the world, and can say "hello" or "how much does this cost?" in a bunch of different languages.

5 COMMENTS

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5 COMMENTS

  1. Just an FYI and a question. SHOR serves more than just breakfast, we have dinner booked there night # 1

    We have mid level Hyatt status but I noticed you said certain rooms come with club access, any idea if a penthouse gets club access…….thanks

  2. I stayed in the same suite (3459/3460) earlier this month. I love the views from these oceanfront suites. I also find the evening food offerings to be far more substantial than what most Hyatt Club lounges are offering. Offerings included a hot meat dish, such as chicken parmigiana or teriyaki beef, along with a hot vegetarian dish, a tasty asian salad and homemade soup. There was no need to dine elsewhere in the evening.

  3. I stayed here in December a little over 2 weeks so I got to know several of the staff and can give you more detail about the snacks. THERE ARE TONS OF THEM!! The key is getting there when they put the good stuff out. If you don’t see what you like, ask one of the staff as they will definitely look in the back. They have tons and it varies daily throughout the afternoon. The snacks are slowly refilled as people get them throughout the afternoon. The staff were pretty good about finding any snack I was interested in.

    I was also welcomed for having gotten married and being on my honeymoon with a box of Alohamac chocolates… they got the occasion mixed up but the chocolates tasted just as well even if the event was incorrect. It definitely made me laugh.

    From memory this is a list of snacks:
    Aholohabacs – there were 3 kinds. Caramacs, milk chocoloate alohamacs and dark chocolate alohamacs.
    Reese’s peanut butter cups
    Pineapple gummies (beyond addictive!)
    pretzels
    motts assorted fruit gummies
    all kinds of granola bars
    packets of peanuts
    packets of mixed nuts
    swedish fish
    trail mix
    nature valley granola bars
    other brands of granola bars
    potato chips
    random snack chocolates – 3 musketeers, snickers, twix etc
    I know I forgot a bunch of other snacks. If you don’t like what they have out, just ask what other kinds they have.

    At night after “dinner” they also serve warm cookies – 3 different kinds. These go pretty quickly.

  4. Just got back from this hotel last week and loved the hotel, the staff, and the location. I used a suite upgrade for a 2 queen family suite. Our room was on the 31st floor in the Ewa tower and looked similar to yours. Having the extra space was great for our family of 4. The murphy bed wasn’t the most comfortable, but it was worth it to keep all of us spread out. My only disappointment was in the breakfast and afternoon appetizer options in the Regency Club. The hotel was very busy and ran out of beach chairs by 9am multiple times. The pool area was full very busy and is small in general, but I don’t know why anyone would go to the pool when Waikiki Beach is 10 feet across from the hotel.

    For anyone looking for an umbrella, surfboard, or paddleboard rental, I highly recommend going to Moku (the corner away from the water off the valet entrance) – the prices are a fraction of what’s offered on the beach.

    Overall my family really enjoyed this resort and would do this trip again in a heartbeat. Waikiki isn’t for anyone but for someone looking for a resort that offers both beach and city conveniences this resort is definitely worth looking at.

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