Waikiki’s Ilikai Hotel & Luxury Suites is an ideal destination for families seeking a memorable holiday, with all the conveniences of home.
The perfect base to explore Oahu, Ilikai Hotel & Luxury Suites is located at the west end of Waikiki beach and encircled by Ala Wai Boat Harbor, Kahanamoku Beach and the Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon, placing families within easy reach of both The Daniel K. Inouye International Airport and the energy and action of Waikiki. All while providing a serene escape from Hawaii’s crowds.
For guests like me, who are of an age where carbon-dating is an option, the hotel’s distinctive architecture and oceanfront are instantly recognisable as the backdrop to the opening credits of Hawaii-Five O. The original one. For anyone born this century, it’s a little less iconic. But there’s still so much here for young’uns to love.
Rooms & suites at Ilikai
The hotel offers a range of spacious suites to accommodate guests’ needs. The luxury junior suites and two-bedroom suites provide ample space for everyone to relax and unwind. The comfortable king-size beds, premium linens, and fluffy pillows ensure a restful sleep for both parents and children.
High-definition televisions, high-speed internet access, DVD players, and movie rentals cater to the entertainment needs of the whole family.
But it’s the fully equipped kitchen, complete with stainless steel appliances, that has me completely and utterly smitten. Not only because of the convenience of being able to prepare my own meals but as one of the world’s most expensive destinations because, dining out in Hawaii can be exxy, and I’d rather eat in and save money to spend on once-in-a lifetime experiences for the kids.
Dining at Ilikai Hotel
If you do want to dine out, you won’t need to go far for a good meal as the Ilikai has something to please every palate.
For a special treat, we explore the Mediterranean menu at Pesca, located on the top floor of the hotel. We feast on grilled octopus, spicy Linguine Vongole stuffed with Manila clams and a sublime uni (sea urchin) pasta, accompanied by breathtaking views and a rather good wine list.
Cinnamon’s, the open-air courtyard diner and bar, offers live music and a lively atmosphere that will appeal to all ages, especially those family members of the legal drinking age (yes, that would be me again, but hey, it’s a holiday and it would be rude to make all those lovely Mai Tais feel unwanted). So why is it so good for imbibers? Well, that would be partly due to the aforementioned Mai Tais, but is also down to Cinnamon’s serving up the ultimate hangover cure for breakfast in the form of a hollandaise smothered kalua pork eggs benedict.
I make amends for my high-calorie breakfast with lunch at the hotel’s hole-in-the-wall Paradise Poke, which serves up some of Waikiki’s best poke bowls packed with the freshest sustainably sourced seafood. Along with the premium poke, other local favorites including garlic shrimp, onigiri and spam musubi are on offer. It is a healthy, affordable and delicious option for families, and I find myself boomeranging back to indulge in its healthy delights on the regular.
The hotel also has a decent coffee shop offering pastries and sandwiches, a supermarket for snacks (and wine). And there’s Dave’s Hawaiian Ice Cream where the rainbow of frosty delights, made fresh daily on the island, includes intriguing flavours such as Poha Berry, Azuki Bean, Chocolate Chip Mochi and Ube. Oh, and don’t even try holding the kids back on $2 Tuesday, cos they’re gonna want to taste their way through them all.
If all that nosh is still not enough to satisfy your crew, there are plenty of dining options surrounding the hotel, from McDonalds, Subway and pizza to fine diners. Oh, and the Ala Moana Center, with its sprawling food court and restaurants offering just about every cuisine you can imagine, is just a short stroll away.
Speaking of the Ala Moana Center, this open air retail paradise features a wide range of department stores, designer boutiques, and over 160 outlets, providing endless options for retail therapy. It’s also the best spot to stock up on supermarket essentials.
Activities at Ilikai
There are two on-site pools, but the second floor pool is a favourite spot, and conveniently located just a few metres from my Poolside View Junior Suite. While kids splash and play, parents can kick back on an in water lounger to soak up the sun.
At least they can if they’re not being dragged down the beach path to Kahanamoku Beach where guests are enjoying leisurely walks along the shoreline and participating in various water activities such as swimming, snorkelling or surfing.
Personally, I’m longingly eying up a sun lounger and umbrella on the sand.
But with kids for company there’d be zero chance of it getting so much as a look in. Because they’re right alongside the temptations of Duke Kahanamoku lagoon and its paddleboards, kayaks and paddleboats.
The resort also offers an in-house fitness centre for people who are not me. I’m more eager to explore the Ilikai Massage Spa’s extensive menu of treatments.
Along with a 24-hour reception, there’s a gift store and post office on site. You’ll also find a coin-operated laundry that makes it easy for families to pretend their children aren’t dirt magnets during their stay.
Onsite parking is available and the bus stop is literally right outside the door,
Ilikai Hotel & Luxury Suites
1777 Ala Moana Blvd,
Honolulu, Hawaii, United States
Tel: (001) 808-954-7417
Disclosure: Mama EatsWorld was a guest of Ilikai Hotel & Luxury Suites, but all lounge scouting, Mai Tai swigging, resulting hangovers, and opinions are her own.