The Great Hawaiian Hotel We Almost Stayed At, But Turned Down

by joeheg

When planning our trip to Hawaii, my original plan for our stay on Oahu was to use our Disney Vacation Club points for a stay at Aulani in Ko Olina. However, when I was looking for rooms, there was no availability. I went to Plan B and started to look for rooms using points. I asked all of you for the best Marriott property in Waikiki.

Eventually, I booked a room at the Westin Moana Surfrider. I even applied a Suite Night Upgrade to the booking hoping we’d end up with a room with a Diamondhead view. I was happy with what I booked and was looking forward to our stay.

Then a monkeywrench was thrown into our plans. A room at Aulani became available. After some back and forth, I decided to go with our original plan and stay at Ko Olina.

That didn’t mean I forgot about the hotel I left behind. During our visit to Oahu, we stopped by the Westin Moana Surfrider to see what we missed. It turns out, it made us want even more to stay there on a future visit.

The Moana Surfrider is located directly on Waikiki Beach. The Moana opened in 1901 as the first hotel in Waikiki and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1989, the nearby Sheraton Surfrider was incorporated into the property and the original Moana building was restored to its original state. The 1901 wing is now known as the Historic Banyan Wing. The low-rise 1952 Surfrider Hotel building is today the Diamond Wing. The 1969 Surfrider Hotel building is now called the Tower Wing.

When visiting, we parked at the garage of the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani across the street and entered through the grand Port Cochere.

From there, we entered the lobby which was greater than we’d imagined. It was like stepping back in time.

A grand staircase was heading up to the second floor with a massive chandelier.

The second floor of the main building has several tributes to the hotel’s grand history. It reminded me of visiting other hotels like the Waldorf=Astoria in New York.

The hallways led to the guest rooms in the Banyan wing.

While these rooms are not the biggest or most modern on the property, it’s precisely the type of rooms we like to stay in. Like when we visited Casa Marina in Key West, FL. That hotel was built in the 1920s but still had the same vibe.

After walking around inside, we went out to the courtyard where we found the massive banyan tree planted in 1904.

The tree is now the setting for the Beach Bar and Veranda (where they serve afternoon tea.)

We loved the ambiance and decided to grab a table for lunch. While the ocean breeze blew in, we couldn’t help but notice the fantastic view from the nearby beach.

If that isn’t the most iconic Hawaii beach photograph, I don’t know what is.

So while we didn’t stay at the Westin Moana Surfrider, it’s high on our list of places to stay on our next trip to Oahu.

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1 comment

Island Miler July 29, 2022 - 6:01 pm

I stayed here last year and enjoyed it – much better than the Royal, even though we got a HUGE suite there. Service, food, all better at the Moana.


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