Halekulani means “house befitting heaven” in Hawaiian.
And the classy Halekulani hotel in Honolulu certainly qualifies!
Not because of its physical construction – the 453-room resort occupies five relatively standard buildings. But because of its gracious hospitality and the serenity it manages to instill throughout your stay.
To top it off, the property has just been totally renovated (re-opening late 2021), so it sparkles like new.
If you’re planning a Hawaii vacation on Oahu, you should seriously consider booking this beautiful hotel!
We’ve stayed here twice now, and we can honestly say it’s one of the finest hotels around, period.
Halekulani review: Location
The first thing to mention in our Halekulani review is that the hotel has a great location in the heart of Waikiki.
For one, it’s right on the beach.
And two, while it’s tantalizingly close to the luxury shopping at the Waikiki Beach Walk open-air mall and along Kalakaua Avenue, it sits on the quiet end of Waikiki Beach (off Kalia Road).
Yes, you have the Pacific Ocean right at your doorstep. But trust us, you’ll probably spend more time in one of the sun loungers around the pool.
This gorgeous oval outdoor pool is 82 feet long and overlooks the beach.
What makes it totally unique is that the bottom of the pool is covered in a beautiful orchid mosaic.
One of the delightful pieces of Hawaii trivia is that the mosaic is made from 1.25 million glass tiles, imported from South Africa.
Beside the pool lies a large expanse of lawn and lush gardens, sprinkled with lounge chairs shaded by swaying palm trees.
Pool attendants make sure you don’t lack for a drink or towel.
Halekulani hotel rooms and suites
Halekulani guest rooms:
The spacious rooms range from 519 to 720 square feet.
Most offer spectacular ocean views (though some rooms have partial ocean views).
It was a pleasure to wake up each morning and step out onto our lanai – and be greeted with an incredible Diamond Head view and the sight of the sun glittering on the turquoise sea below.
During the 18-month renovation in 2020 and 2021, all the guest rooms were “refreshed” with new furniture, fabrics, cabinetry and wall coverings.
But the beloved décor theme of “seven shades of white” is the same.
The rooms are very Zen-like and calming.
The carpets and sofa are ivory, sliding louvered doors opening onto the balcony are white, and the palest shade of silk wallpaper covers the walls, adorned with a sea-themed picture.
Big bathrooms are also tiled all in white, with a marble countertop, deep soaking tub and separate glass shower.
Room amenities and services include free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, a beverage center with Nespresso coffee maker (part of the recent renovation) and turndown service.
And you don’t have to pay any extra resort fees.
To upgrade your stay, pick a suite. They range from 720 to 1,185 square feet in size.
Junior suites, for example, feature two lanais as well as a sitting area. Ocean suites are airy corner suites with a separate bedroom and an additional powder room.
Or splash out on the very romantic Halekulani Suite (2,135 square feet), personally designed by Vera Wang.
It has a private entrance foyer, wrap-around balcony plus a living room and dining room so you can inside. Mauve and jewel tones add splashes of color.
Complimentary perks that come with the Halekulani Suite include private roundtrip airport transfers and daily breakfast via room service to enjoy on your lanai.
House With a Key:
The main dining spot is House Without a Key. It’s open for breakfast, lunch, cocktails, appies, dinner and evening entertainment.
Sunset is the time to sashay on down here.
It’s a wonderful place to order a signature Mai Tai (snack on onion chips too!) and enjoy one of the longtime Halekulani traditions – listening to Hawaiian music sung by local artists and watching hula dancers (often former Miss Hawaii winners) sway under a century-old Kiawe tree.
This space was totally transformed during the renovation with a new shaded oceanfront bar, a glass exhibition-style kitchen and new contemporary furnishings.
The sea-view Orchids dining room is also lovely for brunch.
Think crisp white tablecloths, gracious service by black-jacketed waiters (who shelter you from splashing water with a napkin when pouring ice water from a silver jug) and everything from sashimi to tempting desserts.
We didn’t indulge in afternoon tea.
But for a sweet break from the sun, you can treat yourself to high tea, complete with cakes, pastries and scones with Devonshire cream. It’s available in Orchids or on the Veranda.
Named after Robert Lewers, the man who opened the original Halekulani back in 1907, the Lewers Lounge is the place for live jazz in Honolulu.
Past performers have included jazz virtuosos like Diana Krall and Grammy award-winning singer Jack Jones.
If you’re a jazz aficionado, don’t miss one of the nightly performances (Tuesday through Saturday). Sip a James Bond martini and lose yourself in the music.
A little heavenly pampering
But the customer service is what really makes you cast off the burdens of the real world outside for a moment when you check in.
You’re personally escorted to your room for the process (no standing in line at a busy front reception desk). And you’ll discover a welcome fresh fruit bowl and box of Halekulani’s own signature chocolates to sweeten your stay.
The second time we checked into the Halekulani was after cruising on a Hawaii UnCruise between some of the Hawaiian islands.
After hiking, canoeing and snorkeling with manta rays on that adventure cruise trip, we were happy to simply chill by Halekulani’s pool. The Halekulani was perfect for doing just this.
One of the best Honolulu hotels
Other guests think Halekulani is pretty heavenly too.
The elegant hotel has won a string of awards over the years.
For example, it was named the “Best Hotel in Honolulu” for 2022 by U.S. News & World Report.
It also ranked among the “20 Best Resorts in Hawaii” on Travel + Leisure’s 2022 list. And it captured the #3 spot on the list of “Top 10 Hotels in Hawaii” in Conde Nast Traveler’s 2021 Readers’ Choice Awards.
You can see more Halekulani hotel reviews on TripAdvisor here.
The Halekulani is simply one of the best hotels in Honolulu.
Hotel staff go the extra mile to ensure you have the best stay possible, and you won’t regret resting your head here.
Halekulani, Honolulu: Check rates and availability
Experience more of Hawaii!
Maui | The island was made for honeymooners. See these totally romantic things to do in Maui for couples! Of course, there are some very romantic hotels in Maui too.
Lanai | Rock these awesome things to do on Lanai. (Get off the grid too!) And if you’re trying to decide which Four Seasons on Lanai is best, don’t worry, they’re both fabulous (but the Sensei resort is more unique).
Kauai | What to do in Kauai? Hike, sail up the Na Pali Coast and go SUP on a river. Also check out the beautiful Allerton and McBryde Gardens – enchanting! You’ll love all the great places to stay in Kauai too, from grand resorts to a boutique adults-only hotel in Poipu.
We stayed at this luxury Honolulu hotel as media guests for the purposes of writing this Halekulani review. But the opinions expressed in all our hotel reviews are always our own. (Photos are courtesy the Halekulani hotel.)
About the authors
Luxury travel journalists and SATW, NATJA and TMAC “Best Travel Blog” award winners, Janice and George Mucalov are the publishers of Sand In My Suitcase. Between them, they’ve traveled to all 7 continents. See About.
Find destination guides, global food-and-wine stories, luxury hotel reviews, articles on cultural explorations and soft adventure trips, cruise reviews, insanely useful travel tips and more!
Monday 26th of September 2022
$1,000++ per night per hotel room, no problem! If that's what's needed to vacation in Hawaii, we're headed to Phuket!
Janice and George
Monday 26th of September 2022
Yes, Hawaii is expensive, for sure. And this is a signature property in Hawaii's capital :-).
Monday 14th of April 2014
Halekulani looks heavenly indeed. Love the "seven shades of white" design concept - looks chic and tranquil. My husband and I will love it here. I also adore the orchid mosaic on the pool floor. Lovely photos.
Saturday 12th of April 2014
Yes please!! I love the 7 shades of white theme. I think I would be very happy here. Also, the chocolate bar looks divine. What more could you want?!
Irene S. Levine
Friday 11th of April 2014
Definitely looks like my kind of place! Love its tranquil feel~