The lobby is located on the eighth floor. // © 2017 Hyatt Centric Waikiki Beach
Feature image (above): Near the wading pool is a fire pit and a taro patch. // © 2017 Hyatt Centric Waikiki Beach
Over the last year or so, a wave of new and renovated hotels has lapped gently onto the shores of Waikiki and beyond, renewing enthusiasm for travel to the Honolulu neighborhood. One such property is Hyatt Centric Waikiki Beach, which has beckoned guests with excellent service and attractive accommodations since its December 2016 grand opening.
The hotel is the 13th Hyatt Centric property — Hyatt launched the lifestyle brand in January 2015 — as well as the first in Hawaii. Targeting the “modern explorer” (multigenerational travelers who like to be in the heart of the action), the boutique luxury brand is youthful and stylish, yet still elegant and thoughtfully crafted.
And Hyatt Centric Waikiki Beach fits these requisites to a T. Case in point: According to general manager Charles Young, the hotel’s latitude and longitude coordinates confirm it is literally smack-dab in the cosmopolitan center of Waikiki. This, Young says, is actually a delightful twist of fate and further cements the property as a great hub for travelers who might want to explore nearby Diamond Head one day and go shopping the next.
“The Centric brand is all about discovery, by traveling through the destination and finding those hidden gems,” Young said. “Hyatt Centric Waikiki Beach is the perfect location and style to propel someone to venture out and explore.”
Next door to the property, for example, is International Market Place, which opened in August 2016 and offers a mix of high-end and affordable shopping in addition to dining and entertainment. The stores of Luxury Row on Kalakaua Avenue are also only a seashell’s throw away, and a quick change into swimwear, a swing in direction and roughly 200 steps is all it takes to sink one’s toes into the milky-white sand of Waikiki Beach.
Though guests might not believe it — I’ll admit that doubt clouded my judgement, too — Hyatt Centric Waikiki Beach is housed in a former business building. Due to a tremendous makeover, however, not a trace of a corporate environment has been left behind. Public spaces and 230 guestrooms (including 32 suites) are splashed with color and Hawaiian motifs; equipped with in-demand amenities; and complemented by genuine warmth, thanks to an engaging staff who answered all my inquiries with earnest.
I spent two tranquil nights in a pristine 450-square-foot Ocean View Suite that featured 12-foot floor-to-ceiling windows, through which I could behold the buzzing boulevards below and the faithful blues of the Pacific Ocean farther afield. In the suite, wooden accents — such as sliding barn-style doors in the bedroom and bathroom — are juxtaposed with a mostly white, gray and blue color palette, evoking the feel of a very chic beach cottage.
The bathroom was especially fabulous: A standalone soaking tub sits inside a vast walk-in, glass-enclosed shower with a blinds-optional window that peeks into the living room. And unlike traditional tubs, it must be filled — dramatically — by a ceiling spout. Recommend that clients pack or purchase bath bombs at an ABC Store (a 24-hour location is near the hotel) for some sudsy theatrics.
Other features include toiletries from Gilchrist & Soames’ eco-friendly BeeKind collection; a Toto toilet (in select rooms) and a Drybar Butter-cup blow-dryer in the bathroom; a Keurig coffeemaker; a large safe; bedside USB ports; and two complimentary reusable water bottles that can be filled at water stations on floors seven, eight and nine. The daily resort fee covers high-speed Wi-Fi access; rental of beach supplies such as chairs, towels and toys; use of the 24-hour fitness center; participation in local experiences, or “Cultural Hour,” held five nights a week; and more.
Hyatt Centric Waikiki Beach’s lobby is situated on the eighth floor — a factor that, Young tells me, guests have praised for its added quiet and sense of safety at the hotel. On the same level is an outdoor deck with a wading pool (the deepest part is only 3 feet), abundant seating for sunbathing or dining, a fire pit and a taro patch.
On-site restaurant The Lanai showcases an unobstructed vista of this alfresco area, as well as a casual ambiance and elevated Hawaiian-influenced dishes. Within hours of checking into the hotel, I had ordered the pan-seared, farm-raised kanpachi (amberjack) fish with saffron jasmine rice and a medley of vegetables. And like The Lanai’s menu of pupus (Hawaii-style appetizers) and entrees, the drink list is extensive and alluring. After much deliberation, I settled on a Pineapple Colada. Upon first sip of the refreshing coconut-pineapple concoction, the sun had begun to inch toward the seemingly endless sea. Before the fleeting moment could disappear, I took a deep breath — it felt like I had, indeed, found my center.