Have a look through our recommended Oahu accommodations and you’ll find one brand listed more than any others – Outrigger Hotels and Resorts. The Honolulu-based luxury hotel chain distinguishes itself from the multitude of other settlements in Waikiki by remaining genuinely Hawaiian without a hint of misappropriation. While you really can’t go wrong with any Outrigger property, you’re wondering which to book for your up and coming vacation. Is one better than another? The answer hinges upon your plans and what you desire to get out of your time on Oahu. Below is a succinct breakdown of what makes each unique to help you determine where to stay.
*featured image: @outriggerwaikikibeachresort
Which Outrigger Hotel in Waikiki is Best Suited to Your Oahu Vacation Plans
Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort
A More Immersive Hawaiian Experience
The Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort is the crown jewel of Outrigger’s Oahu properties. It is often compared against the island’s other top resorts, with the Outrigger winning out nearly every time. For example, in a recent Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort vs Hilton Hawaiian Village debate the former won by a score of 4-1-1. Why? Namely for the fact that it’s one of the more authentically Hawaiian Hotels on Oahu, which leads us to why it’s best matched to those craving a culturally enriching experience. For one, the iconic Duke’s Restaurant and Barefoot Bar (named after Duke Kahanamoku) is found on the makai side of the lobby, and is where locals and visitors alike congregate to meet, greet, eat, and imbibe until well after golden hour. Upstairs on the second level is an equally Hawaiian dining and drinking establishment, Hula Grill.
Of course, the experience is about more than filling bellies, as the preservationist exhibits and decor within leaves patrons with lots to absorb. There’s also lots to take home in a tangible sense, as adjacent to Duke’s is a new addition to the Polynesian Pop art scene in Waikiki, Aesthetic Hawaii, capping off one of the many places within the resort that exposes guests to the culture. In addition, the resort draws in those with a deep appreciation for the south shore’s surf scene via their Surfers In Residence program. The immersive in-person series features professional surfers who sit down with host Tammy Moniz to “talk story” with guests before heading out for a communal surf session.
Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort
A Place to Escape
There’s little respite amidst the scuttle and hustle of Waikiki, but you can find moments of repose when lodged at the Outrigger Reef. The beachfront resort is hidden along Kālia Road, yet is advantageously planted on the sands between Fort DeRussy and Halekulani boardwalks. Its separation from the main stretch of Waikiki excludes looky-loos and non-guests from crowding the property, which allows you to enjoy delightful AM strolls throughout with a cup of java in hand. That said, the property comes to life when you want it to, as patrons pour into the open-air Kani Ka Pila Grille late into the evening. In addition to great food and drink, the establishment features sweet slack key sounds each evening courtesy of contemporary Hawaiian musicians. And as of 2021, guests also enjoy on-site access to famed Monkeypod Kitchen – home to one of the best Mai Tais on the island.
Where the Action Happens
If you’re coming to Waikiki to be enveloped in its wild totality, then the Beachcomber is for you. While located directly across from the Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort, it’s somehow more embedded in the action. Perhaps its because the reception escalator drops parties off right onto busker row, where crowds gather to watch nightly street performers. Maybe it’s the massive Maui Brewing Company establishment upstairs, or their next door neighbor Hawaiian Aroma Caffe – the south shore’s best coffee shop that doubles as a night life hotspot. All of this plays into the Beachcomber’s other role as one of the best Waikiki hotels for singles.
Waikiki Malia / OHANA Waikiki East (by Outrigger)
More Time Exploring, Less Time Snoring
The Waikiki Malia on Kuhio Avenue and OHANA Waikiki East on Kaiulani Avenue are the Outrigger brand’s more budget friendly options. That said, that qualifier does not come at the sacrifice of convenience or luxury. The contemporary hotels may not have the same amenities nor carry the same swagger as their trio of siblings above, but they are fantastic options for those who plan on spending more time exploring Oahu, yet want a nice place to return to at each day’s end.
Do you have any other questions about what it’s like staying at any of the above Outrigger properties? Message us on Facebook to chat!