The Westin Moana is called the First Lady of Waikiki and opened in March of 1901. It’s a beautiful historic hotel. The hotel has two wings, a historic wing, the rooms that surround the main courtyard, and a tower wing, which is a newer addition to the hotel.
I was greeted with a flower lei and directed to check-in. When I arrived at 2:30 pm, my hotel room was not yet ready. I had requested a room upgrade by applying Starwood Suite Night Award Requests, but those were declined. The hotel provided access to their newly opened lounge, called the Beach Club, until my room was ready. They took my cell phone number and said they would call when it was ready.
The lounge opened on December 3 and is available to Platinum members of Starwood’s Preferred Guest program, honeymooners and guests who booked Club level rooms. The beach club is located on the first floor directly in front of the beach. It’s very large and very nice. You can access the lounge from 6am to 10pm daily. There are both indoor and outdoor seating areas. It was lovely to sit on a couch outside overlooking the pool and beach while still having access to the amenities in the lounge.
When I hadn’t been called by 4pm I headed back to the front desk to ask about the status of my room. I was told it was ready and they apologized for not calling. I was given a room in the historic wing overlooking the courtyard. Little did I know how unfortunate that location would end up being.
The room was tiny, the size you would expect in New York or Hong Kong. There was a king-sized bed with only enough room to walk around it. I couldn’t open my suitcase and lie it flat on the ground. There was a bench under the window where I put my luggage. The windows were covered with wooden shades that opened to reveal the courtyard and a slight view of the ocean. The bathroom was also small but adequate. There was a shower (no bathtub), toilet and sink with very little counter space. It worked for me, but I can’t imagine anyone trying to share it.
Since I’d checked in on New Year’s Eve, the hotel was packed and it showed. There were very few seats open at the pool and nothing on the private beach. The restaurant was sold out for dinner but the hotel was offering a private party for $100. What did that include? Access to the courtyard area and private beach from 8pm – 2am with spectacular views of the fireworks. The price also included a party favor, light snacks and a glass of champagne at mid-night. For children there was a special candy station instead of the champagne.
I headed to the beach club around 6pm for some appetizers – which were very good – and to watch the Times Square New Year’s Eve festivities on CNN. It’s worth noting that CNN was only available in the lounge. At 8pm we were informed that the lounge was closing early and no one would be allowed in due to the special event. So essentially, the hotel had taken away all opportunities for guests to see the fireworks, for free, from the hotel (unless of course you had a room looking at the ocean.)
I decided to have a nice dinner and call it a night around 10pm since I had an early morning flight. Well, that didn’t happen. After dinner I realized that the private party was happening right under my room. There was the DJ and band with their flashing strobe lights and booming music. With the windows closed and wooden blinds shut I could hear the music and horns and shouts clear as day.
Wide awake, I decided to find somewhere to watch the fireworks from – I could sleep on my flight. I noticed that one floor above me there was a balcony that seemed to open up to a hallway. I went up one floor, to the 6th floor, and followed the hallway. The doors to the balcony were wide open and I went out. I had a perfect view overlooking the courtyard, private party and more importantly, the water! For a while, I was the only person out there. A few minutes later I was joined by a couple from Japan, an older woman and the Director of Housekeeping. We had the best view in the house.
I really liked the Westin Moana Surfrider. I wish I’d been there beyond New Year’s so that I could have experienced the hotel when it was a little less chaotic and noisy. Even though the room was small, the bed was very comfortable and and the shower had great water pressure. The old historic wing creeks as you would expect an old hotel too, and you can hear through the walls, but it’s a very nice hotel none-the-less. The addition of a lounge, The Beach Club, is a great addition to the hotel.
I would absolutely return to the Westin Moana Surfrider if I’m in Waikiki again!