Thursday, October 1, 2009

Outrigger Waikiki and Waikiki beach

The morning after our lovely dinner at La Mer found us too tired to actually DO anything. It was getting late in the trip, and we were just beat (okay...and a little hungover...). So Tuesday, we decided to do nothing. After breakfast, I went down to the beach and rented 2 lounge chairs and an umbrella ($40/day for Outrigger guests), and proceeded to spend the day vegging on the beach. I actually really liked it. It's a nice beach, even if it is crowded. The people watching is hilarious. The water is warm, and pretty calm. And its so big, that even with a lot of people, there is plenty of room to swim around without bumping into anyone. It was a pleasant, relaxing day.

So let me use this break day to review the Outrigger. There are 2 Outrigger hotels on Waikiki, the Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach, and the Outrigger Reef on the Beach. We chose the O-Waikiki because its a little bit more centrally located. I really wanted to be in the middle of everything. Our package included breakfast, and the OW has 2 good breakfast places to choose from, Duke's for the buffet, or Hula Grill for a sit-down breakfast. We ate at Duke's most mornings, and Hula Grill once. I have to say, I found the buffet food completely unimpressive, which surprised me after all the good reviews I had read about it. I didn't expect great things, but the fruit was bruised and mushy (or canned!), the eggs were vile, the pancakes completely tasteless. The french toast with coconut syrup wasn't bad. The bacon and breakfast potatoes were good. We found good food to eat, so it wasn't a big problem. I'm just not sure I'd go out of my way to pay to eat here. Hula Grill was maybe a little bit better, but not much.

One very annoying bit...all the coffee in the hotel was atrocious. Just awful. There was a "Seattle's Best" in the lobby, and I think they were using their coffee in all the restaurants. Blech. I don't know if it was as bad as the Tucson La Quinta coffee, but I bet its close. Such a shame when there is so much fantastic coffee in Hawaii. I think there is no excuse for that!

We did have drinks and lunch at Duke's one day, and the lunchtime food was much better. The bartender is excellent, and makes a very good mai tai, among other cocktails.

The hotel was fine, but maybe a little rough around the edges considering the price. Service folk struck us as overworked, and moderately surly. Not that anybody was rude to us, they were just short and not as friendly as we'd found at other hotels (this is in sharp contrast to the Maui Prince, where the spirit of Aloha was alive and well).

We had an ocean view room, which is not their best class of rooms, but perhaps 2nd best. The Deluxe ocean view are at the end of the building with the full view of the beach. We're right around the corner, so we can see beach, and water, and a little bit of Diamond Head, and a lot of the Moana Surfrider hotel next door. They put us on the first floor, which I thought might be noisy, but it was fine. We were over Chucks restaurant, and a sundeck (which was for the suites, not us, but nobody ever used it), which blocked most of the view of the beach below. Here's an early morning shot from our room:

And here's a shot looking at the hotel from the beach. Our balcony is out of sight, around the right corner of the hotel.

All in all, I would probably recommend the Outrigger for its location, but I have a feeling you can do better at the same price. Maybe...

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