Honolulu's W Hotel: W Stands for Wonderful
HONOLULU, Hawaii -- It's not yet one of the world's best-known hotel chains. In fact, W Hotel could just as easily be referred to as Who?Tel.
But if you want a respite from Honolulu's large crowds while still staying on popular Waikiki Beach, the W (formerly the Colony Surf Hotel) is an outstanding choice.
Its location, at 2885 Kalakaua Avenue a few blocks away from Waikiki's busier hotels, is a plus. When you stay here, Diamond Head is on one side and the sky-blue Pacific Ocean is on the other. W's size, at only 48 rooms, counting three suites and the Penthouse, ensures top-notch service.
Count on being greeted the moment you pull your car into the covered reception area. Valet service is quick and easy, which helps when you need to make that quick getaway to drive to Honolulu International Airport for the trip home.
You will receive a fresh lei greeting along with a tropical beverage and a warm face towel upon your arrival. Members of the staff will stow your golf clubs if you don't want to keep them in your room.
The lobby is inviting, with books and games (including a trendy tic-tac-toe board) in a central area in case you get the urge. With so few rooms, the hotel has only one elevator for guests. The other leads to Diamond Head Grill, the hotel's restaurant, on the second floor.
All check-in is done in the rooms by one of the hotel's friendly staff members. Once you reach your room, a CD player will be turning out mellow music (which can be purchased, of course) to set the mood for the property.
The "Signature W beds" are set low to the ground and feature goose down pillows. There is also an oversized desk, cordless phone, a cassette player with movies available downstairs, in-room coffee and tea makers, and a private lanai.
Room service is available 24 hours a day by using the W Line (which stands for whatever, whenever).
The W offers package deals with two golf courses, the Koolau Golf Club and Hawaii Prince Golf Club. The Koolau boasts stunning views of the 2,000-foot cliffs of the Koolau Range and the Pacific Ocean. Architect Dick Nugent designed the course.
Hawaii Prince Club, designed by Arnold Palmer and Ed Seay, features 27 holes. The 270-acre course has 10 interconnecting lakes. The Prince also is a bird sanctuary for two endangered species - the Hawaiian Coot and Hawaiian Stilt.
If you have the kids along, the Waikiki Aquarium and Honolulu Zoo are a short drive away. Kapi'olani Park, a popular spot for walkers and joggers, is right across the street. Contact the concierge desk for help setting up sightseeing and helicopter tours.
The staff can also tell you where to find the best luaus (try the Royal Hawaiian), stage shows (Don Ho is a Hawaiian staple) and water sports (nothing like parasailing over Waikiki).
Diamond Head Grill, which opened last Dec. 1, serves Asian, Euro-American, and Polynesian cuisine. The grill is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In the evenings, jazz pianist David Swanson plays for patrons' enjoyment. The restaurant occasionally hosts chefs from the W's properties in Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.
November 14, 2000