HomeAmericasSpecial Report - The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach

Special Report – The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach

Post World War II Waikiki was the ultimate America’s vacation  paradise. Then it became built up, the jet age and then airline deregulation made it a mass destination, and the mainstay of Hawaii’s luxury accommodations were found on the outer islands. Nonstop flights and private jets meant that Honolulu stopovers became unnecessary. However, our growing foodie culture, desire for retail therapy while on vacation combined with the desire for a bit of soft adventure is now making Waikiki a hot spot again since it offers all of the above. Until The Ritz-Carlton Residences opened in 2016, The Halekulani, Royal Hawaiian, Trump International and perhaps the Ali’i Tower at The Hilton Hawaiian Village were the only luxury outposts. Others, such as the W have come and gone.

The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki
Photo: Ritz-Carlton

Post World War II Waikiki was the ultimate America’s vacation  paradise. Then it became built up, the jet age and then airline deregulation made it a mass destination, and the mainstay of Hawaii’s luxury accommodations were found on the outer islands. Nonstop flights and private jets meant that Honolulu stopovers became unnecessary. However, our growing foodie culture, desire for retail therapy while on vacation combined with the desire for a bit of soft adventure is now making Waikiki a hot spot again since it offers all of the above. Until The Ritz-Carlton Residences opened in 2016, The Halekulani, Royal Hawaiian, Trump International and perhaps the Ali’i Tower at The Hilton Hawaiian Village were the only luxury outposts. Others, such as the W have come and gone.

The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki
Photo: Ritz-Carlton

Now, The Ritz-Carlton Residences is opening a second tower in October, which will give it over 500 residential suites and studios. So, what’s the difference between a Ritz-Carlton Residences and one of their other resorts?  The units are all individually owned, however, they are each furnished to Ritz-Carlton standards and owners don’t have input – so there are no orange couches. One of its penthouses sold for $22.4 million last year, tops on Oahu. 

The other difference you will find is there is no Club Floor or Club Lounge – other than that it’s the same:  Twice-daily maid service, valets and bellboys, 24-hour room service, on-site dining, two pools – a second being added with the Diamond Head Tower – and a full spa and fitness facility. 

The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki
Credit: Ritz-Carlton

Using Waikiki as your base puts you on its iconic beach, but also steps from high end shopping such as Chanel and Tiffany’s.  What’s more, Waikiki and Downtown Honolulu have become recognized as an exceptional dining scene – everything from fine dining to authentic local hang-outs and food trucks. What many people also forget is on the other side of Oahu you can find deserted beaches, see the big waves that attract surfers from around the world and experience the same rural side of Hawaii that made the Outer Islands so popular. There is everything from biking and hiking trails to waterfalls and even zip-lining, and of course that epic hike to watch the sunrise atop Diamond Head. In other words, staying in Waikiki enables you combine the best of urban and resort activities. And of course, there are numerous museums, The Iolani Royal Palace and Pearl Harbor. For golfers, Oahu is home to 40 public and private golf courses ranging from municipal courses to championship layouts such as the Waialae Country Club, host to the PGA Tour’s Sony Open.  

Among the attributes of The Ritz-Carlton in this format is that each residence from studio to four-bedroom suites has a kitchen, including four-burner cook top, refrigerator and washer/dryer, something that comes in handy if you want to avoid those pricey hotel laundry charges when all you want to do is wash a couple tee-shirts or swimsuits. The three-and-four bedroom suites, something most hotels can only configure via connecting rooms, are good for family groups while maintaining a logical flow.

The hotel gets a 4.5 star rating from Trip Advisor. Only 9 reviews out of 423 were Poor/Terrible with all of the ones in the past six months related to a pricing error on its website the hotel apparently wouldn’t honor. Other negative comments were about the need for a second and larger pool, which will be addressed with the new tower.  

Accommodations

There are three categories of accommodations – Premier, Grand and Deluxe – which are segmented by floor with Premier on the highest floors (33 to 36), Grand from floors 23 to 32 and Deluxe (9 to 22). While the size of the suites gets bigger in each category, you will also find higher end finishes and appliances the higher you go, however, even the entry level is to Ritz-Carlton standards.

While reservations are not specific to a tower, the hotel does itsbest to accommodate preferences. If you stay in the existing Ewa Tower, you will be an elevator ride to the restaurants, fitness center, spa, yoga room, adults-only infinity pool and car park. Staying in the new Diamond Head Tower means you will be convenient to the new private movie theatre, the meetings space and the family pool.

Premier Three Bedroom Suite

The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki
Credit: Ritz-Carlton

With views of Waikiki and the Pacific Ocean, at 1,603 sq. ft., the Premier Three Bedroom Suites includes a formal dining space for up to eight people and gourmet kitchen, oversized lanais ranging from 206-303 sq. ft and bathrooms with Hawaiian koa-wood millwork. There are Miele appliances including four-burner cooktop, dishwasher and full-height refrigerator, and in-residence washer and dryer. Theses suites are located between the 33rd and 36th floors.

Premier Two Bedroom Suite

The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki
Credit: Ritz-Carlton

With similar views, at 1,262 sq. ft. with lanais 279-323 sq. ft, you can have seated dinners for up to six people. In the kitchen there are Miele appliances including four-burner cooktop, dishwasher and full-height refrigerator, and in-residence washer and dryer. Three bathrooms each have luxury finishes. These residences are located between the 33rd and 36th floors.

Grand Four Bedroom Oceanview Suite

The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki
Credit: Ritz-Carlton

The 2,988 sq. ft. Four Bedroom Grand Ocean View Suites are two-story duplexes located on the 23rd and 24th floors with five bathrooms, dining for up to 10 people, living and den areas for entertaining, and Cerused oak hardwood floors, marble bathroom floors, walls, and countertops and natural oiled-walnut millwork. The luxury kitchen features Miele appliances including convection oven and microwave, dishwasher and full-height refrigerator. There is counter with seating for five you’re your 619 sq. ft. oversized lanai offers sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean.

Grand Three Bedroom Oceanview Suite

The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki
Credit: Ritz-Carlton

Located on floors 23 to 32, the 1,504 sq. ft. Grand Three Bedroom Ocean Suites feature a dining table seating up to eight, the same luxury kitchen amenities as in the four bedroom variety and a 179 sq. ft. lanai.

Grand Superior Two Bedroom Oceanview Suite

The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki
Credit: Ritz-Carlton

Also on floors 23 to 32, these suites range from 1,013 to 1,062 sq. ft with lanais from 218 to 251 sq. ft. within dining up to six people, and all the same amenities as the larger Grand category cousins. 

Grand One Bedroom Oceanview Suite

The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki
Credit: Ritz-Carlton

With similar views and amenities on the same Grand Floors, the 813 sq. ft. Grand One Bedroom Ocean Suites have lanais from 162 to 194 sq. ft. 

Restaurants and Bars

The Market

The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki
Credit: Ritz-Carlton

The Market serves daily breakfast, lunch and dinner menus based on selections from local purveyors; weekend brunch and in-residence late-night dining are also offered.

The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki
Credit: Ritz-Carlton

Antique farm tools, reclaimed wood furniture and an earthy color palette reflect the farm-to-table approach. A private dining room is also available.

Dean & Deluca

A glass display is filled with fresh breads and pastries while shelves are lined with culinary staples and treats. A second-floor wine bar provides ocean views. You can enjoy a casual bite or use ingredients to prepare an in-residence meal. 

Sushi Sho

With sushi master Keiji Nakazawa at its helm, Sushi Sho is his debut restaurant location outside of Japan. Respected for his mastery of the techniques of the ancient Edo sushi masters, Nakazawa pairs varying temperatures of rice seasoning to more than 40 different types of fresh fish to maximize flavor. With only 10 seats, the restaurant offers an exclusive experience featuring an omakase-style dinner with each course selected by the chef. The restaurant is open Mondays to Saturdays and has two seatings, at 5pm and 8pm. It’s $300 per person before taxes, drinks and tips, and fans plan their stays around being able to secure reservations.

Spa & Fitness

Spa

The spa at this Waikiki beach resort draws from local offerings, including volcanic stones. The ocean is framed through picture windows and from outdoor terraces. Like most high-end spas, relaxation doesn’t come without a price, with treatments beginning at $155 and most in the $200 range, not outrageous. You can sleep in. The spa doesn’t open until 9:30am although it remains open to 8pm in case you want to get a treatment after a day of fun and before dinner.

Fitness Center

The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki
Credit: Ritz-Carlton

The 24-hour fitness center, designed by celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak includes a yoga studio to accommodate group and private classes. Cardiovascular machines include elliptical riders, stationary bikes and treadmills. Free weights, machines and other strength-focused equipment are available.

Pool Areas

With the new tower there will be two pools, including an adult and family pool. It will also mean not having to close the pool during events.

Meetings & Events

The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki
Credit: Ritz-Carlton

The resort offers 6,000 sq. ft. of indoor and outdoor event space, including a boardroom and 8th floor terrace overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The addition of a second pool gives the hotel the ability to use one pool for private events, and private gardens and parks provide a multitude of event opportunities for business meetings or family celebrations. The hotel will block up to 75 rooms for groups.

VIP Contact

Huy Vo, PR Director at Huy.Vo@ritzcarlton.com or its website http://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/hotels/hawaii/waikiki#Resort

Doug Gollanhttp://douggollandotcom.wordpress.com
I am Editor-in-Chief of Private Jet Card Comparisons and DG Amazing Experiences, and a Contributor to Forbes.com.
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