I’ll just cut right to the chase: this review of the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani Hotel is going to be brutal. I basically set my expectations too high for this property, which resulted in one of the most disappointing hotel experiences I’ve had in the past 12 months.
Yes, the lobby was really nice. But my room was small, depressingly drab, and horribly out of date. It even smelled a little.
Then again, this is a hotel just steps from Waikiki Beach, so I do realize that all of the complaining I’m about to do is a bit pretentious. But I’m going to do it anyway.
A full review of my one night stay at the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani Hotel in Waikiki
With the word “princess” in the name, you would think that this would be a fairly luxurious property. Maybe not quite on par with the Moana Surfrider Hotel across the street (the hotel I stayed at the night before), but at least better than the very college dorm-like Vive Hotel just two blocks away.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there isn’t anything about this property that is at least remotely princess-like.
The Princess Kaiulani Hotel is located on Ka’iulani Ave between Kalakaua Ave and Kuhio Ave in Waikiki. The location is excellent IMHO, as it’s right in the middle of everything. Unfortunately, that’s the nicest thing I’ll have to say about my experience in this entire review.
The lobby (and checking in)
I could tell right away that this was a mid-range property as soon as I walked through the main entrance. Sure, everything was clean and nice, but the lobby didn’t even come close to impressing me as much as the one in the Hilton Waikiki Beach Hotel (on Kuhio Ave) did the first time I saw it.
I didn’t have to wait very long to get checked in. There was nobody ahead of me, so I just mosied right up to the desk and was taken care of in an instant. The entire check in process took less than five minutes.
Getting to my room
My mood worsened the deeper I walked into this hotel. The elevators are located way back in a dark corner of the lobby, and I was getting that seedy (and somewhat creepy) “cheap hotel” vibe as I pressed the button for floor 16.
I’m not gonna lie. The very first words out of my mouth as soon as I open the door to my room were “ok then.” And it wasn’t even something I muttered silently under my breath either. It was a hearty expression of disappointment straight from my gut – an instant (and brutally honest) reaction to everything that I was seeing.
The room was fairly small, very dark, and it looked like it hadn’t been updated since 1995.
The saving grace about this room was (by far) was the view from the balcony. I had a west facing room, which featured a slight view of the ocean if I hung way out over the railing (and cocked my head to the left). I’ve certainly had worst views from the hotel room before. This was nice!
The best way to describe the bathroom in my room at the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani is to say that it reminded me of a typical roadside motel bathroom. It was kind of dark, extremely beige, and very much out of style.
Restaurants, bars, and lounges
Another nice(ish) thing about the Princess Kaiulani is the lounge area just off the main lobby. And I’ve got good news: there are many places on-site to sit and get some work done in quiet solitude.
The pool area seemed fun and lively. The bars and restaurants looked nice, although I didn’t get a chance to try any of them. I mean, this is Waikiki for crying out loud – why eat (and drink) at the hotel with so many great bars and restaurants within a few minutes walking distance?
Pros and cons of the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani Hotel
If it wasn’t obvious by now, there’s basically no chance in hell that I will ever stay at the Princess Kaiulani ever again (at least not until they update it).
I mean, for the most part, it was fine. The problem is that there are so many other great hotels in the immediate area, all costing the same amount of money (or less). If that’s not enough to convince you to stay away, here are all the pros and cons of this hotel based on my own personal experience:
- At least it’s clean. There was nothing about this hotel (whether it be in the lobby or my room) that made me curl all my toes in disgust.
- The views from the upper floor rooms are spectacular. No matter which direction you’re facing, there will be lots to see.
- The location is excellent! It’s literally right in the middle of everything, with the beach being less than a block away.
- My room looked like it hadn’t been updated in a very long time. Everything from the phone to the furniture looked extremely dated.
- The walls are paper thin. I could hear the people in the next room talking as if there was no barrier between us. I heard everything, and thankfully, they didn’t do anything disgusting.
- The nightly rates are just as pricey as some of the more luxurious hotels in the immediate area. It’s not worth it!
ScottScott is the founder and author of SleepAndReview.com, and has been a frequent traveler since 2014. He never had any aspirations of being a hotel reviewer, but one thing let to another, and...well...here we are.
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