Standing at 44 stories tall and with 596 rooms, Hawaii’s second Holiday Inn Express opened this month in the heart of Waikiki. It’s the only Holiday Inn Express on Oahu (the first is in Kailua-Kona), and it’s being billed as “the largest one in the Americas.” Part of the Intercontinental Hotels & Resorts family of brands, the Holiday Inn Express caters specifically to independent, business and leisure travelers looking for an affordable price and a simple space to navigate.
The modern hotel rooms have all the basic essentials for a busy traveler in a compact space: one or two beds, flat-screen TV, compact refrigerator, Wi-Fi, Keurig coffeemaker, microwave and a decently sized bathroom. Views vary dependent upon which floor your room is on, so they could range from buildings fronting Diamond Head, the Pacific Ocean or the mountains—this is a city, after all.
Downstairs, the breakfast lounge could easily double as a workspace and includes added amenities like a daily, complimentary breakfast buffet (with a push-button automatic pancake machine I want to see in action) and a 24-hour coffee service.
This hotel is perfect for guests looking for a place to sleep, and maybe unwind during the day, but see themselves spending the bulk of their time outside of the room. Waikiki Beach is three blocks away, within easy walking distance, the Hawaii Convention Center is a short drive away and there are a large number of shops and restaurants in the area. Top that off with a blue, cloudless sky and it’s nearly impossible to stay inside even if you tried.
My favorite spot is the 5th floor—it’s a large, open-air deck with a pool, whirlpool and fitness center. These amenities may not sound surprising, but what is unexpected are the other activities that accompany it: a 9-hole mini-golf course, ping pong and foosball tables, a shuffleboard, a giant chess set and a game room. Kids would love this, but adults could easily be talked into playing these activities, too.
Hotel room rates start at $139, based on availability, which is a pretty fair price considering all that’s offered. And, for independent travelers looking for a home base to start their days and end their nights, you’ll find all the comforts you need here.
Holiday Inn Express, 2058 Kuhio Ave., Waikiki, (808) 947-2828, holidayinnexpresswaikiki.com.