Is Moana Surfrider Or Ritz-Carlton A Better Marriott Bonvoy Hotel In Waikiki?


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When comparing the best Marriott in Waikiki, Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa, to The Ritz-Carlton Residences Waikiki Beach, Moana Surfrider is located on the beach, while the Ritz-Carlton is located a few blocks away from the beach within the concrete jungle that makes up Waikiki.

We have stayed in Waikiki several times and have stayed in both of these hotels. If you can stretch to it, we also love the Halekulani and Royal Hawaiian in Waikiki and the Four Seasons Oahu beyond Waikiki. The Halekulani, Royal Hawaiian, and Four Seasons, along with the Sheraton Waikiki and the Moana Surfrider by Westin, all have direct beach or waterfromt access.

1. Location: Moana Surfrider Vs. Ritz-Carlton Waikiki

The Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa. It is brilliantly located on the beachfront in Waikiki. These hotels are in the center of the action, and it’s easy to grab a coffee at the Royal Hawaiian or an evening cocktail at Halekulani Hotel’s famous House Without A Key Bar from this central location. Dukes Canoe Club, the Cheesecake Factory, and pretty much every shop and fast food restaurant are close by.

The Ritz-Carlton Waikiki is a 10 minute walk from the beachfront in Waikiki. You can walk in a fairly straight line down to the beach past Fort Derussy Beach Park which will take you right to the sands, but this is not ideal if you have kids. Families may prefer to book one of the Marriotts that are right on the beach. The Moana Surfrider and the Royal Hawaiian sit right on a great stretch of wide sandy beach, ideal for families.

2. Beach & Pools

You must pick the Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa, for the best beach. The Moana Surfrider also has a decent pool area, a traditional rectangular design with steps at one end and loungers flanking the sides, set in the tree-filled beachfront grounds of the hotel.

The Ritz-Carlton Waikiki has the better pools of these two hotels. It features two stunning pools: the main infinity-edge pool on the eighth floor with panoramic views of Waikiki Beach and the surrounding ocean, and a separate adults-only infinity pool.

Both pool areas feature elegant lounge chairs and cabanas, creating a serene and inviting atmosphere for guests to unwind and soak up the Hawaiian sunshine. Guests can enjoy refreshing swims in the crystal-clear waters or lounge poolside while sipping on refreshing cocktails from the nearby bar. The pool areas also include whirlpool spas for added relaxation and attentive poolside service.

Four Seasons Oahu Vs. Ritz-Carlton Waikiki Vs. Halekulani Vs. Royal Hawaiian
Four Seasons Oahu Vs. Ritz-Carlton Waikiki Vs. Halekulani Vs. Royal Hawaiian

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Which is the best hotel on Oahu Beach? Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina Vs. Ritz Carlton Waikiki Vs. Halekulani Vs Royal Hawaiian. These four hotels are in quite different locations. Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina is not in Waikiki or Honolulu. Four Seasons is in Ko Olina, which is a good hours drive from Honolulu, depending on traffic. So if you want to explore Honolulu and Waikiki, then Four Seasons isn't a great choice. What Four Seasons does have is larger grounds, a better beach, a more stylish pool area, and a fantastic tropical resort feel.

If you want to try the best hotel on the island of Oahu, we think it has to be Four Seasons Oahu, which is one of the best Four Seasons on Hawaii and is not to be missed. Four Seasons Oahu is not in or even near Waikiki but is on a glorious beach in a beautiful setting.

3. Accommodations

The building housing the Moana Surfrider foyer was the first hotel in Waikiki Beach and opened on March 11, 1901. This building is around 6 storeys high and has a terrace outside where you can sit on rocking chairs and watch the world go by. It is evocative of past times and gives the hotel’s communal areas an atmosphere. It is worth walking through even if you don’t stay at the hotel. The historic building at the Moana Surfrider offers low-rise rooms, but because of its design, these rooms don’t have balconies.

Next door to the main Moana Surfrider building is a larger, higher block that runs at right angles to the beach and offers large rooms with balconies. The hotel offers 791 guest rooms and suites spread across its main building and adjacent Diamond Wing. The Diamond Wing is much taller than the historic building, which houses the foyer, but it is less high than the Sheraton. It also has the advantage of balconies in each room so you can sit out and enjoy the sunshine from your room.

The accommodations at The Ritz-Carlton Waikiki are among the best and largest in Waikiki. Rooms feature contemporary Hawaiian-inspired décor and upscale amenities, and many offer stunning ocean views. Others overlook the lush mountains or the vibrant cityscape of Waikiki. Each room is equipped with plush bedding, a marble bathroom with a soaking tub and separate shower, a private lanai (balcony), and state-of-the-art technology such as flat-screen TVs and high-speed internet access.

For those seeking an even more indulgent experience, the hotel also offers suites and residences. These expansive accommodations feature separate living and dining areas, fully equipped kitchens, and wraparound lanais with panoramic views.

10 Best Marriotts In Hawaii
10 Best Marriotts In Hawaii

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Which is the best Marriott hotel in Hawaii? We think the best Marriott hotels in Hawaii are the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua, the Ritz-Carlton Waikiki, and Wailea Beach Resort, but there are plenty more to choose from, depending on your budget. Read on to find out which hotel will work best for you. The Marriott brand includes Luxury Collection, EDITION, St Regis, W Hotels, and JW Marriott, as well as mid-range brands like Autograph Collection, Renaissance, Sheraton, Le Meridien, Design Hotels, and Westin.

4. Atmosphere

Both hotels are huge, but the foyer and grounds of the Moana Surfrider feel historic and magical. They enable you to step back to a time when Waikiki was a desolate strip of beach. I love the foyer of this hotel. It is probably my favorite in Waikiki. The Royal Hawaiian is also worth stopping by from a historical perspective.

The atmosphere at The Ritz-Carlton Waikiki is one of refined luxury combined with the laid-back, tropical vibe of Hawaii. As you step into the lobby, you’re greeted by stunning contemporary design with elements inspired by the island’s natural beauty. With its soaring ceilings and elegant décor, the expansive lobby immediately sets the tone for a luxurious stay.

The views from The Ritz-Carlton Waikiki are breathtaking, with panoramic vistas of the Pacific Ocean and the iconic Diamond Head crater. Whether you’re gazing out from your room or enjoying a sunset cocktail from the hotel’s rooftop bar, you’ll be treated to some of the most stunning scenery in all of Hawaii.

The Moana Surfrider is a proper seaside resort hotel that feels more grounded and traditional, with a beautiful reception foyer and grounds. The Ritz-Carlton feels like a classy city hotel with incredible facilities and pools.

Best Marriott In Waikiki: Sheraton Vs. Royal Hawaiian
Best Marriott In Waikiki: Sheraton Vs. Royal Hawaiian

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When comparing Sheraton Waikiki to The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort, Waikiki, it is immediately worth mentioning that both hotels are located on the beach and in the heart of Waikiki's nightlife and action. We have stayed in Waikiki on a number of occasions and have stayed in both of these hotels. We particularly love the Halekulani and Royal Hawaiian in Waikiki and the Four Seasons Oahu beyond Waikiki. Sheraton Waikiki is brilliantly located between the Halekulani and the Royal Hawaiian on the beachfront in Waikiki.

5. Club Lounge

The Sheraton Waikiki and Moana Surfrider both have some of the best club lounges in Waikiki. The club lounge at the Moana Surfrider feels more Hawaiian and has an outdoor area but lacks the views. The Ritz-Carlton Waikiki does not have a club lounge, which is quite unusual for a Ritz-Carlton hotel.

6. Best Way To Book

Book any of the best Marriott hotels in Hawaii with our luxury travel concierge to get free benefits including prioritized room upgrades, free breakfasts resort credit, and more. We also apply your Bonvoy loyalty number to your bookings so you can still collect your points and miles when you book with us (if you book via a third-party automated agency, you will not get your loyalty points or our complimentry benefits).

Best Hotel Club Or Executive Level Lounge In Waikiki
Best Hotel Club Or Executive Level Lounge In Waikiki

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This article outlines the hotels in Waikiki, Oahu, that offer club or executive lounges to guests. When deciding which hotel to choose in Waikiki, it is sensible to consider the added extras a hotel club lounge provides. Offerings usually include complimentary drinks and snacks throughout the day, breakfast in the morning, and evening cocktails with canapés. The evening food and drink offering is often more than enough to replace the need to go out for the evening. Club guestrooms are often a little bigger and offer more luxurious facilities than standard rooms, with more space.

7. Conclusion

Pick Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa, for its location, historical significance, grounds, and lovely beach. Pick the Ritz-Carlton for its stylish vibe, huge rooms, sophisticated setting, and views. The Ritz-Carlton is the most luxurious of these hotels, and we love it. Just remember that it is a walk from the beach if you have children. That said, both hotels offer a great luxury base in Waikiki.

Image © Allen.G / Adobe Stock.

Note: Benefits & upgrades subject to availability. Benefits offered correct at the time of writing. Terms & conditions apply. Enquire for more information. Benefits offered correct at the time of writing but may be amended at discretion of the vendor. Posts may be sponsored by the proprietor or brand being appraised. All opinions remain our own & are in no way influenced.