Story and photography by Sharon King Hoge
Waikiki, Honolulu, Hawaii
U.S. & Canada: (877) 997-6667
Worldwide Direct: +1-808-924-2924
The "whacky" Waikiki conglomeration of sun bathers and shoppers can overwhelm travelers with its overload of congestion and confusion. The chain hotels are impersonal; the historic hostelries are apt to be clogged with wedding guests and photographers. What a find then, among the overpowering towers of Marriott, Hyatt, Hilton, Aston and all the other giant spires, to come across the tasteful serenity of the Hotel Renew. Just nine floors high, housing 72 rooms; it is a charming alternative for those seeking the convivial comfort of an upscale, sophisticated hotel.
Beautifully designed in a sleek, modern dark neutral decor, the lobby is lightened with beautiful floral arrangements and an infinity pool fountain with leaves and blossoms bobbing in the water. Guests are asked to sign a no-smoking form and are welcomed to the "club" by friendly staff members who explain the $25 per day amenities fee which covers breakfast, free wi-fi, swimming pool and fitness room access, daily newspapers, maps and guides to local buses and attractions, an "Aloha" coupon book for savings on local activities and shops, the hotel newsletter, a free evening Mai Tai in the lobby lounge, and free rentals of DVD films dispensed by an automatic on-site machine.
Before going to the room each guest is invited to select a preferred scent -- lavender and bergamont Bimbi, gardenia and tuberose Isola, fresh green Verde or vanilla Vaniglia -- for an infuser which is sent up to the room.
Two handy elevators whisk back and forth to rooms which are compact models of clever design with twin or kingsize beds facing a desk holding a 40-inch television screen, a spacious closet with robes, ironing facilities, and a safe large enough to hold a laptop Four spacious drawers support a luggage ledge. Three outlets are supplied at the desk along with a DVD player and Keurig coffee maker. Bedside stands hold a phone, alarm clock, and efficient light switches which are mercifully comprehensible.
Rooms at either end of each floor open out to balconies, and above the third floor, rooms on the west side of the building overlook the renowned beach a short block away. Opening the window you can hear the roar of the surf and the jingling of trolleys which stop a few steps from the hotel's front door.
Screened from the bedroom by a full length frosted glass window, the bathroom is divided by an ingenious partition that provides three storage shelves supplementing the counter space around the trendy box sink. On the other side of the partition, the bathroom provides a tub with a rain forest shower and an easy to slide glass door. Two corner shelves in the shower wall are handy to hold soap and name-brand Aston amenities; there are plenty of towels and wash cloths and one of the two spacious cabinet drawers holds a hair dryer. In short it is a very convenient space for its size.
While there is neither room service nor a cafe, a cool refrigerator in each room is ready to hold snacks and beverages which can be purchased from the handy ABC convenience store down the block.
The Continental breakfast served in the lobby bar provides pineapple juice, coffee and tea, unlimited fresh fruit, and a full selection of breads and pastries. Evenings the bar serves cocktails including the complimentary Mai Tai miraculously concocted with plum and licorice Li Hing powder by bartender Charlene Moe. For exercise, guests are provided unlimited access to the extensive fitness room and outdoor pool of the giant Marriott directly across the street. Alternatively, merely one block away there is swimming and surfing on Waikiki Beach with surfboard, paddle board, and bicycle rentals.
A QR Code accesses the hotel's Mobile Concierge plus the on-site staff is helpful and accommodating -- sending messages up to my room, booking my shuttle to the airport, -- less than an hour after I happened to mention I wanted to check something out at a library the front desk delivered an address and a map to locating one a few blocks away. Sometimes cozy, personal convenience is more of a luxury than opulence.
© November 2014 LuxuryWeb Magazine. All rights reserved.