Princess Victoria Kaiulani Kalaniniuahilapalapa Kawekiui Lunalilo was born on October 16, 1875. Her parents were Princess Miriam Likelike, sister of King Kalakaua, and Archibald Cleghorn, from Scotland and once the governor of Oahu. Kaiulani was given an estate, called Ainahau, in Waikiki by Princess Ruth Keelikolani, the last surviving member of the Kamehamehas. Princess Kaiulani’s short life included highs and lows, befriending Robert Louis Stevenson, education aboard in England, the end of the Hawaiian monarchy, and Hawaii named as a republic of the United States. She would have been the next in line for the throne, but will always be remembered as young, beautiful, charming, and wise beyond her years.
The Sheraton Princess Kaiulani now graces Ainahau, Princess Kaiulani’s estate in Waikiki. The hotel rises above Waikiki with beautiful Makai (ocean), Mauka (mountain), and city views. The hotel has 1,142 rooms (including 10 junior suites) and has two restaurants, Pikake Terrace and Splash Bar and Bento. There are also on-site activities like ukulele lessons, Hawaiian quilting, lei making, kukui nut bracelet making, and more. The Ainahau Showroom also has evening show performances. Check their event calendar for more details.
- Travel tip: Sign up for the SPG (Starwood Preferred Guest) program. It’s free and you receive points for your hotel stays at all Starwood Hotels. Points can be redeemed for future hotel stays. Some of their hotels have floors just for SPG members as well.
If your room isn’t quite ready upon arrival, the Splash Bar & Bento is a great place to grab a bite and hang out next to the pool. “Flavors of Hawaii” Volcano Chicken Salad sautéed in a special marinade with lettuce, Chinese cabbage, cucumbers, bell pepper, seasonal greens tossed in oriental dressing, and garnished with papaya and crispy taro chips. The salad is a good mix of local vegetables and fruits. The chicken would be better grilled than sautéed to help caramelize the marinade. Rating: 4/5
Kalua Pork Sandwich is smoky pulled pork served on focaccia bread with homemade BBQ dipping sauce, a trio of melted cheeses, and served with celery, carrot sticks, and ranch dipping sauce. If you like BBQ pork sandwiches, this sandwich is for you. I am more of a purist when it comes to kalua pig and like it plain or with cabbage. The BBQ sauce is overpowering. The portion is also huge so sharing would be more than adequate. Rating: 3/5
Waikiki activities to do/visit within walking distance (if you don’t have a rental car):
- Waikiki Beach is right across Kalakaua Avenue.
- Kings Village Shopping Mart is across Kaiulani Avenue. Every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, there is a farmer’s market with fresh island fruits and local artisanal foods for purchase. Eat some while you’re walking or take back to your room for a snack later.
- Honolulu Zoo
- You can also purchase tickets for the Waikiki Trolley with unlimited boarding privileges with four different routes and over 30 stops.
Ainahau Tower has cozy rooms with balconies and all of the creature comforts of a resort hotel: comfortable beds, air conditioning, mini refrigerator, TV, in-room safe, coffee maker, hair dryer, iron and ironing board, ice bucket and drinking glasses, and internet access. The room itself is a little small but the balcony helps open up the space. In the afternoon/evening, live Hawaiian and contemporary music from the pool can be heard in the High Ocean View, Tower Partial Ocean View, Pool View, and Deluxe Ocean View rooms. Relax on the balcony with a drink, let the ocean breeze erase the cares of the day and listen to music, all in the comfort of your own room.
Pikake Terrace has a wonderful dinner buffet with flavors that will make everyone in your party happy. Here are some items you might find on the buffet: snow crab legs with drawn butter, grilled steaks, kalua pig and cabbage, Caesar salad, ahi poke, and haupia for dessert. The culinary presentation itself, is a visual feast. The mix of local food and continental cuisine is perfect. Hopefully, your tummy will tell you when to stop. Rating: 5/5
If you are looking for hotel in Waikiki where you don’t need a car, Sheraton Princess Kaiulani is the perfect place.
Atmosphere: 5 out of 5 stars
Service: 5 out of 5 stars
Décor: 4 out of 5 stars
Food: 4 out of 5 stars
For more information:
120 Kaiulani Ave
Honolulu, HI 96815