If you've been reading here for any amount of time, then you're aware of my love for vacationing in the Hawaiian Islands. As a family we try to get there once or twice a year, which of course is never enough. However, travel has gotten more challenging as the kids get older because of their busy schedules. And every vacation becomes a little more meaningful as we creep into the high school years. Where has the time gone? I don't want to waste our precious family vacation time trying out something we might not like.
We are big fans of the island of Oahu. We have found we are not the type who like to sit in a beach chair from dawn to dusk. We enjoy an island with an array of beautiful beaches, nightlife and fabulous restaurants. For us, Oahu has it all and we have been going there for years (pre-kids and now with them in tow). In fact, I could drop my kids almost anywhere in Oahu and they could find their way back to our hotel, they are just that familiar. Let's face it, it's always fun to explore a new destination, but memories of vacations returning to the same, nostalgic place are nice to have in the memory banks.
As a family, our favorite place to stay on Oahu has been the Embassy Suites Waikiki Beach Walk. We have returned to this hotel time and time again because of its location, spacious accommodations, incredible service, amazing-inclusive amenities and so many other things. Have we stayed other places on Oahu? Absolutely! However, we have never been able to match the friendliness, warmth and value we have found at this Waikiki Beach hotel.
After a long flight, when I finally see this sign, I am instantly transported into vacation mode. I know the next seven to ten days will be amazing.
The valet area is completely covered and the staff wastes no time coming over, opening the car doors and getting our luggage out. Many of valet staff have been working there for years and remember us as we spill out of the car. It truly feels like we are coming home and we appreciate that.
The lobby is open-air, like most Hawaiian properties, with a comfortable place to check -in, wait for your room or plan your day. Ice cold water is always available, a major plus for the tropical weather.
This was the view from the lanai of our lovely,16th floor, ocean view suite. And with world famous Waikiki Beach just steps away, you will never be at a loss for something to do.
One of the main reasons we return to the Embassy Suites again and again is the size of the rooms; they are all 1-2 bedroom suites. I refer to it as all-suite paradise and the rooms have been recently renovated keeping up with their Hawaiian inspired decor.
As you can see, the spacious room has a place for our beach chairs, boogie boards, snorkels and all the gear we require for our typical Hawaiian vacation.
Every suite has a private bedroom with separate living room and pull out sofa bed, microwave, wet bar, mini refrigerator, coffeemaker, safe and two flat-panel TVs.
Amenities like the ones I've mentioned above are scarce in Hawaii. Especially a room with two queen beds! It's almost like finding gold and we appreciate this feature more than anything when it comes to deciding where to stay.
The bathroom is large with lots of storage space and great water pressure in the shower (important for washing the sand out of your hair). The housekeeping staff is very attentive when it comes to stocking the room with towels for regular showering, the pool and beach.
The rooms are always meticulously clean and comfortable. We couldn't ask for anything more. But wait, this hotel offers so much more than just a comfortable place to sleep.
Not too long after we settled into our room, this lovely fruit plate arrived courtesy of the hotel as a VIP treat for our family. Gorgeous or what? This is not something that is included the hotel stay, but something special they offered to us this time as their special guest. It couldn't have been more perfect.
I was so dehydrated from my flight it couldn't have arrived at a more perfect time. We sat out on the lanai and enjoyed every last piece.
While we spend a lot of time at the beach, we are always in need of a few pool days. The resort boasts a children's pool and whirlpool spa along with their regular pool.
What I love about the pool area is always having a lounge chair available and it's never overly crowded. I've stayed here enough times to be able to say that with authority.
My youngest has grown up swimming in this pool.
And when you're hanging by the pool, make sure to order something from the Pakini Bar, the food and drinks are always top notch. The Tropical Itch, served poolside, is hands down my favorite adult beverage. The family loves the Cajun Mahi Mahi Tacos, Bang Bang Shrimp Tacos, Kobe Beef Sliders and the cheesiest, Pepperoni Pizza you could crave. You can't go wrong with any of these.
If you've ever stayed at an Embassy Suites property you know your stay includes a very nice breakfast buffet. We all look forward to it. At the Embassy Suites in Waikiki that same wonderful breakfast is ramped up!
There are so many offerings, including gorgeous morning salads, miso soup with all the fixings, fresh tropical fruit, sticky rice and all the other usual breakfast fare of pancakes, bacon, sausage, French toast, oatmeal and pastries...it's quite impressive.
Since a nice breakfast in Hawaii can really set you back dollar wise, this is just another reason why you can't beat staying here.
Here's a smattering of a few of our breakfast plates as well as the omelet bar offerings. Don't miss the omelet bar...just sayin'.
When evening arrives, Embassy Suites puts on its nightly poolside reception with a live band, cocktails and light snacks. This is included with your room too. Amazing right?
Here are a few of my drinks from the evening reception...Blue Hawaii, Mai Tai and a Sea Breeze. There are lots of other choices including beer and wine.
The band, Kanilau has performed during the evening reception since we've been staying at this hotel. THEY. ARE. AWESOME. And many people are inspired to get up and dance.
They perform on Friday, Saturday, Monday and Wednesday nights and you don't want to miss them. I make sure our dinner reservations are made for after the evening reception so we don't miss the music.
After the cocktails, snacks and music, take the escalator down from the hotel and you will find yourself in the middle of Waikiki's famed Beach Walk. As you can see, lot's of shopping and world-class restaurants are available...truly something for everyone.
This hotel is located in a very desirable area of Waikiki so make sure you get out and explore.
While I've gone on and on about all the reasons why we return to this hotel, I have left the best and most important reason for last. We keep coming back because the staff are amazingly warm, friendly and remember us and our needs from visit to visit. This hotel has very little employee turnover and we when we arrive, it feels like we are coming home to old friends. The three you see above, Cary, Lei and Aldrin have gone out of their way to make our vacations absolutely perfect every single time. If you happen to stay at the hotel, make sure to tell them hello (from me). I can't wait to see them again on our next trip.
This last visit I had a conversation with the public relations director of the hotel and I was mentioning how impressed we are with the level of the staff they employ and how our experience here is very different from many other hotels we stay. She explained how this particular Embassy Suites is managed and owned by the Outrigger Group of Hotels. I think that's important because the Outrigger Hotels are a family owned, privately held business and the staff at this Embassy Suites are Outrigger employees.
It all makes sense to me now. Family businesses tend to create cultures that recognize, respect and empower non-family employees in order to motivate and retain them. It's obvious the staff at this Embassy Suites are well-cared for and love their jobs. Their loyalty translates into how they take care of their guests. They have my heart and have made my family customers for life. I know my own children will return to this hotel with their own families someday.
To learn more about this Embassy Suites, head over to their website. You can also join in on their conversation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Related Post: Visiting Diamond Head National Park, Oahu, Hawaii
Disclosure: Please note my family and I have been vacationing at this hotel for years. On this particular trip, Embassy Suites Waikiki, upgraded our room in exchange for my honest opinions about their property. Thank you in advance for continuing to support brands I truly believe offer the best service and products out there. I hope you get to experience the aloha spirit of this hotel the next time you are in Hawaii. All photos in this post are my own.