There are several reasons to love the Shoreline Hotel, this newly opened boutique hotel by the Joie de Vivre group.
One is the excellent price for its location (opening rate of $159 per room), two is the retro designer look that I have come to know and love about this collection of hotels throughout California, and three is the staff. In this case, the latter changed our entire holiday!
How do you find staff like this?
Rommel, the guy at the front desk who checked us in, deserves a medal. One of those big McDonald’s Employee of the Month medallions to hang around his neck and a photo in the lobby. Not that they have photos in the lobby. They’re way too cool for that. They have tea and coffee on tap and a blackboard with the weather and surf conditions written daily. They also have a groovy lounge that looks like a chic bach. The kind of furniture you’d stick in your retro kiwi bach if you had pots of money but didn’t want to go all poncy and posh.
You see Rommel saved the day for us. I am travelling with my husband and parents and we’d left mum and dad in their happy place at the Ala Moana shopping center with 290 shops and a great floor of restaurants on the top. The plan was to meet later for happy hour and discuss our dinner options (which I’ll get to in a minute). Knock on the door and mum is standing there distraught. Dad has lost his wallet. He’s downstairs talking to Rommel and explaining that he had every credit card and all his cash in it. Not an insubstantial amount I might heart-stoppingly add. He thought he’d left it in the taxi and realised just as he watched it drive away.
Long story short (I know I am way too verbose on this blog), phone calls ensued because dad had remembered the driver’s name although not the company as they’d just jumped in a random taxi at the mall. Dispatch tracked him down. He’d had no other fare yet but alas the wallet was not there.
I went outside to check the roadside. Rommel had already done that. Dad rings the last store he was in just in case. Then knock, knock. Who’s there? Rommel. He had come racing up as our phone was engaged to say WAIT! Don’t cancel your cards, a couple is standing at reception and they have found it.
They’d picked it up on the road and had been roaming around looking for the guy with the high blood pressure. After much hallelujah’s and a generous tip that dad forced into the man’s unwilling palm, my inheritance was returned. There’s a moral in there somewhere. Or a parable.
Contrary to the name, The Shoreline Hotel, Waikiki is not actually on the shoreline. In fact you can only see a slither of Waikiki Beach from some rooms. But that’s why it’s such a great price and that’s why Aussies and Kiwis are heading here in their droves.
It’s just a block back from Kalakaua Ave, the main drag that runs behind the beach front hotels edged in shops and restaurants, and alongside the International Market. It used to be called Seaside Hotel (tell that to your taxi driver) on Seaside Ave (another irony). It’s way quieter than the heaving throng down on the actual shoreline and while you may not appreciate looking into the run down balconies of the apartment block in front, once inside, this is my honest pick for those who want a stylish hotel without the stylish price tag.
Where to eat around here:
With the entire beach front as your oyster, it’s very hard to choose. My advice would be to pick the ambience or cuisine you’re after and then grab a local guide. Or ask Rommel. We did the latter and ended up at Duke’s Waikiki on the beach in front of the Outrigger Waikiki. There was a half hour wait for an outside table. Just enough time to get a drink with a pineapple wedged onto the rim of the glass and we were seated.
It’s incredibly well priced for its location too. I had delicious fish tacos ($13.95), dad had ribs and huge waffle-cut fries ($14.95), mum went for the baked fish and my husband had steak – although he got a better one the next night upstairs at Chuck’s Steakhouse where we all ordered prime rib for $32 each and I couldn’t finish it.