Waikiki, Honolulu: a city where you can be surrounded by thousands of tourists but still feel completely content and relaxed. A paradise city saturated with shops, restaurants and a plethora of accommodation options. A vibrant hustle and bustle that gives this Hawaiian island the electric energy that attracts so many millions of tourists annually.
With all this in mind, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed with choice when you are looking to book accommodation in Honolulu, especially if you are looking for something other than the standard uptight hotel chain or underwhelming Airbnb homestay. We personally have a checklist when it comes to accommodation options and always try and ensure that most of these boxes are ticked. Of course, it’s a matter of personal opinion, but our list, for example, includes the following: Is it in a trendy area with good restaurants, cafes and bars? Is it close to the beach (if it’s a coastal destination)? What do the reviews say? Does the hotel match your travel style and personality? Is the hotel authentic and considered? Etc, etc…
So how does The Laylow, an Autograph Collection Boutique Hotel, measure up?
Location: The Heart of Waikiki
Ideally situated in the heart of Waikiki, it will take about two minutes to walk to the famous shopping district and about six minutes to get to Waikiki beach. Along these walks, you’ll pass endless little food vendors, restaurants, souvenir shops, public transport stops and more. No plans are the best plans when staying at the Laylow Hotel as you’ll end up stumbling upon hidden treasures you didn’t even know existed.
The Hotel Rooms: A 1960’s Authentic Hawaiian Vibe
So much more than just a hotel room, we were lucky to stay in a beautiful studio room on the sixth floor with an amazing big bathroom, a small dining space, tv and lounge area and an incredibly comfy King Size bed. The studio room ended up being the perfect place to call home for our two-night stay. The Laylow is the type of hotel you look forward to getting back to after a long day out exploring, shopping or simply lounging at the beach, because it’s incredibly welcoming. Our studio room was equivalent to a cosy yet very trendy apartment with an undeniable authentic Hawaiian feel to it. Each room in the hotel also has the famous Laylow wallpaper that brightens up the space, and dare we say, make it very Instagrammable.
Upon entering the reception area, the concierge, pool deck and rooftop bar are all on the same level. The mid-century furnishings and décor combined with lush greenery and tropical gardens around the pool area will instantly transport you to another era. The rooftop bar has that bona fide tiki vibe and is filled with hanging plants, woven lanterns, relaxed loungers and fire pits. It feels like Hawaii, and it feels good.
The Hotel Perks: Worthwhile Freebies & Great Happy Hour
As a guest of the Laylow, you get some seriously amazing perks. Other than a hotel gym and an awesome pool deck, you also get free Ukulele lessons, an awesome gift basket on arrival (that make you feel super VIP), free bike rentals and free Snow Ice at certain times of the day (Snow Ice is a very popular Hawaiian dessert, made of only shaved ice and flavoured syrup, and yes, it’s damn delicious and undeniably refreshing).
The Laylow Hotel also happens to be home to one of Waikiki’s best bars, aptly named the Hideout. The Hideout makes world-class cocktails, great bar food and is also an all-round great dining spot. They have a great happy hour from 5 pm – 6:30 pm (that was actually suggested to us by a local) with great deals on select cocktails, beers, wines and bar food. Even if you don’t stay at the Laylow, this is an absolute must for your Waikiki trip.
The Coffee, the Glorious Coffee
Like most Australians, we are, somewhat, coffee snobs. Unlike Sydney, where you can find a decent café on almost every block, that is most certainly not the case in Honolulu. On our trip to Waikiki, we were always on the lookout for good “Australian” style cafés for our daily caffeine fix, and other than the Aussie owned Bill’s café, it’s a pretty rare sighting. To our delight, the dedicated coffee station at the Laylow’s Hideout was not only decent coffee, it was GREAT coffee. So much so that it deserved its very own paragraph.
Other Top Tips for in and Around The Laylow Hotel:
Eat breakfast in-house – So we’ve already mentioned the great coffee, but do yourself a favour and try the Brioche French Toast. You WILL thank us.
Stay for the live music: The Hideout Bar offers live music every night from 7 pm to 10 pm. A great way to enjoy one of Waikiki’s best rooftop bars, with a few firepits around just in case it gets a bit chilly.
Marukame Udon: Just across the road from the Laylow, you’ll notice a little udon place that almost always has a line out the front, and for good reason. The line moves quickly and the food is perfect every time and extremely affordable. An absolute must.
Overall, people visit Hawaii for a raft of valid reasons, and its reputation as one of the most beautiful places on Earth will never change. What makes all the difference when you visit, however, is making sure you find yourself in relaxed but well-appointed digs so you can wake up energised for a day of action, and crash out with a cocktail at the end of it all.
The Laylow Hotel dishes up both in spades.
Man of Many stayed as a guest of The Laylow, an Autograph Collection Boutique Hotel.