Updated: May 1, 2023
The Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa is hard to miss on a visit to Honolulu. Not only is the sprawling property sitting on one of the most beautiful stretches of beach in the area, the groves of greenery outside the hotel also draw the eye as you walk past.
The resort’s classical style and historic charm make it look like the kind of place you’d want to spend your next vacation.
But within those walls, what’s this hotel really like? Keep reading for everything you need to know about the Moana Surfrider and determine whether you should book this resort spa Waikiki.
Background on Moana Surfrider
Moana Surfrider is Waikiki’s oldest-standing resort. It features an expansive layout with grand plantation-like with its broad lawns and soaring classic architecture. The hotel, which was originally built in 1901, has a mix of royal Hawaiian charm and local history.
When the hotel was originally built, it was actually the first hotel on Waikiki beach (the second was The Royal Hawaiian). It was built to attract luxury clientele to the Waikiki beach area and featured amenities that were unprecedented at the time, such as in-room telephones and private baths. It was even home to the first electric elevator in the area!
Just 20 years after the hotel first opened, it experienced its first boom. With Waikiki beach Honolulu becoming a hotspot for travel and tourism, the hotel began to take off, becoming the choice place to stay for guests visiting the area. The Moana Hotel, as it was called at the time, even launched its own radio show, which was broadcasted from the hotel’s courtyard.
The start of World War saw some changes in the area, with the Waikiki beach Moana Surfrider transforming into a rest stop for soldiers before they went to war. Once the war ended, however, the hotel was back in business, adding a new wing to one side of the hotel, which was called the Surfrider.
It was after this addition that the property Moana Surfrider received its full name: Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa. Today, this resort continues its historical legacy, welcoming visitors from all over the world to Waikiki Beach, Honolulu.
Even now, parts of the old design features are still intact at the hotel. You will also see tall columns and intricate woodwork paired with extra-high ceilings for better cross-ventilation breezes.
Additionally, standing at the resort’s center is a large banyan tree, which was planted the same year the resort was built. The historic banyan tree grew to a height of 75 feet and served as the hotel’s courtyard cover and gives shade to the hotel’s veranda restaurant. Guests can still enjoy relaxing under the shade of the tree after a Waikiki beach walk in the hot Hawaiian sun.
Of course, despite these historical aspects of the resort, there are plenty of new features as well. The Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa in Waikiki beach has gained a name for itself as an entertainment hub. Its convenient location puts it right at the heart of the action in town, and the hotel often buzzes with the sounds of local events.
Moana Surfrider has also been a famous destination for weddings. If you stay here, you’ll see a mixture of guests – from locals to international individuals and honeymooning couples. Families are also welcome, though they prefer the spacious rooms in Sheraton Waikiki.
Booking Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa
Even though Moana Surfrider is a luxury Westin resort in Waikiki, it’s often fully booked, especially during summer. That’s why it’s best you book a room in advance.
Luckily, there are several ways that you can do this easily. Firstly, there are many third-party sights that make it easy for you to make a reservation at the hotel. These third-party sites will allow you to choose from rooms with an ocean view to rooms overlooking other, more commercial parts of Waikiki beach.
Alternatively, guests can book a room directly with the hotel. Since the property is owned and operated by Marriott, members of Marriott’s Bonvoy program can occasionally get free upgrades at check in or other special perks. If you’re staying at Moana Surfrider through earned points in Marriott’s Bonvoy Program, a night at this Category 7 resort costs 60,000 points.
Regardless of how you book, you can typically take advantage of free cancellation with this property, as long as it’s done within a certain timeframe.
Getting to Moana Surfrider
The nearest airport to this property is the Honolulu International Airport. It’ll take you just twenty minutes to get to the resort by car, regardless of whether you’re coming in a taxi or your own vehicle.
Once you arrive, you’ll notice that the Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa is located at the center of the Waikiki beach area in Honolulu. As a result, there are plenty of nearby activities that guests can enjoy during their stay.
For one thing, this resort is located close to the Royal Hawaiian Center, a shopping mall featuring high-end stores and a wide variety of must-try restaurants. You can even pick up a Moana Surfrider shopping tote in the lobby of the hotel to use for your shopping trips.
Additionally, if you walk for two minutes toward the north, you’ll see a statue of the famous surfer, Duke Kahanamoku.
Other nearby Waikiki beach activities to enjoy include :
- Sans Souci State Recreational Park
- Honolulu Zoo
- Diamond Head State Park
You can also visit Queen’s Beach by taking a ten-minute walk towards the south. Or, if you have more time, visit the historic Pearl Harbor, and you’ll arrive there in 30 minutes by car. An hour by car towards the north takes you to North Shore, the birthplace of the island’s modern-day surfing.
Arriving at the Westin Moana Surfrider
When you arrive at the Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa from the nearest airport, your cab will drop you off at the front gates of the hotel. Alternatively, if you came in your own vehicle, complimentary valet parking is available for you to store your vehicle.
From there, the hotel staff will help you unload your bags and take them inside. They’ll take care of getting your luggage to your room while you check in at the front desk.
The Check-In Process at Moana Surfrider Waikiki Beach
As soon as you enter the Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa at Waikiki Beach, you’ll be greeted with the signature white tea scent that marks it as a Westin resort. The lobby is spacious and features a timeless design with long pathways and open windows throughout the building.
There aren’t usually lines, which makes checking in at this Waikiki beach property fast and smooth. The receptionist will look up your booking and offer any perks or upgrades to Bonvoy members, if available. This can include offering you a premier room or accommodating late check out times.
This is also when you can make special requests, such as requesting extra beds. Although the property can’t always accommodate special requests, they do their best, and generally are able to make guests feel comfortable and welcome.
Finally, you’ll also need to pay your resort fee at check in. The resort fee includes access to the hotel’s private Waikiki beach share as well as to a number of activities and amenities around the property.
The Rooms at the Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa
The Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa features almost 800 rooms, all of which are incredibly cozy and have a classic and elegant style that you won’t find anywhere else. That’s true regardless of whether you’re in a premier room or a standard deluxe room.
The rooms are minimalist yet sleek, with most of them offering beautiful views of the ocean and the nearby beach. Inside this resort spa Waikiki beach, you’ll find two wings: the historic Banyan Wing and the Tower Wing (we also have a property map of the Moana Surfrider, to make it easier to find everything).
Banyan Wing features decorations balanced with blue and sage green palettes. The rooms have floors and walls filled with intricate hardwood details and beautiful artwork, giving a sharper finish to the decor.
The Tower Wing, on the other hand, has a tropical vibe. Most pieces of furniture have rounded lines and woven bamboo paneling. Rooms in this wing are larger and more spacious than those in Banyan Wing, making them ideal for families.
Room Amenities and Features
Regardless of which wing you choose to stay in, there are a number of room options available, each one including beds from Westin’s signature Heavenly collection, complete with premium bedding.
This bedding includes goose-down pillows, pillow-top mattresses, and nightly turndown services. You can also use the complimentary slippers and bathrobes to relax and unwind after a long day of exploring Waikiki beach.
All rooms also include the following features:
- Flat screen TV
- Safety deposit box
- Enhanced Wi Fi access
Although internet access is available to guests on any part of the property, the enhanced Wi Fi access in the rooms gives faster connectivity. That way, guests staying at the property for business have a place where they can connect to get some work done.
Besides these amenities, an iPad is also available in each room, containing more than 5,000 electronic copies of magazines and newspapers. Guests are welcome to use the iPad during their stay to enjoy staying up to date with local news.
For the bathrooms, you can enjoy rainfall showerheads in the Banyan wing while bathtub and shower combination in the Tower Wing.
Lastly, for families traveling with toddlers, free cribs are available upon request.
Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa Waikiki Amenities
The Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa resort fee includes access to a number of amenities and activities around the property. These range from complimentary one day rental of sports equipment to tours and classes.
Unlike what you might find at another property, the Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa has a small pool deck. The deck area is shared with people from the property’s oceanfront bar, so it tends to fill up fast.
To avoid this, the hotel allows for a complimentary one day rental of beach chairs. That way, guests are able to guarantee that they have a place to relax when they’re done in the pool.
The swimming pool itself is square and sits right along the shore of Waikiki beach. As a result, you can take in gorgeous views of the ocean as you lounge by the poolside or relax in the water. There are also nearby cafes and lounge chairs lining the pool, which make it a great place to hang out.
The swimming pool is open daily, from 7 am to 6 pm. It’s open to guests of all ages, so families can hang out there with their little ones.
The Club Lounge
Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa in Waikiki Beach has one of the best club lounges of any hotel in Waikiki Beach. You can gain access to this area when you book a room through your points in the Marriott program. The Club Lounge is a breakfast place, featuring several options served buffet-style as well as à la carte dining.
No matter how busy The Club Lounge gets, it can accommodate several guests simultaneously because of its spacious capacity. That means that it’s a great place to go in the morning if other places on the property are busy.
Besides the indoor portion of The Club is the lounge’s outdoor deck. The outdoor deck features the best sunset views in Waikiki Beach.
We suggest visiting the Club Lounge during happy hour for complimentary beer, wine, and finger foods. Among the snacks offered during happy hour, the popcorn machine was our favorite.
Moana Lani Spa, A Heavenly Spa by Westin
Another resort highlight is the spa at the Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa. It’s the first and only beachfront spa in Waikiki Beach, making it a special place for guests to take advantage of. Facilities at the spa include steam rooms, a whirlpool, a relaxation lounge, fourteen treatment rooms, and a sauna.
Unlike many of the other property amenities, access to this area isn’t included in the fee at the resort. However, that means that both guests and non-guests can still enjoy the spa.
In terms of the treatments, guests can enjoy:
- Makeup services
- Eye treatments
- Scalp treatments
- Hair services
Many of these services are also offered oceanside for individuals who prefer to have them on the beach.
The hotel’s fitness center is open 24 hours every day. It’s spacious and allows for the complimentary rental of New Balance shoes and workout gear. There are also towels available for guests to enjoy.
Among the gym equipment available are:
- Resistance machines
- Cardio options
- Free weights
- Yoga mats
There are also regular fitness classes, including aquacise and two types of yoga classes. These include the two-hour Vinyasa and Vino yoga class which runs monthly and is open to guests and non-guests. This class is a wine and yoga event and comes at an extra cost.
There’s also the Ki Kilo Lani Yoga class, which is an hour-long class that’s completely free for guests to enjoy.
Waikiki Beach Walk
At the south of Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa are beautiful running paths if you want to work out outdoors as opposed to in the gym. Among the paths are a three-mile route to Kapiolani Park and a five-mile route to Diamond Head State Monument.
This Westin resort on Waikiki Beach prides itself on offering a wide array of cultural activities that allow guests to immerse themselves in the Hawaiian experience. A few of the activities guests can enjoy include:
- Bracelet making
- Hula lessons
- Lei making
- Polynesian tattoo art
In addition, the hotel also hosts a regular morning ocean ritual. This morning ocean ritual is a traditional Hawaiian way of starting the day and is held each week on Waikiki beach in front of the Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa.
The resort also holds a history tour every week. The history tour takes guests and non-guests around the grounds of the hotel, giving an overview of the history of the area both before and after World War II.
Although you can just enjoy lounging on the property’s private stretch of Waikiki beach, you an also take advantage of the many water activities the hotel offers. These include:
- Surf lessons
- Scuba diving
If you sign up for scuba classes or surf lessons at this Westin resort spa Waikiki beach, you can enjoy a complimentary rental of the equipment.
You can also reserve the resort as your wedding venue. Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa hosts at least three weddings daily with as many as 260 guests.
The hotel’s concierge can help arrange activities for wedding guests, coordinate the event, and assist with decoration and set up.
Food and Drinks
Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa Waikiki has both formal and casual dining options. There’s the Beach Bar next to the pool and an outdoor-indoor Veranda that transforms into the Beachhouse at the Moana at night.
Guests checked in at the hotel can also visit nearby resorts and purchase meals from there, which they can bring back to their rooms in the Surfrider.
The Veranda at the Beachhouse
The Veranda at the Beachhouse is an ideal breakfast spot because of its serene overlooking views. Guests love the restaurant’s pancakes and Hawaiian breakfast favorites.
During the weekends, The Veranda also features its Afternoon Tea, from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm. You can taste seven specialty sets with Moana Classic Teas, including Passion Orange Guava, Hawaiian Coconut, and other traditional teas.
And for the best part, you will love The Veranda’s classic yet elegant Victorian architecture. It lets guests experience fresh air on an open patio seating. Plus, you can also see beautiful overlooking views of the iconic Banyan tree.
The Veranda also accommodates private dining for special events.
The Beach Bar
The Beach Bar is shaded by the resort’s banyan tree. It’s the perfect spot to lounge in and chill while grabbing a cocktail. Plus, dishes served at The Beach Bar are affordable and good for sharing. The outdoor seating area overlooks the ocean, so you can enjoy sea breezes with your cocktail.
Beachhouse at the Moana
The Beachhouse at the Moana is famous for using fresh local Oahu ingredients to create exceptional native dishes. This restaurant features a modern and elegant design and features one of the best ocean views in Waikiki.
In terms of what’s on the menu, you can enjoy seafood and steak dishes à la carte, all of which are ideal for sharing.
The Beachhouse at the Moana is open daily from 5:30 pm to 9:30 pm.
Surfrider Cafe is a small kiosk outside the resort’s main lobby. You can find a variety of baked goodies, including pastries, acai bowls, sandwiches, and salads at this place.
What’s nice about Surfrider Cafe is the locally-sourced ingredients it uses to create its dishes. The cafe is open daily from 6 am to 5 pm.
Vintage 1901 is a lounge bar that’s open daily from 5:30 pm to 9:30 pm and features a wide range of unique wine bottles and cocktails. Vintage 1901 is located in the Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa’s main lobby not far from where you’d check in at the front desk.
During the evenings, guests can also enjoy live piano music at the lounge.
Honolulu Coffee is a coffee shop maintained by the hotel, but is still one of the most popular cafés on Waikiki beach. The coffee shop serves artisan coffee with lattes, cappuccinos, and black coffee as well as a variety of sweets and pastries.
The coffee shop is open daily from 6am to 6pm. The location at the Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa is actually the only location that offers a coffee experience, as well. This allows guests a luxurious place to sip on their coffee or learn more about kona-grown beans.
Checking Out at the Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa
The Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa at Waikiki beach has a fast and easy check out process. All guests are asked to vacate their rooms by 11 am so that the cleaning staff can turn them over for the next guests.
However, in some situations, this Waikiki beach hotel can assist with late check out. Even if they can’t, guests can leave bags at the front desk until it’s time to grab a cab and head to the airport.
At check out, guests hand in their keys and settle up any additional costs they incurred during their stay. Then, they’re free to leave whenever works for them.
What We Love about Moana Surfrider
The biggest advantage of Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa is its location on Waikiki beach. Because it’s located right along the shorefront, it’s easy for guests to take advantage of water activities on and off the property.
Another great feature of this Waikiki beach resort is its rich history. As the first hotel to open on Waikiki beach, there’s a ton of history. Guests can still enjoy the historical architecture that originally graced the hotel back in the 1900s.
Besides the architecture, another main feature of this Westin resort at Waikiki beach Honolulu is its celebration of Hawaiian culture. Unlike some other resorts in the area, this property has special celebrations, such as their morning ritual, that guests can participate in.
Additionally, the rooms at the Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa are elegant and come with plenty of amenities. That’s true whether you request a premier room, a deluxe room, or a suite.
The 24/7 fitness center and unique spa are also a plus! The spa at this Westin Resort offers various treatments and massages to make your stay even more relaxing. Moreover, it’s the only oceanfront spa on Waikiki Beach, making it a truly special place to relax and unwind.
Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa is also one of the few hotels in Waikiki with multiple on-site dining options. There are buffets as well as à la carte restaurants, making it convenient for individuals to enjoy their meal regardless of how they prefer to dine.
Finally, there are multiple activities offered at this Westin Resort. Guests can enjoy water activities on Waikiki beach, historic tours, cultural activities, and more. Plus, because it’s near other nearby tourist attractions, guests can easily venture out and explore Waikiki beach Honolulu.
What Could Be Improved
If we’re honest, there’s not much that could be improved at this Westin Resort. The hotel features tons of room amenities, activities, and a great central location in Waikiki Beach that makes it the ideal place to for guests stay, whether traveling solo or in a group.
Perhaps the only thing that this Westin Resort could improve on is offering slightly larger rooms. However, because you can request extra beds, this really isn’t necessary. The rooms are large enough and cozy enough that as long as you ask for the extra bedding, the whole family can fit comfortably.
Our Overall Impression of the Moana Surfrider
Overall, we love the historical feel of staying at the Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa. The luxurious atmosphere really helps guests make the most of their vacation, while the historic aspects of the hotel give it a unique feel.
You can find a wide range of dining options at the hotel as well – from budget-friendly to fine dining menus. Amenities and activities at the hotel are also diverse, meaning there are plenty of things for guests to try out, whether it’s solo or with the family.
Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa’s prime central location is also something we like. It’s easy to reach various tourist destinations, high-end shopping centers, and famous Waikiki beach restaurants.
Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa is a must-try accommodation right in the heart of Waikiki. As the state’s oldest hotel, you will find yourself immersed in unique Hawaiian culture and tradition you won’t find in other Waikiki hotels.