HONOLULU | The White Sands Hotel is a boutique hotel in Waikiki that dates back to 1957. It underwent an $8 million renovation and redesign in 2011, aimed at encapsulating what Waikiki would have been like in the 1960s. The hotel is targeted towards hip travellers of all ages, looking for a slice of the stylish Hawaii of old.
Located on Nohonani Street in the tourist centre of Waikiki, the White Sands Hotel is very well located. You’re in amongst it all, with no shortage of shops, eateries, bars, and of course, Waikiki beach, in the immediate vicinity.
If you’re into golf, the hotel is just almost right next to the Ala Wai Canal and Golf Course. Diamond Head, the Ala Moana Centre, and the popular Kapaulu neighbourhood are all walking distance.
The hotel features 94 guest rooms, many of which overlook the hotel’s central courtyard. Designers the Vanguard Theory embraced the idea of reimagining the ’60s and ’70s, using photos and postcards of the hotel during that era for inspiration, along with pop culture.
The rooms may look like they’re straight out of the 1960s, with their colour schemes, wired curly cord telephones, and vintage artwork, but make no mistake, they are modern where it counts. Each room contains a kitchenette with mini-fridge and microwave, 40-inch LCD TV, hairdryer, and high-speed WiFi.
Beds are firm and comfortable. Along with the plush pillows, it’s easy to get a good night’s sleep at the White Sands. The bathroom is small, but it’s clean and has everything that you need. A walk-in shower with good water pressure from the shower head, toilet, bath products, and a decent sized sink/vanity and mirror. Inside the bathroom is also where you’ll find space to hang clothes, and a safe.
All guests have access to the hotel’s outdoor central courtyard swimming pool with sundeck & loungers, and the grotto-style hot tub. The White Sands charges a $25/night amenity fee. For this, you get:
- Beach chair rental
- Boogie board rental
- GoPro camera rental
- Portable power bank rental
- International Market Place Passport
- Live Music
- Koi fish feeding for children
- Pool deck chaise lounge covers
- Daily local newspaper
- High-speed Wi-Fi
- Toll-free and local phone calls
- Yoga class every Saturday by a certified instructor
Eat & Drink
Along with the swimming pool and hot-tub, the centre courtyard is where you’ll find the hotel’s food and drink offering, Heyday. Robynne Maii and Chuck Bussler, from Honolulu’s award-winning restaurant Fête developed the concept. The focus is on, according to co-owner Ben-Rafter, “well-crafted cocktails with great ingredients” executed in a way that “doesn’t take itself too seriously”.
That is, indeed, the case. Being a hotel you are paying a premium over what you might elsewhere in town for similar food and drinks – Fête itself being a prime example. However, there’s no doubting the quality of what’s on offer here.
Spirits are top-shelf, and can be enjoyed on the rocks, or in one of several delicious house cocktails. Try the ‘Daiquiri Number Fun’, featuring Hawaiian & Caribbean rums, lilikoi, lychee, and lime. For beer, the selection is local and crafty, featuring rotating taps from nearby Hana Koa Brewing. A small selection of US and international wines round off the list.
For food, think dishes that incorporate the diverse elements that make Hawaii what it is. Things like foie gyoza with herbed duxelle, banana jam, and a soy-balsamic reduction; meatballs with Kua’aina Ranches beef, cucumber namul, scallions, and dried radish kimchee, and char sui pork skewers.
A second hospitality offering, The Green Lady, is slated to open at the White Sands any day now. Housed in the former hotel manager’s suite, expect modern takes on classic cocktails from the 1960s and 1970s, along with other hand-crafted creations.
White Sands Hotel
431 Nohonani Street