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When Cecilio and I were planning our trip to Honolulu, it was important to find a hotel within a modest budget, in the center of the Waikiki neighborhood within walking distance from the beach, looked aesthetically-pleasing, and clean. Oh, and having a pool was a must.
Hawaii is not a cheap destination, so I knew I had to temper my standards. When I came across Shoreline Hotel Waikiki‘s colorful lobby and interiors, I was pretty intrigued. Then when I learned that the receptionist offering samples of Dole Whip pineapple ice cream to guests checking-in, and that was the final decision for me. And the fact that the rates were pretty reasonable compared to other boutique hotels in Waikiki.
So did Shoreline Hotel Waikiki meet my expectations?
What to expect at Shoreline Hotel Waikiki
With 14 floors, 135 rooms, a rooftop pool with pops of color or street art covering the walls, Shoreline Waikiki is one of a kind. Shoreline teamed up with BHDM Design to help their vision come to life: Hawaiian elements with clean elements and pops of color. The hotel was made for Instagram-minded millennials with a pink lobby and eclectic furniture. The elevators are painted with their signature pink/purple ombre that you see splattered across the hotel (especially on the entrance).
Each floor hallway is colored with dim neon lights. Our room was on the 6th floor, with a pink hall.
All the rooms had white walls with a pop of color where the beds face, with a design of the state of Hawaii, with text and an arrow stating “You are Here”, pointing to the island Oahu (where Honolulu is).
The wall of the rooftop pool features a mural from California-based artist DJ Neff.
Shoreline Hotel Waikiki is located in Waikiki (obvs), the central neighborhood in Honolulu buzzing with hotels, restaurants, nightlife, and shopping within walking distance from the beach. Shoreline in particular is minutes away from Royal Hawaiian Center, a luxury shopping area. It is also right across the street from Ross, where tour buses pick up visitors (and where we got picked up for our day trip to North Shore). We got to visit Waikiki beach four times because it was a only 5-minute walk.
And if you needed last-minute items, snacks, or souvenirs, the ABC Store (Hawaii’s convenience store chain) is also across the street!
There are also a few food trucks right next to Ross. We got donuts and iced coffee every single morning from Holey Grail Donuts! (A small Hawaii chain with one location in SoCal)
This is something I should’ve looked into more. Because Waikiki is a dense area filled with skyscrapers and narrow streets, parking lots are very limited. Therefore, Shoreline Waikiki only offers valet parking, which is $45/night. We didn’t want to have wait for valet service every time we needed to drive somewhere, so we parked at the Ross parking structure for $30/night (don’t worry, only one floor is dedicated to Ross employees). The higher floors are for the public.
RELATED: If you plan to drive outside Waikiki, be sure to go on the Manoa Chocolate Factory Tour & Tasting in Kailua!
The staff at Shoreline Waikiki are lovely and kind. They have the aloha spirit. I knew I wanted to book there when I learned that they give every guest checking in a sample of Dole Whip ice cream. It was so delicious, especially after landing at the Honolulu Airport (which is open air), dealing with humidity while waiting for our luggage and rental car (did I mention that I got my period on that day?!).
One morning when we didn’t wake up too early, Cecilio was getting ready while I was downstairs about to get some coffee. I was taking some content photos of the lobby when one of the staff had a tray of Dole Whip samples, and let me have another one 🙂
The staff also cleans your room daily, which I really appreciated, especially from getting blood and sand on the sheets.
When we checked out, the receptionists offered to get us a taxi to the airport. We didn’t need it since we had a car, but we appreciated the gesture!
The lobby had hot coffee available for guests, and a microwave available 24/7. They also offered full-sized cups of Dole Whip ice cream for $7. They sold reef-safe sunscreen, swimsuits, flip flops, and other knick-knacks.
I LOVED the furniture in the lobby! The pillows and couches were colorful with the neutral-wooded table to contrast. I’m telling you, Shoreline was made with content creators like me in mind 😀
While I loved how the staff cleaned our room everyday, there were some parts of the room that had a bit of grime, like the corners of our closet and the bathroom tiling. It “looked” old.
We booked the room with a single queen bed and were shocked with how tiny the rooms were! Even smaller than what the photos appeared on their website and Instagram.
I was slightly disappointed with our lanai (balcony). Yes, it is nice that every room has one, but ours was tiny. We didn’t even have chairs on ours! It would’ve been nice to sip coffee while getting ready and taking in the views, even if our view was of other hotels and their pools.
I loved the bed. It was super comfy, plush, and soft. We had no problems falling asleep (well, other than when Cecilio having trouble sleeping when we’re traveling in general, which had nothing to do with the bed).
Our room came with a tea kettle, mini-fridge, safe, and snacks like Maui onion chips (my favorite!), and chocolate-covered fortune cookies.
The pool was Shoreline’s biggest let-down. Yeah, I loved the mural art, but the pool itself was tiny. It’s smaller than my apartment pools!
Cecilio and I were planning to swim there before heading over to Waikiki Beach to swim there. As he was getting ready, I went ahead of him to check it out. The rooftop was on the 14th floor, which is where I went. But the access to the pool was through a door with no signs and a staircase leading up to it (so it’s not accessible for those with physical disabilities).
I was shocked with how not only small the pool was, but how small the area was with limited seating! The seating area was narrow.
The water was lukewarm too. Don’t get me wrong, I love a heated pool since I get cold really easily, but it just felt gross. Especially on a hot, humid day in Hawaii.
Did I mention that the ladder in the pool didn’t feel secure, like it was wobbly and wasn’t screwed on properly?
I did dip my feet in a little bit, but let’s just say Cecilio and I headed straight to Waikiki Beach.
The pool had aqua Zumba classes on Saturday evenings which I wanted to try, but by then I was too jaded to go back, LOL!
Heavenly Island Lifestyle
Adjacent to Shoreline is Heavenly Island Lifestyle, a restaurant/cafe serving Hawaiian and New American fare using local and organic ingredients. It’s more known for brunch but gets a decent amount of people coming in for dinner. They also do Happy Hour everyday from 4 pm–6 pm.
I regret not going for brunch, especially to try their acai bowl (and I’ve been eating a ton of acai bowls during my stay in Hawaii). Cecilio and I had dinner there one day and the food was pretty good. I ordered a poke bowl with the kale salad which I regret because though I love poke, I am not a fan of kale.
For dinner, Heavenly serves traditional Hawaiian dishes such as loco moco and garlic shrimp along with the unexpected like flatbread pizzas, ribeye steak, and pasta. There are even fusion dishes such as Hawaiian pho and Kauai shrimp paella!
If you decide to stay at Shoreline Waikiki, know that guests get a $5 voucher for Heavenly! Unfortunately, it is for one-time use only and not for Happy Hour.
For those who are striving to be an eco-conscious traveler, you are going to love Shoreline Hotel Waikiki. They practice sustainability by providing a water machine at the lobby for refilling, only allowing you to turn on the air conditioner with your room key, and providing full-sized shampoo, conditioner, and body wash (that you can’t take) rather than the mini-sized products most hotels offer.
You can read blog posts from Shoreline on how they actively practice sustainability:
- Go Green This Earth Day 2022 – “Invest In Our Planet”
- Local Series: Protea Zero Waste Store – Hawaii’s First Zero Waste Refill Store
- Restore Our Earth: We Celebrated Earth Month With a Beach Cleanup!
- Shoreline Hotel Waikiki Goes Green with Public Goods!
My Final Verdict on Shoreline Waikiki
What I loved
- The cost! Our stay was $180/night, which is really cheap for Hawaii in August
- The Dole Whip ice cream
- The interiors and decor, and how every corner is an Instagram photo opp
- Walking distance to the beach
- Their efforts to be sustainable and eco-conscious
- How kind and hospitable the staff are
What I didn’t love
- Even though it’s an affordable hotel, you get what you pay for. As I mentioned, some corners of our closet door and bathroom floor tiles had some grime. And our room and lanai were tiny.
- Lack of parking options
- The pool
Would I recommend Shoreline Hotel Waikiki?
I really enjoyed my stay at Shoreline despite the minor imperfections. That said, I probably wouldn’t go back because I want to stay somewhere that’s a little more spacious and clean. I’m not saying that Shoreline was dirty because the staff cleaned our room everyday, but I noticed some grimey spots throughout the hotel. Also, I really want to be able to swim in a big pool.
I would recommend Shoreline if you want to stay in a unique, aesthetically-pleasing hotel and aren’t going to be lounging around. Basically, if you just need a place to stay and nothing more since you will be exploring Oahu.
But if you want something a little more luxurious or have days where you’d rather lounge around under a pool cabana, I would look elsewhere and maybe splurge a bit. After being on the go constantly exploring, it would’ve been nice to have that to unwind:) But ultimately, it’s all up to what you are looking for.
Overall, I did enjoy my time at Shoreline Hotel Waikiki and the staff made our stay extra special. Even when things weren’t perfect I was thankful for them and just plain thankful for the fact that I even got to go to Hawaii (even though it’s not my first time there). Like I said, if you’re just looking for somewhere to stay and not necessarily lounge or unwind, Shoreline might be the hotel for you!
Are you looking to visit a more affordable beach destination? Check out my 1 week guide to Playa del Carmen, Mexico!
Hannah is a travel writer, graphic designer, and the founder/editor of Hannah on Horizon. She is based in Sacramento, California, living with her husband and two adorable dogs. She shares tips on how to experience luxury travel on any budget, and how to maximize time at each trip or destination, no matter what your budget or amount of vacation time at work. She enjoys making you feel like you have visited each destination with her through her storytelling and informative writing style.