This is one in a series of seven reviews for seven hotels and resorts I stayed at during a recent trip to Hawaii (Maui and Oahu) in the month of May 2012. This is part of a continuing series of my impressions and experiences staying at various hotels and resorts while traveling to attend concerts worldwide. This review is for the Aston Waikiki Circle Hotel on Oahu, Hawaii.
Property: Aston Waikiki Circle Hotel
Location: Waikiki – Oahu (Hawaii)
Address: 2464 Kalakaua Avenue, Honolulu, Oahu, HI 96815
Phone: (877) 997-6667
Room Type/Class: Ocean Front Hotel Room (Room 306)
Date: May 21-22, 2012
TripAdvisor Page/Reviews: LINK
Booking Source: Direct
Overall Rating: 3/5 [Note: Score is totally subjective based on price, location, and comparison to “like” properties within same area and price range]
My stay with this property was the last night of my trip. I had an early flight out of Honolulu the next morning (checking out before 6am) and was checking in fairly late the prior afternoon, so wanted to find a place to stay that was relatively inexpensive given the short stay (about 12 hours total). This property appeared to be located close to shops, dining, and the beach in Waikiki and was a short drive to the airport, so it served my needs in that regard.
This was my first visit to Oahu, so I had no hands on experience with the area, and referenced TripAdvisor reviews for some feedback from others that have stayed at this and similar properties.
The entrance to the hotel is located off a one-way street, with beach and ocean on the other side of the street. It would be easy to pass by, even with GPS, so my approach was slow in trying to find it.
Once at the address, there appeared to be two options – drive toward an up and downward lane with a gate blocking the entrance, or up toward a small lot with two short term parking spots. All in all, it was very tight with no signage, so it was a bit of a guess as to what guests checking in are supposed to do. I opted to drive up to the area I had to guess was adjacent to registration, and parked in one of the two small parking spaces. Unlike most anywhere you park on the Hawaiian islands, I was not greeted by a valet, so decided to bring my luggage to a window that appeared to serve for registration. There was a sign posted that their parking lot was full (photo below) with directions for parking to a sister property that did not appear to be very close. Certainly not convenient.
There was no lobby or anything of the sort – check-in was facilitated by talking with staff through a plastic window, the interior of which is more like what you might expect to find at a car wash, rather than a hotel. Lots of clutter and disorganization.
There was some confusion and discussion among the employees at check in, though they decided to allow me to park on site (down the ramp with the up/down arm referenced earlier); they provided a remote to open the arm. There is an added charge of $15.71/night for on site, non valet parking.
I took my bags up to my room, since they were already pulled out of the car, and then went back down the elevator to park my car for the night. One in the parking area below, the first impression is that there are much fewer spaces than rooms in the hotel, so it would appear to be common for guests to have to park at the remote sister property or make their own parking arrangements, which is no very convenient.
The hotel itself is very unusual by design – it is a tall cylinder, and each floor is a small circle of rooms.
The room itself was fairly basic and outdated, but appropriate for the price point and location.
The bed was low to the ground and a bit rickety. The shower in the bathroom is smaller than most small closets, and with the showerhead pointed right at the shower curtain, which goes all the way to the floor in the standing stall, it would be easy to flood the floor of the bathroom with water.
A small desk was also provided, with wired (ethernet) Internet service that was an extra fee of $9.95. There was also an empty refrigerator and a key operated safe in the closet.
The room also featured a small balcony, and at least in the case of my room, a great beach and ocean view – probably the biggest benefit of the room.
This was actually the only hotel of seven during this stay where I turned on the TV, and the reception was horrible – more snow on screen on some channels than actual show/content.
It is somewhat kid-friendly, as there is a PS2 in the room, and a DVD rental kiosk down by the elevator.
If you are coming to Hawaii with an expectation of service and luxury, you will not find it at the Aston Waikiki Circle.
If you aren’t going to spend a lot of time in your room, want to be walking distance to most in and around Waikiki, and just need a place to crash at night that is not too expensive (depending on your room type and any kind of special offers available), it is worth a look. But I would highly recommend securing one of the ocean view rooms and seeing if you can make parking arrangements in advance (i.e. reserving a spot on site). I don’t feel any room would be worth more than $150/night, as there are so many other options and special offers at other properties.
Below are photos I took of the resort and the room I stayed in: