Shandelle Battersby checks into Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach, Honolulu, Hawaii.


Right in the thick of the action on Honolulu's famous Waikiki Beach. Note that there are two Outrigger hotels on Waikiki - the other is a 10-minute walk south. The hotel is about a half-hour drive from the airport, if the traffic is good. You can sometimes get set cash fares for US$29 (about $40) plus tip, or check out the shuttles.

Check-in experience: I love being greeted with a refreshingly cool drink in a tropical place, and it's even better when it comes accompanied by a cool towel. After completing the paperwork I was given a raft of information - guests pay a mandatory US$30 ($43) per day, plus tax Waikiki Connection Fee, which includes unlimited rides on the street trolley running between Diamond Head and Downtown Honolulu, free Wi-Fi and phone calls, two bottles of water daily in room, daily Hawaiian cultural activities, an Outrigger souvenir tote bag, and discount vouchers for eateries, retailers and activities. Phew.

Room: A Voyager 47 Club Oceanfront room on the top (10th) floor of the Ocean Tower (there are two, the other is the Pacific Tower). It had two super king beds and a lanai (balcony).


A room with a view? Only one of the best in Hawaii - beautiful Waikiki Beach, Diamond Head and the pool.

Price: From US$229 ($325).

What's so good about this place? The absolutely mint location - a night or two in paradise doesn't get much better than this.

What's in the neighbourhood? The Fort DeRussy Military Reservation is not far, nor is Downtown, the zoo, and a whole lot of shopping and dining options. The Ala Moana Center and Pearl Harbor are short drives away - I'd make a special effort to visit the up-and-coming area of Kaka'ako too.

Toiletries: Coconut-and lime-scented basics.

Food and drink: There are four eateries to choose from onsite: Kani Ka Pila Grille, Ocean House Restaurant, Shore Bird Restaurant and Beach Bar and Starbucks - but the whole of Waikiki is on your doorstep if those don't appeal. Bathroom: Small, with a shower/bath combo.

Noise: Apart from crashing waves and daily live music floating up from the ground floor, zilch.

The best bit: Guests from the top floors get access to the Voyager 47 Club Lounge and its daily light breakfasts and cocktail and pupu (canape) hours. There are also weekly meet and greets between local farmers, brewers and distillers, with artisan tastings.

Facilities: You can learn everything from how to play the ukulele to making a lei at the daily cultural activities, which are free for guests. There's a large pool and spa pool, fitness centre, onsite Laakea Spa, and the shops downstairs range from spectacles and sunglasses to photography and art. Parking is valet-only (US$38 daily). A nice touch: Is the farewell song available to download to say thanks for staying.

Perfect for: Couples and families - and those wanting to renew their wedding vows, thanks to the complimentary Hawaiian vow renewal ceremony.