Location: This almost-new 38-floor, 307-room luxury resort is few streets back from Waikiki Beach behind Tiffany and Co. A new concept for the Ritz-Carlton brand, all the residences are privately owned but the majority are rented back to the resort as hotel rooms. A second tower is under construction, due for completion next year. Once this is open there will be more than 500 rooms on the property, making it the largest Ritz-Carlton in the world.
Check-in experience: In the water-inspired arrival court at street level guests are greeted with an orchid lei and escorted to the touch-screen pad that operates the elevator. There are no buttons inside the lifts — once you have your room card, they're all operated from these external pads. Once I reached the fragrant lobby, I was quickly checked in and given a quick tour.
Room: A Deluxe One-Bedroom Suite, with a sofa bed and generous floor-to-ceiling lanai (balcony). In fact, the entire suite was very generous — with a desk, two huge smart TVs (with Netflix buttons on their remotes — you have to sign in with your own password), a dining table for four, a large well-equipped kitchen with premium appliances and a washer and dryer. The property also has studios, two- and three-bedroom suites, a two-storey four-bed, five-bathroom suite, and penthouses available. All rooms face the ocean.
Price: Studio rooms start from US$599 a night. That 4-bedder will set you back US$12,000.
Is there anything bad about this place? It's not beachfront, which can be good or bad depending on your preference. You have only to walk about five or so minutes to get to the water.
What's in the neighbourhood? The ritzy shops such as Chanel, Coach, Miu Miu and other luxury stores are right out front and the Ala Moana Centre is not far. Nearby attractions include the zoo, aquarium and the US Army Museum.
The design: Very contemporary and inspired by Hawaii's natural elements, specifically the mountains, ocean, sky and wind. Covering the first three floors of the tower is a 3D modern interpretation of kapa (bark cloth). The lobby area was inspired by luxury brand Hermes, so there are a lot of brass elements and leather features, and the colour scheme in the rooms is predominantly blue and seafoam green. There are interesting artworks and lighting fixtures dotted throughout — think understated, timeless elegance.
Food and drink: There are a gazillion restaurants within walking or Uber distance but if you don't fancy leaving the resort, the BLT Market restaurant serves the best of Hawaii's regional produce and features seasonal ingredients from local growers. Eat by the pool if you wish. Also on site is a very exclusive sushi restaurant called Sushi Sho, which seats only 10 each night — its first location outside of Japan. Reservations must be made well in advance and cost US$300 a head. Hawaii's first Dean & DeLuca gourmet food chain is also onsite.
The bed: A super comfy super-king. The bedroom can be closed off with sliding doors.
A room with a view? As well as the Pacific Ocean, rooms also overlook the lush green treetops of the Fort DeRussy Military Reservation.
Bathroom: Enormous, with a twin vanity, bath, walk-in shower room and every amenity (Asprey) you could wish for. The Toto Washlet loo comes with a warmed seat and built-in bidet.
Noise: Once the huge sliding doors are closed you can't hear a thing. Open, there's the usual city hubbub.
Facilities: As well as the month-old tranquil and luxurious Ritz-Carlton Spa (try one of the signature treatments using traditional healing methods and the eucalyptus steam room) and the highest infinity pool in Waikiki (on the 8th floor), there's a 24-hour fitness centre designed by celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak, and a yoga studio. The pool area has cabanas available with daybeds, TVs, safes and mini-fridges, and is a great spot to enjoy the sunset over a cocktail.
It's worth noting: Valet parking costs US$35 a day, and if you want the fridge and pantry stocked for you, no problem. There's also a turndown service.
Free Wi-Fi: Of course.
Perfect for: Those who want to experience Waikiki in absolute comfort and luxury.
The Ritz-Carlton Residences are at 383 Kalaimoku Street, Waikiki Beach, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA. Phone: +1 808 922 8111.