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Get drinks while relaxing in lounge chairs in Honolulu?

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Get drinks while relaxing in lounge chairs in Honolulu?

We usually go to Mexico for vacations and we love the swim-up bars, and the drink-service on the beaches and at the pools. We want to have something similar where we can just lounge around and still order and drink alcoholic drinks. In Hawaii it seems that pools and swim-up bars are much less common, as the focus is on the beach. The problem is that the beaches don't allow alcohol.

The basic question is, what's the best way to get that Mexico experience in Hawaii? Do some hotels with better pools allow non-guests to enter their pool areas, since you'll be paying for the drinks anyway? Is there an area on the beach with loungers that can actually serve drinks? We're currently planning on staying at the Trump because of the wonderful ratings, but the pool there is very small and most likely won't be an option for relaxing.

LA
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1. Re: Get drinks while relaxing in lounge chairs in Honolulu?

I don't think you are going to find places that will serve loungers on the beach. (the sand).

On the hotel property, on hardscaped areas by the pools, yes. However, most hotels reserve the pool exclusively for paying hotel guests, and you might find you are directed to the bar area for drinks, rather than being served poolside. On Waikiki, there isn't a great deal of space for many of these hotel facilities so it's not like they really want non-guests to fill the chairs.

California
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2. Re: Get drinks while relaxing in lounge chairs in Honolulu?

You're making two mistakes.

1. You're bringing Mexico expectations to Hawaii

2. You're staying at the Trump

That's the best possible combination to assure you totally miss out on the true Hawaii experience. You know how places have their own flavor, like Manhattan has its own "feel" -- as does Rome, South Beach, Vegas, Jamaica, Cozumel even Disney World? Well, Hawaii has its own "feel" too. That's a big part of the magic there. And the one place in Waikiki where you can totally miss it is the Trump. Staying there would be like going to Venice and eating at Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville, you know?

Stay at the Royal Hawaiian, the Moana Surfrider, or the Halekulani.

No, there is nowhere in Hawaii where you can sit on the sand with a cocktail. So if you want to be *close* to the beach with a drink in your hand, that makes Trump an even worse choice. At any of the above-named resorts, you can drink by the pool right next to the ocean. At the Trump you're crammed into an upstairs penthouse-type space where the only sand is far in the distance.

No, no hotels in Hawaii let nonguests use their pools. You *can* sit at the oceanfront lounges at the beachfront hotels and have a drink. But not at their pools.

So your best bet for a good time is to 1. change your hotel and 2. prepare to embrace what's different about Hawaii rather than trying to make it something it's not.

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3. Re: Get drinks while relaxing in lounge chairs in Honolulu?

Thanks for the responses. I assumed as much, and we love sitting by a pool and getting drinks too so maybe one of those other resorts would be fine as well, the problem was that most of them didn't seem to have very large pool focus from what we've read so it was tough to figure out the best one to go to for what we want. We want to get the Hawaiian experience and go and see things you can only see in Hawaii, but we just also want to be able to spend some time relaxing and laying around in the sun having some.

We were just going by Trip Advisor reviews when picking a hotel, as we've never been to Hawaii and don't know what to expect. Are other Islands a better than Oahu bet for pools/drinks?

California
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4. Re: Get drinks while relaxing in lounge chairs in Honolulu?

Welcome to TripAdvisor. Please tell us where you are from. There is no hometown, state or even country on your profile. This information helps us greatly.

Set aside your experiences in Mexico - because Hawaii is not the same.

<<In Hawaii it seems that pools and swim-up bars are much less common, as the focus is on the beach.>> That is somewhat true - but not always. It depends on the resort and the Island. Not all Islands are alike. On Waikiki, space is a BIG factor. Land is far too valuable to build large swimming pools on. And the beach is great.

<< The problem is that the beaches don't allow alcohol.>> Most don't see that as a "problem" at all. Many hotel/resort pools are beach front - and alcohol can be served around the pool.

<<what's the best way to get that Mexico experience in Hawaii?>> Give up and go back to Mexico. I'm not being smug, just honest. You will find that Hawaii isn't Mexico in a thousand ways ... and if your heart is set on Mexico - that's where you should go.

<< Do some hotels with better pools allow non-guests to enter their pool areas, since you'll be paying for the drinks anyway?>> Pools are reserved for persons staying at that hotel/resort - exclusively. You can sit at the bar (it's public) but not poolside or use the pool. Violators are ... well ... ejected.

<<Is there an area on the beach with loungers that can actually serve drinks?>> I believe that there is a cordoned area of beach in front of the Royal Hawaiian that may fit the bill. You might want to consider staying there. Much better than the Trump. Beach front ... spacious grounds. Lovely architecture.

The Trump ... meh. We don't get many posts about it. No excitement or much interest in it. "Trump" doesn't have the "name" or reputation in Hawai as it may on the East Coast. I don't know who is giving it wonderful ratings, but do keep in mind that is it very easy to manipulate hotel ratings on TripAdvisor and other on-line systems. As a rule, most of us disregard them or at least don't make our reservations based on them.

Please also understand that visitors to Hawaii generally don't come and plotz for days at a resorts. They get out and explore! Oahu has SO many great sites - as do the other Islands.

I realize that this is not what you wanted to hear ... sorry ... but it is basic, helpful information.

Betty Lou

California
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5. Re: Get drinks while relaxing in lounge chairs in Honolulu?

Hmmm ... please tell us when you are coming and how many nights you have. We can help you ...

Wailea on Maui may be what you want. And that's just one idea. You may want to post on the generic State of Hawaii Forum.

Understand that you will need a car on any of the other major Islands with the exception of Honolulu on the Island of Hawaii.

You need to know your options ... do some reading about Hawaii. You are in for some wonderful surprises. Pick up a copy of "Hawaii for Dummies," a highly-regarded travel guidebook that covers all the Islands. And get a good map of the Hawaiian Islands as well. Pull up www.gohawaii.com. It's terribly commercial, but helpful for first-timers.

LA
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6. Re: Get drinks while relaxing in lounge chairs in Honolulu?

I also think the Trump is a huge mistake for what you want. It's just a big hotel lacking any beachside or decent poolside.

There are numerous resorts on the other islands that have large pools where they serve drinks to guests. Waikiki on Oahu is a very tight space and there don't tend to be large pools.

It sounds like you need to read Hawaii for Dummies with your specific wants in mind. Some places like this that come to mind are:

Maui: Hyatt, Sheraton Black Rock, Grand Wailei, Four Seasons, Fairmont, Ritz-Carlton.

Kauai: Grand Hyatt, St Regis Princeville

I don't mentin the Hiltons on these island even though they have big pools because they are so hectic and full of kids.

As mentioned in other posts: Hawaii isn't Mexico. It's a whole lot more.

It all depends on the amount of time you have, your interests, you ability or desire to rent a car, your budget, the time of year. All of these would be helpful in providing useful advice.

Another idea is to look at some of the webcams. Some can be set to show the pool areas and would give you an idea of what is available. As the beaches are all public, they are not considered hotel property and the hotels will not serve you alcohol there.

www.seehawaiilive.com/maui/maui-resorts

Edited: 24 June 2013, 12:25
Seattle
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7. Re: Get drinks while relaxing in lounge chairs in Honolulu?

<The basic question is, what's the best way to get that Mexico experience in Hawaii?>

You're not going to find it. Doesn't exist. I also am a Mexico vacationer who has in recent years come to love Hawaii too. What I do is make cocktails in my hotel room and take them to the beach in a Gatorade bottle (not legal but no one will stop you if you behave yourself) along with my beach towel, beach matt, and sun hat, magazine, and plop down in the sand. Or you can rent beach chairs from Snorkel Bob or other.

The bars on Waikiki are all up in a bit off the sand *overlooking* the beach, not actually on it.

I love Mexico but I love Hawaii too. My best advice is don't ruin your Hawaii vacation with expectations of it being the same as Mexico. Both places have their charms and their pros and cons. aloha, suze

Lagrangeville, NY
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8. Re: Get drinks while relaxing in lounge chairs in Honolulu?

On Oahu also check out Kahala Resort as a possible place to stay. I was using the beach in front of the Kahala and saw waiters delivering drinks to guests lounging on the complementary beach chairs on the beach. I was not close enough to see whether those are alcoholic drinks though.

Another selling point is that Kahala is just a few miles outside the hustle bustle of Waikiki but with a complementary shuttle if you want to go to Waikiki, Ala Moana Mall or Kahala Mall. So you get best of both worlds with a quiet beach/resort but close to Waikiki for all the restaurant offerings.

Edited: 24 June 2013, 12:49
California
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9. Re: Get drinks while relaxing in lounge chairs in Honolulu?

Sounds like your No. 1 priority is to move to a resort on the sand where you can have a cocktail by the pool overlooking the beach. In Waikiki there are seven hotels right on the beach (not counting the military-only Hale Koa).

5-star: Halekulani is super-elegant and sedate.

5-star: Royal Hawaiian lush and beautiful, but has a small pool. Guests at the Royal Hawaiian can use one of Sheraton's two pools.

4-star: Hilton Hawaiian Village sits on the widest stretch of beach and has the most pools. I'm a fan of this resort. Booked there next month for the fourth time. It's a megaresort -- among the biggest in the world. But it has a boutique hotel tower, the Alii Tower, where I'm staying.

4-star: Outrigger Reef on the Beach. Great in lots of ways, but the pool doesn't overlook the ocean.

4-star: Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach: Has some of the vibe you're looking for. Pool is on the small side, but does overlook the sand and is itself adjacent to the awesome Duke's Barefoot Bar & Restaurant (which I bet you'll love)

4-star: Moana Surfrider: Very Hawaiian. Very nice. Smallish pool overlooks the beach and is adjacent to a lovely outdoor lounge.

4-star: Sheraton Waikiki. Two pools but the sand stops here and it's not very Hawaiian feeling.

None of the four stars will feel as luxurious as Trump. But you may find it's worth trading that posh feeling for an island vibe.

I recommend you check the lay of the land on Google Maps satellite view. Use this interactive link and zoom in to see pools and beach at each: http://goo.gl/maps/uscYX

California
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10. Re: Get drinks while relaxing in lounge chairs in Honolulu?

If you scroll down on this website and click on the properties that interest you, you'll get an aerial view. This is for Oahu, but these are available for all the Islands. I generally disregard on the commentary on this website.

hawaiirevealed.com/free-travel-info/oahu/oah…

And do consider The Kahala.