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How I Choose Which Hyatt Hotel To Book in Honolulu [Comparing Points, Amenities, Location]

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James Larounis
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James Larounis

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James (Jamie) started The Forward Cabin blog to educate readers about points, miles, and loyalty programs. He’s spoken at Princeton University and The New York Times Travel Show and has been quoted in...
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Stella Shon

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With a degree in media and journalism, Stella has been in the points and miles game for more than 6 years. She most recently worked as a Corporate Communications Analyst for JetBlue. Find her work in ...

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There are 3 Hyatt properties in Honolulu, and more specifically, within the popular Waikiki neighborhood. They’re all within a mile of each other, so travelers often want to know the differences between each hotel.

Each property offers distinctly different amenities, so you’ll want to be well-informed of the details before you book your next Hawaii vacation. Here’s my honest take on what each Hyatt property has to offer.

Overview of Hyatt Hotels in Honolulu Downtown

There are only 3 Hyatt hotels in Oahu — and they’re all in Waikiki, for that matter:

Waikiki Diamond Head
View of Waikiki from the iconic Diamond Head Crater. Image Credit: Stella Shon

Due to their fantastic location for tourists, these hotels get quite busy during peak travel season. Therefore, it’s always best to book as far in advance as possible to lock in the best rate — especially with World of Hyatt points.

Hot Tip:

In our view, World of Hyatt is one of the best hotel loyalty programs. Read up on all the ways you can earn World of Hyatt points toward your next hotel stay, whether you’re flying to Hawaii or elsewhere.

Hyatt Place Waikiki

The Hyatt Place Waikiki is the only Category 4 hotel on the island, making it a popular option to redeem a Category 1-4 free night certificate. At the same time, it easily has the least frills of the 3 properties in Waikiki — true to the basic Hyatt Place brand.

The hotel is set off from the beach by several blocks, though some guest rooms do have ocean views — albeit from a distance. Guest rooms offer basic Hyatt Place-type furnishings, but they do offer balconies, allowing travelers to enjoy the fresh air and beautiful weather on Oahu.

Hyatt Place Waikiki King Bedroom
Mountain views from a guest room. Image Credit: Hyatt

Everything is walkable in Waikiki, and this hotel is about a 10-minute walk from shops and nightlife. If being right in the heart of the action is important to you, you may want to consider the Hyatt Regency or the Hyatt Centric instead.

The complimentary breakfast may be a selling point for many, but many guests have reported that the offerings are worse than those of some mainland Hyatt Place hotels. The hotel is always busy as it is one of the most affordable properties in the area, and you’ll find many airlines will overnight their crews here.

Hyatt Place Waikiki
One of the most budget-friendly properties on the island. Image Credit: Hyatt

While the Hyatt Centric is another award category up, the fact that the Hyatt Place offers an actual breakfast and rooms with balconies is certainly a win. There’s also a small outdoor pool for guests to enjoy.

Depending on your needs, the Hyatt Place might be better than the Hyatt Centric for budget-minded travelers. It will cost you just 12,000, 15,000, or 18,000 World of Hyatt points per night, depending on the travel date.

Hot Tip:

It’s not just you: even though the Hyatt Place Waikiki can be booked with points, this hotel often plays games with award availability. It can be difficult to find guest rooms available with points or certificates unless you stay a minimum amount of nights.

Hyatt Centric Waikiki

The Hyatt Centric Waikiki is the newest Hyatt hotel in the beach area, housed in a converted office building. Because of this, the rooms don’t have balconies, which is a huge downside.

Many travelers come from far and wide to experience Honolulu’s beautiful weather. If you are looking to spend time sitting on your balcony reading a good book, the Hyatt Centric Waikiki is not for you.

As another point of consideration, the hotel is not waterfront, so the rooms offer predominantly city or mountain views.

Hyatt Centric Waikiki Lobby Seating
Breakfast is normally served just off of the lobby when the restaurant is open.

This hotel does offer very spacious guest rooms, however, which are especially useful for families. And if you’re looking to upgrade to a suite, this property has more suites than nearby Hyatt Regency Waikiki, and it is far easier to find suite availability here.

Hyatt Centric Waikiki Suite
The guest rooms are considerably spacious.

The Hyatt Centric Waikiki does not have an on-site restaurant, as it closed during the COVID-19 pandemic and has never reopened. If you’re a Globalist with free breakfast benefits, you’ll only be compensated in a small number of points for the inconvenience. This isn’t always a bad thing, as there’s no shortage of amazing breakfast spots on the island.

If you’re looking to relax, the Hyatt Centric has a shallow pool with a hot tub on the end, which is not good enough for actually swimming or taking a dip.

Hyatt Centric Waikiki Pool
While you can’t really go swimming in the pool, it’s a great place to relax, get some sun and get your feet wet.

This is a Category 5 hotel, so it will cost you 17,000, 20,000, or 23,000 World of Hyatt points per night.

Hyatt Regency Waikiki

The Hyatt Regency Waikiki is the nicest of the 3 options as it’s the only full-service Hyatt hotel. Beyond that, it’s certainly the largest, spanning two enormous towers.

This hotel boasts incredible ocean views from the oceanfront rooms in each tower and views of Diamond Head and Waikiki on the angled sides of each tower.

Hyatt Regency Waikiki Penthouse Suite Balcony View
Can’t beat the view!

As an elite status member, you’ll almost always be upgraded to a guest room with a view. Unfortunately, upgrades to suites are few and far between. There are only a couple of standard suites at this hotel, which will almost always be booked year-round.

Hyatt Regency Waikiki Room
Standard at the Hyatt Regency are nicely sized.

This hotel is one of the only hotels in Waikiki that has an open club lounge. Many club lounges shuttered during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it’s unlikely they’ll reopen anytime soon.

Unlike the Hyatt Centric, this hotel has a full-size pool, though it can easily get crowded during peak hours.

At the Hyatt Regency, however, the club hosts a hot breakfast, small packaged snacks during the day and an evening spread that could serve as a dinner if you’re in the right mood. While it’s not the best club lounge ever, it gets the job done, though the quality of this lounge has deteriorated in recent years.

Hyatt Regency Waikiki Seating
There is plenty of seating inside and outside of the club.

The Hyatt Regency Waikiki is the closest Hyatt hotel to Waikiki Beach and is surrounded by many well-known restaurants and shops. However, it’s worth noting that this hotel isn’t directly on the beach but is set back across the street, about 100 years away. This won’t bother most people, but it’s something to keep in mind that it’s not right on the sand — and in some ways, that could be a good thing.

Considering that the Hyatt Regency Waikiki can also be booked for 17,000 to 23,000 points per night, it’s a far better value compared to the Hyatt Centric.

Hyatt Place vs. Hyatt Centric vs. Hyatt Regency in Waikiki

Each hotel definitely has its own pros and cons, but there are ultimately a few standout features that will help that decision-making process easier:

  • Best hotel breakfast? The Hyatt Regency is the clear winner, with several full-service restaurants on-site and even an operating Regency Club.
  • Complimentary upgrades? The Hyatt Regency is the best choice since most elites receive ocean-facing rooms, and Globalists can access the Regency Club.
  • Spacious and modern rooms? The Hyatt Centric is the winner.
  • Suite upgrade award? The Hyatt Centric has the most availability of the 3 properties.
  • Budget-friendly option with points? The Hyatt Place offers the best value.

Final Thoughts

Having stayed at all 3 hotels, I personally prefer the Hyatt Regency. I’ve been treated very well as an elite member with nice upgrades, a decent club lounge, and a prime oceanfront location.

While I’ve stayed at the Hyatt Centric and Hyatt Place before, I still prefer the Hyatt Regency as it offers the most robust amenities and best location.

Frequently Asked Questions

How far is Hyatt Place Waikiki to the beach?

It is less than a 5-minute walk to the beach from the Hyatt Place Waikiki.

How much is the resort fee at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki?

The Hyatt Regency Waikiki charges a $49 a night resort fee, which is waived for Globalist members.

How far is Hyatt Regency Waikiki from airport?

While the hotel is only about 9 miles from the airport itself, the drive can take quite a while, especially during peak rush hour times.

Does the Hyatt Waikiki have an airport shuttle?

None of the Hyatt hotels in the Waikiki area have an airport shuttle. When traveling from the airport to Waikiki, taking a taxi or ride-share vehicle are the best options.

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About James Larounis

James (Jamie) started The Forward Cabin blog to educate readers about points, miles, and loyalty programs. He’s spoken at Princeton University and The New York Times Travel Show and has been quoted in dozens of travel publications.

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