Sunday, June 17, 2012

Waikiki Beach Walk: Restaurant, Retail, Hotel and Entertainment Complex

Central plaza of Waikiki Beach Walk.
Second level walkway.
(above photos: TheHopefulTraveler)
Over seven years ago this corner of Waikiki was a collection of dated and crowded streets and cramped hotels built in the 1950s and 1960s. After a $535 million redevelopment, this eight-acre area bordered by Kalakaua Avenue, Lewers Street, Kalia Road, Beach Walk and Saratoga Road has emerged as a vibrant gathering place called Waikiki Beach Walk.

The name is almost a misnomer since the heart of Waikiki Beach Walk straddles two sides of Lewers Street and not Beach Walk the street. The pedestrian-friendly project is comprised of restaurants, shopping, a central plaza, wide sidewalks, tropical plants a water fountain and buildings renovated into upscale hotels. One block was completely demolished to make way for a new 350-foot tower.

Yesterday I finished an excellent staycation at the Embassy Suites Waikiki Beach. The hotel's Aloha and Hula Towers rises above the complex's central plaza. Occupying the east side of Waikiki Beach Walk is Wyndham Vacation Ownership. Also within the project limits are newly built Trump International Hotel Waikiki and the renovated Outrigger Reef on the Beach, the hotel brand's flagship property. Adjacent to the Waikiki Beach Walk hotels is luxury property the Halekulani Hotel and its sister hotel the Waikiki Parc and the Outrigger Waikiki Shore condo/vacation rental.

Among the 47 tenants on two levels are some popular restaurants: Yard House known for its extensive collection of beers, Roy's Waikiki featuring Chef Roy Yamaguchi's Hawaiian Fusion Cuisine, and Ruth's Chris Steak House. Need something fast and cheap, head over to Subway, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf or ABC Stores. Specialty retailers offers a collection of gift and clothing stores.
(story continued below)

Chairs and tables for Cheeseburger Beachwalk on the complex's
second level.
View from the second level of the central plaza.
(above photos: TheHopefulTraveler)
Key to the design of the central plaza is providing a space for entertainment and play. Waikiki Beach Walk features a regular Sunday showcase of free music performances as well as yoga classes on Wednesdays.

It appeared that Waikiki Beach Walk was the new hangout for local residents and visitors alike. But after the downturn in the economy, the complex like hotels and other shopping centers in Waikiki struggled to keep its tenants busy. Over its first five years in operation Waikiki Beach Walk has seen a turnover of its retail and restaurant spaces mainly on its second level. It's saving grace is being the prime restaurant and shopping option for the complex's on-site hotels.

Still Waikiki Beach Walk is a beautiful addition to Hawaii's most popular visitor destination. It's an inviting complex that complements the neighboring hotels and is almost like an extension of the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center. It has rejuvenated this corner of Waikiki, a trend that has extended to other properties on Kalakaua Avenue.

Visit waikikibeachwalk.com for more information. Valet parking available at the Embassy Suites porte cochere (enter from Beach Walk) for $6 with same-day purchase from any Waikiki Beach Walk shop or restaurant. Additional parking available at Wyndham Vacation Ownership (enter on Lewers Street).

The pedestrian-friendly walkways of Waikiki Beach Walk.
The shops on the east side of Lewers Street.
A water feature at Waikiki Beach Walk. The wording on the fountain
features Hawaiian words and its translation: I hear the sweetly voiced
water, let it ripple, let it rise. The sign advertises the Waikiki Beach
Walk's Sunday Showcase.
The walkway of Waikiki Beach Walk segues into the west end of the
Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center.
A plumeria tree among the tropical plants at the complex.
The Embassy Suites Hula Tower is located conveniently above
the heart of Waikiki Beach Walk.
The Embassy Suites Aloha Tower rises above Waikiki Beach Walk.
(above photos: TheHopefulTraveler)

3 comments:

Tiago said...

I loved going to the beach, and Hawaii has my favorites beaches! But after a decade going to sunny beaches every summer I started to travel to different places. Last summer I had a
Buenos Aires temporary rent appartment and I discovered a lovely city and then I traveled to the glaciars and the Iguazu falls and it was a great journey. And I think that is the problem about beaches, there is only one thing to do there: going to the beach.

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