This review of the wheelchair accessibility of The Royal Hawaiian Resort(Marriott) in Waikiki, Honolulu, Hawaii is from Winter 2023.
The Royal Hawaiian Hotel is a Marriott hotel, and is a rockstar in Waikiki. Its iconic pink exterior is visible from almost anywhere on the beach. It has lush, open gardens, that hosts yoga sessions during the day and lights in the trees at night. Its historic interior is meticulously preserved and in amazing shape. And it has numerous cozy nooks, tables, and rocking chairs that overlook the beach, ocean, and Diamond Head.
The hotel’s phone number is (808) 931-7521. We were able to correspond with the hotel’s staff via Damien.Mitsui@luxurycollection.com. Once we checked-in, we could text with the hotel staff via the Bonvoy app.
Online Booking and Pre-Stay Service
Royal Hawaiian prides itself on being a full-service, luxury hotel, and it did not disappoint. I booked via the Marriott website a wheelchair accessible room in the historic garden tower. The online booking only had an option for a wheelchair accessible room with a tub, but I called the hotel and was assured the room had a roll-in shower.
About a week prior to our stay, I received e-mails from the hotel asking if I needed anything prior to my check-in. I again confirmed with them that my room had a roll-in shower, that their pool and hot tub had a wheelchair accessible lift, and also provided information about our check-in time and availability of bag storage. Damien was nice, courteous, and prompt in responses.
Upon arrival, we were upgraded to a room in the Mailani Tower, which had ocean views, a balcony, and a better roll-in shower. Our room was not ready (as we were there early in the day), so they stored our bags for free and had them delivered to our room upon check-in. They also gave us (as part of the resort fee and hospitality) ponchos, umbrellas to use, waters, a black necklace, 2 free drink coupons, and a voucher for a pastry at their on-site bakery.
They also gave us two options for room/elevator keys: a traditional plastic room key or a rubber wristband. We opted for the wristbands, which open the doors into the elevator banks and the hotel room. The wristband is nice in that I could swim with it and not worry about digging it out of my wallet (or losing it). It also would be good for someone with impaired grip. I found that the wristband was a little harder for me to use because I had to lift my wrist up to the top of the doors, and I have a harder time extending and elevating my arm like that. It worked, but its a trade-off based on ability. They also probably would have given me both types of keys if I had asked.
Wheelchair Accessibility of Room 3000
Room 3000 is a wheelchair accessible room on the 3rd floor of the Mailani Tower at the Royal Hawaiian hotel. The room was elegant, clean, and very comfortable. But the main “wow” factor of the room was the massive balcony (wrapped around the corner of the room) with pool, beach, and ocean views.
I break down each part of the room below, but the best view is my POV tour of the room:
The bed height was 28-29″, but the mattress had a soft topper on it. Once I started transferring into bed, the bed height condensed down to about 25″ and was flush with the top setting of my scooter seat. The room itself was spacious–I could turn my scooter around with “Y” turns in several locations around the room. There were numerous, easily accessible outlets throughout the room as well.
The toilet height was approximately 19″. The shower was more of a walk-in shower–it was not big enough for my scooter. Also, I could turn my scooter around by the toilet, but nowhere else in the bathroom.
The balcony was the pièce de résistance of the wheelchair accessibility at the Royal Hawaiian. It was huge–my scooter could go everywhere on it, and had room to turn around pretty much anywhere. It overlooked the pool, the beach, and the ocean. There was a lot of furniture on the balcony, so we pushed some of it around the corner and out of the way. This was a great feature, and one I miss daily.
Videos of the Pools and Grounds
A video is worth a million words. Please watch my point-of-view roll/scoot/walk-throughs:
- Pools at Sheraton Waikiki, the walkway through the Royal Hawaiian, and the Royal Hawaiian pools
- Real-time demonstration of the pool lift at the Sheraton Waikiki, which is the same model as the lifts at the Royal Hawaiian.
- A roll/scoot/walk around and through the Royal Hawaiian, including the wheelchair accessible public bathroom at the Maitai Bar.
Pools and Lifts into Pools
Guests of the Royal Hawaiian can use the pool at the Royal Hawaiian or the pools at the Sheraton. The two properties are connected via a path on the beach side of the properties. The Royal Hawaiian pool is relatively small, so we opted for the larger (but more crowded) Sheraton pools.
The lifts at the pools and hot tubs at the Sheraton Waikiki and Royal Hawaiian were variants of the Revolution by Aqua Creek Products. Some of the lifts were set at the highest settings, which meant the seat barely made it into the water (but went really high on land). But the pool staff were friendly and willing to help, so I was able to talk them through how to lower the seat to a middle setting (so the seat would go deeper into the water but still went 25″ or so above the pool deck). The pools are kept pretty cold, which was a shock at first but felt great in the heat of the day.
The pools added a lot to the overall wheelchair accessibility of the Royal Hawaiian.
I also took a real-time video of the pool lift at the Sheraton Waikiki, which can be used by guests at the Royal Hawaiian hotel as well.