The imposing Trump International Hotel Waikiki has long been regarded as the gold standard for five-star hospitality on Oahu. Now celebrating its 10th anniversary, the 462-room hotel runs like a well-oiled machine. Its elegant island-themed interiors, complete with tasteful Hawaiian artwork, seem as fresh as the day it opened. Occupying a 38-storey tower, the hotel offers two in-house restaurants, a signature spa, fitness centre, library and outdoor lap pool. Accommodation options range from standard hotel rooms to three-bedroom suites. Despite being part of the sprawling Trump hotel and resort empire, the ambience here is distinctly Polynesian.
A short stroll away from Waikiki Beach, Trump International is thankfully a safe distance from the round-the-clock madness of Kalakaua Avenue. The hotel overlooks the green expanse of Fort DeRussy Beach Park and, beyond that, the tranquil waters of Kahanomoko Lagoon. Nearby Lewers Street offers a good range of bars, cafes, restaurants, souvenir shops and a giant ABC Store ("the store with aloha").
Some hotel interiors seem to date from day one, but this Trump property is still cool and contemporary. Hawaii-based designer Suzanne Nessel uses handcrafted millwork, Koa wood and luxurious granite and marble finishes to create refined interiors that evoke Waikiki's golden era of the 1920s and '30s. As you might expect in a Trump hotel, there are also plenty of opulent touches. The lobby features a massive hand painted Hawaiian mural, while a cluster of globes on the ceiling mimics the movement of the surf. The same combination of restraint and indulgence is evident in the rooms, which feature high-end furnishings, Hawaiian tapa cloth, soft lighting and sumptuous marble bathrooms.
Our Deluxe Ocean View room is perfect for our four-night stay in Waikiki since it is equipped with a full-size kitchen, a huge marble bathroom, a king-size bed and ample storage space. Our four-year-old sleeps on a sofa bed and hotel staff also provide him with a toy dolphin and kiddie-sized bathrobe. There is a small step in the bathroom so he can reach the washbasin. Other thoughtful touches include an ice machine, a large bathtub and an ample supply of towels; a must when travelling with small children. Sliding glass doors open onto a compact balcony.
Eating out in Waikiki is a hit-and-miss affair, but Trump International offers two world-class dining experiences. As its name suggests BLT Steak, a New York steakhouse on the ground floor, serves handsome cuts of rib eye, porterhouse and wagyu – plus gourmet burgers, fresh seafood and traditional Hawaiian poke (raw fish) dishes. Upstairs is Wai'olu Ocean Cuisine, a sophisticated Japanese-inspired seafood restaurant which doubles as a cocktail bar – the Mai Tai was once voted the best on the planet. Breakfast is served at the In-Yo Café which offers an excellent international buffet or an equally good a la carte selection, plus Blue Mountain Trump Blend coffee.
Crowd-free Fort DeRussy Beach is just two minutes' walk from the front door. Apart from safe swimming, the beach offers stand-up paddleboards, surfboards and kayaks for hire. The hotel provides complimentary beach bags. For people-watching, head over to Kalakaua Avenue, home of designer stores, shopping malls, ice cream parlours and The Cheesecake Factory, Waikiki's famous all-day diner.
On an island famous for its warm welcome, this hotel is in a league of its own. The combination of impeccable service, lavish public space and luxurious rooms is pretty hard to resist. It appeals to everyone from young families to empty nesters seeking an oasis of calm in the heart of bustling Waikiki.
Doubles from $US405 ($A591). Trump International Hotel Waikiki, 223 Saratoga Road, Honolulu. Phone: +1 808 683 7777; see trumphotels.com/waikiki
Finding a child-sized Trump bathrobe, complete with tiny white slippers, for our four-year old son was brilliant.
The infinity edge swimming pool is far too small for a hotel this size and unsuitable for small children.
OUR RATING OUT OF FIVE
Mark Chipperfield was a guest of Trump International.