Hotel at a Glance: Ambassador Hotel Waikiki
Once a playground for Hawaiian royalty, Waikiki has become a top vacation destination for travelers from all over the world, thanks to its soft sandy shores and tranquil seas. The Ambassador Hotel Waikiki is located on the south shore of Waikiki, just a short stroll from the beach.
- Go for a swim in the outdoor pool.
- In-room amenities: free WiFi and flat-screen TV with cable, premier partial-ocean view and city-view suites include kitchenette; balconies offer views of the city or ocean
- Walking distance from Waikiki restaurants, nightlife, and shops
- Hang ten: Sign up for a surfing lesson at a beachside surf shop.
Honolulu’s Waikiki: White-Sand Beaches, World-Class Surfing, and Luxury Entertainment
In 1911, local Waikiki kid Duke Kahanamoku beat the world record for the 100-meter freestyle swim by 4.6 seconds at an amateur swim meet—a feat so unimaginable athletic officials refused to recognize it. But when he won an Olympic gold medal the following year, Duke became an international sensation despite them. Photogenic and frequently in the press, he was rarely seen without his solid-koa-wood board, popularizing the local pastime of surfing. This publicity helped turn Waikiki from a private playground for Hawaii’s ruling class into a travel hot spot as people came from all over to take surfing lessons with a celebrity athlete. Today, you can see Duke’s likeness—complete with a board—immortalized in a bronze statue on Waikiki’s Kuhio Beach.
With the influx of visitors came a number of hotels and businesses, so Waikiki now has the look and feel of an urban resort area. When not sprawled on the white-sand beaches, most travelers explore the sunny avenues lined with everything from upscale boutiques and nightclubs to craft booths and street performers. Cultural attractions include the Honolulu Zoo, an expansive habitat that’s home to exotic and endangered species such as sumatran tigers and white-handed gibbons. Steps away, the Waikiki Aquarium is stationed alongside a living reef. Within the marine museum, more than 3,500 creatures of the tropical Pacific Ocean glide throughout glassed-in galleries.
It’s worth making the trek to Diamond Head State Monument, a 300,000-year-old saucer formed by a single explosive eruption and arguably Hawaii’s most recognizable landmark. Hikers can walk down a 0.8-mile trail where molten lava once smoldered to ascend to the crater’s 560-foot-tall lip.