Even a one-day (overnight) stay at a Waikiki hotel is a wondrous way for a staycation.

Here’s the background: I covered two back-to-back shows Sunday (Dec. 11) at Blue Note Hawaii, located at the Outrigger Waikiki resort.

The first show  (Frank DeLima) was at 12:30 p.m., a brunch event, followed by two later shows at 4 and 8 p.m. (Makena, aka as Ho’okena and members of The Makaha Sons), a Christmas and Hawaiian show. Took in the later performance.

Made no sense to drive in (during the Honolulu Marathon on Kalaniana‘ole Hwy.) only to return home in Hawaii Kai, and commute back a few hours later.

So I took the risk and checked out kamaaina rates, but they were $325 a room. Imagine what regular rates might be!

Contemplated the kamaaina rate. It was easiest to book a room where the shows were, but at those prices? An expensive risk, perhaps.

Waited a bit, then rechecked several days later via phone what rates were and the price had gone down, I guess, to $225, with no resort fee and half-price for overnight parking ($45 regular price).  So I decided to book ‘em, a holiday gift to myself and my wife.

At check-in, we were enticed into signing up for an upgrade ($89 more) for a room on a higher level with access to the hotel lounge, where breakfast and happy hour/dinner meals were included. Hmmmm. Decided to go up in price and room level, figuring we’d just eat at the hotel, utilizing the included dinner at night and breakfast the next day before checking out. After all, meals for two in Waikiki at a restaurant would cost more than $89. And our wrists became a gameplayer (why and how, more later).

The room was spacious, on the 16th level (17th is the penthouse), not super-duper elegant but comfy, clean, and convenient, with wi-fi, upgraded soap and shampoo amenities and an exclusive lobby-to-room access located near the Blue Note club.

A happy hour trek to the lounge, located on the former Chuck’s Steak House site on the lobby level, provides an efficient but no-choice meal, with the largest taro chips plus traditional corn ships with a slightly zesty aku dip, a couple of fruit options, and fried noodles with chicken and pork protein. Enough to satisfy the hungry, but lacking lounge-level fare choices and perks I’ve experienced at Mainland brand-name hotels at much higher tariffs.

Henry Kapono, ‘neath the tarp in black shirt, on the beach at Waikiki

A Sunday visit meant that Henry Kapono was doing his beachfront jam sessions near Duke’s, his signature show for decades. From a stone’s throw away, I peeked and listened from the lounge, noticing that swimwear folks were truly enjoying the moment.

Breakfast was satisfactory but also pedestrian – buffet eggs, bacon, bread and bagels for do-you-own toasting, tiny strawberry yogurt, fruits like honeydew melon and sweet pineapple.

Turned out to be a working staycation, since I was at my computer following the DeLima show to write and post a review, while my wife ventured out to reacquaint herself with some of the Waikiki spots we used to but haven’t visited since before the pandemic. Also got up early Sunday morning to do a Makena review, which I completed later from home.

Wrist band is room key for lounge guests a Outrigger Waikiki.

The most convenient discovery of the staycation was that the Outrigger, and likely other chic hotels elsewhere,  provides lounge guests with a new kind of wristband that includes your digital key (no more plastic cards to slide or wipe) to access the elevators and enter your hotel room.

Convenient for beachgoers and swimmers and no more misplaced or lost plastic card key.

That was the most eye-opening element of the staycation. And no complaints for the upgrade fee – worth it!

And that’s Show Biz. …


  1. Hi Wayne.

    Sounds like you and Violet had a nice mini vacation to Waikiki,
    Wow prices sure are so much higher than in my days-HA! Glad you some meals out of he deal too. Glad you got to see some of my favorite entertainers. Mele Kalikimaka in case I don’t email you before the holidays. Aloha Dolores

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