Ilikai Hotel & Luxury Resort: Make Your Mark at Waikiki’s Most Iconic Vacation Rental Property

Ilikai Hotel and Luxury Suites is considered to be an iconic landmark within the Waikiki skyline. It attracts world class buyers as one of only three direct ocean access “condotel” style buildings in Waikiki.

When setting your sights on Waikiki’s prized real estate, it pays dividends to work with a team equipped with the skills and knowledge required to help you achieve your personal needs and goals. Comprehensive information is detailed in our Hawaii Vacation Rental Property Statement of Facts & Trends report. Ilikai stands out as a top selection on our list. We explore the specific points of interest below.

Image of Ilikai’s exterior from the ocean side

Ilikai was built in 1964 by developer Chinn Ho and designer John Graham Jr., also the renowned designer of the Seattle Space Needle. Mr. Ho’s vision to create the complex as a “condotel” style building has paid off to this day. Ilikai remains one of just three condominiums considered adjacent to the ocean within the Waikiki region. The complex leads directly out to a lagoon and marina with the ocean just beyond.

The building includes 26 floors with a top level penthouse made famous in the opening credits of the original Hawai’i 5-0 television series. This early visibility brought both fame to the Ilikai and drew in affluent visitors and movie stars.

Ilikai’s innovative design made waves in the 1960s, but it has not gotten bogged down in its prestigious past. In 2014 the property underwent major renovations across its common spaces followed in 2015 by renovations to the top floor units. The complex continues to grow with each new stage of Waikiki.

Visitors from around the world are drawn here given the unbeatable location and best in class amenities. With an owner occupancy rate of four percent, most units are operated as short-term rentals. This presents an attractive option to acquire a vacation property that has the potential to cover its own costs.

Aqua Astin is the owner and operator of the hotel pool that rents out individually owned units as hotel rooms to vacationers. Owners also have the flexibility to select their own property management company or self manage. It should be noted self management may not be an option for long-distance owners.

Image of Ilikai’s open air lobby

You’ll get a sense of Ilikai’s heritage as soon as you arrive at the stone covered drive. The breezy staircase leads past waterfalls and tropical plants to the iconic whale statue by artist Robert Wyland. Further along is the open concept lobby and the 24 hour reception desk.

Escalators and elevators provide alternative access points and a simplified method of unloading luggage with the help of friendly staff. One can expect high end service at each touchpoint, from reception and valet to concierge to 24 hour security.

Ilikai remains one of Waikiki’s largest and grandest condominiums with over 1,000 units across its three wings. Buyers appreciate the flexibility of purchasing units in or out of the Aqua Aston hotel pool. When considering the options it is helpful to factor in that units in the hotel pool must meet standards for uniform interior design while units outside of the pool are individually renovated and decorated.

Floor plans include studio, one bedroom and two bedroom layouts. The layouts are quite spacious by design. There are also 13 penthouse units on the 26th floor with either two or three bedrooms. Notably, all units include a full kitchen which is quite rare across Waikiki’s condominium inventory. And generally, the full kitchens result in Ilikai units being easier to obtain conventional financing for than other condotel units. Many of the units have seen modern renovations and updates that further elevate their value.

Depending on which tower a unit occupies there are garden, mountain, marina, sunset and ocean views. Large windows provide ample natural daylight. Each unit has its own private balcony to enjoy the uninterrupted views of city or ocean landscapes. One can easily imagine lounging while watching the sun set over the ocean, or indulging in the scene of Friday night fireworks next door at the Hilton Hawaiian Village.

While there are no washers or dryers in rooms there are coin operated washers and dryers on each level. Units in the hotel pool are provided onsite housekeeping and linen services.

Image of ilikai's upper deck pool

Interested parties can rest easy knowing this complex is zoned for resort use, an important factor for those seeking the flexibility of owning a short-term vacation rental. In contrast, Waikiki condominiums that are outside the resort zone navigate complex permitting regulations to facilitate short-term rentals.

To be in the Aqua Aston Hotel Program owners must purchase a hotel package or acquire a unit already in the hotel program. Packages are not always offered, so this is important to discuss with your realtor depending on your goals.

General maintenance fees include cable, internet, hot water, water, and sewer. Electricity is billed separately. Owners can anticipate standard condominium fees equating to an estimated one dollar per square foot.

entrance to pesca restaurant at ilikai resort

Dining and shopping options abound on the grounds as well as right out the door at neighboring resorts. Fine dining restaurant Pesca Waikiki Beach resides on the top floor and offers exquisite ocean views. Casual dining options include Cinnamons, a poke shop, a coffee shop, ice cream parlor, and a well stocked market on the lobby level.

But the open air lobby boasts more than a food scene. There is also a large fitness center, spa, hair salon services, boutiques, and even a surf shop. And with world class surfing at Rockpiles and Kaiser’s right on the shoreline, surf enthusiasts couldn’t pick a better location.

Ilikai’s two expansive ocean facing pools are the perfect place to relax and unwind in the outdoors. The most recent pool was built during the building’s renovations and includes in-pool lounge chairs. When it’s time to return home, the poolside elevator ferries guests right up to their rooms.

Beyond the lobby the grand walkway is an ideal place to lounge during sunset. It is also the pathway to neighboring hotels and Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon at the Hilton. Boat owners can’t get any closer than this, with the added bonus of both the Ala Wai and Waikiki Yacht Clubs located within one mile.

Ilikai grand walkway

Speaking of nearby attractions, Ilikai resides one mile from Ala Moana Beach and Ala Moana Shopping Center, the world’s largest open air mall with more than 350 shops.

Its position along Ala Moana Boulevard makes airport and freeway connections simple to navigate. Waikiki’s Luxury Row, Waikiki Beach, Fort Derussy Park, and the abundance of dining and entertainment options throughout Waikiki are practically out the door.

The complex includes 494 parking stalls. Parking is not deeded in the purchase of a unit and is paid on a first come first serve basis. Transportation is also available through the Waikiki Trolly system, bus lines, rental scooters, and numerous footpaths across the region. It should also be noted that Ilikai is not pet friendly.

view of ilikai pool with plenty of lounge chairs and umbrellas

Ownership in Waikiki’s thriving vacation rental scene presents exciting opportunities to expand your real estate portfolio. For an in-depth analysis of the overall Waikiki real estate market we recommend our Oahu overview article leading a series that explores our top five selections for attractive vacation rental opportunities on the island.

For those interested in exploring the abundant possibilities of a Waikiki property acquisition, we recommend working with the most qualified professionals attuned to Hawai’i’s unique landscape. Hawai’i Life welcomes interested parties to connect with us and discuss the possibilities. Inquire to learn more about active and potential units for sale at Ilikai Hotel and Luxury Resort.

We have a unique team of Realtors who specialize in working with those focused on second home and vacation rental investments. True experts in this field with vast experience in this segment of the real estate market. Our team has decades of experience, in-depth on the ground knowledge, and access to critical data points that investors need. A commitment in providing clients with the necessary support to ensure well-informed choices.

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