Submitted on 25-05-2016
My husband and I spent a week at the Wyndham Royal Garden during the first week of April, in a studio apartment with a full-sized balcony (some have small balconies that you can't really sit out on). I'd called several weeks before our visit to request a high floor with a full balcony and hopefully a view. We got two of the three; the room that had been set aside for us wasn't ready when we got there. That may have been a good thing, as a room overlooking the canal would have been even noisier t...
My husband and I spent a week at the Wyndham Royal Garden during the first week of April, in a studio apartment with a full-sized balcony (some have small balconies that you can't really sit out on). I'd called several weeks before our visit to request a high floor with a full balcony and hopefully a view. We got two of the three; the room that had been set aside for us wasn't ready when we got there. That may have been a good thing, as a room overlooking the canal would have been even noisier than our room overlooking Olohana Street was. A main road out of Waikiki runs along the canal and there's a tremendous amount of traffic there and two blocks away from the hotel in the opposite direction. You'll hear both, so download a white noise app on your cell phone before you go. Trust me on that. Waikiki is just noisy. Lots of emergency vehicles going back and forth every day; a woman drowned while we were there and we knew something was happening when a fire truck pulling a jet ski went screaming past our balcony one evening. :-(
We loved the front desk staff, especially Aaron, who always had a big smile. It's been several weeks, so I am forgetting the names of the other two gentlemen behind the desk (my apologies to them!). They were also wonderful. Any request or inquiry was met with a smile and a helpful answer. They made everyone feel welcome.
We did not enjoy the typical timeshare property extended check-in. We were exhausted and just wanted to get to our room. After getting the keys from the front desk, we were supposed to go to the concierge desk to get our "welcome package," which is when they attempt to lure you into the timeshare sales pitch (we exchanged through RCI and already own two timeshares, bought off the resale market, and won't ever buy through a resort). They were busy with another couple anyway, so we went to our room. The next morning, we found a "reminder" slipped under our door that we were "required" to stop by the concierge desk within 24 hours of checking in to complete our registration. We had a morning tour and told them we'd stop by later in the day. When we did, we got our leis, some helpful maps, and some pressure to attend the "member update meeting". We expressed our reluctance but finally said yes because we hate that whole process, and then canceled the following day. No fuss, no muss. We booked our own activities, mostly by buying Living Social and Groupon vouchers, so we didn't use the concierge for anything else. They always smiled and said hello. Everyone at the resort was very nice.
Now on to the room. The studios are not large, but they are comfortably equipped. The queen bed was very comfortable. The kitchenette had limited equipment, with no stove top. We asked if even the 1-bedroom suites had cooktops, and they said no...the electrical wasn't sufficient to operate a stove without tripping a circuit. They'd have to rewire the building. We microwaved eggs and ate leftovers and protein bars for breakfast, and ate out for most meals. There's an ABC Store right down the street with really tasty salads and sandwiches, great after a tiring day of running around the island.
The bathroom has a somewhat small tub, but the back ledge is handy for hanging wet bathing suits from a rack. Good water pressure. The toilets will literally splash you with water when you flush! They should work on that. We heard virtually no noise from other units, except for when someone showered...it caused a high-pitch noise that was irritating but luckily not long-lasting.
The only thing at the hotel that was a major drawback was the WiFi. It was beyond terrible. We could barely connect and it was painfully slow. My husband gave up when the front desk couldn't really help, and he connected our travel router to the wired connection and we had no problems after that (I highly recommend buying a travel router, especially if you do the timeshare thing, since most properties have lousy WiFi). We would have been miserable without that. People DO need to get online when they travel, to check in with work, family back home, etc. There's no excuse in 2016 for crappy WiFi.
The resort also has an outdoor pool, which we didn't use but looked inviting (albeit not peaceful given that you're in Waikiki), a game room, a media room with an in-demand massage chair and two computers, and, most awesome, a shower room that you can use even after you check out, before your flight home. We wish all properties had that! We had a 10:15 pm flight and it was wonderful to freshen up after a final day of exploring the island. Several people relaxed in the media room before heading out for evening flights. There's a laundry room, fitness center, and zen garden as well. Valet parking is a steep $30 per day, but we never used it. Others have mentioned parking along the canal, but it's impossible to get a spot after about 3:30, even earlier on weekends. There is meter parking on the street in front of the hotel and some free street parking one street over, on Namahana. After 6 pm, it's free to park at the meters (it starts up again at 7:30 am, if I remember correctly). Since we were usually out until 4 pm or so each day, we fed the meters until 6. Only two times were we unable to get a spot right out front. The location is good for the area and you're just a few blocks from the beach and some restaurants. I'd probably stay on the beach if I returned to Oahu.
Other than the WiFi and the requirement to go to the concierge, our only complaint about this otherwise wonderful property is related to something that happened after we returned. About two weeks after our trip, I received a letter from Wyndham Vacations, telling me I was pre-approved for a significant amount of money to buy a timeshare. We had decided not to attend the timeshare presentation no matter what the free gift offer was when we saw that they wanted a credit card number when you attended. I looked it up online and saw numerous complaints about Wyndham running people's credit without their permission. Well, the letter I received made it look like they HAD, and I most certainly hadn't given them permission.
The letter included instructions on how to opt out with the credit bureaus from future pre-approved offers, which I permanently did several years ago. So I was quite alarmed, thinking they'd falsified paperwork indicating I had given permission. I ran a credit check with all three credit bureaus and saw no checks, but I don't know how long it takes for those to show up. No one ever answered the phone number provided in the letter, and a call to management at the Royal Garden was never returned. It was because of this experience that I rated them only 3 stars. I was tempted to give them 1 star, but I was assured by other timeshare owners that Wyndham does this routinely to them when they stay at Wyndhams. They said Wyndham did not check my credit, but the practice of indicating they did is incredibly inappropriate and unethical. I doubt I'll ever exchange into a Wyndham again as a result. It tainted what was otherwise a truly enjoyable stay.