Run Oregon loves running – that’s no surprise. But we also love the Pacific Northwest and all that it has to offer. Running is a part of us, but it does not fully define us. In our “Make a Day of It” feature, we aim to showcase some great local non-running events and highlight where to run and how to make the most of your experience! We recently spent a few days in Waikiki at the Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club.
While my wife and I have been to Maui a few times, and Kauai and the Big Island once, one location we haven’t been to is Oahu. While there have been a few reasons why, one significant one has been our lack of lodging knowledge. Obviously lodging on the Islands is going to be expensive anywhere, but when we travel we prefer to stay at more boutique hotels if we can, as opposed to mass-appeal ones.
When our flights were re routed and rescheduled to some crummy times on a recent trip to Hawaii, we decided we would take the opportunity to find a spot with running sensibilities and were thrilled to connect with the Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club.
First the Running:
The Surfjack is a prime running basecamp on Wakiki. I am guessing every runner is probably making the first run along Waikiki Beach, and that’s definitely something you should check out. I would say that, unless you are up really early, this spot can get pretty crowded and the sand isn’t that hard-packed option we see on the Oregon Coast. Definitely check it out, but there are a few other cool spots nearby regardless.
First off, its a literal minute north to access the Ala Wai Canal Path – an approximate 2-mile path that sits in between the waterway and Ala Wai Boulevard. It’s completely paved and allows for a quick and easy run almost right outside the hotel doors. Run up and back for some quick and easy miles.
If you are looking for a little more distance, you can add some miles by heading a little further west to loop around Ala Moana Regional Park and Magic Island. We created a great 8-mile option that has numerous dedicated paths and can knock off a lot of cool spots at once.
Finally, the crown jewel of Honolulu – Diamond Head – is probably on everyone’s bucket list. There is now an advanced reservation system to climb to the top, but we think that Surfjack is close enough to enjoy running around it. Head south out of the Surfjack and make your way to Kapi’olani Regional Park. Start a counter-clockwise loop and then circle back to the hotel for an easy 6.5 miles. If you do happen to get a reservation, you can take the 99 stairs to the top of the 760 foot crater. It’s not going to be runnable (lots of people – hence the reservations), but is a nice rest area halfway into this loop.
There are actually a ton more great running areas around the island, but when staying at the Surfjack – these are a few solid ones to get you started that are perfect.
The Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club is right in the heart of Waikiki. That means you don’t have to go too far to visit beaches, eat at any number of restaurants, or go shopping. In a location that is dominated by huge mass hotel chains, this boutique hotel (only 112 rooms) provides a welcome view and feel for those who stay.
The theme is pretty evident – a welcoming 1950’s vibe that roots itself in pastel colors and surf motifs. So many parts of their hotel have been constructed and inspired by local artists and contributors. I can’t imagine a more truly-Hawaii feel to any hotel on Waikiki.
Depending on the time of your visit, there are a variety of experiences going on as well. From nightly musicians, to water Zumba, to movies at the pool – its a super chill place to relax.
We stayed in a King Suite, which is a robust 480 square feet. The bedroom sits off of the main living area and comes with a nice private lanai. There’s even a sofa bed if you happen to be travelling with more than a couple of people. The room has all the standard amenities needed. Honestly, we were shocked by the size, comfort, and laid-back beauty of the room.
Surfjack Hotel – Room Pictures
We love sustainability at Run Oregon, and Surfjack’s sensibilities are the same. They support the #PlasticFreeWaikiki initiative and have a collab with BYRD Hairdo that makes each bathroom have refillable options instead of single-use. It’s doubly awesome that the items smell tropical and really makes it feel like a perfect complement to the runcation.
There are obviously a ton of great locations to grab a bite in Waikiki, but the simple and easy spot to start is at the Surfjack’s on-site restaurant – Mahina & Sun’s. The vibe is super relaxed and hip and provides a bunch of great drinks and Hawaiian dining options. Mahina & Sun’s is also open from 8a-10p making it so you aren’t ever too far away from a bite. We ate here a couple times during our stay and raved about our food and beverages.
Obviously the beaches are the ideal spots to refuel mentally on a trip to the Islands. That can, sometimes, be tough either because of crowds or because you just are too tired (perhaps from an 8-mile run) to head to the beach. It’s in the hotel’s name, but the Swim Club is an area to relax and refuel as well. There are cocktails, boutique shops, and obviously a pool. The pool is open all day, has some cabanas available, and becomes adults-only from 6-9pm.
We absolutely were blown away with our stay at the Surfjack. It’s not overwhelmingly large and staying feels like are getting as close to a true down-to-earth Hawaiian experience as you can get in this location. The amenities are great and it is beyond comfortable. The nightly rate for the Surfjack is surprisingly affordable for Waikiki. Add in the fact that off-site parking is free (which is NOT common) and the deal becomes even greater.
Honestly, we never felt we were going to find an ideal place in Waikiki, but now we may have to make our plans for the Honolulu Marathon and book our stay back at the Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club!
- 412 Lewers Street Honolulu, HI 96815
More about the Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club:
Here in Hawaii, hospitality doesn’t come with a stiff lip and white gloves. We think true Hawaiian hospitality is about treating your guests like they were part of your ohana. It’s this mindset that’s at the core of everything we do here. To create The Surfjack, we wanted to pay homage to the true soul of Waikiki, not the prefabricated version peddled to the masses.
Many thanks to the Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club for allowing us to check out their property! Please read our transparency page for info on how we do our reviews.