Hotel Review: The Royal Hawaiian a Luxury Collection Resort in Honolulu

Staying at The Royal Hawaiian Resort in Waikiki took us by surprise as soon as my sister and I landed in Honolulu.
blogger amanda burrows from affordable by amanda reviews the royal hawaiian resort a luxury collection resort. pictured are photos from hawaii. palm trees, lush pink flowers, and tropical vibes are all featured in this photo.

Of course, the two of us were thrilled to finally arrive in Oahu after quite a journey. I was worried about my luggage because of the mix-up, too. We weren't able to catch our original flight out of San Francisco because of plane trouble. Luckily, we took a United flight later in the day and arrived around 10:00 pm.

The original plan for the Gal Getaway trip out to Hawaii was to stay in a large Airbnb to house 12 girls. The house was located inland and away from the rest of the tourist-filled hotels.

Unfortunately, things fell through with the Airbnb because upon inspecting the house, Kahlea deemed it unfit for us to stay there. It was not what she had in mind for us at all! I also can't believe she had to come up with another plan as soon as the girls began to arrive, but she was able to relocate us to the resort in Waikiki. Props to her for working hard to find us a new place to stay for the four days we had planned on the island of Oahu.

In retrospect, I feel like staying at The Royal Hawaiian Resort was a great decision as the resort was complete with housekeeping, a pool, and convenient beach access.

affordable by amanda is wearing a floral print twist-front sheath dress from forever 21 in oahu, hawaii at the royal hawaiian resort. she is also wearing a floppy hat near the beach.

amanda burrows is posed in hawaii at the royal hawaiian resort. she has on a floral print twist-front sheath dress from forever 21 and is holding a flower.

It was unfortunate that the Airbnb fell through because I know Kahlea wanted us to all be close together and have the opportunity to enjoy meals together at the house. However, The Royal Hawaiian Resort was nothing less than amazing! I am blessed that we were able to stay at such a fancy place.

This is my review of the resort and a few reasons why I enjoyed my time there so much. If you plan on seeking a place to stay while in Oahu, I highly recommend that you check out The Royal Hawaiian Resort. 

Hello, Instagram Pics! You Won't Want to Put Your Phone Down Here. 

One of the number one reasons why you should stay at The Royal Hawaiian is because of how photogenic it is! Can we just be real for a sec and consider the fact that most travelers want to stay at a place that is not only within their budget, but is adorable, too?! I know I consider those two things whenever I travel.

The resort is a pink palace. Everything you see is pretty in pink! This luxury resort has plenty of opportunities for you to relax and take the cutest pictures with your friends and family. The resort opened in the 1920s and the lavish structure still maintains the look in 2019 from such an era of opulence.

three girls wearing pink robes sitting by the pool at the royal hawaiian resort in oahu, hawaii.

The resort is known as the "Pink Palace of the Pacific" and for good reason. This iconic resort offers plenty of examples of local culture as you can take a historic tour of the property during your stay.

The Location is Fantastic

Of course, when you stay in Oahu, you want to find a place that has the best location. The Royal Hawaiian faces out toward Waikiki beach. You can find yourself walking on the sand in just a matter of minutes when you stay at this resort.

While at the resort, we took a catamaran boat ride on our last night. The boat ride takes off from the beach across from the resort which was perfect for us! You can also parasail from the beach or take a snorkel trip, it depends on what you wish to do while on your trip. The resort makes it easy for you because you can book the trips from the lobby or even reserve them online. 

The beach access really matters when you consider which hotel or resort to stay at during your vacation. I loved how we could easily venture out to watch the sunrise one morning right on Waikiki Beach. The view of Diamond Head, a volcanic cone, sits along the Honolulu skyline.

The resort is also extremely close to the main shopping district. High-end luxury stores line the main street that you drive on to enter the resort.

hotel review the royal hawaiian resort

We walked through the main street and checked out the stores (I ended up in Forever 21!) while taking a break from the beach. You can also find a few stores filled with tons of tourist items if you want to pick up some souvenirs for your friends and family back home.

The Rooms are Exquisite 

I have to mention the rooms, too. Our suites were gorgeous. We stayed in the historic wing and had a garden view outside our window. I already have an obsession with pineapples, and the room was covered with pineapple wallpaper! It was so luxurious.

The staff came in each morning and refreshed our beds and left us with more bathroom toiletries. The room had a TV and a minifridge, too. I slept very well in our room bundled under the plush covers and felt great each morning. I was energized to experience another adventure in Oahu!

Various Dining Amenities 

We didn't have time to experience the Azure Restaurant or the Mai Tai Bar during our stay, but I spent plenty of time hanging out at the Royal Hawaiian Bakery. 

This one-stop confectionary had it all. I ordered a ham and cheese croissant from the bakery on a few different occasions. My usual breakfast would be a croissant and tea. My sister ordered herself a cup of coffee and a slice of banana bread from the bakery, too. 

tampa blogger affordable by amanda sits at the royal hawaiian resort bakery. she is smiling wearing a floral cut-out dress and a pink headband in her hair.

amanda burrows from the blog affordable by amanda is standing on waikiki beach near the royal hawaiian resort. she is wearing a pink jumpsuit from uniqlo and is holding a purple lei made out of orchids.

The bakery also sold adorable pink cookies with the logo of the resort. These custom cookies are a sweet treat! Even if you don't want to leave the resort you can easily order some in-room dining. Enjoy some fresh pancakes and a cup of coffee straight from your bed. 

The Ultimate Three Day San Francisco Travel Guide

Last week, my sister and I flew out to San Francisco, California for a couple of days before heading out to Oahu, Hawaii for an exciting Gal Getaway trip.

This is our 3-day travel guide to the city of San Francisco which includes stops at the most iconic parts of San Fran that you won't want to miss if you plan on visiting soon.

Keep reading to learn more about how to approach your trip:

the ultimate three day san francisco travel guide. pictured are the painted ladies which are colorful Victorian houses located in San Francisco, California.

Not only was this going to be the longest flight in my life so far, (with a total travel time of 7+ hours), but it was my first time ever experiencing any of the west coast.

I was nervous and excited at the same time! We started our trip heading out of Tampa International Airport on a Saturday morning by taking a short two-hour Southwest flight to St. Louis. After a quick layover, we then boarded our final plane to SFO.

Once at SFO, we ordered an Uber and met up with our cousin Catie at one of the yoga studios she manages.

She took us over to Lemonade for dinner which became an instant favorite of mine! They served Lavender Elderflower Lemonade (OMG, it was so good I ordered it again the next day!) and tender brisket, truffle mac and cheese, and creamy mashed potatoes.

It was hilarious to our cousin how much I loved eating dinner at Lemonade because she and her friends usually stop at Lemonade when they are in a rush for dinner and want something quick and casual! I can not wait to visit California again just to eat and drink at Lemonade, call me crazy!

After dinner, we fell asleep pretty quickly and were ready to take on our first full day in the city early the next morning.

Day One

Visit the Golden Gate Bridge

Check the weather forecast the night before you arrive at SFO to see if your first day is ideal to head over to the Golden Gate Bridge. If the forecast calls for severe fog, you may want to switch up the order in which you visit the top iconic spots in the city.

I recommend checking out if it's going to be sunny before you head out to the Golden Gate Bridge for a peaceful early morning adventure. We had some fog on our first day in the city, which made the bridge nearly invisible to see, but we still enjoyed our time at this iconic San Fran spot for a few hours.

We took an Uber from our cousin's house to the bridge around 9:30 in the morning.

It's best to check out the bridge as early as you can because most people will start to crowd around the best picture spots as soon as they get there. My sister and I were able to check out the visitor center first and then we stopped in front of the bridge to capture our own photos (well, selfies!).

Instead of taking a car or a bus ride on the bridge, we chose to walk across it until we hit the middle. The bridge itself is absolutely breathtaking. The structure looks complex from every angle. The vast ocean views on the bridge are also quite a sight. There are constantly bikers, runners, and tourists along the bridge so keep your eyes peeled. You don't want to run into any of them!

bright pink bougainvillea in san francisco, california.

The bougainvillea plants growing along the houses in San Francisco were also beautiful to look at while we walked through the city.  

Ghirardelli Square

Another one of our top destinations to see in San Fran was Ghirardelli Square. 

If there is one thing I love most in the world, next to tea, it's chocolate!

The shopping square features a lot of new boutique stores in addition to some historical anecdotes floating around the square that dates back to the early 1900s. My sister and I walked through one of the trendy boutique stores called Gigi + Rose where we bought two matching rings as souvenirs for the day.

Naturally, we popped into the Ghirardelli ice cream parlor to check out how chocolate was originally made back in the day. The process included folding the ingredients and making sure the chocolate was completely mixed together before placing the mixture into molds. Of course, you can go to town ordering chocolate sundaes and picking out bite-sized chocolates to snack on while in the parlor.

On a quick note, the square has free WiFi, too! It was a great pit stop on our way around town so I could check my e-mails really fast and send a few texts to friends before heading back out on our journey.

Fisherman's Wharf

The next iconic area you MUST see and experience is Fisherman's Wharf.

Once again, this is a hot tourist spot that you need to see for yourself if this is your first time in San Francisco. Most native folks would rather be caught anywhere other than the Wharf because it becomes packed with tourists in a matter of hours. However, you need to check it out as a first-timer! No questions!

Fisherman's Wharf has a lot of gift shops so you can peek in and see if you find any cool souvenirs to pick up for your friends and family back home. Most of these gifts are t-shirts, postcards, sweatpants, rain jackets, hoodies, small replicas of the Golden Gate Bridge, and more.

Fisherman's Wharf has dozens of adorable seals on Pier 39 for you to take pictures of!

Don't miss out on watching these west coast creatures dive in and out of the water. When we visited Pier 39, I was mesmerized by all the squeaking seals hanging out and sleeping in the sun. They were both obnoxious and adorable at the same time, ha!

After looking at all the seals, make your way back into the heart of Fisherman's Wharf where you should grab a hot drink if the weather feels a bit chilly.

I chose a Biscoff latte from the Biscoff shop to keep me feeling warm and toasty. Looking for more to do in the Wharf? You can also experience the Aquarium of the Bay while at Fisherman's Wharf which would be nice if you plan on visiting with small children.

Day Two

The next day in the city, my sister and I opted to head to Mr. Holmes Bakehouse for breakfast in the morning. We woke up early again and ordered an Uber to take us there.

mr.holmes bakehouse in san francisco, california. the picture shows a cruffin which is a cross between a croissant and a muffin.

Luckily for us, there wasn't a crowd at all once we arrived at Mr. Holmes!

No lines, nothing. We walked into the shop which was so much tinier than I had originally imagined and I pondered what to order. I saw matcha croissants which to this day I still regret not tasting a bite of. Oh well, just another reason to head back to the west coast, right?

I settled on a "cruffin", which is a croissant muffin, that was filled inside with banana cream. Oh my was this amazing or what! I wanted to order another one so badly.

This also a super cool Instagram photo-op.

They have a neon sign that reads "I Got Baked in San Francisco" which is hilarious and also pops in a bright pink color against the marble white wall.


After breakfast at Mr. Holmes, and a quick stop at Jane for a warm chai latte, we took yet another Uber (we rode in many, many of these!) over to Chinatown. I had heard a lot about Chinatown from friends back home. It was suggested that I should also put it on my list of top San Fran destinations to check out.

Chinatown was filled with quaint shops and restaurants. This Chinatown found in San Fran is also noted as one of the country's oldest. Mostly all of the residents are Chinese and speak little English.

We chose to walk down Grant Ave which is what most tourists enjoy doing once they hit Chinatown.

We paused at the beginning of the street to view the Chinatown Gate, a gift from Taiwan to the city, which looked incredible with authentic dragons and koi fish decorating the entire piece. 

Eventually, we were hungry for lunch and stopped in at a restaurant along Grant Ave.

Our food was a great deal, as we shared THREE courses of Chinese favorites (beef & broccoli, sweet & sour chicken, shrimp & fried rice) with a pot of hot tea for $30.00. Split between the two of us it was $17 each, including tip.

The meal we enjoyed in Chinatown was very filling. Next, we headed out to find yet another iconic stop, the Painted Ladies and Alamo Square.

Painted Ladies 

Heading over to the Painted Ladies and Alamo Square Park took us back toward our cousin's house. At this point in the day, it was almost 3:30 pm. It's crazy to think that the sun begins to set in California around 4:30/5:00 during the winter, but it does!

tampa blogger amanda burrows stands in front of the painted ladies in san francisco, california. she is wearing a pink boucle coat from old navy with a floral sweater and pair of dark jeans.

Upon arriving at the main street where Painted Ladies houses reside, we took in the exquisite architecture of the homes one by one.

Each home has its own Victorian and Edwardian features and was constructed in the late 1800s. After checking out the infamous homes and the park, we ordered a ride home for the night and prepared ourselves for our next long day to be spent in the Muir Woods!

Day Three

Muir Woods

On our third day in San Francisco, my sister and I booked a bus trip out to the Muir Woods National Monument.

There are plenty of bus trips to take you out to Muir Woods. We chose our bus trip ($65.00) and arrived at the meeting spot before 9:00 am. This bus trip was also near Fisherman's Wharf, so it was nice to be back to a familiar place.

muir woods in san francisco, california.

The entire bus trip was going to last until 2:00 pm. Kayla and I stopped in a nearby Starbucks for bagels and coffee before we boarded our bus to the woods. Our trip into the Muir Woods took roughly an hour, as we sat back and looked out the window to see the beautiful green mountain tops.

The ride up to the woods was a little hectic because you need to travel up the sides of mountains in order to get out to the woods. I was thankful that we were safely riding on a bus with a seasoned expert as our bus driver because those roads we no joke!

Once at the main entrance to the woods, we immediately took off running to explore the redwoods.

I highly recommend taking a bus ride out to the woods on one day during your trip because these redwoods were unlike anything I've ever seen in my life! Also, the ride up the mountain can make you feel queasy so I recommend packing some Dramamine if you experience motion sickness. A bus ride is a perfect way to get to the woods safely and return back home with time to spare.

As we started our journey into the woods, I noticed how the trees went up to the heavens. The rocky creeks provided us with gentle sounds as we scurried across the bridges to photograph even more spectacular redwoods. 

We often paused while walking in the Muir Woods to take iPhone videos, selfies, and camera photos of ourselves hugging the giant trees to capture the memories of our time together exploring this natural forest floor.

After staring up at the trees for over an hour and a half, we ventured in the gift shop where I picked up some cute souvenirs for my nature-loving BFF Jessica. I can't wait to give her these presents for Christmas soon.


When our amazing bus trip concluded, we were back at Fisherman's Wharf.

As girls from the East Coast, we do not have the pleasure of eating lunch at In-N-Out Burger, so we sat down at the nearest one and ordered burgers and fries. 

They were goood y'all!  Cheap and satisfying after a long day of walking in the woods.

Have you been to San Francisco before? What was on your travel itinerary? Share with me in the comments below: