We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

House Without a Key or Orchid's?

Bristol, United...
Level Contributor
15 posts
42 reviews
Save Topic
House Without a Key or Orchid's?

Heading back to Oahu later this year and starting to think about restaurants. Could any former visitors to the two I mentioned give me some pros & cons of each and their favorite. Looking to visit one (or maybe both!!) for a nice evening meal. Thanks for any feedback

Mentioned in this post
Oahu
Oahu
Hawaii
19 replies to this topic
Washington DC...
Level Contributor
15,457 posts
312 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: House Without a Key or Orchid's?

We like House Without A Key for its fairly laid back ambiance, being outside, seeing Diamond Head and the sunset, watching the beach crowd go by...for us, as a place for first night out of the NE winter, it cannot be beat. Con is that it is relatively expensive, the setting and ambiance aside. Food is good, not great. Have not been to Orchids.

Mentioned in this post
House Without a Key
House Without a Key
2,040 Reviews
Oahu, HI
Diamond Head Beach Hotel
Diamond Head Beach Hotel
153 Reviews
Oahu, HI
Kansas
Level Contributor
227 posts
26 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: House Without a Key or Orchid's?

HWAK menu is more limited, casual and less expensive. Orchids menu is larger, and more expensive. The vibe at Orchids is a bit more formal than HWAK, but still dressy resort casual in the evening. Food, drinks and service are outstanding at both! Orchids and Le Mer are both more "fancy". As is Lewer's Lounge. BTW - the Halekulani has relaxed its dress code for Le Mer. Men can now just wear a collared short sleeve shirt, slacks, and shoes (no toes showing) But jackets or long sleeved dress shirts are NOT required for men as they were for years. It makes it nice as one can just go up to the Le Mer bar and have drink, without worrying about a jacket. We really enjoyed that at both our recent stays at the Hale.

Mentioned in this post
Orchids
Orchids
1,367 Reviews
Oahu, HI
Halekulani Hotel
Halekulani Hotel
2,740 Reviews
Oahu, HI
Sydney
Level Contributor
168 posts
70 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: House Without a Key or Orchid's?

Everyone has summed it up

HWAK for less formal and Orchids for more formal dining. Certainly not cheap but I do recommend the rib eye.

Mentioned in this post
Orchids
Orchids
1,367 Reviews
Oahu, HI
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
120 posts
171 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: House Without a Key or Orchid's?

Food wise, I prefer Orchids. It does of course come with a higher cost but it's worth it if you're after a nice meal with great food, views and service. HWAK is more relaxed, meals still good and a bit better value for money. If you have a chance, visit both.

Mentioned in this post
Orchids
Orchids
1,367 Reviews
Oahu, HI
Saskatoon, Canada
Level Contributor
240 posts
11 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: House Without a Key or Orchid's?

We usually do HWAK for cocktails and listening to the music and Orchids for dinner. We were at Orchids for dinner about a week ago and reserved the table in the south east corner which faces Diamond Head, we were able to listen to the music and watch the Hula Dancer at HWAK while enjoying our dinner.

Mentioned in this post
Orchids
Orchids
1,367 Reviews
Oahu, HI
Diamond Head Beach Hotel
Diamond Head Beach Hotel
153 Reviews
Oahu, HI
Texas
Level Contributor
49 posts
26 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: House Without a Key or Orchid's?

Do both - we did. Arrive 30-45 mins early for your reservation at Orchids, sit at HWAK with a Mai Tai and enjoy the music/hula up close. Front area is for bar patrons. We told HWAK we had a reservation at Orchids and they made sure to coordinate and get us out in time. Food at Orchids was wonderful! When you make the reservation, ask Orchids for a sunset table on the patio. We've eaten at HWAK as well, the food is good, but more casual menu.

Mentioned in this post
Orchids
Orchids
1,367 Reviews
Oahu, HI
Mai Tai Bar
Mai Tai Bar
169 Reviews
Oahu, HI
Bayonne, France
Level Contributor
11,349 posts
Save Reply
7. Re: House Without a Key or Orchid's?

Just a reminder.....

The legendary Halekulani has a new GM who has changed too much of the place for us old timers.

Two things pertinent to this thread:

1. There is a $5 per person cover charge at House Without a Key in the late afternoon/evenings if you are only stopping in for a cocktail and pupus.....no matter what the total bill. No dinner order, you pay the cover. You can't believe how embarrassed long-time employees are about such pettiness.

2. Orchids has definitely dropped a solid notch (at least) in regards to quality of food and experience. Some of the old crew has been dumped and the new staff is uninspired in both the kitchen and front of house. And you feel they are trying to maximize profits by cutting corners that has not historically been the Halekulani way. Been twice in last few months and it's just not the same or as good; particularly given the price.

Mentioned in this post
Halekulani Hotel
Halekulani Hotel
2,740 Reviews
Oahu, HI
House Without a Key
House Without a Key
2,040 Reviews
Oahu, HI
Orchids
Orchids
1,367 Reviews
Oahu, HI
Texas
Level Contributor
49 posts
26 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: House Without a Key or Orchid's?

Wow! Had not heard about this yet, Amberloo. We were just there in May/June of last year and this wasn't the case. That is terribly petty!

London, Canada
Level Contributor
2,820 posts
189 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: House Without a Key or Orchid's?

Hmm...should I cancel our HWAK reservation then? Right now we have dinner reservations there, at Vintage Cave and Alan Wong’s for our trip next month.

Mentioned in this post
Vintage Cave Cafe
Vintage Cave Cafe
57 Reviews
Oahu, HI
Alan Wong's Restaurant
Alan Wong's Restaurant
1,546 Reviews
Oahu, HI
Bayonne, France
Level Contributor
11,349 posts
Save Reply
10. Re: House Without a Key or Orchid's?

HWAK (and frankly Orchids nowadays) does not approach the other restaurants you have cited.....

If you want an incredible view, great food from a chef who has collected six total Michelin stars over the years, with a fine dining ambience, you should consider 53 BY The Sea.

A couple of miles outside of Waikiki, on the water with a phenomenal Diamond Head view.

https://53bythesea.com/

Mentioned in this post
Orchids
Orchids
1,367 Reviews
Oahu, HI
Waikiki
Waikiki
Oahu, HI
Diamond Head Beach Hotel
Diamond Head Beach Hotel
153 Reviews
Oahu, HI
Reply to: House Without a Key or Orchid's?
Get notified by e-mail when a reply is posted