Oahu’s Grand Beachside Hotels

From high-end luxury to family-friendly getaways, Oahu’s hotels offer something for everyone.

Research Oahu hotels and resorts, and you’ll discover two things—there are a gazillion options, and the majority of them are concentrated around Waikiki Beach in Honolulu. From historical landmarks and relaxing getaways to the best family-friendly luxury resorts, no matter what type of lodging you want for your Hawaiian vacation, Honolulu and Oahu have it. (Read our Oahu Rentals article if looking for information on the popular apartment/home rental market.)

The Grand Dames

The most famous Honolulu hotels on the Waikiki strip are the Moana Surfrider and the Royal Hawaiian. Both were recently renovated and offer an appealing mix of history, luxury, celebrities and aloha spirit that continue to make them popular with guests.

The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort

You can’t miss seeing the Royal Hawaiian from the beach—it’s pink, posh and one of the iconic sites of Waikiki. Built in 1927, the “Pink Palace of the Pacific,” as it’s nicknamed, officially reopened Jan. 20, 2009, after extensive renovations. Despite its ostentatious exterior, luxury and mysterious romantic charm are what come to mind as you enter the hotel. Rooms are adorned in a “Hawaiian royal chic” décor. For added personal luxury, the hotel rents private beach cabanas (day use), which include personal butler, concierge and dining services.

Rooms start at $370 per night. 2259 Kalakaua Ave., Honolulu. Tel. 866-716-8110. www.royal-hawaiian.com

Note: In honor of the renovation, the Royal Hawaiian is offering a “1927 Package,” with room rates of $19.27 (plus taxes) for one night when you book a minimum four-night stay. Good through June 30, 2009; when booking, ask for rate code 1927pkg.

Moana Surfrider: “The First Lady of Waikiki”

Opened in 1901, the Moana Surfrider, a Westin Resort & Spa, is the oldest hotel on Waikiki Beach. The hotel completed renovations in early 2008, and added a new beachfront spa as well. Through the years, the main building has maintained its original grand Victorian charm, complete with a front porch and rocking chairs, plus a large open courtyard in the back shaded by a giant banyan tree, which is a nice place to grab a drink. Note: If heading to the hotel’s restaurant, they won’t let you dine in swimwear, so bring a cover-up.

Decorated with hardwood antique furnishings, rooms in the Banyan wing (the original building) were most recently renovated. The Banyan rooms are small, but more charming than rooms in the other buildings. If you prefer more space, the Tower wing offers larger rooms with simpler decor.

Rates start at $220 per night. 2365 Kalakaua Ave. Tel. 808-922-3111. moana-surfrider.com

Glorious Getaways


Walk through the Halekulani’s open-air walkways, plus its courtyard of flower beds and palm trees, and you are immediately transported from the craziness of Waikiki. The understated, elegant décor imparts a feeling of peaceful relaxation, which runs throughout the hotel. The Orchid Pool, named for the beautiful orchid mosaic at the bottom, overlooks Waikiki Beach and is lined by palms and lounge chairs. At night, the Lewers Lounge features nightly performances by well-known local jazz artists.

Rates start at $420 per night. 2199 Kalia Road, Honolulu. Tel. 800-367-2343. www.halekulani.com

Turtle Bay Resort

The scenery surrounding the Turtle Bay Resort is stunning—on one side, surfers brave the North Shore waves, and on the other, calm waters bordered by white sands provide a perfect environment for snorkeling, swimming and sunbathing.

There’s plenty to do—golf, horseback riding, spa treatments, swimming at the pool (which features a water slide), hiking, and checking out area restaurants and bars. But it’s the solitude and sense of space that sets this place apart. You can easily walk down the shoreline near the hotel and be alone on the beach with only an occasional seal or turtle as your companion. Next to the resort is a family-friendly beach.

Rates start at $237 per night. 57-091 Kamehameha Highway, Kahuku. Tel. 808-293-6000. www.turtlebayresort.com

Family-Friendly Oahu Hotels

JW Marriott Ihilani Resort & Spa

The gorgeous Ihilani offers guests a perfect blend of luxury and family-friendly accommodations. We’ve stayed here many times with our daughters. Located on the sunny, leeward side of Oahu, the resort overlooks a pristine white sand beach on the edge of one of four manmade lagoons. The water here is ideal for swimming, snorkeling or splashing around with the kids. If you tire of the beach, you can hit the spa, championship golf course or outdoor pool. The Keiki Beachcomber Club has daily indoor and outdoor activity programs for children ages 5 to 12.

Rates start at $249 per night. 92-1001 Olani St., Ko Olina Resort. Tel. 800-626-4446. www.ihilani.com

The Kahala Hotel and Resort

Our favorite hotel, however, is The Kahala. Close to the action but far enough away from the crowds, the property is a quick 10-minute drive from Waikiki and is located on a secluded beach with gentle surf. The resort combines old Hawaiian plantation charm with modern, family-friendly sensibilities. The restaurants at the hotel are good too—the seafood tower at Hoku’s is a must order. 

For most kids (and many adults), one of the highlights of the hotel is the 26,000-square-foot lagoon, featuring bottlenose dolphins, turtles and tropical fish. Dolphin interaction programs are available for all ages. Babysitting services are available as well as half-day or full-day kids’ programs.

Rooms start at $395 per night. 5000 Kahala Ave, Honolulu. Tel. 800-367-2525. www.kahalaresort.com 

Destinations: Hawaii, Honolulu, Oahu

Themes: Beach Vacations

Activities: Sleep

User Comments

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