In an old post, I had talked about how to vacation in Hawaii for cheap by staying at places like hotel condos, bed and breakfast inns, or by just couch surfing. Today, we’ll be looking at the opposite end of the spectrum — what the best Hawaii hotels are. These places are much nicer, more resort-type, have more amenities, and are great choices for special occasions, such as a honeymoon.
Hilton Hawaiian Village: a great resort to stay at for a family vacation in Waikiki.
The Hilton Hawaiian Village is a 22-acre resort in Waikiki, right next to the beach. It’s a “village” in the sense that there are 6 main towers where guests stay and there are many shops, restaurants, and activities in the village, so that guests can pretty much stay in the village and not get bored.
Recommended for… families on vacation.
Be sure to check out… the village! Some interesting aspects of the Hilton Hawaiian Village are the five pools, the man-made lagoon, the penguins, the Waikiki Starlight Luau, Atlantis Submarine Adventures, the Spirit of Aloha catamaran, and the weekly Friday night fireworks. There’s plenty to do and see without ever leaving the village.
Here’s a tip from me… The Hilton Hawaiian Village is nice, but all the restaurants and shops in the village are a bit pricey. You can visit the main Waikiki strip, but it’s a bit out of the way and takes about 15-20 minutes to get there by foot.
Trump Hotel: a luxurious hotel for couples to stay at in Waikiki.
The Trump International Hotel & Tower in Waikiki is hands-down the best place to stay with your significant other. Why do I consider it the best of Hawaii hotels? Not only is it stylish beyond belief, it is rated #1 of all Honolulu hotels on Tripadvisor and holds a 4.5/5 aggregate rating on more than 100+ reviews on Yelp. While the Hilton Hawaiian Village and Aulani (other places mentioned in this article) are family-oriented and self-contained resorts, the Trump hotel is all about modern style, luxury, and top-notch service.
Recommended for… honeymooners and people traveling without kids.
Be sure to check out… well, everything, cause it’s a really, really nice hotel. Also, drop by the infinity pool on the 6th floor.
Here’s a tip from me… spend a little more for a higher-up suite if you can. The view and the room upgrade will be well worth you money. Or if you get a regular room, during check-in, you may be offered a room upgrade for a small fee so you can think about it then. Aside from that, just relax and let the Trump hotel staff take care of you!!
Aulani: a new, Disney-themed resort on West Oahu
Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, is a resort that opened up just several years ago in Kapolei, located in West Oahu and right next to the Ko’olina Resort. Aulani is a unique place because not only will you see some Disney characters, but this entire Hawaii hotel slash resort has a Hawaiian design.
Recommended for… families with young kids.
Be sure to check out… the man-made snorkeling hole. And if you like golf, the Ko’olina Golf Club is right next to the resort.
Here’s a tip from me… Oahu is small island, but you don’t want to be going allover the island during your stay, especially because traffic can get ugly going from the west side to Honolulu city (central side). Fun fact: Honolulu has consistently had the 2nd worst traffic in the U.S. The best thing to do would be to get a rental car and take a look at the North Shore if you want to leave the area. However, Aulani is a big resort, so there is plenty to do even if you decide to stay there during your entire visit.
Kahala Hotel & Resort: a beautiful resort located in one of the wealthiest areas of Oahu, centrally-located, but away from noisy Waikiki.
As someone who grew up in various parts of Oahu, let me tell you this: the Kahala region is unbelievably nice. The region is also very expensive to live in and so the people that live there are all wealthy or at least own very expensive property. While Waikiki may experience issues like bar brawls and homeless beggars, the Kahala region is free of that as those issues don’t migrate as far as Kahala.
Now, onto the resort itself, the Kahala Hotel & Resort is on oceanfront property right next to the Waialae Country Club. It opened in the 60s, but about $50million was spent on renovations back in 2009, so you can expect things to look nice and new.
Recommended for… families or couples.
Be sure to check out… the Dolphins! They have daily shows and you can also pay a fee to swim with them. If you have kids, you can also enroll them in the Kahala Keiki Club, which is like a little activity field trip / babysitting that gives you some time to relax on your own. Also, there are some dolphins at the resort that perform daily shows.
Here’s a tip from me… if you plan to explore that this of the island, it’s actually not too far from some great hikes, Hanauma Bay, and Sea Life Park but you’ll definitely need a rental car because buses aren’t too convenient out there. Kahala Mall is also only about a 4 minute drive or 12 minute walk away.
Have some opinions of your own? Share in the comments below.