The Best Areas To Stay In Honolulu
Honolulu is the state of Hawaiis only metropolis and the most remote major city in the world. The city takes up most of Oahus southern coast, stretching from the international airport in the west about 30 km across to Makapuu Point, the beginning of the Windward Coast. This tropical beach mecca brims with stylish hotels, exciting restaurants, lavish nightclubs alongside heritage sites, art museums, and natural wonders, such as the dormant volcanic cone of Diamond Head. Though the Honolulu area shows signs of habitation as far back as the 11th century, the city wasnt founded until after King Kamehameha I conquered the island of Oahu. Kamehameha III made Honolulu the capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1845. Honolulu endured a rocky century including the overthrow of the monarchy in 1893, seizure by the U.S. in 1898, the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941, before emerging as a leading travel destination after gaining statehood in 1959.
Honolulu can be divided into several neighborhoods, each with a distinctive feel. The best areas for travelers include Waikiki , Ala Moana , Downtown , Kaimuki and Kapahulu , Diamond Head , and Kahala .
What Is The Best Hotel In Waikiki
There are many hotels to choose from when staying in Honolulu. We reviewed four of the areas most elegant hotels above, but the best among them is the Sheraton Waikiki.
The Sheraton offers the most exceptional accommodations Waikiki has to offer. Families, couples, and older travelers will enjoy the amenities and access to Honolulus restaurants, shops, and entertainment.
The family-friendly Helumoa Playground Pool and protected beach provide children with a safe environment for fun outdoor island play. Adult-only accommodations enable parents, grandparents, or anyone over 16 the opportunity to enjoy the island experience in adult company.
Waikiki Surfing Spots And Beaches
Mickeys Surf School is a deal for the notoriously expensive sands of Waikiki. They offer group beginner lessons starting at $55 per hour while a private one-on-one tutorial is $75. All equipment, rash guards, boards is provided. Mickeys is also one of the few schools that will accept students who dont know how to swim.
Longboard champion Kai Sallas imparts his years of surf knowledge at Pro Surf School Hawaii, teaching students paddling technique, positioning, maneuvering, pop-up and stance. Waikiki can get crowded, so Kai takes his class to a less busy stretch of Waikiki giving students more room to move. Two-hour group lessons start at $89 and private lessons at $199.
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Waikiki Plus Other Resort Areas
Are you thinking about where to stay in Oahu? This article will review the areas to find the best accommodations in Oahu.
Every year, nearly 5 million visitors choose Oahu out of the other Hawaiian islands. Most visitors flock to the world-famous Waikiki area. Their visitors can find most accommodations sprawling in the area. Nearly half of the rooms in Hawaii, including 90% + of all rooms in Oahu, are in Waikiki. Honolulu, the state’s capital, hosts the island’s central tourist hub, Waikiki. Oahu can find it all, from long-term vacation rentals to short-term budget-friendly hotels to the best hostels.
Waikiki is a large city located beachfront of the Pacific Ocean. Go there and discover the area’s lively and accessible social regions that offer the widest variety of lodging choices. Waikiki holds most hotels and resorts in Oahu. Their options vary to fit the desires of backpackers in Oahu, luxury seekers, people on a shoestring budget, and extreme beach lovers like the beach bums of Kailua. Thus, for all those who wonder “where should I stay in Oahu,” consider:
- Budget-friendly hotels
- The cheapest hostels in Hawaii
- Backpackers inns in Oahu
These different accommodations include the world’s premier hotel brands:
However, consider going beyond Waikiki& Honolulu for a set of other, beautiful accommodations. These areas include:
- South Oahu
- Leeward Waianae
- North Shore
- Search for Oahu Hotelsand find the Best Rates
Ala Moana Where To Stay In Oahu On A Budget
When youre trying to decide where to stay in Oahu on a budget, Ala Moana is a good choice. This is a commercial and residential local neighborhood that, despite its proximity to Waikiki, doesnt see as many tourists. Youre more likely to find interesting local shops and souvenirs in this area than overpriced luxury items.
Phillip B. Espinasse
Ala Moana offers the best of both worlds, easy access to Waikiki and a more relaxed local atmosphere. Its the best neighborhood to stay in Oahu if you want a good nights sleep during your trip as well as easy access to everything that Waikiki has to offer.
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Trump International Hotel Waikiki
Trump International Hotel Waikiki : If you want a more upmarket place to stay whilst taking a splurge in Waikiki, Trump International Hotel might be your best pick! This lavish 38-story hotel provides rooms from one to three-bedroom suites to penthouse suites that accommodate up to 6 guests.
The location is excellent as its only a few feet away from the famous beach, wide-ranging restaurants, and classy boutiques. The beautiful view from your room is not just it alone but this hotel also gives you the utmost luxury from the moment you step into the lobby to the last day of your stay. Its elegant and extravagant, in fact, its been awarded as the only Forbes Travel Guide 5-star hotel on Oahu island. The hotel staff does a great job in providing for guests needs and what else you can expect here is that they have lots of food options. Its perfect for your ultimate travel getaway.
Manoa Valley Inn Honolulu
A charming and relaxing historical house with spectacular backyard garden and small swimming pool, Manoa Valley Inn gives guests a feeling of another era. This bed and breakfast is located near the city center, residential neighborhoods, and University of Hawaii. Guest rooms include private bath and up to two guests.
Location: Next to UH, 1/2 mile from Manoa Falls
Lodging style: Bed and breakfast
Mlie Hale 1bed/1bath, sleeps 2
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Best For Families: Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort
Courtesy of Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort
If you want to go not just big, but really big with your family in Waikiki, theres no place like the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort. With some 3,000 rooms, its one of the largest hotels in the Hilton portfolio and one of the largest properties in Honolulu set on 22 beachfront acres filled with gorgeous gardens.
As you might imagine, its size means it has amenities galore, with a number geared specifically toward children. There are five main swimming pools, plus a kiddie pool, including one with the longest waterslide in Waikiki. After drumming up an appetite whilst swimming, guests have 20 restaurants and bars to choose from, many of which are kid-friendly. If youre looking for a formal kids program, theres Camp Penguin, which, in addition to offering activities like arts and crafts and storytelling, will take children to off-site attractions like the Honolulu Zoo. For adults, theres a beautiful spa and a number of fitness classes. In the evenings, the hotel hosts movie nights, luaus, and all sorts of activities for the whole family.
Lovers Hideaway With Ocean View Extended Stay Rental
4 guests · 1 bedroom · 1 bath
Lovers Hideaway is a modern rental home, bright and airy with wonderful views of the ocean. This property is located in a Honolulu neighborhood within short driving distance to coffee shops, restaurants, shopping centers and beaches. It is situated on a hill which may not be ideal for guests with mobility issues.
Laulea Loft Modern, quiet studio w/ocean views 2bed studio, sleeps 3
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Where To Stay On Oahu: Which Region Is Best For You
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Each region on Oahu is very different and you will give you a slightly unique experience. In this blog post, I hope to help you figure out where to stay on Oahu and which region you will enjoy the most. I lived on Oahu for two years and sampled lots of hotels and have been all over the island. Ive split the island up into five regions when considering where to stay on Oahu:
In each section, I will discuss what that region offers, the pros and cons of that region and make some suggestions on the best hotels in that area.
WHERE TO STAY ON OAHU: 5 MAIN REGIONS
To give you a quick overview of the different regions so you can skip to the region that might best suit you, Ive put together an infographic below about the different regions.
Things To See And Do In Diamond Head:
- Put on your walking boots and up to the Diamond Head crater for unbeatable views.
- Hit up the Honolulu Zoo with the kids for a fun day with the animals.
- Pack a picnic lunch and relax in Kapiolani Park.
- After your picnic, head on to nearby Waikiki Aquarium for an afternoon learning about Hawaiis coral reef systems.
- Sans Souci beach is an excellent and safe option for the family with a lifeguard on duty all through the day.
- The Barefoot Beach Cafe is a lovely local option for a quick meal or refreshing drink while you enjoy a day at the beach!
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Waikiki Beach Where To Stay In Waikiki For Your First Visit
As we mentioned earlier, Waikiki Beach is truly the perfect spot for your quintessential trip to Hawaii! Make the most of your time there and give the world-class surfing a go, take one of the many tours available to you, or simply relax on the beach and let your worries fade away
The hotel selection is plentiful, and if its not beachfront then its only ever a block or two away. There are three hostels in town for budget travellers to pick from, so everyone can get a chance to experience the area. With so much to choose from, weve done the hard work for you and narrowed down the best places to stay in Waikiki Beach.
The Four Most Popular Oahu Tours
- Doors-Off Oahu Helicopter Flight Tour: My number one recommendation is to do a heli-flight and be blown away when you see Oahu from the air.
- North Shore Shark Cage Tour: The biggest adrenaline rush you can have in Hawaii is beneath the surface with sharks!
- Eco-Friendly Dolphin and Snorkel Tour: One of the best experiences I had on Oahu was swimming with the beautiful spinner dolphins on this exact tour.
- Turtle Canyon Snorkel Cruise by Catamaran: The number 1 MOST POPULAR snorkel tour on Oahu. GUARANTEED Turtles!
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Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beachresort
If you are looking for accommodation that maximizes comfort for you and the little ones, the Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort should be high up on your list.
This oceanfront property offers rooms and suites that are spacious and well designed with all the basic amenities you may need, for example, free Wi-Fi, room service, a flat-screen TV and more.
The location is close to many popular attractions or you can just stay in and enjoy the pool.
If you are looking for various childrens activities, you can stroll at Kapiolani Park and visit Honolulu Zoo, which are very close to the resort.
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Things To See And Do In Kapolei
- Spend a day speeding down water slides at the massive WetnWild Hawaii.
- Learn more about the local culture and take hula lessons or watch some fire knife dancing at Chiefs Luau.
- Get adventurous with zip lining or off-roading at the Coral Crater Adventure Park.
- Enjoy the beach at Kahe Point Beach Park, Paradise Cove Beach, or the Makaha Beach Park.
- Learn more about the areas history at the Naval Air Station Barbers Point Museum.
- Play a few rounds of golf at the Barbers Point Golf Course or the Ewa Villages Golf Course.
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Best Budget: Park Shore Waikiki
Courtesy of Park Shore Waikiki
Located on the eastern side of Waikiki Beach, near the zoo and Kapiolani Park, the budget-friendly Park Shore Waikiki is quite a few steps up from the many hostels in town, but it wont empty your wallet. Even better yet, the 227-room hotel is right across Kalakaua Avenue from the beach, meaning you wont have to walk far to get to the sand . Youll also get gorgeous views of Diamond Head, especially from the large pool, which is the centerpiece of the property, and if youre lucky, you might even get one of those views from your room.
As a budget property, there arent that many amenities no spa or fitness center, for instance but the hotel does have free weekday yoga classes, three on-site restaurants serving Hawaiian, American, and Japanese cuisine, respectively, and a free shuttle that takes guests to the Ala Moana Shopping Center. Dont miss the managers reception every Wednesday afternoon, where you can mingle with the staff and enjoy drinks and bites.
Diamond Head Best Place To Stay In Waikiki For Families
Families deciding where to stay in Waikiki really cant go wrong in Diamond Head! The dormant volcano that sits just behind the town is one of the most iconic landscapes of Hawaii and makes this the ultimate location for young adventurers.
Diamond Head is home to the aquarium, zoo and calm beaches, while families with older kids can enjoy a moderately difficult hike up the volcano. Accommodation here is slightly more limited than on the main beach, but weve found three fantastic options for you to choose from!
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Best For Nightlife: The Modern Honolulu
Courtesy of The Modern Honolulu
Waikiki Beach might not be Miami Beach when it comes to nightlife, but it still has a number of clubs catering to the out-all-night crowd, most notably Addiction at The Modern Honolulu. Set on the far western end of the beach it actually sits on a marina rather than sand the 353-room independent hotel is surprisingly zen-like in terms of its bar. Most spaces, including the rooms, are decorated in an all-white minimalist style with warm wood details spread throughout. There are some cheeky accents, though, like the broken surfboard sculpture behind the front desk.
Other than Addiction, guests can mingle at the Grove Restaurant and Bar, the Study Lounge a speakeasy sneakily tucked away behind a bookshelf, and the Modern Players Club a poolside bar that shows live sports on TV and has a daily happy hour. When guests have had enough of the partying, they can relax at the Lather Spa or retreat to their serene rooms.
Faq About Where To Stay In Honolulu
What is the difference between Honolulu and Waikiki?If youre not familiar with the Hawaiian islands, the capital city of Honolulu is on the island of Oahu. Within Honolulu city is the famous white sand beaches of Waikiki. The district immediately surrounding the beach with its brand name shops, galleries, and fine dining is known generally as Waikiki.
Why not stay in Waikiki? Waikiki is a popular place for tourists. For many, being centrally located in the tourist hub is ideal. Some down sides, however, include: large crowds of people, higher priced amenities, being surrounded by city traffic, limited and expensive parking, and limited connection to local Hawaiian culture.
Is Waikiki beach too crowded?Technically Waikiki Beach is the area in front of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel to the Moana Surfrider Hotel. These hotel beaches at the heart of Waikiki can be very crowded, especially during peak seasons. Sometimes they get crowded to the point where visitors no longer enjoy the experience but of course, this depends on personal preference.
Which part of Honolulu should you stay in?It depends on your trip goals. Honolulu hotels outside Waikiki are few and far between. If youre looking for hosted guest rooms, consider Manoa Valley Inn. For a more luxury resort, the Kahala Resort is the closest in town.
What is the best way to get around Honolulu?
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Best Hotels On Oahus North Shore
Turtle Bay Resort: If the noise and crowds of Waikiki arent your thing, escape to Turtle Bay Resort on the north shore. Its isolated location ensures a quiet and peaceful vacation but the resort offers plenty of amenities. Its also in the heart of Oahus north shore with its famous surf breaks, food trucks, and snorkeling spots. Its also conveniently located for getting to Hanalei, the Polynesian Culture Center, and Kualoa Ranch and its only about 45 minutes from Waikiki. Theyre due to reopen from a very extensive renovation soon so the property should be in tip top shape. Pricing starts at $295/night. Click here to check pricing/availability during your stay and read hundreds of reviews.
Courtyard by Marriott Oahu North Shore: Located in Laie , this relaxed hotel is the perfect basecamp to explore the north shore. Its just seven miles from the Turtle Bay Resort and has an indoor pool and hot tub as well as casual restaurant. Pricing starts at $189/night. Book a room directly with the Courtyard here and read hundreds of reviews here.