Hip Rental Apartments in Oahu, Hawaii, You'll Want to Call Home

Stay amid the bustle of Honolulu or choose a secluded coastal retreat
Stay amid the bustle of Honolulu or choose a secluded coastal retreat | © Jui-Chi Chan / Alamy Stock Photo
Charlene Fang

With so much to see and do, an action-packed vacation in Hawaii can get expensive. So, if you’re planning on a longer vacation, these self-catering holiday apartments will save you a buck or two. Live, eat and surf like a local; from North Shore surf pads to secluded retreats, here are our top picks, all bookable on Culture Trip.

1. Ilikai Hotel & Luxury Suites


Double room at Ilikai Hotel & Luxury Suites, with soft furnishings in neutral tones and a wide balcony with harbour view.
 Courtesy of Ilikai Hotel & Luxury Suites / Booking.com
This iconic property’s location – between the Ala Moana and Waikiki neighborhoods – and proximity to some of Oahu’s more swimmable beaches makes it perfect for families with young children looking to stay longer than a week. All individually styled rooms come with full kitchens, a decent-sized living room and air-conditioning. There’s a swimming pool, a fitness center and laundry services, plus breakfast and brunch options from in-house restaurant Cinnamon’s. Splurge for the ocean-view suites or a corner room for a view of the Ala Wai harbor.

2. Luana Waikiki Hotel & Suites


Compact double room at Luana Waikiki Hotel & Suites, with wooden furnishings, marble floor and small balcony with view of high-rise buildings.
 Courtesy of Luana Waikiki Hotel & Suites / Expedia

Built on an ancient coconut grove, once beloved by Hawaiian royalty, this boutique hotel’s nearby self-guided Waikiki Historic Trail has surfboard-shaped waymarks that elaborate on the history of the area. Spacious rooms (standard, studios or one-bedroom suites) come with a kitchenette or full kitchen, but there’s also a pool deck with barbecue grills for public use and the popular Fish Hook Cafe located on the property. Extras like free bike rental, yoga classes and beach chairs make it a homely stay and car-share service Hui has a station next door for hourly rentals.

3. Turtle Bay Resort Beach Villas

Resort, Independent Hotel

Double room at Turtle Bay Resort Beach Villas, with leaf-patterned bedspread and wide window with views of palm trees and the beach.
 Courtesy of Luxury Ocean Villa 4 bdr Oceanfront at Turtle Bay Resort / Expedia

There’s much more to explore as a family on the North Shore beyond watching the daredevil surfers take on the big waves of Waimea Bay. Located on a snorkelling reef where green turtles cruise by daily, there are a wealth of activities easily organised at this luxury villa property. Make new memories by going mountain biking, taking surf or horse-riding lessons, or experiencing a helicopter tour, then crash out in the cool, beachy villas, which come as studios, or with three- or four-bedrooms.

4. Beach Villas Ko Olina


Kitchen/living area at an apartment in Beach Villas Ko Olina, with modern breakfast bar, leaf-shaped ceiling fan and wide balcony with stunning ocean view.
 Courtesy of The Beach Villas at Ko Olina by Real Select Vacations / Expedia

Go on, spoil yourself, with a stay at Koolina’s two- or three-bedroom villas. The combination of designer interiors and ocean-facing lanais (porches) peeking out at the white-sand lagoons (there’s four) might be indulgent, but why not? Reachable within a short walk or golf-buggy ride, the waves at the lagoons are flat and the sea life visible in knee-high water. If you tire of lagoon-hopping, there’s a bevvy of upscale shops and restaurants within the Ko Olina compound, a marina for deep-sea expeditions and the Ko Olina golf course for a day on the fairways.

5. Pacific Monarch Hotel


Apartment living area at Pacific Monarch Hotel, with cream soft furnishings and balcony, all with wide windows and panoramic mountain views.
 Courtesy of Pacific Monarch Hotel / Expedia

Located on sea-spying Kuhio Avenue, this apartment hotel has been a long-term favorite for sun-seeking travelers, thanks to being walking distance to Waikiki Beach. The higher-up floors enjoy more peace, while the one-bedroom apartments are worth forking out for, thanks to their full kitchen set-up and spacious balcony, some with an ocean view. The bijou rooftop pool has a sundeck with a panoramic view of the beach worthy of several sundowners.

6. Waikiki Beachcomber


Twin room at Waikiki Beachcomber, with two white double beds backed by a floor-to-ceiling photo of the ocean, and a small balcony with sea views.
 Courtesy of Waikiki Beachcomber by Outrigger / Expedia

This trendy hotel’s location opposite Waikiki Beach means you can roll out of bed and be on the beach before your takeaway coffee gets cold. Inside, the clean, modern rooms get a jolt of local flair – drone photography, underwater visuals, prints by Hawaiian artists – while the elevators feature chalkboard art by a muralist. The rooms all come with a balcony, desk, mini-fridge and coffeemaker – everything you need to work (or play) remotely. Downstairs, the Maui Brewing Co serves some of the island’s best brews alongside a full food menu and also a daytime and nightly happy hour – because you’re in Hawaii.

7. Waimanalo Beach Cottages


Compact double room at Waimanalo Beach Cottages, with bamboo furniture and white tiled floor.
 Courtesy of Waimanalo Beach Cottages / Booking.com

If you’re looking for a short-term stay on the windward side of the island, there are few better options than Waimanalo Beach Cottages. This low-key property sits footsteps away from the pristine Waimanalo beach. Made up of just nine cottages, each with kitchen facilities and Hawaiian-style furnishings (think lots of Aloha prints and cane), some also come with a wraparound lanai that gives a sneak peek of the ocean. Forgot your beach toys? Boogie boards and chairs are available for loan. Nearby, you’ll find Sea Life Park, Makapuu Lighthouse, Haunama Bay and Kailua beach, which means more time working on your tan.

8. Aston Waikiki Beach Tower


Triple room at Aston Waikiki Beach Tower, with three white beds, tall light fittings with cream cylindrical shades, and balcony with mountain and ocean view.
 Courtesy of Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel / Expedia

Traveling as a family can be challenging. If you and your brood need space to spread out, the Aston Waikiki Beach Tower has you sorted. One- and two-bedroom apartments start from a spacious 879sqft (82sqm) and include a full kitchen, furnished lanai and the rare inclusion of a washer/dryer for sprucing up your swimming togs. Located close to the Honolulu Zoo and across from the calm waters of Kuhio Beach, there’s something for everyone. Kids receive free toys and a sand bucket to get them beach ready.

9. Diamond Head Beach Hotel & Residences


High-rise room at Diamond Head Beach Hotel & Residences, with double bed that has a bronze bedspread, tiled floor and wide balcony with sliding door.
 Courtesy of Diamond Head Beach Hotel 1401 - 1 Br Condo / Expedia

Those in the know give the busy Waikiki stretch a pass and head towards the Diamond Head side of the island, a soaring volcanic cone, where the vibe is more chilled and the ocean views uninterrupted. Located close to insider favorite Kaimana Beach, this boutique property has apartments that come in several configurations (from studios to a penthouse) each with different views, kitchen set-ups and Aloha-style furnishings. There’s plenty of free parking nearby and you’re only a 10 to 20 minute walk from many attractions, so it’s easy to get around by foot or bike.

10. Mokuleia Beach Houses at Owen's Retreat


Compact double room at Mokuleia Beach Houses at Owens Retreat, with palm-leaf-patterned bedspread and balcony with direct oceanfront views.
 Courtesy of Mokulē'ia Beach Houses at Owen's Retreat / Booking.com

Rentals right on the beach can be hard to come by on the North Shore, so if you managed to snag a booking here, you’re in luck. Located within walking distance of the hand-gliding hotspot of Dillingham Airfield and the scenic Ka’ena Point Trail, you’ll wake and fall asleep to the sound of crashing surf and perhaps even spot some monk seals and humpback whales without ever having to leave your bed.

11. Ke Iki Beach Bungalows


Here you’ll be right on Ke Iki Beach and a 10 minute drive from the buzzy town of Haleiwa. The laidback bungalows (each named after a tropical flower) have views of the North Shore’s famous 30ft-tall surf in the wintertime and a fully-kitted out layout, the largest sleeping up to eight. Being right next to the Banzai Pipeline, Sunset Beach, Shark’s Cove and Waimea Bay also means more time getting gnarly and less time on the H-1 and H-2 roads.

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