The Best Boutique Hotels in Hawaii

An aerial view of Halekulani Hotel and the beachfront in Waikiki
An aerial view of Halekulani Hotel and the beachfront in Waikiki | © Photo Resource Hawaii / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Sadie Whitelocks
19 January 2021

These boutique hotels in Hawaii might be small compared to neighboring resorts, but their charm is mighty. A big perk is they offer a more personalized service with fewer guests to satisfy. From luxury beachfront suites in Maui to hip apartment-style pads in downtown Waikiki, here’s our pick of the best places to holiday in the US state for a chic experience.

Hotel Wailea, Relais & Chateaux – Adults Only

Boutique Hotel, Independent Hotel
Map View
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 Courtesy of Hotel Wailea, Relais and Chateaux / Expedia
Lose yourself among lush tropical gardens, winding paths and cascading waterfalls at this intimate adults-only resort on the Maui coast. There are 72 smart, island-style suites scattered across the 15-acre (6ha) oasis, all benefitting from dreamy ocean views. Nip to the concierge to arrange a day of activity, from a sunset sail to a spot of aerial yoga, before tucking into a feast at the on-site restaurant. The al fresco eatery is rated as one of the best in Hawaii for romance.
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Ho'olio House B&B

Bed and Breakfast
Map View
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 Courtesy of Ho'oilo House / Expedia
Feel like you’re at the ultimate sleepover at this six-bedroom bed and breakfast. The adults-only homestay has an intimate and romantic atmosphere, with lush outdoor gardens, little bridges arching over waterways and a laid-back communal space. Gaze at the ocean from your sun lounger with the volcanic hills of west Maui serving as a dramatic backdrop. All the rooms are individually styled. Book the Wailele (waterfall) suite for a clawfoot bath or the Nalu (wave) suite to see the ocean from your bed and private balcony.

Kauai Shores Hotel

Independent Hotel
Map View
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 Courtesy of Kauai Shores Hotel / Expedia
Explore the land that time forgot on the island of Kauai, which has featured in three Jurassic Park films. The landscape retains a prehistoric charm, with forested valleys, jagged peaks and sheer cliffs beckoning you to explore. Kauai Shores Hotel makes for a colorful and convenient basecamp, with Nounou Forest Reserve and Wailua River State Park on the doorstep. Toast a day of adventure with a happy hour cocktail and some island-inspired dishes at the sunny resort beach bar while feeling the sand between your toes. Roll into bed, with bright, island-inspired interiors adding an instant splash of sunshine come day or night.
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Vive Hotel Waikiki

Boutique Hotel
Map View
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 Courtesy of Vive Hotel Waikiki / Expedia
Soak up everything Waikiki has to offer with a stay at this centrally located boutique hotel. It’s just three blocks from the beach and if you fancy a spot of shopping, you’re spoiled for choice. If your tummy’s rumbling, you won’t need to venture far to find some of the hottest restaurants in the city. Before you head off for a day of fun, fuel up with a continental breakfast and cup of Kona coffee in the sunny lobby area, which matches the same colorful and contemporary aesthetic as the rooms.
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Shoreline Hotel Waikiki

Hotel
Map View
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 Courtesy of Shoreline Hotel Waikiki / Expedia
Taste the rainbow at this hip and colorful spot in the vibrant Waikiki neighborhood of Honolulu. Bold shades bounce around the hotel, from the double-height lobby to the contemporary retro-inspired rooms. The rooftop pool continues the vibrant theme with a neon jungle mural designed by California-based artist DJ Neff making for a highly photogenic backdrop. Come nightfall, neon lights illuminate the place matching the electric feel of the surrounding metropolis.
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  • Luana Waikiki Hotel & Suites

    Apartment
    Map View
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    Courtesy of Luana Waikiki Hotel & Suites / Expedia |  Courtesy of Luana Waikiki Hotel & Suites / Expedia
    Whether you’re looking for a short- or long-term stay, this classic Waikiki hotel has you covered. Opt from one of the standard rooms or a generous apartment-style suite. The decor makes you feel right at home, with warm hardwood furniture, fresh-cut flowers and beachy wall hangings. Don’t be deceived by the word boutique, as this place has a resort-worthy collection of amenities. Keep up your fitness routine with stints in the gym and hit the cloud-grazing outdoor pool to soak up the views. Replenish lost calories at the Fish Hook Café, which serves a delicious spread of local cuisine or there are barbecue grills on the sundeck if you’re up for playing chef.
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    Halekulani

    Resort, Hotel
    Map View
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     Courtesy of Halekulani / Expedia
    Lap up some old-school luxury with an island twist at this Waikiki hotel. The smart resort dates back to the early 20th-century when it started life as a beachfront home and five bungalows. Over the years, it has expanded and today the stylish whitewashed rooms cater to the 21st-century traveler. This place is a feast for the senses, with terrific ocean views and an on-site restaurant that’s the longest, consecutively ranked AAA Five-Diamond Restaurant in Hawaii. Another sensory adventure awaits at the spa, with traditional Polynesian and Hawaiian treatments on the menu.
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    The Laylow, Autograph Collection

    Chain Hotel
    Map View
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     Courtesy of The Laylow, Autograph Collection / Expedia
    Skip back in time to the elegance of 1960s Hawaii at this downtown Waikiki hotel, which perfectly blends mid-century and modern aesthetics. The well-appointed rooms and suites serve bold feature walls, spacious bathrooms and relaxing balcony areas. Continue topping up your tan on the secluded sundeck, which frames an open-air saltwater pool. Cool down with a punchy Mai Tai or some complimentary shaved ice from the Hideout restaurant. The eatery also serves a mouth-watering dining menu, with braised short rib tacos and fresh avocado salads on offer.
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    Koa Kea Hotel & Resort

    Boutique Hotel, Resort, Luxury
    Map View
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    Courtesy of Koa Kea Hotel & Resort / Expedia |  Courtesy of Koa Kea Hotel & Resort / Expedia
    Let the sound of the ocean wash your cares away at this cozy coastal resort. The hotel is set on the south shores of Kauai on Po’ipu (crashing waves) Beach. Admire the sweeping views from your island-style room, where pops of blue, pink and burnt orange get you in that aloha frame of mind. Sliding doors lead out to private terraces and balconies with views of the tropical gardens or ocean. As sunset approaches, head to the beach to see the nightly tiki torch lighting ritual.
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    These recommendations were updated on January 19, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.