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From mid-century high-rises to the elegant “grand dames” of yesteryear, Oahu, Hawaii, has a hotel to please every flavor of traveler. Although it’s the third largest Hawaiian island, you can drive the perimeter in four hours, which means Pearl Harbor, Diamond Head and the North Shore surf are practically neighbors. Here are the best places to stay.
With a mid-century surf vibe, this hotel is a place to soak up the hang-loose beach culture of Oahu. There’s a large club pool, in which families can splash for most of the day. However, there’s a kids-free swim time from 6pm to 9pm daily, plus “dive-in” movies on the large screen overlooking the pool. Finish your day with a Hawaiian dinner at the in-house Mahina & Sun’s helmed by Honolulu chef Ed Kenney.
Hotel Renew, with a laid-back beachy vibe, is located centrally in Waikiki and is only a minute’s walk from the shores. The hotel even has complimentary beach gear (boogie boards, snorkeling equipment, towels and more) and a place to store your surfboard. When you’re not tackling the breaks, relax in one of the 72 rooms, which come in pastel or earth tones with Hawaiian touches and local art. For an ultra-chill evening, head to the lobby to grab a bag of calm-inducing local lavender.
Located on the North Shore, this resort offers two golf courses and five miles of ocean beach, some rugged and some soft and sandy. And yes, there are sea turtles – see them with a snorkel or kayak excursion. Not up for an adventure? Lounge in a private cabana poolside or look up at the swaying palms as you relax in a hot tub. Dine on sushi or fresh fish on the outdoor deck at Roy’s Beach House or hit Lei Lei’s bar and grill after a round of golf and enjoy course views. You’ll find luxury resort rooms with a view, plus three- or four-bedroom ocean villas.
Bring your family to Aulani on the west coast to experience local culture enhanced by Disney magic. Children can go wild with the Kids Club experiences and have their photo with Mickey or his chums. Adults can enjoy the luau, book a treatment at the spa and hang at one of the lounges dotted throughout the resort. There’s fine dining including beachfront Hawaiian-inspired cooking plus plenty of grab-and-go options.
Hang loose in a style-conscious hotel where statement prints and mid-century modern furniture complement the charm of the trendy Honolulu neighborhood, Kuhio. Splash your cares away in the saltwater pool and grab a complimentary shave ice drink when the heat gets a bit much. There’s an on-site restaurant, Seoul Tofu House, and a coffee bar, Hideout, which serves farm-to-table Hawaiian cuisine plus artisan cocktails and local beers. You’re not far from attractions such as the International Marketplace and Waikiki Beach and you can end the day around the fire pit, enjoying live island music.
This exclusive beachfront resort on the rugged western coast is a rambling property dotted with pools, lagoons and ocean views. The casually elegant rooms are spacious – some come with outdoor hot tubs and others large balconies – and offer refined decor reflecting the island surroundings. Excitement abounds with cliff jumping at Waimea Bay Beach Park, helicopter rides and sailing the coastline in an outrigger canoe. Take things easier by digging your toes into the white sands or playing golf among waterfalls at Ko Olina Golf Club.