The Best Hotels to Book in Honolulu, Hawaii

Hawaii offers an array of plush hotels with stunning sea views, just like the Royal Hawaiian
Hawaii offers an array of plush hotels with stunning sea views, just like the Royal Hawaiian | Courtesy of The Royal Hawaiian / Expedia
Photo of Jonathan Stern
7 December 2020
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Thanks to the world-famous Waikiki Beach and the beautiful mountainous backdrop, Honolulu, on the island of Oahu, is one of the top vacation destinations in the United States. During your visit to the capital of Hawaii, hike the volcanic Diamond Head crater and the Mānoa Falls Trail or delve into history at Iolani Palace and the Pearl Harbor National Memorial. After a long day of adventure, lay your head at one of these fantastic hotels in Honolulu, Hawaii – all bookable with Culture Trip.

Halekulani Hotel

A communal sitting with fresh flowers at the Halekulani, next to an indoor water feature
Courtesy of Halekulani Hotel / Expedia
The Halekulani Hotel dates back to 1883 when a house was built on the site of what is now the main building. Local fishermen would take a break and rest on the beach in front of the property, calling it a house befitting heaven, or Halekulani. The beachfront location provides you with an unobstructed view of the stunning Diamond Head volcano and the Pacific Ocean. What’s more, Halekulani is a peaceful getaway from the energy and excitement of Waikiki, which is just a few minutes away.

The Kahala Hotel and Resort

A palm tree-fringed outdoor dining terrace at the Kahala Hotel and Resort, offering views of the ocean
Courtesy of The Kahala Hotel and Resort / Expedia
One of the most luxurious and well-regarded resorts in all of Hawaii, the Kahala Hotel and Resort is set on a private white-sand beach in the Kahala district. This resort in Honolulu has five different restaurants serving a variety of cuisines, from Hawaiian fusion to Italian. In addition to the beach, the Kahala has a 26,000sqft (2,415sqm) natural lagoon that is home to a family of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins. Trainers offer daily education programs where you can experience these intelligent animals up close.

Vive Hotel Waikiki

A bright living area at Vive Hotel Waikiki, with a yellow wall, a sofa, armchairs, lamps, plants and vibrant throw pillows
Courtesy of Vive Hotel Waikiki / Expedia
Looking for an experience that’s a bit different from the typical stay at most hotels? Vive attracts guests looking for an adventure, with special offers that feature activities such as biking, surf lessons and a snorkeling cruise. It’s two short blocks from the sandy shores of Waikiki and one block from the nightlife and attractions of Kalakaua Avenue.

The Modern Honolulu

The L-shaped pool at the Modern Honolulu, with white sun loungers, shaded daybeds, chairs and potted trees
Courtesy of Modern Honolulu / Expedia
Every design element and piece of art in the Modern Honolulu is custom-made, from the colorful surfboard installation piece behind the reception desk to the blue glass tiles that adorn the Sunset Pool. The sleek inside spaces are dominated by different shades of white, accompanied by splashes of color from orchids, leafy botanicals and oodles of artwork. The signature restaurant, the Grove Restaurant + Bar, serves the best seafood and produce from Hawaii.

Moana Surfrider

The exterior of the Moana Surfrider, flanked by palm trees and with white columns adorning the porte cochère
Courtesy of Moana Surfrider / Expedia
Known as the First Lady of Waikiki, the Moana Surfrider opened its doors in 1901 as the first hotel in Waikiki. Today, old photos of the hotel grace its walls, and there is a historical tour of the property offered every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. On Kalakaua Avenue, this place to stay in Honolulu is at the heart of the action in the Waikiki neighborhood, though there are plenty of places to relax. Try the Banyan Courtyard, with its iconic Moana banyan tree that was planted in 1904; it stands more than 75ft (23m) tall with limbs stretching more than 150ft (46m) across.

The Royal Hawaiian

The spa at the Royal Hawaiian, set within tropical gardens with many plants, trees, a pathway and shaded treatment areas
Courtesy of The Royal Hawaiian / Expedia
With its bright pink exterior, the Royal Hawaiian is hard to miss. Also known as the Pink Palace of the Pacific, it ushered in a new era of luxury travel when it was built in 1927. One of the best places to stay in Honolulu, the resort holds a celebration on Monday and Thursday nights to honor Helumoa, the legendary playground of Hawaiian royalty where the hotel now stands. Called an Aha’aina, this celebration pays tribute to the island’s cultural history through food, song, stories and – of course – hula.

Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort

A bedroom at Outrigger Reef Waikiki, with blue carpet, two beds, a gallery wall, a TV and a balcony with ocean views
Courtesy of Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort / Expedia
At Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort, you can partake in many cultural activities, from learning about native medicinal plants to hearing about Hawaiian myths and legends. Try your hand at a ukulele or hula lesson or head to the Kani Ka Pila Grille for a live concert. Adventure awaits you at the beach, where you can practice canoe surfing with certified instructors. And if it’s R&R you’re looking for, the resort spa offers a soothing lava-rock massage.

Looking for more hotels in Honolulu? Check out our pick of the best cultural hotels to book in Honolulu, Hawaii, bookable with Culture Trip.

These recommendations were updated on December 7, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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