The Best Beach Hotels to Book in Honolulu, Hawaii

Hit the beach on your trip to Honolulu for a relaxing Hawaiian getaway
Hit the beach on your trip to Honolulu for a relaxing Hawaiian getaway | © cosmin-serban-XwCgFPLalP4-unsplash
Tasmin Waby

Synonymous with luxury stays, exciting dining and a vibrant nightlife, Honolulu – the capital of Hawaii – has been charming visitors for generations. A melting pot of cultures, Hawaii’s food scene will take your tastebuds on a journey from Asia across the Pacific. After sundown, sip cocktails under the starry night sky with Diamond Head silhouetted by the moon. With its beachfront high-rise hotels and resorts, Waikiki can feel like a hedonist playground, but its beach hotels – bookable on Culture Trip – also beckon with poolside cabanas that demand an afternoon of total relaxation.

1. Ritz-Carlton: best for on-site dining

Chain Hotel

Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach_Expedia
Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach / Expedia

If infinity pools entice you, the Ritz-Carlton offers the highest in the city, which overlooks Waikiki Beach. But there are two separate pools areas here – one for families in Diamond Head Tower, and another in the Ewa Tower which is exclusively for adults. Choose between classic sea-view rooms with cream decor, and self-sufficient residential studios and suites with full kitchens and dining rooms, where floor-to-ceiling windows frame Pacific Ocean vistas. Though if you do decide to dine out, you’ll have a hard time choosing between intimate, omakase-style dinners at Sushi Sho, contemporary French tasting menus at La Vie or home-made pastas at Quiora.

2. Kaimana Beach Hotel: best for iconic style


Courtesy of Kaimana Beach Hotel_Expedia
Courtesy of Kaimana Beach Hotel / Expedia

Yoga, lei-making and stand-up paddleboarding: these are some of the complimentary activities held right on the sands outside Kaimana Beach Hotel. Located at the foot of Diamond Head, this well-known 1960s modernist hotel celebrates cool surfer vibes of yesteryear with eye-popping design and decor that could double as a set for Mad Men. The menu at the casual, in-house bar-restaurant Hau Tree leans towards international fusion cuisine – get some share plates of lamb tartare and grilled Spanish octopus, and wash them down with signature Hau Tree highballs and Waikiki mai tais.

3. Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach: best for Hawaiian culture

Resort, Hotel

Courtesy of Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort_Expedia
Courtesy of Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort / Expedia
As well as its prime location just steps from the water, Outrigger distinguishes itself as a beach hotel in Honolulu with a particular focus on Hawaiian culture. Lei-making and wood-carving lessons will give you a personal keepsake to take home from your trip, while hula dancing and ukulele playing will give you and your kids experiences to remember. The modern Polynesian decor of the rooms and suites reflects a strong connection with the spirit of Oahu; splurge on an oceanfront suite decorated with vintage prints if you can. Enjoy live Hawaiian music over ahi and avocado poke or huli chicken at the on-site Kani Ka Pila Grille.

4. Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel: best for active travelers


Courtesy of Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel_Expedia
Courtesy of Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel / Expedia

Located at the mellow end of Waikiki Beach, and overlooking either the ocean or the famous volcanic tuff cone of Diamond Head, this beach hotel in Honolulu is a top choice for travelers wanting beach access and outdoor action. Friendly staff are happy to assist you in your quest to tackle the Diamond Head Summit Trail or hike to Manoa Falls. Hungry? The penthouse breakfast room/terrace – Coconut Club – enjoys lofty views of the sand from its vantage point on the 21st floor. Its changing offerings, from macadamia pancakes to pork eggs benedict, make it a solid contender of Honolulu’s best hotel breakfast. And if you want to zip into the the hubbub of downtown Honolulu, there are discounts on e-scooters.

5. Hilton Waikiki Beach: best for a classic experience

Chain Hotel

A double room with a balcony at the Hilton Waikiki Beach
Courtesy of Hilton Waikiki Beach / Expedia

Set a block back from Waikiki Beach, this 37-story, four-star hotel offers standard Hilton-style rooms with either city, mountain or ocean views. Mobility-impaired travelers are well catered for, and all rooms and suites bear touches of tropical decor – from cheerful mustard-yellow statement walls to abstract art in eye-popping color. Float high above the beach in the 10th-floor outdoor pool, sip a signature MacCano at the pool bar or chow down on a Kalua pork quesadilla or catch-of-the-day taco at MAC 24-7, with an American diner vibe and a commitment to the farm-to-table and line-to-table ethic.

6. DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Alana: best for wallet-friendly value


Courtesy of DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Alana - Waikiki Beach_Ex
Courtesy of DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Alana – Waikiki Beach / Expedia

If being right on the sand isn’t a dealbreaker, this is a good-value option for those who love the Hilton experience but don’t have the budget for expansive ocean-view balconies. The solid downtown location is on the edge of Waikiki, and just a five-minute walk from the Hilton Lagoon – the perfect sheltered spot for swimming, canoeing and paddleboarding – as well as Kahanamoku Beach and Fort DeRussy Beach, both popular with surfers. Healthy fare such as smoothie bowls and three-egg scramble at the Hiking Hawaii Cafe fuels you for a day of hiking – or lying on the beach, or whatever you prefer.

7. Hyatt Centric Waikiki: best for downtown action


Courtesy of Hyatt Centric Waikiki Beach_Expedia
Courtesy of Hyatt Centric Waikiki Beach / Expedia

Popular with travelers wanting to be in the busy heart of downtown Waikiki, this Honolulu hotel is still only three blocks from the beach. Tranquil creams and blues are the dominant color scheme in the rooms and suites – and if those three blocks seem like a step too far, you can use the rooftop “splash lounge” with private cabanas. Even if you don’t dine on Basalt’s signature charcoal pancakes or miso black cod on site, you are spoiled for choice when it comes to eating out and shopping. You’re within a five-minute walk of excellent restaurants that reflect Honolulu’s ethnic diversity: Topped Waikiki (Korean), Zigu (Japanese), Heavenly Island Lifestyle (organic Hawaiian), while nearby Duke’s Marketplace sells handmade jewelry and local woodwork.

8. Polynesian Residences, Waikiki: best for luxury shopping

Hotel, Apartment

Courtesy of Polynesian Residences Waikiki Beach_Expedia
Courtesy of Polynesian Residences Waikiki Beach / Expedia

Another great downtown Honolulu hotel, Polynesian Residences is all spacious rooms in creams and light grays, with carved dark-wood headboards, and welcome splashes of color in the form of orchid prints and patterned bed runners. The pool with timber decking gets all the Instagram attention – but the hotel’s location is second to none if your aim is to explore Kalakaua Avenue with its designer boutiques, ranging from Chanel to Gucci, and to make use of the hotel’s shopping discounts. Good news if you’re a keen golfer, too: there are excellent deals for guests at four challenging courses a short drive from Waikiki.

Fancy even more gorgeous hotels by the sea? Check out the best hotels in Waikiki Beach and the best beach hotels in Hawaii, bookable with Culture Trip.

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