The Best Hotels in Hawaii for Every Traveler

The Holualoa Inn is a charming B&B providing an intimate stay
The Holualoa Inn is a charming B&B providing an intimate stay | Courtesy of Holualoa Inn / Expedia
Photo of Sarah Gillespie
7 December 2020

Celebrity retreats, want-for-nothing family resorts and tropical B&Bs – Hawaii is ready to welcome all sorts of travelers. Whichever vacation you have in mind, stay in one of these hotels.

The Kahala Hotel and Resort

Resort, Hotel
Map View
Kahala Hotel
Courtesy of The Kahala Hotel and Resort / Expedia
A favorite of celebrity guests, including Frank Sinatra and Queen Elizabeth II, the Kahala Hotel and Resort remains a secluded private beach getaway despite years of development in the surrounding Honolulu area. Staff will greet you with a flower lei, supply Hawaiian salt chocolates for your nightly turndown and advise on the resort’s activities, such as swimming with dolphins and paddleboard yoga. Indoor spa treatments include facials and massages. The four dining options range from contemporary fine dining at Hoku’s to fish sandwiches at the Seaside Grill.
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Fairmont Kea Lani

Resort, Chain Hotel, Hotel, Luxury
Map View
Courtesy of Fairmont Kea Lani / Expedia

Fronting an exclusive strip of a volcanic rock-studded tropical beach, this magnificent, manicured Wailea resort is as Hollywood as it is Hawaii. Multiple palm-shaded pools form a living modern-art installation, while the on-site spa has a Maui mud bar and rain showers that simulate Hawaiian storms. Follow up a day of canoeing and hula lessons with Hawaiian fusion food at Kō, whose specialties include seafood lau lau and Filipino pancit noodles, or the catch of the day from Nick’s Fishmarket Maui.

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The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort

Resort, Chain Hotel
Map View
Courtesy of The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort / Expedia

This member of the Westin group is a chain hotel in name only, sporting locally inspired wood fixtures, a sybaritic spa and one of the island’s best restaurants. Overlooking the ocean, Meridia restaurant serves Maui venison and a cataplana of shrimp, clams and wild boar sausage. Post-dinner, sink into your freestanding tub or enjoy tropical breezes on the balcony. While nearby Hapuna Beach is one of Hawaii’s most popular, the northern stretch in front of the hotel is relatively secluded.

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The Modern Honolulu

Hotel
Map View
1073ef04
Courtesy of The Modern Honolulu / Expedia
On Waikiki’s western end and a seven-minute walk from the palm-fringed Kahanamoku Beach, the Modern Honolulu attracts a young, hipster crowd with a full roster of lectures, morning yoga classes and Hawaiian art study groups. Rooms continue the youthful vibe with graphic prints and in-room ukuleles – the perfect place to prepare for a night of partying under the violet lights of the hotel’s Addiction nightclub. The Grove Restaurant + Bar specializes in fresh-catch fish – try the sesame ahi tuna.
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Halekulani

Resort, Hotel
Map View
Halekulani
Courtesy of Halekulani Hotel / Expedia
Halekulani has a central Waikiki location, offering access to countless beaches. Take a water aerobics class in the outdoor pool before relaxing with Polynesian-inspired treatments at SpaHalekulani, where therapists use kukui nut oils and Tahitian taurumi massage techniques. For evening entertainment, you’ve got a choice between award-winning French plates at La Mer or live jazz in the wood-paneled Lewers Lounge.
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Hotel Wailea

Boutique Hotel, Independent Hotel
Map View
Courtesy of Hotel Wailea / Expedia

Spread across 15 acres (6ha) of tropical gardens less than 2mi (3km) from the Wailea coast, this five-star resort is a cut above. Trees are one with the architecture here – arcing over the pool, shading your pineapple pancake breakfast and framing views of breaching whales from your window. Staff address guests by name and stage a lei greeting and champagne toast on arrival. There’s little need to leave, but if you do, a shuttle will take you to Wailea Beach in around five minutes.

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The Surfjack Hotel and Swim Club

Boutique Hotel, Independent Hotel
Map View
Courtesy of The Surfjack Hotel and Swim Club / Expedia

There’s nothing cookie-cutter about this boutique hotel, which employs Hawaiian designers to create the lamps, upholstery and ceramics. Renowned Kaimuki chef Ed Kenney heads the Mahina & Sun’s restaurant, serving local, ethically sourced fish and fresh tropical cocktails. Rooms continue the luau vibes and have private lanais or verandas. You’re a few blocks from the shore here, but a cab will bring you to the Waikiki beaches in minutes.

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Holualoa Inn

Inn
Map View
Courtesy of Holualoa Inn / Expedia

Hugging the slopes of the Hualālai volcano, this secluded B&B has only six rooms but 30 acres (12ha) of tropical fruit orchards to explore. You’re in the heart of the coffee belt here, making farm tours and tastings a cinch. Relax on loungers by winding garden paths, sink into the whirlpool tub or just enjoy the harmony of the all-wood interiors. Breakfasts include passion fruit-stuffed french toast and coffee straight from the estate; for dinner, the village of Holualoa has a few casual eateries.

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  • Hilton Waikoloa Village

    Resort, Chain Hotel, Hotel, Luxury
    Map View
    Courtesy of Hilton Waikoloa Village / Expedia

    While this family-friendly Waikoloa resort may resemble a theme park at first glance, don’t be fooled; there’s highbrow entertainment for grown-ups. Sculptures from around the world line the museum-like corridors, while the huge spa offers Hawaiian lomilomi massages. Relaxed days can also be spent ambling across two championship golf courses. You could even fill a week hopping between its many dining options or plunging into the lava-rock lagoons – some of which are home to honu, Hawaiian green sea turtles.

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    Hotel Renew

    Budget Hotel, Independent Hotel
    Map View
    Courtesy of Hotel Renew / Expedia

    Forget your idea of a typical Hawaiian hotel – Hotel Renew brings a brooding De Stijl vibe to the Waikiki strip, with art zines and mini-fridges provided in every room. Staff will greet you with Hawaiian herbal iced tea, a chilled lemongrass-scented towel and the chance to pick a custom room fragrance. Breakfasts are healthy continental – try the apple-carrot juice. And the location is ideal, between urban coffee shops and restaurants and the serene, green Kapi‘olani Regional Park.

    Moana Surfrider, a Westin Resort and Spa, Waikiki Beach

    Resort, Spa Hotel, Hotel
    Map View
    Courtesy of Moana Surfrider, a Westin Resort and Spa, Waikiki Beach / Expedia
    A short hop from the beach, this central Waikiki wedding cake of a hotel is now managed by the Marriott group and offers a full roster of activities, including paddleboarding and surfing lessons. The biggest draw is Waikiki’s only waterfront spa, the Moana Lani, where you can indulge yourself further by booking the ‘Apuakehau Suite for two, with its private whirlpool tub and ocean views. Breakfasts at the Victorian-style Veranda at the Beachhouse feature mango pancakes; for dinner, the Beachhouse at the Moana delivers Kona lobster bisque and tomahawk steaks.
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    Mauna Kea Beach Hotel

    Chain Hotel
    Map View
    Courtesy of Mauna Kea Beach Hotel / Expedia

    Opened by Laurance S Rockefeller in 1965, the Mauna Kea’s modern interiors pop with the American businessman and conservationist’s signature orange. Head out to nearby Kauna’oa Beach, challenge your companions to tennis and golf or appreciate Rockefeller’s vast Hawaiian art collection. Each room has a balcony, bathrobes and slippers. The Manta seafood restaurant is named after the manta rays that you can spot from a lit promontory after dark.

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

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