WHERE TO STAY IN WAIKIKI FOR YOUR VACATION – OAHU, HAWAII

Waikiki is the hub of Oahu. The majority of the hotels are on this famous strip of beach. There are hundreds of restaurants, cafe’s, tour centers, transport options, and convenience stores. It has a great little surf break perfect or beginners. The water is warm, the cocktails are flowing and it is an all-around beach vibe. This guide will help you figure out where to stay in Waikiki for your vacation to Oahu.

 

WHO STAYS IN WAIKIKI

It is a perfect region for familiescouplesolder travelers and even has a few hostels for backpackers.

  • Families: Waikiki is the number one choice for families. They are centrally located for all of the tours to different spots around the island. Kids have protected beaches to swim in without worrying about waves. There are several man-made reef-breaks, which act as salt water swimming pools. Kids love these and it takes the stress out of beach days. Especially because the ocean and waves on Oahu can be unpredictable and stressful if you aren’t adept with the conditions. Lots of resorts have their own pool and the Hilton even has it’s own lagoon with water activities. For mom and dad, there are plenty of nightspots and relaxed bars throughout Waikiki. It is a safe neighborhood and it is also shopping heaven with lots of high-end retailers.
  • Couples: Honeymooners and couples have found the perfect getaway spot in Waikiki. Think of dining out and nice restaurants each night after a day of adventures each day. It is the perfect base to hit the beaches, adventure the island but still have the luxury of great accommodation, dining, and convenience on your doorstep. I’ve organized several honeymoons and a couple vacations in Waikiki and they’ve always been stoked.
  • Older travelers: The older adventurers among us love Waikiki for a few reasons. It’s simple. Everything is on your doorstep. The tours pick you up and drop you off at your hotel lobby. There are quality restaurants in all directions and the famous Waikiki Beach is within walking distance. You are never far from a refreshing dip in your hotel pool, the ocean or an air-conditioner.

 

PRO’S OF STAYING IN WAIKIKI

  • Hundreds of different accommodation options ranging from 5-star to hostels.
  • A huge array of dining options
  • Protected swimming areas with no big waves for kids and novice swimmers
  • Surf lessons and perfect small surf waves
  • Close to the popular Diamond Head Hike
  • All tours start and finish in Waikiki
  • Weather is always the best on the island in Waikiki
  • Shopping heaven
  • Outdoor gyms and running trails

 

CONS OF STAYING IN WAIKIKI

  • Can get overwhelming with all the tourists
  • The beach can be busy during the high season
  • It can feel like a bit of a city beach compared to quieter island spots

 

THINGS TO DO NEAR WAIKIKI

  • Hanauma Bay Snorkeling tour
  • Para-sailing
  • Hike Diamond Hike Crater
  • Manoa Falls waterfall Hike
  • Pali Lookout Sunset Viewpoint
  • Sunset Sailing
  • Nightclubs and bars

 

WHERE TO STAY IN WAIKIKI

Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort (High-end): In the heart of Waikiki, this high-end resort is right on the beach. Luxury rooms overlooking the beach, a private lagoon and a free fireworks and dance performance show. Hilton is easily the most recognizable hotel on the Island.

Why I recommend this hotel: It has its own private lagoon. While lots of people love the beach it is perfect for families. Kids can kayak, swim and snorkel with no worries. There are no currents, waves or sea creatures to worry about. The hotel is right on Waikiki Beach so don’t worry the beach is right there also. It is one of the high-end hotels and definitely not cheap but you get what you pay for with the Hilton. Ever Friday night guests of the hotel are treated to a traditional Hawaiian dance performance before the Hilton puts on an epic fireworks show. It’s my favorite fireworks show in the world because you are so close to the fireworks you can feel the reverberations on the ground while you are sitting!

Click Here to check room prices and availability on booking.com

 

Sheraton Waikiki (High-end): A luxury resort with the most amazing infinity pool on the island, which overlooks the beach. The bar and nightclub at the Sheraton is a great place to relax after a long day of island adventures.

Why I recommend this hotel: The Sheraton is always exceptional no matter the location but imagine you are leaning over the edge of an infinity pool, the ocean is below you and you turn to your left and watch Diamond Head crater in the distance. That’s where you will be at the end of each day, having a Mai Tai cocktail in your infinity pool. Later on, in the evening Rumfire is a great bar venue, which is actually part of the Sheraton. It is open to the public and is one of the best high-end venues on Oahu. It has a small dance floor but is mostly standing and seating areas for drinks, chats and good times.

Click Here to check room prices and availability on booking.com

 

Ramada Plaza Waikiki (Mid-Range): The perfect way to enjoy Oahu in a beautiful hotel without blowing the bank. This hotel has a rooftop pool and a restaurant but will only set you back around $100.

Why I recommend this hotel: The first two options in the Sheraton and the Hilton are great but they are definitely not cheap. Ramada Plaza is really high-quality accommodation for a much lower price. You still have a rooftop pool a great restaurant and your location is awesome. You are ticking all of the boxes for your luxury getaway but you won’t be spending $300_ a night for your room. Instead, you can grab a room here for under $150 per night. Great for couples who are planning on adventuring a lot and still want a nice hotel but won’t necessarily be there all day every day to enjoy its splendors.

Click Here to check room prices and availability on booking.com

 

The Laylow Autograph Collection (Special Mention): The Laylow gets a special mention because I stayed in their luxury apartment for four days in January of 2018 while doing some filming with them. I just loved the vintage style of the place and I personally prefer more personal accommodations.

The Laylow is part of the Autograph Collection, which was created by the Marriott. The idea is to create a boutique style, luxury hotel encompassing a local flavor. What the Laylow has managed to do is create a luxury accommodation on par with a Marriott super hotel but with the feel of a smaller, one-off boutique. This place was so cool it was locals visiting the bar at night, not just the guests.

During our stay at the Laylow, we enjoyed all the facilities you would expect from accommodation produced by the Marriott. Spacious studio rooms with modern design, a large gym, a stunning pool, and a rooftop restaurant/bar. A daily, free shave ice stand and Ukelele lessons were several activities offered among many.

The Laylow Autograph Collection is ideal for the upmarket traveler, who wants to stay somewhere with more thought than a big chain but wants the luxury that big chain comes with. It’s the aloha vibes mixed with pure luxury.

Click Here to check room prices and availability on booking.com

 

Waikiki Beachside Hostel (Budget): A budget alternative, which is still in an amazing location. Walking distance to Waikiki beach and a central location to base yourself for a week of adventures.

Why I recommend this hostel: Unfortunately Waikiki and Hawaii, in general, are not cheap. But they are still worth visiting. You can grab a dorm room for under $40 a night within walking distance to Waikiki surf beach. I get it, you have just come from Bali and you had a dorm room for $5 a night. This is Hawaii and there aren’t too many ways around it unless you camp, couch surf etc.

Having said that this location really is great. You are near a lot of attractions and can take public transport to a lot of great east coast beaches and hikes. It is the number one hostel in Waikiki and I’m sure you will meet other adventurers to go on hikes with!

Click Here to check room prices and availability on booking.com

 

DIAMOND HEAD

Waikiki may be the hub of Oahu but Diamond Head is actually my favorite place to stay on Oahu. Waikiki is great, especially on your first visit to Oahu but it can be a bit hectic. A million different designer shops, tourists wandering everywhere and it all starts to feel like a mini Las Vegas at times. However, Waikiki is just the perfect base for all the adventures. The compromise is to stay in Diamond Head. It is actually pretty much part of Waikiki. Down the eastern end of Waikiki is Diamond Head, a small region with lots of big parks, walking trails and outdoor gyms. You are within walking distance of the action in Waikiki but also far enough away from the center of all the action that you can take a peaceful walk in the morning and avoid the heavy tourist traffic.

You will find that you can get hotel rooms for 30% less in Diamond Head than in central Waikiki even though they are only less than 800 yards or so apart.

WHO STAYS IN DIAMOND HEAD

*Smart People*

It is a perfect region for familiescouples.

  • Families: Diamond Head gives you all of the offerings we discussed in the Waikiki section. What you get is a few bonuses like huge parks for kids to play in. An outdoor gym for working out. Slightly quieter beaches perfect for kids but still enough food options and you are only ever a ten-minute walk from heading into the Waikiki madness.
  • Couples: If you are willing to walk 10 minutes to dinner instead of dropping straight down into the center of Waikiki you will be able to score a nice hotel with a pool and near the beach for up to 30% less. It’s just on the fringe of Waikiki but still a great base to hit the beaches, adventure the island but still have the luxury of great accommodation, dining, and convenience on your doorstep. I’ve organized several honeymoon and couple vacations near Diamond Head and Waikiki and they’ve always been stoked.

 

PRO’S OF STAYING IN DIAMOND HEAD

  • A little bit out of the craziness of Waikiki
  • Several huge parks and play areas
  • Outdoor gym right near the beach
  • Hundreds of different accommodation options ranging from 5-star to hostels.
  • A huge array of dining options
  • Protected swimming areas with no big waves for kids and novice swimmers
  • Surf lessons and perfect small surf waves
  • VERY close to the popular Diamond Head Hike
  • All tours start and finish in Waikiki, which is just a ten-minute walk
  • Weather is always the best on the island in Waikiki
  • Shopping heaven

 

CONS OF STAYING IN DIAMOND HEAD

  • You may have to walk 10-15 minutes to the center of Waikiki if there are specific things you want to visit or shop
  • The beach can be busy during the high season
  • It can feel like a bit of a city beach compared to quieter island spots

 

THINGS TO DO NEAR DIAMOND HEAD

  • Hanamau Bay Snorkeling tour
  • Para-sailing
  • Hike Diamond Hike Crater
  • Manoa Falls waterfall Hike
  • Pali Lookout Sunset Viewpoint
  • Sunset Sailing
  • Nightclubs and bars

View from Diamond Head Crater

 

WHERE TO STAY IN DIAMOND HEAD

Ewa Hotel Waikiki: (Value): Hotels in Waikiki can be expensive. Deciding where to stay on Oahu can be difficult if you don’t have much cash. Luckily, there is an accommodation option on the edge of Waikiki that is excellent value.

Why do I recommend this hostel/hotel: This is the perfect hotel if you want location but are willing to sacrifice a pool and some luxury items to save up to $200 per night. All of the hotels in this area are a minimum of $300 per night and often much more. Ewa Hotel is just one block back from the beach and is just over $150 USD. If you are like me, I never swim in the hotel pool anyway. Didn’t you come halfway across the world to swim in the beach!

Click Here to check room prices and availability on booking.com

 

The New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel (High End): The drawcard with this hotel is that there is a big park between you and Waikiki. You essentially have a private beach away from the masses!

Why I recommend this hotel: For $300 a night you can get yourself a luxury getaway within walking distance of Waikiki but far enough away you will feel the tropical vacation! There is a big stretch of sand in between you and the nearest Waikiki hotel. In fact, most people in Waikiki will never venture near your private little beach so you can really just enjoy the sun and salt water. I used to come to this beach when I lived on Oahu when I couldn’t be bothered dealing with the Waikiki crowds.

Click Here to check room prices and availability on booking.com

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Discussion about this post

  1. Thanks for these tips. I heard that Waikiki is a beautiful place to travel in. I am planning to go their so I can experience the beautiful places there. So I can bond with my family and eat all the delicious foods their.

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