WHERE TO STAY IN WAIKIKI BEACH – OAHU, HAWAII
Waikiki Beach is the hub of Oahu with the majority of the island’s hotels on this famous strip. There are hundreds of restaurants, cafes, 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 families, couples, older travelers and Waikiki even has a few hostels for backpackers. It’s a bit of an all-rounder destination, which I’ll explain below.
- 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 as there are several man-made reef-breaks, which act as saltwater swimming pools. Kids love these and it takes the stress out of beach days. 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 beach district 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 sunbaking and sightseeing. 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.
- Older travelers: The older travelers 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.
WHERE TO STAY IN WAIKIKI
Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort (Family): 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. Every 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 for the Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort
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 for the Sheraton Waikiki
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 for the Waikiki Beachside Hostel
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!
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Halekulani Hotel (Service/Amenities): Consistently rated as one of the best luxury hotels on Oahu, Halekulani is an elegant hotel with 453 rooms offering the best ocean and mountain views. It is located on the placid end of Waikiki yet close enough to all the luxury shops and exquisite restaurants. With bright, lavish rooms and of course its heavenly restaurants on-site, this luxury hotel takes pride in providing the best amenities and relaxation every holiday goer needs. But the top-notch service is what really makes you set aside the strains of the real world for a moment when you set foot in the hotel. They’ll welcome you with a fruit bowl and a box of chocolate to sweeten your stay. Seriously, this hotel is worth the splurge!
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The Ritz-Carlton Residences (Best View): Tucked a little away from the heart of Waikiki, The Ritz-Carlton Residences combines the elite amenities of a luxury hotel with the conveniences of residences. This property has simple, minimalist-style rooms with a full kitchen, big flat-screen TV, and a washing machine so it feels so homely. Although it is not right on the beach, the amazing views and the best proximity to many popular attractions make up for it. They have two infinity pools with lots of loungers and some even have Jacuzzi- not to mention it’s overlooking the ocean giving the best panoramic views of Diamond Head and Waikiki beach. It’s not all about the best views, though. This luxury hotel is also famous for having the famous sushi restaurant (Sushi Sho) and Dean & DeLuca which is the gourmet New York deli. The Ritz is also kid-friendly as they have a small slide for little ones.
Click Here to check the best current rates and availability of The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach.
The Modern Honolulu (Value): You’ve been wanting to have a luxury beach holiday but a little bit anxious about your budget? Well, not all 5-star hotels on Oahu cost a fortune, in fact, stay at The Modern Honolulu. For around $200 a night, you’ll get a chic, spacious, and clean rooms fitted with balconies that give you insane ocean views. It’s good value for money considering that you are staying in a luxury hotel. It’s in a great location, just walking distance to the shopping centers and a stone throw away from Waikiki beach. In each room, I find the Ukulele and three sarongs as decor inside each room cute making guests really feel the Aloha vibe. They have a hidden bar just behind the study area in the lobby which is way so cool and unique. What’s more, you’ll get to show your dance moves at the popular nightclub in Honolulu— yes! It’s at The Modern Honolulu. I love the food here better because they are using local ingredients and there are many healthy options. You’ll definitely not waste your money here!
Click Here to check the best current rates and availability of The Modern Honolulu.
The Royal Hawaiian, A Collection Resort, Waikiki (Beachfront): When it comes to Waikiki hotels, The Royal Hawaiian is the most quintessential. This 5-star hotel is technically right on the beach of Waikiki making it so convenient for beach lovers visiting Oahu. Close enough to the bustling Waikiki, this property is very noticeable given the fact that it’s the only pink hotel on the island. It’s also Instagram-worthy and so beautiful that you wouldn’t want to leave. Of course, your stay at The Royal Hawaiian is not complete if you don’t try their Mai Tai. The hotel rooms have everything you need with balconies of course enough for you to witness all the beach scenes such as surfers paddling their boards, swaying coconut trees, and beautiful sunrise and sunset. Personally, I highly recommend you stay in Mailani Tower as it doesn’t only offer you a gorgeous beach view but the Diamond Head view too! With the infinity pool and beach, this sure is a great package!
Click Here to check the best current rates and availability of The Royal Hawaiian, A Collection Resort, Waikiki.
If you’re looking for one of the best budget hotels in Honolulu then this is it. Set just a few blocks from Waikiki Beach, Aqua Aloha Surf has got a fun surf style and a laid-back ambiance. Budget, chill, and fun! Yep, you get a lot for your money here- there’s an outdoor swimming pool, a gym and you get a free breakfast on top of that. It’s very modern and a hotel you will be excited to return to after a day of adventures. I’m not sure how the owners have kept the price of this one so low. Rooms have a microwave and fridge so you can do a bit of eating-in as well to save money as well as the free breakfast so lots of savings to be made here. Definitely, a budget hotel compared to most upmarket hotels in Waikiki.
Click here to check the best current rates and availability of Aqua Aloha Surf Waikiki.
Coconut Waikiki Hotel – Family Pick
Coconut Waikiki Hotel is a family-friendly hotel in Honolulu. The location of this hotel is something that really appeals to me. It is right in the heart of the action, and just a few minutes from one of the world’s most famous white-sand beaches. A little more expensive than other budget offerings in Waikiki, but this clean, modern hotel has a lot to offer for the price. Most rooms have kitchenettes, so you can save even more money by making a few of your own meals. Even if you’re in a room without a kitchenette, you can grill up a quick dinner in the hotel’s communal BBQ area. The rooms are very modern with seating areas, flat-screen televisions and a bit more of a luxury feel than some of the older hotels on this list. If you want to stay somewhere a little more luxurious but still stay within budget, then this is one of the best budget hotels in Honolulu.
Click here to check the best current rates and availability of Coconut Waikiki Hotel.
Holiday Inn Express Waikiki – Location/Facilities
This 44-story hotel offers perfect panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and near beaches, restaurants, shopping centers, and other attractions. With a mini-golf course, epic pool and games center you really get an experience at the Holiday Inn. It’s way, way cheaper compared to all other regular hotels in Honolulu. The rooms are actually super nice so if you are a couple or a small family this would be my number one pick on this list.
Click here to check the best current rates and availability of Holiday Inn Express Waikiki.
Trump International Hotel Waikiki (Service): If you want a more upmarket place to stay whilst taking a splurge in Waikiki, Trump International Hotel might be your best pick! This lavish 38-storey hotel provides rooms from one to three-bedroom suites to penthouse suites that accommodate up to 6 guests. The location is excellent as it’s only few feet away from the famous beach, wide-ranging restaurants, and classy boutiques. The beautiful view from your room is not just it alone but this hotel also gives you the utmost luxury from the moment you step in the lobby to the last day of your stay. It’s elegant and extravagant, in fact, it’s been rewarded as the only Forbes Travel Guide 5-star hotel on Oahu island. The hotel staff do a great job in providing guests’ needs and what else you can expect here is that they have lots of food options. It’s perfect for your ultimate travel getaway.
Click Here to check the best current rates and availability of Trump International Hotel Waikiki.
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 but are still within walking distance for shopping and restaurants. If you prefer to be in the thick of the action this one isn’t for you but it’s great to be close by Waikiki but far enough away to enjoy some peace and quiet.
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 saltwater. 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 of The New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel
Kuhio Banyan Hotel (With Kitchenette)
Perhaps you don’t fancy staying in a hostel this time – maybe you want a little more privacy and more room for yourself but still keeping within your budget. Kuhio Banyan Hotel is one of the budget hotels in Waikiki. This hotel is not luxurious but it has everything you need for a very good price in the middle of everything in Waikiki. What’s amazing is that this budget room actually has a kitchenette so you can save more money on doing a little home cooking.
Click here to check the best current rates and availability of Kuhio Banyan Hotel.
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 for the Laylow Autograph Collection
Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort & Spa (Convenience): Just across Waikiki beach, Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort & Spa is a 2-tower hotel with 1,230 rooms and posh amenities. Without some of the other luxury resorts’ price tag, this hotel is affordable yet still provides the luxury experience and convenience with customized service like no other, numerous boutiques under the towers and within easy access to what Waikiki has to offer. The room was huge, very modern with partial ocean and city views from its privy terrace not to mention there are lots of power ports in each room which is a plus. Because of its significant size, you might think the pool will get crowded and chaotic especially peak times but to be honest it’s not so bad since most of the guests prefer to chill on the beach. Some of the aspect of the hotel which really impressed me were the open-air lobby between the two towers, the nice outdoor patio giving you the best beach views, and the breakfast buffet at SHOR restaurant and dinner buffet at “The Buffet at Hyatt” on-site. The bottom line is this 4-star hotel greatly exceeded my expectations.
Click Here to check the best current rates and availability of Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort & Spa.
Royal Grove Waikiki (With Kitchenette)
Royal Grove Waikiki is a budget-friendly and vintage hotel in Waikiki for just $100 a night. The location is superb- just in the heart of dining, beaches, shopping, and attractions. The rooms are quite old-school but in a charming Hawaii style. The rooms come with a kitchenette and seating area so they are really spacious and practical. The sweetest part of the stay was the Monday night Hawaiian music and the mini hula dance show was so much Aloha! Totally one of the top hotels in Honolulu!
Click here to check the best current rates and availability of Royal Grove Waikiki.
MORE OAHU BLOG POSTS
I lived on Oahu for two years and loved adventuring from the beaches to the mountains to the waterfalls! These are my most popular blog post and guides from the beautiful island of Oahu to help you plan your trip!
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The best Waterfalls: 11 AMAZING WATERFALLS ON OAHU, HAWAII
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