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The best hotels in Oahu

From capital Honolulu to the charm of the North Shore, here are the best hotels in Oahu. A good night's sleep, guaranteed

Written by
Lori A May
Danielle Goldstein
Martha Cheng

As the third biggest—and most-visited—of the Hawaiian Islands, Oahu lives up to its billing with a tremendous roster of exclusive resorts and down-to-earth sleeping spots, very much fulfilling the 'something for everyone' stereotype that tourism thrives on. Known as 'The Gathering Place', this tropical island is full of exciting things to do (including some of the finest restaurants going), stunning beaches and hiking trails galore.

Of course, after all that action you're going to have to rest your head somewhere and Oahu some magnificent accommodation options. So once you've got your culture/history/nature/flavor fix (delete as appropriate), set up camp at one of these properties—the best hotels in Oahu.

RECOMMENDED: The best things to do in Oahu

Who makes the cut? While we might not stay in and review every hotel featured, we've based our list on our expert knowledge of the destination covered, editorial reviews, user reviews, hotel amenities and in-depth research to find you the best stays. This article includes affiliate links. These links have no influence on our editorial content. For more information, see our affiliate guidelines

The best hotels in Oahu

The Royal Hawaiian

1. The Royal Hawaiian

This is where Joan Didion once stayed, when she and her husband came to Hawaii in lieu of a divorce. There are worse places to put one’s life back together than at what’s colloquially known as the 'pink palace'. Here, the soothing rose façade, Spanish-Moorish arches and cerulean blue of Waikiki’s waters will gently wash your cares away.

Where is it? In the heart of Waikiki, less than a mile from Honolulu Zoo and a five-minute walk to the International Market Place open-air shopping center.

Which room? Opt for a room in the historic wing, which dates back to 1927, with flourishes that call to mind the opulence of the hotel’s heyday.

Time Out tip: Travelling with the little ’uns? Children under five can eat for free from the kids' menu with at least one paying adult.

Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club

2. Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club

The Surfjack is one of Honolulu’s hippest gathering places. The midcentury modern-meets-aloha atmosphere is certainly part of its appeal, with much of the interior designed by local artists, from the shaka wallpaper print to the over-’Grammed ‘Wish You Were Here’ tiling in the pool. Other draws include the Mahina & Sun restaurant and unique artworks in each room.

Where is it? The northeastern end of Waikiki Bay, just five minutes' walk from the beach and 20 minutes to the zoo, aquarium and Kapi'olani Regional Park in Diamond Head.

Which room? The One Room Bungalow Penthouse has oodles of space and a whopping great view of the city, which is best enjoyed from the large lanai (veranda).

Time Out tip: Take advantage of the hotel's frequent events, from art exhibitions to talks on the poke bowl trend.

The Laylow

3. The Laylow

Lay low, indeed. This sanctuary of the Oahu hotel scene provides a contemporary oasis right in the middle of Waikiki. When you tire of the hubbub, retire to the open-air Hideout restaurant, where you can lounge around the fire pits and overlook the streets below, or head up to your bright room, with its stylish midcentury minimalism offset with cheery, modern-chic tropical wallpaper.

Where is it? Waikiki Beach, just a 20-minute drive from Honolulu airport and five minutes' walk to the beach and Royal Hawaiian Center.

Which room? Upgrade to the Ho'okipa (hospitality) Level to secure yourself a mid-mod room on the top two floors. Great views guaranteed.

Time Out tip: Two words: free ice. Hawaiian shaved ice that is. This syrupy sweet treat is a local staple and, at The Laylow, you can get it served gratis poolside.

Hotel Renew

4. Hotel Renew

One of the best budget options in Waikiki, the boutique Hotel Renew offers Zen-like tranquil rooms and an ‘aroma concierge’ (a choice of scents for your room). The rooms are small, but there's plenty of amenities around the hotel, including the Recess Cafe & Bar, where you'll find beverages (of a caffeinated or boozy persuasion) daily, a weekly yoga class, and in-room fitness equipment (on request). There are lots of restaurants in the neighborhood, too, and the beach is just a block away. Plus, unlik emany of the resorts in Honolulu, this one is dog-friendly, so bring the pooch with you.

Where is it? The southwest corner of Waikiki, overlooking the bay and less than a five-minute walk to Honolulu Zoo and other attractions in Kapiʻolani Regional Park.

Which room? The Ocean View with Balcony, because why not? With views like that, you may as well make the most of them.

Time Out tip: Hotel Renew offers free beach chairs, mats, towels, boogie boards and snorkeling gear to guests, so all you need to bring is your sense of adventure (and your swimming gear, definitely don't forget that).

Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort

5. Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort

Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort offers the best of everything, including fresh dips in the oceanfront pool and surfing the waves in front of the hotel. Add that to jacuzzi suite options and spacious balconies, and this resort is paradise. Top off your stay with a tasty meal at Duke’s Waikiki, an onsite restaurant that pays tribute to local surfing legend Duke Kahanamoku.

Where is it? Waikiki Bay, with immediate beach access and close proximity to Kalakaua Avenue boutique shops and eateries.

Which room? Get a Voyager 47 Club Lounge room, which entitles you to access to the swanky lounge, where you'll find daily breakfast, evening pupus (snacks) and drinks.

Time Out tip: Got young ones in tow? Tghere are daily free Hawaiian cultural activities for children, including fresh flower lei-making and ukulele lessons.

Vive Hotel Waikiki

6. Vive Hotel Waikiki

This boutique property is youthful and chill, with a coastal contemporary aesthetic and super cozy beds. Guestrooms offer a tablet concierge, multiple outlets for all your gadgets, and—more importantly—complimentary boogie boards and beach gear. After enjoying the included island breakfast of fresh fruit and pastries, take a short stroll to the Duke Kahanamoku Statue on Waikiki Beach.

Where is it? Three blocks from Waikiki Beach, the ideal spot for swimming, splashing, surfing and sunbathing.

Which room? If it's available, bag the Musician Suite. This penthouse channels rock star energy, with vibrant furnishings, a chandelier, a balcony with ocean views and a giant portrait of John Lennon. Naturally.

Time Out tip: Never fail to get your caffeine fix with unlimited 24-hour coffee and tea at Vive.

Lotus Honolulu

7. Lotus Honolulu

Get a kick ass view of the volcanic cone that is Diamond Head from one of the Lotus Honolulu's many balconies. The hotel sits on the quieter end of Waikiki, but there's still plenty to do. The zoo, aquarium and golf courses are mere steps away. As are hiking trails, watersports and sunbathing galore. Onsite is a Hawaiian restaurant, Arden, and each room comes with cable TV, an iPod dock and espresso machine, plus either a balcony or a patio,

Where is it? Diamond Head, directly opposite Queen Kapiolani Park on one side and Kaimana Beach on the other.

Which room? Choose a corner room facing Diamond Head and open up the lanai (veranda) doors to Hawaii’s cooling trade winds: this is one of the few properties in Waikiki where you can leave your windows open and not be bombarded by city noise.

Time Out tip: Don't miss the weekly complimentary wine hour, from Wednesday to Sunday.

Turtle Bay Resort

8. Turtle Bay Resort

All of the rooms at Turtle Bay offer a view of the ocean, which is something that few hotels at this price range can boast. Add to that spacious accommodations, a sprawling 800-acre property filled with trails to explore on foot or horseback, and a beachside location on the North Shore and you have the perfect launchpad for your vacation in Hawaii.

Where is it? Kahuku, on Oahu's northern shore, right beside Kawela Bay and—the clue's in the name—only a few minutes from Turtle Beach.

Which room? Add Ocean Front Club access to any room and enjoy daily treats in the private lounge, including locally-sourced Hawaiian breakfast, sandwiches and salads throughout the day, and cocktails in the evening.

Time Out tip: Don't miss the weekly Paniolo (cowboy) dinner show, featuring some of the 32 horses kept at the hotel stables, and luau (a feast of traditional cuisine with dancing and more).

'Alohilani Resort

9. 'Alohilani Resort

The 'Alohilani was completely renovated in 2017, with lightened rooms that were modernized to create a chic white beach aesthetic, with pops of color alongside earthy wood details. But first you'll have to peel yourself away from the impressive two-story saltwater Oceanarium in the middle of the lobby, which houses more than 1,000 colourful and indigenous Hawaiian reef fishes.

Where is it? Waikiki Bay, two blocks from the Duke Paoa Kahanamoku Statue and the sand.

Which room? The one-bed Seascape Suite offers stunning views of the Diamond Head and the ocean, as well access to the Longboard Club, where you'll find complimentary morning-to-evening meals, a wine bar, and a draft beer exclusively crafted for ‘Alohilani on tap.

Time Out tip: Toast the end of the day with a cocktail at the fifth-floor infinity pool as the sun sets, seemingly stretching all the way to the ocean.

The Kahala Hotel & Resort

10. The Kahala Hotel & Resort

The Kahala is just a ten-minute drive away from Waikiki, but here, on the other side of Diamond Head, it feels like it’s on its own island. It’s because of this seclusion—and, of course, the Kahala’s hospitality—that everyone from Elizabeth Taylor to Prince Charles and Princess Di have stayed here. Right in front is a quiet beach that's so uncrowded it feels private. There are also four restaurants and a spa onsite, plus wellness classes to ensure you remain uber relaxed.

Where is it? Waialae Kahala, the less crowded but no less arresting side of Honolulu's Diamond Head.

Which room? The Imperial Suite—named for Japan's former ruler Emperor Akihito, who stayed in this very room. As well as a crackingocean view, it has a separate living area and boardroom.

Time Out tip: Fancy a spot of shopping? The hotel provides a free shuttle to Ala Moana Shopping Centre.

Prince Waikiki

11. Prince Waikiki

Prince Waikiki is a high-class gem, but without the luxury price tag. This boutique, waterside property offers a complimentary shuttle and free self-parking, along with unlimited wifi. Each room comes with an ocean view thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows, and you’ll get an even more impressive panorama from the rooftop infinity pool. Its sleek contemporary appeal is accented by hand-painted native naio flowers on guestroom walls and local art throughout.

Where is it? The northern tip of Waikiki Bay, across the harbor from Magic Island park and Ala Moana Beach.

Which room? Do a spot of boat watching from the comfort of your Oceanfront Harbor room.

Time Out tip: Stay hydrated with numerous cold water points around the hotel, that can refill your reusable bottles received at check-in. There's also a coffee shop in the lobby.


12. Halekulani

How does a choice of three restaurants, a day spa, gym and nightly live entertainment sound? Irresistible? Better book yourself into the Halekulani. This bay-front five-star hotel has it all. There's even a lanai (veranda) appended to every room, which also come equipped with premium toiletries, marble tea/coffee making areas (with sink), soaking tubs and plush bathrobes. To top it off, the pool is heated.

Where is it? Honolulu, right on Waikiki Bay.

Which room? Plump for the Sunset Suite; it comes with a wrap-around balcony.

Time Out tip: There's a dedicated live jazz lounge, so no matter when you're visiting, you'll be sure to be entertained.

Espacio the Jewel of Waikiki

13. Espacio the Jewel of Waikiki

Alright, this ain't a cheap one, but if you're looking for a honeymoon style blow-out, then blow it on the Jewel of Waikiki. This Espacio hotel is split into nine, full-floor suites, each of which have their own entrance and ocean views. Perfect for couples or families (three-bed suites are available), these dwellings come with a full-size hydrotherapy Jacuzzi on the balcony, a dry sauna with soaking tub and high-end kitchens. And for that hotel experience, there's a bar, restaurant, pool, 24-hour reception and a shuttle service.

Where is it? Honolulu, mere steps from Kuhio Beach.

Which room? Go big or go home, right? Plump for the Penthouse Diamond Suite.

Time Out tip: Got a car? Make good use of the free parking.

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