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Waikiki is the most visited destination in all of Hawaii, attracting more than four million visitors to its shores each year. Because of its popularity, accommodation options are seemingly endless. From luxury beachfront resorts to fully-equipped condo apartments, Waikiki has something for every type of budget and travel preference.
But with so many options available, it can be difficult to choose where to stay, especially if it’s your first time on Oahu! To help with your search, we wanted to share 12 of our favorite Waikiki hotels and vacation rentals.
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Where to Stay in Waikiki: Our Top 12 Picks
Despite not being a beachfront hotel, the Halepuna is a hidden gem nestled amongst the bustling Waikiki neighborhood. Ranked as the #1 Hotel in Hawaii by Conde Nast two years in a row (Reader’s Choice), this modern boutique hotel is the ideal getaway for a honeymoon, anniversary, or couple’s trip.
The 8-story building has a rooftop infinity pool and sundeck, a spa, a fitness center, and a colorful Hawaiian garden on the main floor.
In addition to the top-notch customer service team, guests staying at the Halepuna can also use the amenities at its sister resort, the Halekulani Waikiki. This is a great perk, considering there are no resort fees at either hotel.
The Halekulani is easily one of the poshest hotels in all of Waikiki! Every aspect of the hotel, from the attentive service to the award-winning restaurants has been meticulously thought out, making this a luxurious stay for those seeking peace and tranquility.
There is a small beach out front, but you’ll likely be spending most of your time out by the pool (there’s food and drink service!). The hotel also has a spa and a gym with complimentary fitness classes.
You’ll also find one of our favorite bars here. House Without a Key is an open-aired lounge that has fantastic cocktails and delicious appetizers. And every night, you’ll get to enjoy live music and hula dancing during sunset.
Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort
If you prefer to stay somewhere away from the bustle of Waikiki, then the Hilton Hawaiian Village is a decent choice. It’s located near the boat harbor and the Ala Moana Center, which is roughly a 10-minute walk to the start of Waikiki.
This hotel is big – we’re talking over 3,300 rooms! Not only is it the largest Hilton hotel, but it also happens to be one of the largest hotels in the world. So, while it doesn’t have that intimate feeling, it more than makes up for it with the number of on-site amenities and activities. There are five pools, a spa, fitness classes, cultural activities, daily live music, and even a free fireworks show every Friday!
However, the coolest part about the Hilton is the saltwater lagoon. It’s a great place for families and kids because of the shallow, calm waters. You can also rent stand-up paddle boards or aqua tricycles, which are both really fun.
The drawback is that it’s a very crowded resort (there are pretty much no quiet spots!), and it’s a walk to get to the main area of Waikiki.
Find the best nearby activities to add to your stay:
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Waikiki can be very expensive, but the Queen Kapiolani is a budget-friendly hotel located just one block from the beach. Rooms are on the smaller side (especially the cheapest standard rooms), but you can always upgrade to a lanai room or suite if you need extra space.
While this isn’t a luxury hotel, you’ll still be able to enjoy an array of resort-like amenities. They offer lei-making workshops, yoga classes, surfing demonstrations, and weekly live music. You also get Hawaiian juice, a reusable water bottle, and a Dole Pineapple whip sample when you arrive, which is a nice touch! Plus, you’re just a short walk from the Honolulu Zoo.
The 10,000-square-foot terrace on the third floor has an outdoor pool with dramatic views of Diamond Head Crater. It’s also where you’ll find the indoor/outdoor restaurant and bar. Tasty food, strong cocktails, and beautiful Hawaii views – what more could you ask for?
The pastel-pink Royal Hawaiian is a landmark institution in Waikiki. This lush 15-acre beachfront property is located right in the middle of Waikiki, so its very accessible to all the shops and restaurants in the Royal Hawaiian Center and on Kalakaua Avenue.
As one of the oldest hotels on Oahu, it may feel a little dated – although we like to think of it as having historic charm, this is one of my favorite things about it. If that’s not your style, you can choose a room in the newer Mailani Tower. Rooms here have private lanais and are slightly larger than the ones in the Historic Wing.
Other amenities of the Royal Hawaiian include a pool, spa, and boutique shops. Guests also have access to the shared pool (Helumoa Playground) with the Sheraton Waikiki. In addition to the two fresh water swimming pools, there’s a water slide and fountain area, which is great for families with kids.
The recently renovated Sheraton Waikiki is a great all-around hotel for all types of travelers. There’s an awesome pool area for kids, great dining options, and a packed calendar of events for cultural lovers.
It’s important to note that while this hotel is oceanfront, it does not have direct beach access. However, Waikiki Beach is just a short walk away. But if you’d rather spend a day at the hotel, there’s plenty of room to lay out either at the oceanfront infinity pool or the family-friendly Helumoa Playground (the pool shared with the Royal Hawaiian).
Dating back to 1901, the historic Moana Surfrider was the first hotel to open on Waikiki Beach. Because of its age, rooms in the main building are rather small. If you prefer something more spacious and modern, you should book your stay in the newer Tower Wing or Diamond Wing.
The hotel itself is gorgeous and has 600 feet of prime beachfront location right in the heart of Waikiki. You can grab a seat on the outdoor deck or underneath the historic banyan tree (which was planted over 100 years ago) to enjoy the crashing ocean waves or colorful Oahu sunset.
There’s a small ocean-facing pool, a fitness center, a spa, and six restaurants on the property. They also have a long list of daily events that you can partake in, including yoga, meditation, storytelling, ukulele lessons, and lei making.
Beachcomber by Outrigger
If you want an authentic Waikiki experience for a fraction of the price, then book a room at the Beachcomber by Outrigger. This craft hotel is a fun and wallet-friendly option for those who want to be close to everything Waikiki has to offer. You’ll be within walking distance of shops, restaurants, and the beach (1 block away).
When you stay at the Beachcomber, you’ll get to enjoy fun activities like daily live music, sunrise yoga, and dive-in movies at the pool. Maui Brewing Co. (or favorite restaurant) is also in the building, so you don’t even have to leave the hotel for food!
Keep in mind that the Beachcomber is not the same as the Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort – that’s the bigger and more expensive resort across the street on the beach!
The Embassy Suites is an excellent option for families, groups, or anyone needing a bit of extra space! Every single room in this hotel is a suite with a private bedroom and a separate living room with a pull-out sofa (two-bedroom suites are also available).
But that’s just one of the main reasons we love staying here. They also have tons of complimentary goodies, like made-to-order breakfast, evening poolside reception, fitness classes, and cultural activities.
There’s also a nice outdoor pool with a separate shallow section for kids. But if you prefer to head to the beach, then the shores of Waikiki are just across the street.
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Ritz Carlton Residences Waikiki
If you want to feel like a VIP, the Ritz Carlton Residences Waikiki should be at the top of your list. From the moment you check in at the sky lobby (yes, the sky lobby!), you’ll be treated to an unparalleled level of luxury.
Nearly half of all the rooms here are suites, with modern kitchens, outdoor terraces, and laundry units. But even if you stick to one of the standard rooms, you’ll still get to have a separate sitting area, a small kitchenette, and panoramic ocean views.
Other facilities at the Ritz include a spa, fitness center, two infinity pools, and a high-end sushi restaurant (book in advance if you want to dine here – there are only 10 seats!). The only downside is that it’s a 10-minute walk to the beach, although this can be a good thing if you want to avoid crowds.
Missing the comforts of home? Waikiki Shore is the only vacation rental property on Waikiki Beach and a good choice if you are looking for a short or long-term accommodation. Their 1- and 2-bedroom units are equipped with kitchenettes/kitchens, private lanais, and views of the ocean or neighboring For DeRussy Park.
The condo building doesn’t have a fitness center or even a pool of its own. But if you book your stay through Outrigger Hotels (as opposed to VRBO), then you’ll be able to use the facilities at the neighboring hotel.
Aston Waikiki Beach Tower
The Aston Waikiki Beach Tower has the conveniences of a condo and the luxury of a resort. The rooms are incredibly spacious and come with full kitchens, washer and dryer units, and floor-to-ceiling windows that open up to the private lanai. All rooms are ocean-facing, so you’ll be treated to amazing views every morning!
After a day at the beach (it’s just one block away), you can hang out in the hospitality lounge or take a dip in the outdoor pool. There’s also a fitness center, yoga room, and a recreation deck with BBQ grills and a billiards table.
Bonus: Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach
If you’re a Hyatt member looking to book a stay with points, the Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach is your best bet. This category 3 hotel starts at just 12,000 points a night for a city-view room. Considering that it’s just a short 5-minute walk from the beach, we think this is an excellent deal!
Amenities at the Hyatt Place include an outdoor sundeck with a pool, fitness center, computer area, and three different restaurants and cafes.
What’s the Best Part of Waikiki to Stay in?
Everyone has their own favorite part of Waikiki that they like to stay in. However, we highly recommend staying in the area south of Fort DeRussy Park, as it’s close to shopping, dining, and of course, the ocean!
And if your budget allows for it, then we suggest booking a hotel directly on the beach. Not only will you enjoy spectacular ocean views, but it’s also amazing to be able to step out of your room directly out onto the golden sands of the Oahu coast.
The Best Places to Stay in Waikiki for Families
If you’re traveling with kids, then you’ll likely want to stay in a hotel that caters specifically to families. Having a kid-friendly pool, fun activities, and live entertainment can really enhance the vacation experience for everyone.
Based on these factors, we believe that the best family hotels in Waikiki are the Royal Hawaiian, the Sheraton Waikiki, and the Hilton Hawaiian Village.
The Best Places to Stay in Waikiki for Couples
There’s a reason why Hawaii is one of the best places for a honeymoon or couples trip! Between the beautiful ocean views and sunsets, Waikiki is the perfect setting for a romantic getaway with your honey.
Any of the hotels on the list would be suitable for a couple’s trip, but we especially love the Halekulani and the Halepuna. Both of these resorts are renowned for their beachfront locations, impeccable service, and romantic ambiance to make your stay extra special.
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