In Waikiki, Hawaii, the number of things to do and see is nearly as breathtaking as the volcanic landscapes and tropical weather. It’s hard to see everything under the best conditions, and it becomes impossible if the wrong choice of hotel puts a morning commute between you and the fun. Read on, and we’ll tell you exactly where to stay so that you don’t miss a single thing Waikiki has to offer.
Where should I stay in Waikiki, HI?
- Outrigger Reef Waiki Beach Resort
- Halekulani Hotel
- Embassy Suites Waikiki Beach Walk
- Ritz-Carlton Residences
- Surfacejack Hotel & Swim Club
- Hawaiian King
- Waikiki Place
- Hilton Waikiki Village
- The Grand Waikiki
- The Hyatt Regency Waikiki
For most travelers, the best place to stay in Waikiki is off the Royal Hawaiian Beach, also called Waikiki Beach Center, where the central location grants easy access to some of the most amazing shopping, hiking, sight-seeing, and beaches in the world.
While Royal Hawaiian beach is the best option for most travelers, not every vacation is the same. A family trip might seek someplace a little quieter or less commercial, a romantic excursion might want some privacy, and surfers just want the water. Keep reading below while we break down where to go for which vacation, and even fill you in on the best resorts.
Where to Stay at the Royal Hawaiian Beach
Sail on a catamaran, paddle a Hawaiian outrigger, surf, or stroll north a couple blocks for window-shopping and nightlife; there’s always something to do by the Royal Hawaiian Beach. With so many hotels in the area, it can be hard to choose, so we’ve put together a list of recommendations that will make booking a Hawaiian breeze.
For those seeking the most upscale experience, try:
• Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort is a full-service resort whose amenities include a signature Hawaiian Vow Renewal ceremony, live music, and the exquisite lava-rock massage at the LaaKea Spa Hawaii.
• At the Halekulani Hotel, you’ll enjoy an environment of class in a full-service resort with an evening dress code. Children are allowed, but not encouraged.
• Embassy Suites by Hilton Waikiki Beach Walk is a beautiful property where visitors have been calling the complimentary breakfast a big win for years.
• The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach is a bit off the water, but with included kitchenette, washer and dryer in unit, and a staff that’s ready to greet you with a lei and a cold drink, the service more than makes up for the walk.
For night-life lovers, retail addicts, and those seeking more modestly priced packages (without sacrificing the luxury), we recommend moving off the waterways and staying at one of these boutique hotels:
• The Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club is in a perfect spot for retail and is home to the world-famous Olive and Oliver’s retail location.
• Hawaiian King offers condo-style rooms that travelers love, right by the International Marketplace.
• Waikiki Place is another condo-style hotel in the same area.
For Those Who Value Privacy…
If you’re looking to be alone with that special someone, you’re better off staying out of the center of Waikiki. Try Duke Kahanamoku Beach, where a private lagoon protects some of Waikiki’s most exclusive properties, or nearby Gray’s Beach, where the eroding shoreline limits the number of hotels and resorts. At either location, you’ll have convenient access to Fort DeRussy State park, where you’ll find gorgeous sand and sparse crowds.
• Hale Koa might be the best place to stay in all Waikiki! But it’s exclusively for members of the U.S. military and their families. If you’re eligible, this is the place to make your reservation (thank you for your service!). Take hula lessons, enjoy the garden tour, and don’t forget to visit the U.S. Army Museum on the property.
• Hilton Hawaiian Village is a beautiful resort with a huge beach and access to a private lagoon.
• The Grand Waikikian by Hilton Grand Vacations is a gorgeous resort with full kitchens available. This hotel is off the water a bit, but it’s one of the only resorts within comfortable walking distance of the Ala Moana center’s 350 businesses and 100 dining options.
• The Prince Waikiki is a boutique hotel option near the Ala Moana center, boasting a heated infinity pool, self-parking (a Waikiki rarity!), and a harbor overlooks that’s perfect for sunsets.
For Your Perfect Family Trip
Toward the southeastern end of Waikiki lies the Prince Kuhio beach. Here, two concrete walls stand in the water, built to create the perfect place for young children to enjoy the beautiful Hawaiian sea. Within these walls, the water is serene and still, with a soft sandy bottom that’s perfect for tender feet.
• The Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort & Spa is an upscale hotel just off the Prince Kuhio Beach waters.
• The Laylow, Autograph Collection sits slightly further north, in the heart of the retail district. Free shaved ice by the pool makes this well-staffed hotel a boutique favorite.
• The Shoreline Hotel Waikiki has recently been redesigned to fit a unique ‘neon meets nature’ theme that children are sure to love. It’s kid-friendly, but you’d better watch them closely at the rooftop pool!
• The Royal Grove Hotel is a cheaper option that locals rave about, and most rooms include a kitchen/kitchenette. Their Monday night musicals and Hawaiian dancing are must-see events, and they even offer free boogie board rentals.
• The Cabana at Waikiki is just two blocks off the beach and offers gorgeous views of Diamondhead Crater.
Just a bit past Prince Kuhio Beach is Queen Kapiolani Beach, home to an event called “Sunset on the Beach,” a huge party that culminates in a film showing on a 1000-foot screen. Check out Makee Properties’ affordable rooms with kitchenettes, which have an incredible view of Diamond Head volcanic cone.
From either Prince Kuhio’s Beach or Queen Kapiolani’s, you and the family will have easy access to the Waikiki Zoo, the Waikiki Aquarium, and to San Souci beach, home to some of the best snorkeling and surfing in the area.
Bargain Hunters in Paradise
In the year 2018, we’re no longer at the mercy of the hotel chains when it comes to finding a place to stay while on vacation. If you’d rather have a cheap room without all the frills that come with staying at a resort, you’re in luck! Airbnb and VRBO both have quite lively marketplaces in Waikiki. Hit the timing just right, and you might land a full apartment or condo in the middle of the action for under 100 bucks a night.
To get the best deal, check both platforms early and often. Good spaces in Waikiki will fill up fast, so follow these tips to ensure that you don’t miss out:
• Know what you’re looking to find. Use this post to help you settle on the part of town, then decide what amenities and how much space you’ll need so that you don’t waste too much search time on bad fits.
• Read the entire listing, and every review, to get the complete picture of what your stay might look like.
• When you find the perfect place, move quickly. Contact the host with any questions not answered by the listing, and then book as soon as possible.
• Check the resort prices against the price of any listing that appeals. The resorts sometimes offer specials that wind up being better deals than you’ll find on these platforms.
• If you have a car, be sure to look into the parking options before you book. Parking in Waikiki can be expensive!