Whether you’re visiting Hawaii for the first time, planning a girl’s trip, honeymoon, or a family getaway, there is plenty of luxury, boutique, and budget accommodations to suit your travel style. These are the best places to stay on Oahu to enjoy the ultimate aloha experience.
How to Decide Where to Stay on Oahu
Waikiki Beach + Ala Moana
The south shore is home to the world-famous Waikiki Beach, and it’s a prime destination for restaurants, nightlife, and upscale shopping. Here you’ll find some of the best hotels on the island, including Halekulani, the Modern Honolulu, and The Royal Hawaiian. Enjoy a surf lesson, hike Diamond Head Crater, and book a catamaran cruise to watch the sunset.
An hour’s drive from Waikiki, the North Shore, is heaven on earth. Start your day with a stop in Haleiwa and grab breakfast or lunch in this historic town before visiting Waimea Bay and Sunset Beach. Visit the Polynesian Cultural Center to experience a luau. During the summer months, the waves are flat and perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and diving. In winter, the surf is big; it’s best to sit back and watch the professionals at work. Surf competitions are typically held in November through December, and North Shore can get pretty busy.
The Westside is pristine, uncrowded, and beautiful. If you’re traveling to Oahu with kids, they’ll love a chance to meet Mickey and Friends and the lazy river at the Disney Aulani Resort. Want to experience the ultimate luxury stay? Check out the Four Seasons Resort. Visit Ko Olina for the Paradise Cove Luau, and don’t leave home without visiting Makaha, Yokohama Bay, and Makua Beach.
Kailua + Lanikai
Take a drive on the Kalanianaole Highway and enjoy the scenic road with plenty of lookouts for whale watching. There are also several hikes along this route, including the Makapuu Lighthouse trail and Tom-Tom trail. Rent a kayak in Kailua, head to the Mokulua Islands, or go on a full moon hike on the Lanikai Pillbox trail.
Where to Stay on Oahu
These are the best luxury, boutique, unique and affordable options on Oahu.
Best Boutique Hotels on Oahu
The Modern Honolulu | Ala Moana Blvd.
The Modern Honolulu Hotel in Honolulu, Hawaii, is a luxury boutique hotel overlooking Waikiki and Ala Moana. This boutique hotel is near all the action in Waikiki, yet a bit further from the main hustle and bustle. The hotel is located near Kahanamoku Beach, Ala Moana Bowls, and the Hilton Lagoon. Watch the sunset from the pools or balconies. The Penthouse features floor-to-ceiling windows and ocean views as far as the eye can see. It’s the ultimate luxury experience on Oahu.
The Laylow Waikiki | Waikiki
If you love mid-century modern style, then The Laylow Waikiki is the perfect boutique hotel for you. Tucked away on Kuhio Avenue in Waikiki, this 4-star hotel has a saltwater pool and a chic lounge with fire pits. Enjoy live music and cocktails at The Hideout, the hotel restaurant and bar.
Best Luxury Hotels
For the ultimate luxury experience, check in to the Four Seasons Resort on Oahu’s western coast. Relax at the adult’s only infinity pool, treat yourself to a spa day or watch Oahu’s sunsets while sipping on your favorite cocktail. Traveling with kids? There’s a Keiki pool for families and a complimentary camp with activities for children and teens.
Halekulani | waikiki
Located in the heart of Waikiki, Halekulani is the luxury getaway you’ve been dreaming about. Soak in the oceanfront views of Diamond Head, practice yoga on the beach, and enjoy lunch poolside. Halekulani is near some of the best shopping in Waikiki, including the Royal Hawaiian Center and International Market Place.
Treat yourself to a luxury escape with spectacular ocean view rooms. After you check-in, change into your swimsuit and head straight to one of the two outdoor pools. There are four restaurants and a 24-hour fitness center. Note – This luxury hotel isn’t on the beach, but it’s within walking distance.
Where to Stay on Oahu Besides Waikiki
If you’re wondering where to stay on Oahu, that’s not in Waikiki, check out The New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel. This beachfront hotel is near Diamond Head Crater, the Honolulu Zoo, and Kapi’olani Regional Park. Kaimana is one of my favorite beaches, and it’s a great place to swim and watch the sunset.
Best Places to Stay on Oahu For Families
Make your family vacation an incredible experience the kids will never forget with a visit to Aulani. This Disney Resort is located on Oahu’s West side, approximately an hour’s drive from Waikiki. The little ones will love floating in the lazy river and splashing down the slides. There is endless entertainment for kids, including shows, a luau, and beach fun. Keep your camera handy to snap photos with Mickey, Moana, and friends.
If you prefer to stay in Waikiki, the Hilton Hawaiian Village is located right on the beach. There are five outdoor swimming pools with waterslides for families to enjoy. The Hilton Lagoon on the beach is also a great place to spend the afternoon. Need a moment to yourself? Book a relaxing spa experience at the Mandara Spa.
Best Places to Stay on Oahu For Couples
The Royal Hawaiian | Waikiki
Known as “The Pink Palace of the Pacific,” the Royal Hawaiian is an iconic destination in Waikiki. This timeless luxury hotel features ocean-view suites and world-class dining experiences. Getting married? This is a beautiful romantic location for your destination wedding.
Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa | Waikiki
Enjoy beachfront luxury at the historic Moana Surfrider. Located on the beach in Waikiki, this luxurious property features a towering banyan tree, an outdoor pool, a beachfront spa, and six bars and restaurants. Listen to live music near the pool and enjoy a mai tai while you watch the sunset.
Queen Kapiolani Hotel | Waikiki
Soak in the best views of Diamond Head from the outdoor pool, bar, and lounge at the Queen Kapiolani Hotel. Located in Waikiki, this hotel is a short walk from the beach and near Kapiolani Park.
Unique Places to Stay in Oahu
The Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club | Waikiki
If you’re searching for a chic boutique hotel in Waikiki, look no further than The Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club. The decor has some major vintage vibes, and the rooms feature mid-century inspired furniture and artwork from local artists. Don’t be surprised if you want to extend your stay!
Prince Waikiki | Near Ala Moana Harbor
As soon as you check-in at the Prince Waikiki, head straight to the 5th-floor pool deck to relax and unwind and watch the sunset. This 4-star hotel is a bit removed from the busy Waikiki scene but within walking distance from the beach. It’s located near the Ala Wai Harbor and not too far from Ala Moana Shopping Center.
Best Places to Stay on Oahu on a Budget
Shoreline Hotel Waikiki | Waikiki
If you want to experience a 70s retro feel, Shoreline Hotel Waikiki is bright, tropical, and fun. This 3.5-star hotel has a rooftop pool, and it’s a short walk to the beach. It’s also conveniently located next to plenty of shops and restaurants in Waikiki.
Aqua Oasis | Waikiki
If you’re on the hunt for an affordable option in Waikiki, put Aqua Oasis on your list. You’ll get a continental breakfast included with your stay, and each room has a deep soaking tub to help you relax after a long adventure day.
Best Places to Stay on Oahu’s North Shore
Turtle Bay Resort | Kahuku
If you’re planning a stay on the North Shore, you’ll love Turtle Bay Resort. It’s one of my favorites! In 2021, this resort reopened with some major upgrades, including a newly redesigned entrance, lobby, and restaurants. Check out the Ocean Bungalows for the ultimate getaway experience.
Awesome things to do on Oahu
With some of the best beaches and surf in the world, there are countless bucket list experiences on Oahu. Spend time climbing mountains. Explore some of the best hikes in Hawaii. Swim with turtles and visit some of the best beaches in the world. Eat local food and embrace the “aloha” spirit.
Pearl Harbor National Memorial
Visit the Pearl Harbor National Memorial and learn about the attack on Pearl Harbor. Check out exhibit galleries, the USS Arizona Memorial, USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park, and the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum.
Free Fireworks Show
Don’t miss the free fireworks show every Friday at 7:45 pm. The light display is hosted by the Hilton Hawaiian Village, near the Modern Honolulu hotel. Visit the sunset pool for a cocktail and a great view of the show.
Take a sunset cruise
One of the best ways to experience Waikiki is on a boat. With iconic views of Diamond Head and the city skyline, spending a few hours on the water is always a good time. Daily catamaran and boat cruises are available in the morning and around sunset in Waikiki.
Get warmed up at THE STUDY Bar + Lounge inside the Modern Honolulu. Go beyond the lobby bookshelves and step into a chic lounge. THE STUDY has Happy Hour every night from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Live music starts at 8:00 pm. After a few hours at THE STUDY, make your way past the velvet rope to ADDICTION, one of the hottest nightclubs in Honolulu. Reserve a table and dance the night away.
Just a few blocks away, you’ll find the Hideout at the Laylow in Waikiki. Enjoy live entertainment every night of the week, before making your way to Sky Waikiki. Cool off with the tropical breeze at this rooftop bar and restaurant/nightclub. Enjoy happy hour drink specials from 5 pm – 9 pm.
Thanks for checking out our guide to the best places to stay on Oahu. Wondering what to do on Oahu, where to eat, and the best places to hike? Check out my other travel guides on the blog.