There are plenty of reasons Waikiki is the most popular destination in all of Hawaii. Nestled in the heart of Honolulu – in southern Oahu – Waikiki is home to six picture-perfect beaches making it a popular spot for swimming, surfing, and snorkeling. While you could easily spend a week soaking up the sun on one of Waikiki’s beaches, there’s so much more to this slice of paradise than just the beach!
Families will love visiting the Honolulu Zoo and Waikiki Aquarium in Kapiolani Park, while nature enthusiasts will definitely want to follow the historic hiking trail to glimpse the incredible Diamond Head Crater or embark on a whale watching tour.
Waikiki may be small but the city is densely packed with nearly 500 high rises. Walk around town and you’ll find endless shops, restaurants, and galleries to keep you entertained.
Shopaholics should definitely pay a visit to the high-end stores at the International Market Place and Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center. During your trip, you’ll come across tons of shops where you can pick up souvenirs and local handicrafts.
And of course, no trip to Hawaii’s capital city is complete without indulging in Hawaii’s famous foods. You can sip local coffee at Kona Coffee Purveyors, sample authentic Hawaiian dishes at Helena’s, and get your fill of fresh Japanese fare at Sushi Sho.
If you’re looking for a place to stay, there’s no doubt that Waikiki is brimming with stylish boutique hotels, lavish oceanfront resorts, and exclusive residential-style hotels. So many, in fact, that you might have a hard time choosing the perfect one. So we’ve created a list of the 12 best hotels in Waikiki to help you plan your perfect getaway!
- Where to Stay in Waikiki
- 1. The Royal Hawaiian
- 2. Moana Surfrider
- 3. ‘Alohilani Resort
- 4. Halekūlani
- 5. Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club
- 6. Queen Kapiʻolani Hotel
- 7. The Laylow
- 8. Hotel Renew
- 9. ESPACIO THE JEWEL OF WAIKIKI
- 10. The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach Hotel
- 11. Halepuna Waikiki
- 12. Lotus Honolulu at Diamond Head
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Where to Stay in Waikiki
If this is your first visit to Oahu or your tenth, Waikiki is the perfect place to base yourself. The 1.5-square-mile Honolulu neighborhood is nestled right on the sandy shores of Waikiki Beach and at the base of beautiful Diamond Head. The area may be small, but Waikiki actually boasts the highest number of hotels in the entire state!
It’s no secret that some of the best hotels in Waikiki are located right on the beach. If you’re planning the ultimate beach vacation, you can’t go wrong with a beachfront resort. The sandy beach and shimmering ocean are literally steps away!
You’ll find plenty of luxurious retreats and stylish boutique hotels hidden away on the bustling streets of Waikiki. While these places may not occupy oceanfront real estate, you’ll be surrounded by the area’s best rooftop bars, gourmet restaurants, and upscale shops. No matter where you decide to stay in Waikiki the beach is never more than a few blocks away.
12 Best Boutique Hotels in Waikiki
Built in 1927, The Royal Hawaiian was one of the first hotels in Waikiki. Known as the “Pink Palace of the Pacific” due to its bright pink facade, this iconic hotel has long been a magnet for celebrities and dignitaries. There’s a reason it’s known as one of the coolest hotels in Waikiki!
Step inside this retro hotel and you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to another era. The hotel is so picturesque dozens of movies and TV shows have been filmed here, including Mad Men!
For a quintessential Royal Hawaiian experience, you can opt to stay in the historic wing. The luxurious rooms are outfitted with mid-century modern furniture, comfy beds, and marble ensuites. For a more modern touch, the chic Mailani Tower Oceanfront rooms boast colorful murals, pink bathrobes, and furnished lanais with ocean views.
Explore the grounds and you’ll find a 1950s-style pool surrounded by pink lounge chairs and private cabanas, a luxury spa, and multiple bars and restaurants. Mai Tai Bar mixes up creative cocktails right on the beach. And if you’re craving a fancy seafood dinner, Azure is the perfect pick.
Moana Surfrider first opened its doors in 1901 and still stands proud as Waikiki’s first-ever hotel. Step inside this Beaux-Arts-style building and you’ll be wowed by the impressive lobby and its white columns and grand staircase. Don’t be surprised if you see a couple of wedding shoots taking place in the lobby during your stay!
Perched directly on Waikiki Beach, the location can’t be beat. Not only is the shimmering ocean just steps away but you can while away the days around the pool, keep up with your exercise routine in the fully outfitted gym, and enjoy the daily afternoon tea, which is served under the hotel’s towering banyan tree.
When it comes to food and drink, you’ll have six on-site bars and restaurants to choose from. The hotel’s star culinary attraction is the beachfront restaurant, Beachhouse at the Moana. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a fine cut of steak and a glass of red wine from the award-winning wine list.
After an action-packed day, you’ll love unwinding in the elegant rooms. Just throw on the luxury robe and get comfy on the plush bed!
3. ‘Alohilani Resort
If you’re looking to stay in the coolest hotel in Waikiki, look no further than ‘Alohilani Resort. This hotel has so many unique amenities we doubt you’ll ever want to leave. The 1960s hotel was given a $115 million restoration in 2017 and is now one of the most chic hotels in the area.
You’ll definitely want to grab drinks in the open-air lobby and marvel at the sea creatures swimming in the 280,000-gallon Oceanarium. After that, head over to the chic pool deck where you can rent a private cabana, work on your tan on a lounge chair, take in the ocean views from the saltwater infinity pool, and sip umbrella drinks at the pool bar. If that’s not enough, ‘Alohilani Resort also boasts clay tennis courts, batting cages, a fitness center, and a spa!
From an ice cream shop to two restaurants created by internationally acclaimed Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto, ‘Alohilani has seven super popular bars and eateries. You’ll definitely want to make dinner reservations at the coveted Morimoto Asia, which serves up innovative pan-Asian dishes from kung pao oysters to surf and turf sushi.
The aloha chic rooms all boast balconies with at least partial ocean views, 55-inch smart TVs, and luxe ensuites. You’ll love the handy extras including the Keurig coffee makers, microwaves, and Malie Organics Koke’e Collection bath products.
If you’re planning the ultimate romantic getaway, Halekulani is one of the best hotels in Waikiki. Expect to be treated like royalty by the ultra-attentive staff during your vacation. There’s a reason this place has the reputation as Honolulu’s finest luxury hotel!
The rooms are all outfitted with the hotel’s “Seven Shades of White” signature décor. You’ll love the fresh orchids, marble ensuites with deep soaking tubs, and private lanais with views of Diamond Head. If you want to go all out, the premiere suites come with a dedicated private butler, a private kitchen, and complimentary SUV transportation to and from the airport.
During the day you can hang out around the 82-foot-long oceanfront pool, get a couple’s massage at the spa, or sign up for the hotel’s complimentary surf and SUP lessons.
It’s no surprise that Halekulani is home to award-winning restaurants. If you’re planning a romantic night out, look no further than La Mer. Orchids is a prime spot for Sunday brunch and the famous House Without a Key is the place to go for sunset Mai Tais, live Hawaiian music, and traditional hula performances.
If you want to stay in a quintessential Hawaii hotel, The Surfjack is one of the coolest hotels in Waikiki. Located two blocks from the Waikiki Beach Walk, you’ll be a stone’s throw from the area’s best beaches, shops, and restaurants.
This vintage hotel was designed to mimic the beach bungalows found on the island’s famous North Shore. So expect to find handcrafted mid-century furniture, surfing photographs, and vintage Hawaiian postcards in each of the 112 rooms.
With its “wish you were here” mosaic floor, the 1920s-style pool is especially Insta-worthy. If you want to have a low-key evening at the hotel, gather around the pool for the nightly movie screenings.
The Surfjack is also home to local favorite, Mahina & Sun’s. Acclaimed local chef Ed Kenney serves up elevated Hawaiian fare – from ahi poke bowls to Kualoa Ranch oysters to dark chocolate butter mochi. Stop by to enjoy the restaurant’s specially blended coffee in the mornings and hand-crafted cocktails in the evenings.
Located one block away from Waikiki Beach, right across from the Honolulu Zoo, Queen Kapi’olani Hotel is the perfect pick for an epic Hawaiian getaway. There are plenty of reasons this place is consistently rated as one of the best hotels in Waikiki!
In true Honolulu fashion, the friendly staff will greet you with a Dole pineapple whip tasting and a pair of QK reusable water bottles. If you’re traveling with your little ones, you’ll also get discounted tickets to the nearby Honolulu Zoo and the Waikiki Aquarium.
You’ll love lounging around the third-floor pool and the Outdoor Living Room area while taking in unobstructed views of Diamond Head. The hotel also offers complimentary yoga classes, lei-making workshops, and running groups. If you time your trip right, you can also enjoy live music by local artists while sipping your favorite umbrella drinks at the Outdoor Living Room.
At the end of a sun-soaked day, you’ll love crashing out in the tropical-chic rooms. If you want to go big, the penthouse suite is well worth it for its massive private lanai and sweeping views of Diamond Head and the ocean.
7. The Laylow
With its 1960s Hawaiian retro aesthetic, The Laylow is hands down one of the coolest boutique hotels in Waikiki. The staff will go above and beyond to make sure you have the best vacation possible. They even welcome you with a complimentary welcome basket filled with local snacks and a pair of flip-flops!
The Insta-worthy rooms are the epitome of stylish. You’ll love the mid-century decor, tropical accent walls, and private lanais. If you want direct access to the saltwater pool, the cabana rooms boast private poolside patios with chic swinging pod chairs.
Head up to the rooftop in the mornings where you can enjoy healthy breakfasts and Stumptown coffee drinks. This is also the perfect place to gather over happy hour cocktails in the evenings. The hotel is also home to the Seoul Tofu House, which serves up seriously good soondubu (Korean soft tofu stew) and cold noodle dishes.
The Laylow is located an easy 6-minute walk from Waikiki Beach and all of the shops and restaurants of the International Market Place and Kuhio Avenue.
8. Hotel Renew
If big hotel chains aren’t your thing, you’ll love staying at Hotel Renew. Plus, this designer boutique hotel is pet-friendly if you’re planning to travel with your furry friend!
There’s a reason Hotel Renew is considered one of the best boutique hotels in Waikiki. Located one block from Kuhio Beach, you can enjoy complimentary use of the hotel’s beach chairs, towels, boogie boards, and snorkel gear for the ultimate beach day.
After a sun-soaked day at the beach, you can crash out in the stylish rooms. All rooms are outfitted with mid-century furniture, plush beds, and luxe ensuites. You’ll love all of the thoughtful extras including in-room yoga mats and workout equipment, premium bath products, and fragrant bags of local lavender. If you want to make the most of the location, book a room with a private lanai and ocean view on one of the higher-level floors.
Head down to the lobby where you can mingle over hand-crafted cocktails, graze on local treats, and peruse the shop’s wellness products and travel essentials. While the hotel doesn’t have a restaurant, most of Waikiki’s best eateries and bars are a short stroll away.
ESPACIO is the perfect pick if you want to live in the lap of luxury during your Hawaiian vacation. The high-end hotel opened its doors in the fall of 2019 and has been pampering guests ever since. With only nine lavish suites, this is definitely the most unique boutique hotel in Waikiki.
Each three-bedroom suite takes up an entire floor of this nine-story building and has a private elevator entrance. The impeccably designed suites boast Italian marble, Moroccan metalwork, and all sorts of incredible amenities curated to your specific tastes.
You can whip up gourmet meals in the chef’s kitchen, mingle over cocktails in the regal living room, or unwind in the outdoor Jacuzzi while taking in the ocean views. If that’s not enough, you’ll also have access to a private butler who will offer you “perfectly executed, anticipatory service.”
You’ll also have access to the rooftop infinity pool, a full-service spa, and the exclusive Mugen restaurant. The acclaimed chef serves up globally sourced French-Japanese dishes paired with rare wines and Japanese whiskeys. If you want a more intimate experience, your private butler will serve the full Mugen dinner in your suite!
If you’re searching for luxury accommodation in the heart of town, The Ritz-Carlton Residences is one of the best hotels in Waikiki. The residential-style units are especially handy for families or small groups looking for a luxurious home away from home during their Hawaiian vacation.
You can choose from one- to four-bedroom suites. Each unit is outfitted with modern island-inspired decor, floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Waikiki Beach, and furnished balconies. You can cook up gourmet meals in the fully outfitted kitchen, keep up with your favorite Netflix shows with the 55-inch smart TV, and luxuriate in the deep soaking tub.
If you can manage to tear yourself away from your dreamy room, head to the rooftop where you’ll find a huge infinity pool surrounded by lounge chairs and private cabanas. And if you want to really get into vacation mode, get a rejuvenating volcanic stone massage at the on-site spa.
Get your morning coffee jolt downstairs at Dean & DeLuca, socialize over sushi and sake at Sushi Sho, or dine on homemade Italian fare at Quiora. But be sure to enjoy at least one dinner at La Vie where you can pair modern French dishes with fine wines.
11. Halepuna Waikiki
The Halepuna was recognized as the Best Hawaii Hotel from Travel + Leisure in 2020 so you know it’s something special! This gem of a boutique hotel is perched right on the ocean in the heart of Waikiki.
The entire space was designed by internationally acclaimed interior design firm, Champalimaud. So expect to find Instagrammable areas throughout this incredible hotel.
One of Halepuna’s coolest features is its eighth-floor Urban Oasis. Head up here to take in panoramic views of Waikiki Beach, swim laps in the infinity pool, soak in the hot tub, and sip specialty cocktails at the pool bar. If you walk over to the sister hotel across the street, you can get pampered at SpaHalekulani and dine at the popular Halekulani Bakery & Restaurant.
You’ll love the stylish rooms, which are outfitted with art taken by local photographers, plush beds, and floor-to-ceiling windows leading out to private lanais. If you want to go all out, it’s well worth booking one of the Ocean Suites for their separate living rooms, wet bars, and private balconies with unobstructed ocean views.
Lotus Honolulu is located on the edge of Waikiki, just across the street from Kapiolani Park. Not only is Diamond Head a few minutes away but the beach is just 60 steps from the hotel!
The stylish rooms are outfitted with polished dark wood floors, wood platform beds, and mid-century modern furniture. You can hunker down with a good book on the chaise lounge, brew your morning cup of joe with the in-room coffee maker, and enjoy the garden or ocean views from your private lanai.
If you’re feeling social don’t miss out on the weekly evening wine tastings or if you want to explore the neighborhood, hop on one of the hotel’s loaner bikes and get cruising. Or if you just want to beeline it straight to the beach, you can borrow beach gear from the hotel!
You’ll find the hotel’s restaurant TBD…by Vikram Garg on the second floor. The upscale French-inspired restaurant serves up innovative dishes like sundried tomato tartare, foie gras gyoza, and Kurobuta pork chops with cauliflower gratin. The 4-course tasting menu with wine pairings is well worth the splurge!
That ‘s it – 12 of the best Waikiki hotels! Did we miss any cool boutique hotels in Waikiki? Comment below so we can add them to the list!
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