No matter what experience beckons you to Hawaii — a thrilling outrigger canoe trip, hikes with breathtaking views, lazily back-floating through bathtub-temperature waves — it’s unquestionably better when bookended by a stay in a great hotel. We’ve reviewed hundreds of the best hotels in Hawaii and selected the top accommodations sure to please the discerning traveler. Read on to find your ideal digs during your Hawaiian vacation.
That name is no accident. This ultra-modern Honolulu luxury hotel from the Marriott group will turn you into an expert flaneur with hammock chairs, complimentary shave ice, and walking-distance access to Honolulu’s best street scenes. They also offer important mainland imports like Stumptown coffee, Slowtide towels, and that monstera wallpaper you’ve been seeing all over Instagram. And if you’ve ever wondered how midcentury modern design might translate to a tropical climate, the Laylow is proof that it works.
Formerly known as the Hawaii Polo Inn, the Equus glows with understated elegance. Fans of Ralph Lauren will recognize his signature touches all over the contemporary interior design while history buffs will get lost in the vintage photographs that line the walls. Located just steps from Waikiki Beach, as well as the island’s best shopping and nightlife, the Equus is designed for a good night’s sleep with just four rooms per floor. Amenities include two swimming pools, tennis court, and outdoor whirlpool spa, along with thoughtful touches like biodegradable amenities, organic in-suite coffee, and … what was that other thing? Oh, yes — complimentary tickets to Sunday matches at the Hawaii Polo Club on Oahu’s North Shore.
If your happy place is being at the center of a scene, you better post up at the Surfjack. This ultra-hip boutique hotel is where Waikiki’s bright young things mix and mingle poolside, whether it be to watch an open-air movie premiere, or enjoy adults-only swim time during happy hour (yes, cocktails are served). With included amenities like an in-room welcome basket, complimentary bikes, reef-safe sunscreen, and even dinner credit at adjoining restaurant Mahina and Sun’s, the Surfjack is serious about leisure.
Located near the freshwater springs that give Waikiki its name, Halekulani has the distinction of being one of Hawaii’s first hotels. Built in 1907 and expanded by each generation of owners, the hotel continues its hospitality legacy with an ethic of understated elegance and world-class refinement. With all rooms decorated in Halekulani’s signature “seven shades of white,” the only decision you’ll have to make is whether you want your lanai to look out at the ocean, or at Diamond Head Crater. Dine al fresco in the shade of a century-old kiawe tree, float in the heated pool, groove to live jazz music over dinner, and bask in the legendary service that comes from the highest staff-to-guest ratio of any Hawaiian hotel.
Tucked away on the gold coast of Waikiki, many consider this hidden gem one of Honolulu’s best-kept secrets. With the iconic Diamond Head Crater looming on the horizon, plus local hangouts Kapiolani Park and Ala Wai Canal Promenade just a short stroll away, you’ll experience the best of both nature and urban settings. Private lanais, free valet parking, evening wine tasting sessions, complimentary bikes and beach necessities, and an outdoor shower for post-adventure cleanup round out a suite of amenities designed for the traveler who likes to be a little fussed over.
Located on a 30-acre estate in the heart of Kona coffee country, this intimate country inn offers a taste of what Hawaii’s original settlers must have felt. Perched at 1,400 feet elevation on the slopes of Mount Hualalai, each of the inn’s eight accommodations (four guest rooms, two suites, and two cottages) features unique decor and design. Work off your homemade farm-to-table breakfast with a stroll around Holualoa’s acres of heritage fruit and coffee trees and beautifully tended flower gardens. Stop for a meditative pause in a gazebo overlooking the ocean or head back for a dip in the mosaic pool, and make sure to spend an afternoon perusing the beautifully restored ranch house. No matter how you spend your day, be sure to end it with a glass of wine in the rooftop gazebo while watching the sun set.
Thrill-seekers, seek no more. Your perfect Hawaii accommodation is waiting for you on the rim of the Kilauea caldera. Originally built in 1846, Volcano House now offers 33 guest rooms, suites, and campsites located right within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Choose a crater-view room so you can wake up to the sound of songbirds — that morning cup of coffee on the lanai gets an extra kick from the tinge of sulfur in the air. Step outside, or select one of Volcano House’s complimentary bicycles, and you’re already on your way to explore the island’s most iconic natural wonders. If all this weren’t enough, Volcano House gets extra points for a menu full of locally sourced food and drink, a robust recycling program, and certification as a Hawaii Green Business.
A world unto itself, this palatial resort will take your breath away with its dreamy Moorish architecture. Warm trade winds waft through the open lobby, bougainvillea nods at the edges of your lanai, and the generously sized suites include a separate entertainment area, bar, and marble bathroom that is hard to leave behind, even with the beach beckoning just outside. If you’re traveling with a big group, opt for one of the multi-bedroom villas that feature a full gourmet kitchen, dining area, full entertainment system, and a private courtyard with a plunge pool and barbecue grill.
Located in Maui’s rolling green upcountry, Lumeria offers a tranquil escape for the wellness-focused traveler. Housed in a former convalescent home built in 1910, this boutique hotel pairs the historic charm of four-poster beds and wraparound porches with natural modern touches like a stone-floor shower and a salt-water pool. Organic meals, juice cleanses, yoga workshops, and a slate of esoteric bodywork offerings (Reiki, craniosacral work, crystal massage, etc.) make up your high-vibe experience at Lumeria. Just down the hill is the village of Paia, where you can enjoy a kombucha and an avocado toast with the local crowd of surfers and artists. At night, slip away into the on-site pine forest, where you can swing in a hammock and stare up at the stars.
This 1920s-era boutique hotel is housed in the former residence of James Dole, of Dole pineapple fame. With just 11 rooms decorated in a warm mix of modern minimalism and vintage Hawaiiana, this cozy, intimate and thoughtful hotel gives you the feeling of staying with friends. (Friends who just happen to live on Hawaii’s most exclusive island.) A far cry from the hustle of Waikiki Beach, the Hotel Lanai might be the most tranquil option on our list. Whether you’re relaxing in your bamboo-paneled suite, meandering through ancient temple ruins, or keeping an eye on the shoreline for humpback whales, a visit to the island of Lanai is all about awakening the senses and connecting with nature.
Forget everything you thought you knew about B&Bs. One stay at the Palmwood and you’ll be planning your vacations for the next 10 years. Located on a secluded 5-acre estate in Kauai’s hill country, the Palmwood is modeled after traditional Japanese country inns, with just three painstakingly curated rooms that emphasize open space for a feeling of deep serenity. Vaulted ceilings, French doors, private lanais, Parachute bed linens, locally sourced meals, private hot tubs, complimentary bikes — need we go on? It’s the kind of place you’ll want to keep secret from all your friends.
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