Best Hotels in Waikiki

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What makes a hotel qualify as one of the best in Waikiki? At Oyster, we know that the "best hotel" is different for just about everyone. For some, the best hotel is the most luxurious, and for others, it's the one that offers the most for kids. We compiled lists of the best luxury hotels, best value hotels, best family-friendly hotels, most romantic hotels, "hidden gem" hotels, our favorite hotel rooms, and the best hotel spas. Don't have time to read all that? Not to fear. We selected one hotel from each list that bests its competitors (if only slightly). Below, we present the best hotels on Oahu.

  1. "Halekulani" translates to "house befitting heaven," and the hotel's clean lines, meticulous service, and serene, whitewashed ambience all live up to the property's name. Service is formal, thorough, and discreet; guests are personally escorted to rooms for check-in, lavished with welcome fruits and chocolates, and left little gifts each night on their pillows. The large, well-equipped rooms reflect the understated luxury of the rest of the hotel.

  2. Location, location, location -- the age-old motto certainly holds true in Waikiki, where mega resorts have tried to edge each other out for the choicest beachfront spots. Yet this budget hotel, with rates that tend to range between $100 and $150 a night, managed to squeeze its way in; the family-friendly Kuhio section of Waikiki Beach is right across the street. Back in the room, guests will find fun tropical decor, flat-screen TVs, and in most cases an ocean view. And a free, daily, hot breakfast adds another nice perk.

  3. The largest resort in Hawaii, the amenities-packed Hilton Hawaiian Village has more to offer families than any other property on Oahu. The crowds are big. But if you're willing to make a pre-breakfast detour to stake out chairs by one the resort's four impressive pools -- one is Waikiki's largest; another has four waterslides -- your kids will be thoroughly entertained. Among the premier attractions are the dozens of species of animals on the grounds, including parrots, penguins, and turtles; the calm, coral reef-protected waters at the beach; and the Friday night fireworks. And what'll you love? A chance for some kid-free relaxation, thanks to the Rainbow Express Keiki Club, which plans field trips to the aquarium or zoo and activities like Hawaiian crafts and sandcastle building, for kids ages five to 12. (And the $90 per day cost is half of the price of Sheraton's kids' club.)

  4. The flamingo-pink, 1927 iconic Royal Hawaiian is a popular, bustling hotel, but couples looking to focus on romance will find no shortage of ways to privately pamper themselves. Couples can dine in an enclosed cabana on the beach at Azure Restaurant, or book a private beachfront (or poolside) cabana during the day. In the afternoons, the hotel provides complimentary limo rides for travel within a one-mile radius of the hotel.

  5. On paper, Hotel Renew might look like a standard-issue budget property that's generally short on amenities. Indeed, it lacks a pool, fitness center, and on-site restaurants. But this charming, 72-room boutique has some of the most stylish rooms on the island, and some unexpected perks like a free (albeit simple) continental breakfasts, free Wi-Fi, and free beach chairs, bamboo beach mats, and boogie boards.

  6. The one- and two-bedroom condo units here are the newest in Waikiki, and their spiffy appliances earn them a spot on the top Hawaii room list. The fully equipped kitchens have GE appliances, including a full-size fridge and dishwasher. The spiffiness continues with tech perks like free Wi-Fi, two 37-inch flat-screen TVs with about 500 digital channels, a DVD player, and surround sound. Each suite has a Bosch washer and dryer too, making these rooms especially attractive for families on long stays. You can count on sleeping soundly on beds with six pillows, pillow-top mattresses, and high-thread-count linens.

  7. The 17,000-square-foot Moana Lani Spa is one of the largest and newest luxury spas in Waikiki. But what really makes it stand out is its prime location on Waikiki Beach. The ocean views from its swank treatment rooms, including its couples treatment suites with private balconies, are superb. The extensive facilities include oceanfront relaxation lounges, steam rooms, saunas, and a Jacuzzi. Massages start at $120, body treatments at $75, and facials at $125. Day passes are $40.

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