Oahu Travel Guide: Where to Stay in Waikiki

Waikiki Beach is one of the most famous beaches on the planet, a 2-mile stretch of white sand and calm turquoise blue ocean, fringed by towering high-rises and boutique resorts located on the South Shore of Honolulu, Oahu.  There are endless amounts of hotels and resorts to choose from in Honolulu, Oahu - but where should you start and where is the best place to stay in Waikiki Beach?


Waikiki Beach Overview:
The world-famous Waikiki Beach was once a playground for Hawaiian royalty and was first introduced to the world when its first hotel, the Moana Surfrider, was built on its shores in 1901.  Fast forward to today and Waikiki is Oahu’s main hotel and resort area - a vibrant gathering place for visitors from around the world. Along the main strip of Kalakaua Avenue in Waikiki you'll find world-class shopping, dining, entertainment, activities and resorts.

The Duke Kahanamoku Statue, located on Waikiki Beach, has become an iconic symbol of Waikiki and the surf culture of Oahu.  Legendary Hawaiian waterman (and Olympic gold medalist) Duke Kahanamoku grew up surfing the waves of Waikiki and was instrumental in sharing the values and sport of surfing to the world and came to be known and respected globally as 'the father of modern surfing'.

Waikiki Beach is almost entirely man-made, but there’s more to Waikiki than just the beach. Attractions near Waikiki like the Honolulu Zoo and the Waikiki Aquarium offer fun for the whole family. You can learn about the history of Waikiki by reading the surfboard markers along the Waikiki Historical Trail. Among the various things to do, high-end boutiques, shops, and restaurants can be found all along Kalakaua and Kuhio Avenues and at gathering places like the Royal Hawaiian Center, the Waikiki Beach Walk and the newly transformed International Market Place. After the Waikiki sunset, the fun continues with amazing nightlife and live music at places like the Maui Brewing Company Waikiki!


Best of all, Waikiki is within a half hour of a variety of Oahu attractions, including Pearl Harbor, Iolani Palace, the Nuuanu Pali Lookout, the Ko Olina area and Hanauma Bay. Other notable points of interest nearby include Ala Moana Center (a massive outdoor shopping center), the local neighborhood of Kapahulu and the arts district of Chinatown.


Where to Stay in Waikiki
In no particular order, here are my top choices to stay at when visiting Waikiki Beach and the Honolulu area:

Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort & Spa
Experience all the excitement of Waikiki from one incredible location. Steps from the azure blue waters and soft sands of Waikiki Beach, the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa offers magnificent personalized services, private lanais, and luxurious amenities.

Check out my detailed review here: Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort & Spa


Hilton Hawaiian Village
Located on the widest stretch of beach, this is Waikiki’s only true oceanfront resort with amenities to match. The resort offers twenty-two lush acres with five pools, a refreshing salt water lagoon, a wide variety of shopping and dining, activities and Friday night fireworks.

Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort
Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort is newly renovated and features completely refreshed guest rooms and a new oceanfront swimming pool.  Note that there are two other Outrigger Resorts in Waikiki - Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort and Waikiki Beachcomber by Outrigger.

The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach
Experience ultimate island luxury at the The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach, ushering a new level of luxury to Oahu.  Be sure to ask me about Ritz Carlton STARS amenities for your next stay here!

Embassy Suites by Hilton – Waikiki Beach Walk
Embassy Suites by Hilton, Waikiki Beach Walk is an all-suite resort in Waikiki that features one-and two-bedroom suites and complimentary amenities including daily breakfast and evening reception with cocktails and snacks.

The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort, Waikiki
The most coveted spot on Waikiki Beach is at The Royal Hawaiian, featuring luxurious guest rooms showcasing unrivaled panoramic views of Diamond Head and the sparkling Pacific Ocean. 

Be sure to ask me about Virtuoso amenities or the SPG Luxury Privileges Program for your next stay, where you can get daily breakfast, resort credits, room upgrades and more!


Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa
The Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa, often referred to as the "First Lady of Waikiki," is a legendary landmark hotel that introduced the world to Hawaiian hospitality in 1901. Take a step back into time, but still enjoy all of the contemporary amenities and unique services you'd come to expect of the Westin brand.


Sheraton Waikiki Hotel
Centrally located on World famous Waikiki Beach with a great pool deck area and 1702 guestrooms and 150 suites.  Rising on a half-mile of crisp white sand, the Sheraton Waikiki Beach Resort casts sparks with an endless whirl of entertainment.


Sheraton Princess Kaiulani Hotel
The Sheraton Princess Kaiulani hotel sits in the heart of Waikiki with specialty restaurants, a freshwater swimming pool, fitness center, nightly poolside entertainment and daily arts and crafts.


Marriott Waikiki Beach Resort & Spa
The Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort and Spa features some of the best views in Waikiki and a wide variety of guest services and amenities in the heart of Waikiki. Featuring a newly renovated Nanea Lobby and event spaces, the resort is situated only steps from world-famous Waikiki Beach.


Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach
Discover the chic side of Waikiki at the newly remodeled Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach. From contemporary guest rooms & suites to Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto's world-renowned cuisine to a lively day-into-night pool scene, Alohilani blends Hawaii’s cultural heritage with an elegant style that’s uniquely Aloha Chic.


Be sure to check out the Oceanarium at the Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach as well!


Aston Waikiki Beach
Located on the most scenic end of Waikiki and directly across from Waikiki Beach, this hotel features an outdoor pool, fitness center, with contemporary guest rooms that offer a lanai.


Hyatt Centric Waikiki Beach
Located only a short stroll away from the beach, the Hyatt Centric Waikiki Beach is a great option for a hotel off the main Waikiki Beach strip.


Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach
Enjoy daily breakfast in this 426 hotel located close to Waikiki Beach, Honolulu Zoo, Kapiolani Park, shopping and dining.


The Kahala Hotel & Resort
This secluded beachfront resort, just 10 minutes from Waikiki, features spacious accommodations, a world-class spa, world class dining at five restaurants, CHI Health Energy Fitness Center and a private lagoon with resident dolphins.

Halekulani
On five prime oceanfront acres, Halekulani has been a Waikiki Beach landmark for almost 100 years. Each tropically elegant guestroom features a large lanai that opens to views of the gardens, the Pacific Ocean or Diamond Head.


Virtuoso travel advisors have global connections to make your trip better. When you check in, you’re a VIP and can expect exclusive amenities such as room upgrade on arrival, daily breakfast, resort credits, early check-in/late checkout, spa treatment credits, special Virtuoso experiences and more!

If you're planning a trip to Hawaii, be sure to send me a message for quotes, travel tips and more!  

I have access to Virtuoso hotel amenities as a Virtuoso Travel Advisor, SPG Luxury Privileges, Ritz Carlton STARS, Hyatt Prive (coming soon!), and other great deals available from wholesale travel suppliers such as Pleasant Holidays, Classic Vacations, Blue Sky Tours, Travel Impressions, Southwest Vacations and many more!