Where to Stay On Oahu, Hawaii
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3rd Feb | 19 min read

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    Oahu is Hawaii's most populated island by far, and it has a reputation for being overdeveloped, commercialized, and crowded. Oahu simply can't seem to get a break! The good news is that if you spend some time researching where to stay on Oahu, almost every visitor will be able to find the kind of experience they want on this apparently overcrowded island paradise. Finding the ideal location to stay on Oahu may make or break your whole trip!

    In this post, we'll go through the pros and cons to help you choose the ideal region of Oahu for your vacation - including where to stay on Oahu outside Waikiki if the large metropolis doesn't appeal to you. We'll also assist you in locating the finest locations to stay in each area of the island.

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    The center of Oahu is Waikiki. It’s about a 20-30 minutes drive from Honolulu airport and the most popular tourist destination on Oahu. The bulk of the hotels are located along this well-known beach strip. Hundreds of restaurants, cafes, tour centers, transportation choices, and convenience shops are all available. It offers a fantastic beginner-friendly surf break. There is a beach atmosphere all around.

    Waikiki is the most popular destination for families. They are conveniently situated for all excursions to various locations on the island. Children may swim on sheltered beaches without fear of being swept away by the waves. A number of man-made reef breaks serve as saltwater swimming pools. Waikiki is home to a plethora of nightclubs and laid-back pubs. It is a secure area as well as a shopping paradise since it features all of the major chains.

    Pro’s of staying in Waikiki

    • You'll have a lot of options to choose from. There are hundreds of various accommodation choices available, ranging from 5-star hotels to hostels.

    • It's near the beach

    • Swimming areas for children and novice swimmers that are protected from large waves.

    • Perfect little surf waves and surf lessons

    • Waikiki has the finest weather on the island.

    • There's a lot to do within walking distance.

    • There are many restaurants.

    • There is an ABC store on every block.

    • Waikiki is the starting and ending point for all excursions!

    Cons of staying in Waikiki

    • Everything is pretty expensive (Hotel, Parking, Food) in Waikiki.

    • It’s also really busy.

    • It's touristy. When the weather is bright and sunny, you’ll find a lot of people on the beach. 

    • There is a lot of noise

    • It has the feel of a metropolis on the beach. Like a seaside Las Vegas strip.

    Where to stay in Waikiki

    Sheraton Waikiki

    A premium resort featuring the island's most beautiful infinity pool, which overlooks the beach. After a long day of island activities, the Sheraton's bar and nightclub is a wonderful spot to unwind.

    It's in the heart of Waikiki, so it's in a fantastic position. From the towering tower, the majority of the rooms offer spectacular views of the ocean.

    The Sheraton Waikiki is somewhat more costly than the Marriott but less so than the Westin. Rooms there may cost anything from $300 to $700 USD.


    • Google rating: 4.3/5

    • Booking.com: 8.1/10

    • Tripadvisor rating: 4/5

    Check room rates and availability of Sheraton Waikiki at GAFFL.

    Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort

    It is one of the world's largest hotels. It's a massive hotel with a variety of various buildings. A private lagoon, luxury rooms with views of the beach, and a complimentary fireworks and dance performance extravaganza are all included. The Hilton is the most well-known hotel on the island.

    There is a private lagoon on the property. While many individuals like the beach, it is ideal for families. Without fear of drowning, children may kayak, swim, and snorkel. There are no waves, currents, or marine animals to be concerned about. Don't worry, the hotel is located on Waikiki Beach, so you'll have access to the beach as well.

    The hotel's guests are treated to a traditional Hawaiian dance performance every Friday night before the Hilton puts on spectacular fireworks.

    The Ala Moana Shopping Mall is really within walking distance.

    At the Hilton Hawaiian Village, you can usually get excellent deals. Standard rooms cost between $200 and 450 USD.


    • Google rating: 4.3/5

    • Booking.com: 7.9/10

    • Tripadvisor rating: 4/5

    Check room rates and availability of Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort at GAFFL.

    Courtyard By Marriott Waikiki

    It has a large number of rooms. This hotel is located one block from the beach, just across the street. It's just in front of Kuhio Beach, which has a protected swimming area that's excellent for swimming. Rooms at the Marriott Waikiki range from $200 to $500 USD.


    • Google rating: 3.8/5

    • Booking.com: 7.5/10

    • Tripadvisor rating: 3.5/5

    Check room rates and availability of Courtyard By Marriott Waikiki at GAFFL.

    The Modern Honolulu

    You've always wanted to go on a luxury beach vacation, but you're worried about your budget? Staying at The Modern Honolulu proves that not all 5-star hotels on Oahu are pricey. For about $200 per night, you'll receive a stylish, large, and spotless room with a balcony that overlooks the beach. 

    Given that you are staying at a premium hotel, it is excellent value for money. It's in a fantastic position, only a short walk from the retail malls and a short distance from Waikiki Beach. They have a secret bar in the lobby, right behind the study area, which is very interesting and unusual.


    • Google rating: 4.2/5

    • Booking.com: 7.9/10

    • Tripadvisor rating: 4.5/5

    Check room rates and availability of the Modern Honolulu at GAFFL.

    Westin Moana Surfrider

    The banyan tree at this hotel is well-known. This is the first hotel on the beach in Waikiki. It consists of three buildings: one in the center and two on each side. Rooms range in price from $250 to $600 USD. However, if you stay in the old banyan building, which dates from 1901, you may get some really excellent deals. It's been renovated since then, but it's still a fantastic location with just a few steps to the beach.

    If you're a Marriott member, you'll have access to the lounge.


    • Google rating: 4.5/5

    • Booking.com: 8.2/10

    • Tripadvisor rating: 4/5

    Coconut Waikiki Hotel

    The Coconut Waikiki Hotel is a nice mid-range option on Oahu. It includes a pool, a fitness facility, and breakfast is served. The rooms are both contemporary and comfortable.

    The 100% non-smoking Coconut Waikiki Hotel is 20 minutes from Honolulu International Airport. The Diamond Head Trail Head is just 10 minutes away by car.


    • Google rating: 4.2/5

    • Booking.com: 8.2/10

    • Tripadvisor rating: 4.5/5

    Check room rates and availability of Coconut Waikiki Hotel at GAFFL.

    Waikiki Beachside Hostel

    A less expensive option that is nonetheless in a fantastic location. Waikiki Beach is within walking distance, and the hostel is in a suitable location for a week of fun.

    Unfortunately, Waikiki and Hawaii as a whole are not cheap. They are, nevertheless, still worth seeing. A dorm accommodation within walking distance of the Waikiki surf beach may be had for around $40 per night.

    You're close to a number of attractions and can take public transportation to a number of fantastic east coast beaches and treks. It's Waikiki's number one hostel, and you'll meet other adventurers to go exploring with!


    • Google rating: 4.7/5

    • Booking.com: 8.9/10

    • Tripadvisor rating: 4.5/5

    • Hostelworld rating: 9.7/10

    Diamond Head

    Diamond Head is a tiny area on the eastern edge of Waikiki with several large parks, walking trails, and outdoor gyms. You're close enough to the activity of Waikiki for restaurants and the beach, yet far enough away from it all to enjoy a quiet morning stroll and escape the tourist bustle.

    Even though they are just around 800 yards apart, you can obtain hotel rooms for 30% cheaper at Diamond Head than in central Waikiki.

    Pro’s of staying in Diamond Head

    • A little bit away from Waikiki's bustle

    • There are many large parks and play places.

    • Near the shore, there's an outdoor gym.

    • There are hundreds of various accommodation choices available, ranging from 5-star hotels to hostels.

    • There are many eating choices available

    • For kids and amateur swimmers, there are protected swimming areas with no strong currents.

    • The famous Diamond Head Hike is just a short distance away.

    • All excursions begin and end in Waikiki, which is just a 10-minute walk away.

    Cons of staying in Diamond Head

    • The beach can be a bit busy

    • Sometimes a vacation here feels more like a city trip than an island stay! 

    Where to stay on Diamond Head

    The New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel

    The advantage of this hotel is that it is located between Waikiki and a large park. You basically have your own private beach away from the crowds while yet being close to shops and restaurants. This one isn't for you if you want to be right in the middle of everything, but it's wonderful to be near to Waikiki yet far enough away to have some peace and quiet.

    Its accommodation prices are less expensive than those in Waikiki. They range in price from around $180 to $300 USD.


    • Google rating: 4.3/5 

    • Booking.com: 8.1/10

    • Tripadvisor rating: 4.5/5

    Check room rates and availability of The New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel at GAFFL.

    The Lotus Honolulu Hotel

    The Lotus Honolulu Hotel is situated between Diamond Head and Waikiki.

    You're just a few minute's walk from Waikiki, with a beach in front of you and a large park behind you to explore, work out in, and enjoy.

    The Diamond Head crater serves as a background to the park and provides a fantastic view of the whole city. The hotel's interior is clean and features a modern aesthetic.

    The hotel accommodations provide views of the spectacular Diamond Head or the beach.


    • Google rating: 4.5/5

    • Booking.com: 8.8/10

    • Tripadvisor rating: 4.5/5

    Check room rates and availability of The Lotus Honolulu Hotel at GAFFL.

    The Rest of Honolulu

    Waikiki is located in a city called Honolulu. Honolulu is the capital of the state of Hawaii. Outside of Waikiki, Honolulu offers a few additional options for accommodation.

    Ala Moana

    Ala Moana is located on Waikiki's western end. It is well renowned for having America's biggest outdoor retail mall. Many tourists staying in Waikiki will visit Ala Moana for at least one day of shopping. 

    Although there is a nice break out the back, Ala Moana also offers a very calm beach with not too many waves in close proximity.

    You can nearly blend in among the locals and ex-pats on Oahu here. Tennis courts, a walking track, an outdoor gym, and plenty of places to dine and relax on the beach can all be found at Ala Moana Beach Park.

    If you want to be central yet escape the tourist trap of Waikiki, this is an excellent location to stay.

    Pro’s of staying in Ala Moana

    • Not as crowded as Waikiki.

    • The beach in Ala Moana isn't too busy.

    • America's largest outdoor retail mall

    Cons of staying in Ala Moana

    • Waikiki Center is a 10-15 minute walk away.

    Where to stay on Ala Moana

    Ala Moana Hotel

    The Ala Moana Hotel, which has a rooftop pool and fitness center and is just a 5-minute walk from Ala Moana Beach Park, is a nice relief from the hustle and bustle of Waikiki. It is shopping heaven since the mall is just a 1-minute walk from your hotel room.

    You can get a cheaper rate at Ala Moana Hotel than at Waikiki.


    • Google rating: 4.1/5

    • Booking.com: 8/10

    • Tripadvisor rating: 4/5

    Check room rates and availability of Ala Moana Hotel at GAFFL.

    Prince Waikiki

    The Prince Waikiki is at a fantastic location. You're directly next to the bridge that connects Ala Moana and Waikiki, and you're on the Waikiki side of the bridge, despite being closer to Ala Moana center than Waikiki center. 

    With all of the sailboats, the port just underneath your hotel is a quiet location and one of the finest sunset sites on the island. 

    Ala Moana Beach Park is located close and offers a variety of amenities such as volleyball, tennis courts, a walking track, and an outdoor gym. The Ala Moana outdoor mall is within walking distance, so you can return to the hotel with all of your gifts.


    • Google rating: 4.5/5

    • Booking.com: 8.9/10

    • Tripadvisor rating: 5/5

    Check room rates and availability of Prince Waikiki at GAFFL.


    The Kahala Hotel & Resort

    A hotel named The Kahala Hotel & Resort is located on the other side of Diamond Head in Waikiki. It is located in Kahala and was formerly known as the Hilton, then the Mandarin Oriental, and finally the Kahala.

    It's a nice high-end hotel. It's just one hotel on its own. It's on a beach that's semi-private. From Lyndon B. Johnson through George W. Bush, every US president has stayed at the Kahala.

    It's a premium hotel, therefore room prices are on the higher end.


    • Google rating: 4.6/5

    • Booking.com: 8.6/10

    • Tripadvisor rating: 4.5/5

    Check room rates and availability of The Kahala Hotel & Resort at GAFFL.

    The Leeward Coast on the West

    On Oahu's west coast, Ko Olina is located on the Leeward Coast. Although Ko Olina is well-equipped for vacations, it isn't quite as crowded as Waikiki.

    The water clarity is incredible, and it's one of the finest places in the world to snorkel with turtles. Out west, the surf can be quite excellent, and there are a few spectacular treks.

    Because there are just a few large family-style resorts out this way and not much else, mostly families stay on the west side.

    On Oahu's west shore, there are two of the most popular family resorts. The Disney Aulani Resort and the Ko'olina Resort are both located on the west coast of Oahu.

    Pro’s of staying in Ko Olina

    • Snorkeling, surfing, and hiking are all available nearby.

    • Not as crowded as Waikiki. Much more relaxed than Waikiki. 

    • Resorts with a family atmosphere and great weather.

    • Many of the hotels provide beach chairs, so you don’t have to pay for them. 

    Cons of staying in Ko Olina

    • It’s expensive. 

    • Some argue that it is artificial and not natural, but it is in fact artificial.

    • In comparison to Waikiki and the North Shore, there isn't much of a vibe outside of the resort areas.

    • There are just a few restaurants in this area. You'll be trapped eating the restaurant's highly expensive food if you don't have a car. 

    Where to stay on the Leeward Coast

    Four Seasons Resort O'ahu at Ko Olina

    If you're searching for genuine luxury, the Four Seasons Resort is the place to go! No one beats Four Seasons when it comes to providing very high-quality accommodations and service!

    This resort is not as busy as other 5-star hotels on Oahu, and it also has a number of large rooms and suites with everything you need, from comfortable beds to built-in outlets on the bedside table.

    This hotel features lovely man-made lagoons, which are excellent for children and elderly guests since they are relatively protected from Oahu's powerful waves.

    The stores surrounding Four Seasons are not as busy as those in Waikiki since it is not as touristic.

    There's a golf course, stylish infinity pools for adults and children, fine dining, and don't forget the daily full breakfast for two. 


    • Google rating: 4.6/5

    • Booking.com: 9.1/10

    • Tripadvisor rating: 4.5/5

    Check room rates and availability of Four Seasons Resort O'ahu at Ko Olina at GAFFL.

    Aulani Disney Resort And Spa

    The Aulani Disney Resort blends luxury with family entertainment. This is the best location to stay for families on Oahu if you can afford it.

    The sheer number of pools and activities offered makes it seem like a theme park at times.

    The resort's main attraction is a massive lazy river/tire tube lagoon, but the water slides and private beach aren't far behind.

    The children's club and the massage center are only two of the numerous activities available during your stay. Attend ukelele classes, free story-telling around a fire pit at night, and much much more!


    • Google rating: 4.6/5

    • Hotels.com: 8.8/10

    • Tripadvisor rating: 4.5/5

    Check room rates and availability of Aulani Disney Resort And Spa at GAFFL.


    The Hawaiian Princess Resort is the only hotel in Makaha. Other vacation rentals and Airbnbs are available in the area. If you're looking for an inexpensive hotel, Makaha is an excellent choice.

    Pro’s of staying in Makaha

    • It’s less expensive.

    • It’s secluded. It’s off the beaten path. You'll have a much better sense of having this place to yourself. 

    Cons of staying in Makaha

    • It’s like an hour from Makaha to Waikiki.

    • High crime rate. Vehicle break-ins are common.

    The North Shore

    The North Shore features some of the finest surfing in the world, making it a popular destination for surfers and travelers trying out the sport. It's well-known for snorkeling and for its food trucks! In the rural area, there are also some beautiful hikes.

    In the summer, you may enjoy some of the most beautiful beaches, snorkeling, turtles, and the laid-back atmosphere of a surfer town. The North Shore comes alive in the winter when the waves build up and the area transforms into the ultimate surfer's paradise, with the Banzai Pipeline as the main attraction.

    In the summer, it's ideal for families, couples, and backpackers, while in the winter, it's best for surfers, surf enthusiasts, and backpackers. It’s Hawaii without the mega-resorts. 

    Pro’s of staying in the North Shore

    • Food trucks and garlic shrimp are available here

    • The best surfing in the world

    • Much quieter than Waikiki

    • During the summer, there is excellent snorkeling and beach access.

    Cons of staying in the North Shore

    • Waikiki is a one-hour drive away, so is a bit more difficult to get to than other areas in Oahu. 

    • The beaches aren't suitable for swimming a lot of the time in the winter because the waves are too large.

    Where to stay on the North Shore

    Turtle Bay Resort

    Turtle Bay Resort is regarded as the North Shore's finest luxury hotel. With 401 guest rooms and 42 beach cottages and ocean villas, it is the largest hotel on Oahu's north shore.

    Banzai Pipeline Beach, where the legendary yearly surfing tournament takes place, is just 15 minutes away from this resort. 

    Turtle Bay has a lot to offer on the site, such as horseback riding, surfing lessons, scuba diving, and snorkeling with turtles, as well as a laid-back and easygoing atmosphere that will make you want to stay longer. There's even a surf school within the resort.

    You'll spend a little extra on food, but at Turtle Bay Resort, you can expect to enjoy the greatest vacation of your life!

    The cost of a four-person luxury seaside villa ranges from $450 to $900 dollars. The cost of a standard room is from $250 to $470 a night.


    • Google rating: 4.5/5

    • Booking.com: 8.5/10

    • Tripadvisor rating: 4.5/5

    Check room rates and availability of Turtle Bay Resort at GAFFL.

    Courtyard by Marriott Oahu North Shore

    On Oahu's north shore, the Courtyard features 142 rooms, a fitness center, a restaurant, and an outdoor pool.

    You receive all of the amenities of a large hotel, such as a pool and a restaurant, but you also get to experience the North Shore's atmosphere and beaches.

    The lagoon-style pool is the hotel's main focus and a wonderful place to unwind after a day of touring the island.

    One of the most appealing aspects of staying at the Courtyard Marriott on Oahu's north shore is its closeness to the Polynesian Cultural Center, one of the island's most popular tourist sites.


    • Google rating: 4.4/5

    • Booking.com: 8.4/10

    • Tripadvisor rating: 4/5

    Check room rates and availability of Courtyard by Marriott Oahu North Shore at GAFFL.

    Backpackers Vacation Inn & Hostel

    Backpackers Vacation Inn & Hostel is without a doubt the cheapest location to stay on Oahu's North Shore.

    It provides modest accommodation, but the atmosphere is fantastic. The location is ideal, with quick access to the beach and complimentary snorkeling equipment.

    Be aware that this hostel fills up quickly during peak season since it is one of the few affordable accommodation choices on Oahu's North Shore.


    • Google rating: 3.7/5

    • Booking.com: 7.4/10

    • Tripadvisor rating: 3/5

    • Hostelworld rating: 8.5/10

    The Windward Coast on the East

    The Windward Coast is home to many smaller, authentic towns and is an excellent location to visit if you want to immerse yourself in traditional Hawaiian culture. The Windward Coast is unknown to most visitors to Oahu, despite the fact that many do visit!

    Kaneohe is the area's biggest settlement. While it isn't as crowded as Waikiki, it is an excellent location to stay if you want to experience the true spirit of Hawaii.

    There are several guesthouses and B&Bs to choose from, but there are also a few resorts.

    Pro’s of staying in the Windward Coast

    • You won't have to fight too much traffic to get to some of the area's best attractions.

    • Some of the finest beaches in Oahu, such as Lanikai, Kailua, and Waimanalo, are just in your backyard!

    • You'll really meet and interact with locals since the neighborhood is mainly for locals!

    Cons of staying in the Windward Coast

    • If you're searching for a big resort with "resort facilities," this isn't the place to go.

    • On Oahu, the rain falls mostly on the island's Windward side. The steep Ko’olau mountains drive moist ocean air higher in elevation; moisture condenses into a fairly continuous cloud band at the summit of the mountains; and ultimately, those clouds dump buckets and buckets of rain on portions of the Windward shore.

    Where to stay on the Windward Coast

    Paradise Bay Resort

    The Paradise Bay Resort, located on Kaneohe Bay, provides views of the Koolau Mountain Range, as well as an outdoor pool and a hot tub.

    A private lanai patio is included in each suite. There are free yoga and meditation classes available. Guests will have access to a floating sun area as well as barbecue amenities.

    Off the coast of Kaneohe Bay lies the Hawaiian archipelago's biggest barrier reef. The city center of Kaneohe is 6 miles distant, while Kualoa Ranch is 4 miles. Paradise Bay Resort is 12 miles from Kailua Beach Park and 18 miles from Honolulu International Airport.


    • Google rating: 4.3/5

    • Booking.com: 8.3/10

    • Tripadvisor rating: 4/5

    Check room rates and availability of Paradise Bay Resort at GAFFL.

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