Whether you’re after surf or serenity, retro vibes or modernity, there’s a Hawaiian hotel with your name on it. Below are five of the best new stays on the island of Oahu.

For the Surfer: Turtle Bay Resort

Turtle Bay Resort, Hawaii

From its prime position near Oahu’s northernmost tip, Turtle Bay Resort is perfectly placed for surfing the island’s legendary North Shore, with Jamie O’Brien Surf Experience offering lessons in one of the world’s most sought-after breaks. After slapping on sunscreen, hop into a golf buggy for a 10-minute journey from a patient instructor over to Kawela Bay Beach Park. Here, even uncoordinated first-timers will be riding the waves in no time, thanks to wide, stable boards and a firm push from patient instructors.

The resort, which recently underwent a complete revamp, also offers horseriding and bicycles for hire – the latter can be used to coast to Ted’s Bakery for a garlic prawn plate or a slice of chocolate-haupia (coconut) cream pie.

For The Nature Lover: ‘Alohilani Resort

Alohilani Resort, Hawaii

You can stare at sea creatures without leaving the ‘Alohilani Resort, thanks to the lobby’s two-storey saltwater oceanarium. At both 10.30am and 2.30pm daily, a scuba diver drops into the tank to feed the resident Hawaiian reef fish, a sight visible from Kai Coffee, local artisan coffee roasters in the lobby. Book a room with views of Diamond Head (Lē‘ahi) – and if you’re planning to hike the crater, remember that non-residents must now reserve entry and parking online.

Back at the resort, don’t miss the elevated fifth-floor pool deck between the two room towers. Sip a guava mai tai while catching the sunset from a lounger parked in the saltwater infinity pool. As darkness falls, sing along to live music as mesmerising video art of Oahu’s scenery fills a 17-storey-high tower wall.

For The Retro Fanatic: White Sands Hotel

White Sands Hotel, Hawaii

White Sands Hotel, a low-rise Waikiki property built in 1957 before Hawai’i even became a state, was recently reimagined to polish up its vintage vibe. The retro-contemporary rethink includes loads of bamboo and pops of colour.

Stroll through to the courtyard to find a pool, grotto-style hot tub, waterfall, koi pond and tiki bar encircled by individual swings. The bar and open-air restaurant, Heyday, comes from 2022 James Beard best chef winner, Robynne Maii. Heyday serves Maii’s signature mai tai featuring rum infused with mamaki, a native Hawaiian nettle.

For The Sophisticate: The Ritz-Carlton Residences

Ritz-Carlton, Hawaii

It’s quite an achievement to create what feels like a remote luxury resort in Waikiki Beach. Yet the Ritz-Carlton has done just that with its two-tower Residences. The scale of the elevated foyer, pool deck and public spaces feels immense, while the architecture cleverly frames stunning views. Behind the leather-wrapped front desk, a wall of polished blue-green Brazilian marble provides a soothing welcome.

Splash in Waikiki’s highest twin infinity pools, book a lomi lomi (loving hands) massage in the spa, embrace the view from your room and dine at Sushi Sho, an intimate 16-seat restaurant that also offers take-out dinners such as bara chirashi (chopped and scattered sushi).

For The Serenity Seeker: Halepuna Waikiki by Halekulani

Halepuna Waikiki by Halekulani, Hawaii

There are many reasons why Halepuna Waikiki by Halekulan is garlanded with multiple readers’ choice and design awards. For starters, there’s the infinity pool, where you can spy a pohuehue (the hotel’s signature flower) while soaking up the blue-upon-blue vista. There’s also a reflexology path to stroll on the eighth floor, complimentary qigong (a slow-flowing Chinese healing technique), meditation, salsa and fitness classes. If you feel like venturing beyond the 288-room hotel, a flash of your room key will get you free admission to the Bishop Museum and Honolulu Museum of Art.

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SEE ALSO: How to Make the Most of Oahu, Hawaii


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