The appeal of Honolulu – sand, surf and shopping – make it a holiday haven for Australians. We’ve picked out the best accommodation in the holiday hotspot for families, couples and everyone in between.
A hard-to-miss location and remarkable views of the famous Waikiki Beach and wider Pacific Ocean are just part of this hotel’s appeal. The largest single hotel tower in Waikiki, the Sheraton Waikiki has more than 1600 rooms, three restaurants and a 24-hour fitness centre over 31 storeys, plus an outdoor water playground and infinity pool. The fan-like shape of the hotel ensures guests can catch a glimpse (at the very least) of the ocean from their rooms. The Leahi Club Lounge on the 30th floor, open 6am to 8pm daily, is a great place to pass time after check-out and before a late flight home ($AU150 per day for two adults and two children). Breakfast and dinner are both served in the lounge (included in the fee), with a selection of snacks available throughout the day.
2255 Kalakaua Avenue, Honolulu
The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach
Ritz-Carlton is known for its luxurious properties and the Waikiki Ritz-Carlton Residences is no exception. All suites (ranging from studios to four-bedroom spreads) are fitted with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Pacific Ocean, fully equipped kitchenettes with Miele appliances, plus washing machines and dryers, so it’s easy to make yourself at home. Luxurious touches such as handcrafted Italian Frette bed linen and bathrooms fitted out in marble, however, make it clear you’re on holiday. BLT Market, located on the lobby level, serves meals with a farm-to-plate philosophy at breakfast, lunch and dinner. For a really spectacular experience, reserve one of the 10 seats at Sushi Sho, helmed by sushi master Keiji Nakazawa – you’ll need to book in at this famous omakase at least two months in advance. And a trip to Hawaii wouldn’t be complete without a dose of sunshine: relax in your own private cabana by the pool on the eighth floor – the highest infinity pool in Waikiki. Heaven.
383 Kalaimoku Street, Honolulu
Hilton Hawaiian Village
Three words: bring the kids. Spanning nearly nine hectares, this family-friendly resort has everything a quintessential Hawaiian holiday requires. Five pools and Waikiki’s longest water slide will keep kids busy but if they’re not water babies, the hotel also offers hula lessons and lei-making workshops. As for the rooms – there’s almost 3000 of them – expect spacious bathrooms, plush beds, a workspace and furnished balconies with water views. On a Friday night, nab a spot on the beach to admire the fireworks – they light up the sky weekly at 7:45pm. There are 20 restaurants and bars scattered around the resort so there’s something to suit even the fussiest eaters. Tropics Bar & Grill offers water views in a laid-back setting and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner while Bali Steak and Seafood is a great spot for dinner, serving up an array of local produce.
2005 Kalia Road, Honolulu
The Modern Honolulu
Perhaps the coolest hotel in Honolulu, The Modern isn’t your typical Waikiki hotel. Rooms are minimally appointed yet full of character; light spills in from the vast windows onto the neutral-toned furnishings; a coffee machine makes waking up easier; and a ukulele is a playful touch. By day, wallow in the Sunrise Pool on the ground floor surrounded by teak decking and as the sun goes down, head to the adults-only Sunset Pool perched above ground level, complete with sandy shores, plush day beds and a cocktail bar close by. Enjoy your dinner at Ravish, located on the ground floor with views of the Ala Wai Harbor. The restaurant offers a range of fresh sushi, share dishes and an extensive drinks list. If you’re not ready to call it a night, swing by The Study for a sneaky nightcap or dance to your heart’s content at the hotel’s nightclub, Addiction.
1775 Ala Moana Boulevard, Honolulu
Formerly the Hawaii Prince Hotel Waikiki, Prince Waikiki has just undergone a $AU69.7 million renovation – and it’s never looked better. Situated between the action of Waikiki and the world’s largest outdoor shopping centre, Ala Moana, the hotel is the perfect choice for those who want dining options and activities close by but want to avoid the bustle of Waikiki Beach. Rooms don’t have balconies but enormous windows ensure views of the Ala Wai Harbor. The generous suites, made over in soothing neutral hues, are fitted with technological touches such as 46-inch Smart TVs, USB charging ports and remote-control blinds. Book your poolside cabana, located on the fifth floor, ahead of time. The price (half-day: $AU140; full-day: $AU255) includes two cocktails, one pizza, bottled water and sunscreen. The hotel’s onsite restaurant, 100 Sails, and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner with both à la carte and buffet options on offer.
100 Holomoana Street, Honolulu
Experiencing calm at the tourist-packed Waikiki Beach might seem an impossible dream but it’s one you needn’t wake up from at Halekulani. With its cool white corridors, manicured lawns and a timeless sense of style, the hotel is an oasis of calm. The elegant rooms have shuttered sliding doors that open onto private balconies with views of the sea or Diamond Head. Spend the days poolside among the palms in a white cabana complete with day beds and umbrellas or, if you’re still in pursuit of relaxation after a pool session, don’t miss the soothing confines of SpaHalekulani. The 80-minute Ho'olele barefoot massage is a must-try and there’s a special treatment menu just for the guys. At night, try one of Honolulu’s best restaurants, La Mer, where chef Alexandre Trancher turns out French-style dishes with local, tropical ingredients.
2199 Kalia Road, Honolulu
The Royal Hawaiian Hotel
Every city has a landmark. Sydney has the Opera House, Los Angeles has the Hollywood sign and Honolulu has The Royal Hawaiian Hotel. The rosy-hued “Pink Palace of the Pacific” is impossible to miss. Celebrating its 90th anniversary this year, the hotel is one of the oldest in Hawaii. Check into the Historic Wing with stately corridors and high-ceilinged rooms – they may not have balconies or giant glass windows but they evoke all the glamour and charm of days past with elegant wallpaper, ceiling fans and plush drapes. If you like your digs more contemporary, check into the hotel’s Mailani Tower for uninterrupted ocean views, private balconies and access to the Mailani Lounge with complimentary food and wine throughout the day, including the perfectly pink sparkling rosé hour each evening.
2259 Kalakaua Avenue, Honolulu
Top image: The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach
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