Oh Honolulu, I am curious how many travelers’ bucket lists you are on! Tropical cocktails on the white sand beaches with the coolest vibe, unique landscapes from volcanoes to lush green mountains, the best surfing and snorkeling spots…You are about to have the time of your life on this magical island in Hawaii!
Honolulu is located on Hawaii’s most populous island, Oahu, and is the capital city of Hawaii. Tropical destinations always have their own charms but when it comes to Honolulu there is a lot more than that! This city not only has the most amazing nature and beaches but also has the coolest night scene, cultural museums, art galleries, and the world’s largest open-air shopping mall. Isn’t it so impressive to have all of these in one city!
In this blog post on where to stay in Honolulu, I will help you to find the best hotel for your tropical getaway but I just wanted to let you know that Honolulu is one of the most famous and expensive travel destinations not just in the USA but in the world. That being said make sure to make your reservation in advance to secure your place and catch better deals on hotels!
Shall we start discovering this dream island?
If you are in a hurry
Here are the best places for where to stay in Honolulu from luxury to budget. They all have very good reviews and excellent locations!
The Ritz-Carlton Residences
Rainbow Ocean View
An Airbnb with amazing reviews
Luana Waikiki Hotel
Best affordable accommodation in the center
Here is a map for where to stay in Honolulu with all the best areas I will be talking about in this blog post so you can easily understand them:
1. Waikiki – where to stay in Honolulu for the first time
Waikiki, Honolulu is for sure the place where you should stay in Honolulu for the first time thanks to the amazing Waikiki Beach, the area’s many cultural attractions, epic food scene, and fun nightlife. I don’t know a person who won’t be able to have fun in Waikiki so let’s go!
Start your day hitting the famous Waikiki Beach before it gets crowded. This is one of the most popular surf spots in the world so why not give surfing a try. Then, enjoy the scenic beach views with a Hawaiian cocktail, and don’t forget to snap some postcard-perfect photos.
I know it will be difficult to leave the stunning Waikiki Beach but there are so many nice cultural sites and museums in Waikiki if you want to learn about Hawaiian culture. What’s more, for foodies and those interested in the night scene, this place is packed with amazing restaurants and trendy bars. I told you it is impossible to be disappointed in Waikiki!
The Waikiki Beach area is the most popular place to stay in Honolulu and I don’t want you to miss the amazing hotel options that I found for you. So, be quick to make your booking in advance!
Since you have flown all the way to this magical island if you feel like adding another Hawaiian Island to your travel itinerary check out the best places to stay in Hawaii!
1.1 Where to stay in Waikiki for families
Waikiki, Honolulu is an amazing destination to have a family vacation. You will not only find white sand beaches where you can make sandcastles with your children but also great fun attractions such as the incredible Honolulu Zoo and Waikiki Aquarium.
Here, I would like to talk about the best family-friendly hotels that have spacious rooms and great kids facilities. All you need to do is make a reservation to catch them and get ready for your unforgettable tropical holiday!
The Ritz-Carlton Residences
This 5-star hotel is the best place to stay in Waikiki for a family vacation. You will love the large hotel rooms overlooking the ocean and your kids can also bring their pet friends to the room. There are world-class dining options with an amazing selection of gourmet foods and great kid meal options. You won’t get enough of swimming in the epic infinity pool and relaxing in the luxurious spa area!
Other accommodation options in Waikiki for families
Queen Kapiolani Hotel
Located at the heart of Waikiki, this hotel offers a kid-friendly swimming pool and modern rooms with a balcony overlooking the ocean
Hilton Garden Inn
This resort has a charming swimming pool, spacious family rooms, private parking, a nice restaurant and is a short walk to Waikiki Beach
Rainbow Ocean View
This family-friendly Airbnb can accommodate up to 7 guests and has modern rooms, a kitchen, and a private balcony with a view
1.2 Hotels for your honeymoon in Waikiki
I am sure you already know that Hawaii is one of the best honeymoon destinations in the US thanks to its romantic beach resorts, amazing sunsets, and secluded beaches.
Imagine yourself lying on the white sand beach under the palm trees while having a Hawaiian cocktail with your loved one. I know you want to be teleported there now so let’s check out where to stay in Honolulu, Waikiki for your honeymoon.
This beachfront hotel in Honolulu, Waikiki is the best place to stay in the city for the honeymoon. You will feel the romance from your first step to the hotel thanks to the idyllic swimming pool overlooking the ocean, beautifully decorated hotel rooms with private balconies where you can watch the most beautiful sunsets, and the top-notch spa. At night you can have a romantic dinner at the chic on-site restaurant to cap off a perfect day!
Other options in Waikiki for honeymooners
The Surfjack Hotel
The Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club has an amazing swimming pool, spacious rooms, and the restaurants and bars are a short walk
Luana Waikiki Hotel
This hotel has a romantic swimming pool overlooking the palm trees, spacious rooms, a fitness center, and a great breakfast
Ocean View Ilikai
This Airbnb offers modern rooms with an epic private balcony overlooking the ocean, a swimming pool, and is a short walk to the beach
1.3 Places to stay on the beach in Waikiki
Imagine you wake up in Hawaii and the first thing you see in the morning is turquoise-colored water and you are just a few steps away from jumping into it. Doesn’t it sound so tempting?
Waikiki has one of the best beachfront hotels for sure and for those who want to spend most of their time on white-sand beaches, I have picked amazing places that have private beach access or are within close walking distance to the beach.
The Royal Hawaiian
This hotel in Waikiki is the best luxury hotel to stay in on Waikiki Beach. The Royal Hawaiian has beautifully decorated rooms with a private balcony overlooking the ocean, a large swimming pool, and an upscale spa. You will be privileged to enjoy Waikiki Beach in the hotel’s private beach area where you can also do water sports. Plus, the famous city attractions and restaurants are within walking distance.
Other accommodation options in Waikiki on the beach
Castle Waikiki Shore
Conveniently located on Waikiki Beach, this beach resort has spacious rooms with a kitchen, free wifi, and on-site parking
Imperial Hawaii Resort
This hotel is a short walk to the beach and offers charming rooms with a kitchen and restaurants, plus bars are around the corner
This Airbnb can accommodate up to 4 guests and offers free parking, spacious rooms, and a swimming pool
1.4 Best budget hotels in Waikiki
Ok, I agree that Hawaii Island is not the most budget-friendly destination but don’t worry I got you covered! I have checked tons of hotels in Waikiki and found the best affordable places for you that have great proximity to Waikiki Beach and great facilities. So here are my answers for where to stay in Honolulu, Waikiki on a budget.
Aqua Oasis has a central location in Waikiki and great value for money with its comfortable rooms and great facilities. I love the chilled garden area surrounded by flowers with a relaxing swimming pool away from the hustle and bustle of the city. There is a nice bar where you can have tropical cocktails and every morning a delicious breakfast will be waiting for you. Waikiki Beach, Kapiolani Park, and the famous restaurants of the city are within walking distance.
Other options in Waikiki for budget travelers
The Beach Waikiki
A great hotel in Waikiki that offers comfortable rooms, free wifi and is within walking distance of restaurants and bars
This hotel has relaxing rooms with a kitchen and coffee machine, a swimming pool, free wifi, and on-site parking
This Airbnb can accommodate 2 guests and has modern rooms with great amenities, fitness equipment, and free wifi
Things to do in Waikiki
2. West Honolulu (Downtown & Ala Moana) – for sightseeing
There are two major parts of West Honolulu. Firstly, Ala Moana is located 2 miles (3 km) away from Waikiki and is known for its beautiful beaches, upscale restaurants, and shops. Here you will find the world’s largest open-air shopping mall, Ala Moana Center which will make you shop till you drop!
Luckily, there is also the stunning, Ala Moana Beach Park where you can chill on the white sand beach surrounded by palm trees. Up for spending a day in paradise?
If you go 2 miles (3 km) west of Ala Moana you will reach Downtown where you will find the island’s most famous museums, art galleries, and historic buildings. Apart from cultural attractions, you will love the night scene as there is a great selection of cool bars and nightclubs here too. What else do you need?
By staying in West Honolulu you will find a bit of everything so it is a great place to stay in Honolulu whether you are a sightseer, beach bum, or foodie. I handpicked the top 4 hotels here but if you want more options check out the best places to stay in Oahu.
Prince Waikiki is one of the best luxury hotels to stay near downtown with its upscale facilities. You will love the rooftop terrace where you can see the marina and have delicious food and drinks served in the rooftop bar. The hotel rooms have fancy decorations and amazing city and ocean views. There are also 3 swimming pools and a great spa and on-site parking!
Other accommodation options in West Honolulu
Manoa Valley Inn
This hotel has beautifully decorated rooms, a swimming pool surrounded by trees, and is within walking distance to restaurants and bars
Centrally located Airbnb with spacious rooms for 3 guests, a fully equipped kitchen, free wifi, a swimming pool, and a terrace with a great city view
Downtown Honolulu can accommodate up to 4 guests and has comfortable rooms with great amenities, a kitchen, and free parking
Things to do in West Honolulu
- Marvel at the artworks at Hawaii State Art Museum
- Go to the largest open-air shopping center in the world, Ala Moana Center
- Chill and swim in the crystal clear water at Ala Moana Beach Park
- Go shopping at the Honolulu Night Market
- Visit the beautiful royal residence, Iolani Palace
- See the oldest church in Honolulu, the Kawaiahao Church
- Visit the Hawaii State Capitol Building
- Check out the amazing artworks at the ARTS at Mark’s Garage
3. East Honolulu (Diamond Head) – for the best beaches
Located in East Honolulu, Diamond Head is 2 miles (3 km) away from Waikiki Beach and will blow your mind with its epic landscapes. Get ready for some outdoor adventures like snorkeling in crystal clear water and exploring the stunning white sand beaches!
Diamond Head takes its name from the volcano which is one of the iconic landscapes of the island. That’s why you should definitely go hiking and see the amazing view of Honolulu from Diamond Head.
Apart from that, there are so many nice white sand beaches in the Diamond Head area and if you are into watersports I should let you know that these are one of the best spots for sailing and snorkeling. Yeah, you will be able to see those colorful fish in real life with your own eyes!
There aren’t a lot of hotels in eastern Honolulu but that just adds to the adventure spirit. I know you can’t wait to pick your hotel and pack for Hawaii, so here are the best places for where to stay in Honolulu near the best beaches.
The Kahala Hotel
The Kahala Hotel is set by a powdery sand beach and offers amazing views. This 5-star hotel has 2 swimming pools, a chic rooftop bar, 4 fancy restaurants, and elegant rooms with spectacular views. If I were you I would spend most of my time under the palm trees by the beach and pool, enjoying the hotel’s signature cocktails. You can even go on snorkeling or hiking adventures and there is a free shuttle to Ala Moana Shopping Mall.
Other accommodation options in East Honolulu
Kaimana Beach Hotel
This beachfront hotel has rooms with an amazing ocean view, a top-notch bar and is within walking distance to restaurants and bars
Diamond on Diamond Head
This Airbnb can accommodate 2 guests and has comfortable rooms with a fully equipped kitchen, free parking, and wifi
Private 1 Bedroom
A centrally located Airbnb that has a comfortable room, free wifi and is within walking distance to the restaurants and shops
Things to do in East Honolulu / Diamond Head
- Go snorkeling at the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve
- Hike up to Diamond Head crater to see the spectacular views
- Spend time at the white sand beach, Makapu’u
- Discover the underwater world at the Sea Life Park Hawaii
- Go shopping at the Kahala Mall
- Swim in the crystal clear water at Cromwell’s Beach
- Have mouth-watering desserts at Uncle Clay’s House of Pure Aloha
Frequently asked questions about Honolulu, Hawaii
🤔 Is Honolulu a good place to stay in Hawaii?
Honolulu is the best place to stay in Oahu, Hawaii Island thanks to its amazing white sand beaches, outdoor activities, historical museums, food, and night scene. The best Hotels I recommend staying in Honolulu are The Royal Hawaiian and Castle Waikiki Shore.
🗺️ What is the best area to stay in Oahu, Hawaii?
Waikiki is one the best areas to stay in Oahu if you are visiting the island for the first time as you will be close to the most famous city attractions. Some of the best places to stay here are The Ritz-Carlton Residences and The Surfjack Hotel.
⏱️ How many days do you need in Honolulu?
I recommend staying at least 5 days in Honolulu to discover the beaches, cultural sites and do outdoor activities such as hiking to the famous Diamond Head, snorkeling, and surfing in the best spots.
🛎️ Where should I stay in Honolulu on a budget?
🏖️ Where is the best place to stay in Honolulu on a beach?
📷What should I not miss in Honolulu, Hawaii?
The main landmarks in Honolulu, Hawaii that you shouldn’t miss are:
● Iolani Palace
● Waikiki Beach
● Honolulu Zoo
● Royal Hawaiian Center
● Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve
● Waikiki Aquarium
● Diamond Head crater
Our island tour ends here but I am hoping to meet you on another journey. I hope this blog post on where to stay in Honolulu has answered all your questions and you found the best place for your taste. Just a quick reminder, the hotels in Honolulu sell faster than you think so make sure to make your booking in advance to not miss them. This will also help you to catch good deals so it is better safe than sorry!
For those who are having difficulty in choosing a hotel after all of those accommodation options, let me help you. Here are the absolute best 2 hotel options in Honolulu where you can have an unforgettable holiday!
- The Ritz-Carlton Residences – An amazing 5-star hotel located in Waikiki with epic pool and rooms with panoramic ocean and city views
- Castle Waikiki Shore – A great hotel in Honolulu by the Waikiki Beach that has spacious rooms overlooking the ocean
Make sure to enjoy every moment of your time in the paradise island and don’t be shy to leave a comment below if you want to know anything more about Honolulu and the Hawaiian Islands. I’ll be more than happy to answer them!
Have an amazing vacation,