The Top Hotels in Hawaii

Find a hotel that suits your vision of island paradise, be it a romantic private villa on a remote coastline or a family-friendly beachfront resort with all the bells and whistles. We’ve compiled a list of our favorite places to stay for any type of Hawaiian getaway.

Highlights
2251 Poipu Rd, Koloa, HI 96756, USA
Surfers have long favored the legendary breaks at Poipu Beach, on Kauai’s south coast, but honeymooners and romance seekers have staked a claim at the beachfront Ko’a Kea Hotel & Resort, a boutique-style getaway in a revamped 1960s lodging that offers a peaceful alternative to the island’s big-name hotel chains. Arranged around an umbrella-dotted pool area, the intimate 121 rooms have private balconies and lanais and island-appropriate decor (think shell-themed artwork and carpeting and coral-embellished drapery framing the sliding doors). Order in to sample sushi prepared with the day’s fresh catch, or head down to Red Salt, helmed by Kauai native Noelani Planas, whose savory vanilla-bean mahi-mahi and lemon-pineapple soufflé pancakes earn rave reviews.
5520 Ka Haku Rd, Princeville, HI 96722, USA
Tucked among the pristine rain forests of Kauai’s remote North Shore, Princeville Resort’s lush 9,000 acres feel like they’re straight out of South Pacific. In fact, the classic musical used neighboring Mount Makana as a stand-in for Bali Hai. The peak’s verdant slopes are visible from many of the property’s 251 rooms, which are clad in ocean- and floral-inspired hues and outfitted with custom wood furnishings and marble baths, but the real draws lie elsewhere on the property: in the private snorkeling beach and massive infinity pool overlooking the cerulean waters of Hanalei Bay, an 11,000-square-foot spa that specializes in traditional Hawaiian clay treatments, and a world-class golf course designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr.
3550 Wailea Alanui Dr, Wailea, HI 96753, USA
Opened in 2013, Andaz’s first and only Hawaiian property has four cascading infinity pools (plus many more private plunge pools) and an enviable location on Mokapu Beach, meaning guests are never more than a few steps from water. The 290 rooms and suites are decked out in stylish, contemporary furnishings—some even come with Viking grills on private lanais—and 10 luxurious villas feature up to four bedrooms, with the largest maxing out at a sprawling 4,000 square feet. The resort’s full calendar of activities offers everything from coconut leaf weaving to kayaking, outrigger canoeing, and stand-up paddleboarding—plus GoPro shooting and editing lessons to best capture it all. At Morimoto Maui, one of four restaurants on the property, renowned chef Masaharu Morimoto combines Japanese and Western influences in inspired dishes like yellowtail “pastrami,” served with a gin-spiked crème fraîche.
4100 Wailea Alanui Dr, Wailea, HI 96753, USA
Of all the accommodations in Maui’s tony Wailea resort community, the 22-acre, waterfront Fairmont Kea Lani may be the most family-friendly of the bunch thanks in large part to its all-suite-and-villa setup. The property’s 450 guest rooms are some of the biggest on the island—the smallest suites start at a generous 860 square feet, while the two- and three-bedroom beachfront villas weigh in at 1,800 square feet and up. All cater to families, with separate sleeping and living areas, entertainment systems, furnished outdoor space (for lounging and dining), sleeper sofas, and some type of kitchen facilities, while villas encourage group gatherings with plunge pools and BBQ grills. Both adults and kids will love the deep-soaking tubs, too. Elsewhere, three indoor and three outdoor pools provide space for fun when kids’ club activities (among them volcano building, hula lessons, and tide pool excursions) aren’t on the agenda. Grown-ups can also amuse themselves with activities like outrigger canoe journeys, cultural programs, tee times at three nearby championship golf courses, and locally inspired treatments at the Willow Stream Spa, which offers dedicated fitness and wellness programs. Fuel your adventures at the five on-site restaurants, including the seafood-focused Nick’s Fishmarket Maui (with its 2,000-bottle-strong wine cellar) and the award-winning Kō, where the flavors are inspired by Hawaii, the Philippines, Korea, and beyond.
555 Kaukahi St Wailea, Kihei, HI 96753, USA
Perched 300 feet above the Pacific on 15 verdant acres, Hotel Wailea is a former members’ club that still feels like a hidden enclave of cool. In 2014, new owners invested $15 million in a redesign that left 72 one-bedroom suites with white oak floors, Sub-Zero appliances, and Hawaii-inspired art. Still, it’s the pool that really wins over guests—it’s calm and quiet (thanks to the hotel’s no-kids policy); there are umbrella-shaded loungers and bungalows with fans for when you’ve had too much sun; and the beyond-gracious staff are always at the ready with water, cocktails, kombucha, and coconut water. The hotel lounge offers free wine and appetizers at 5 p.m. on Friday nights, while the farm-to-fork restaurant highlights produce grown in the resort’s own garden. Complimentary on-site activities include yoga, outrigger canoeing, and mixology classes, but guests can take the hotel’s Tesla Model X house vehicles anywhere in Wailea or rent an electric bike and cruise the South Maui coast if they want to get off property.
1813 Baldwin Ave, Makawao, HI 96768, USA
If you’re looking for tropical tranquillity, bypass Maui’s buzzy resort enclaves and head away from the coast to the island’s laid-back Upcountry, where you’ll find Lumeria. At the 24-room wellness retreat, visitors can start the day with a guided sunrise meditation, then strengthen their yoga practice, learn to hula or surf, and go snorkeling off the North Shore. Spa treatments include Hawaiian massage and acupuncture as well as nontraditional therapies like crystal healing and shaman-led journeys. The schedule is flexible, so you’ll have plenty of time to learn about Hawaii’s paniolo (cowboy) culture or just take in the ocean views from your private lanai. Guest rooms feature art by local Maui artists, four-poster beds topped with organic linens, and stone-tile showers stocked with Aveda products, while the Wooden Crate restaurant prepares farm-to-table meals with nearly 200 types of fruits and vegetables that grow on the property.
1 Bay Dr, Lahaina, HI 96761, USA
The resort Montage Kapalua Bay, perched on an ocean-facing cliff on the island’s northwestern shore, impresses right from the start. The experience begins at the entrance, where tranquil koi ponds set the tone for an impressive array of pools and waterfalls at the center of the 24-acre property. From there, 56 palatial, residence-style villas encourage hunkering down—each is equipped with a kitchen with marble countertops and wine refrigerators; deep-soaking tubs and walk-in showers; and washers and dryers—but do venture out. The concierge can arrange for everything from fishing charters to ziplining. Should you prefer a quieter pursuit, the spa offers a range of tranquil services, including a restorative seaweed cocoon treatment performed in an outdoor pavilion.
5031 Hana Hwy, Hana, HI 96713, USA
An antidote to hectic modern life, Travaasa Hana, on Maui’s remote eastern coast, feels like a step back in time. There are no televisions, radios, clocks, or air-conditioning (ceiling fans and panoramic sliding doors capture ocean breezes) in nearly all of the 70 cottages and suites, but you won’t miss them. Your days will be spent soaking up Hawaiian culture, whether that means fishing with throw nets, making traditional ti leaf leis, or enjoying an open-air ukulele lesson. Of course, no visit to these parts is complete without a journey along the legendary Road to Hana, which lies to the north and west and promises primordial views of waterfalls, gardens, and secluded swimming holes. Upon your return to the resort, savor the fresh-caught specialties at the Preserve Kitchen & Bar, overlooking Hana Bay.
1 N Kaniku Dr, Waimea, HI 96743, USA
In many ways, the Fairmont Orchid is the quintessential Hawaiian luxury resort. Its big, elegant lobby is blooming with purple orchids and birds of paradise, its enormous, 24-hour swimming pool wends its way around black rock islands, and its 32 lush acres include tropical gardens and a white-sand beach that frames an aquamarine cove. The 540 guest rooms and suites, located in two six-story towers, all have lanais; half have ocean (or partial water) views, the others overlook the spotless grounds. It’s the dream Vacationland, and as such, the mood is jolly round-the-clock. Cheerful staff oversee the long list of activities—canoe excursions, petroglyph hikes, stand-up paddle-boarding, and about a zillion other options are available both on property and off (some activities are complimentary, others cost extra)—and the crowd tends to be a fun-in-the-sun bunch. On any given day, there might be a Canadian family in a heated volleyball game on the beach, or a group of Silicon Valley execs soaking in the hot tub.

Carve out a day to spend at the award-winning Spa Without Walls, where the Hawaian-influenced treatments are performed in 17 treatments rooms, some with ocean views and private outdoor spaces. Them, fuel up on Japanese meats and sushi, fresh seafood, robatayaki (grilled) items, beachside classics, and more at the numerous dining outlets. Along with repeat guests, the hotel’s most frequent visitors are the giant sea turtles that regularly hang out at the Orchid’s beachfront. They’ve become such an integral part of the property that even guests at other hotels drop by for a peek.
72-100 Ka'upulehu Drive, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740, USA
A favorite among Hollywood royalty, the Big Island’s Four Seasons is more secluded than its sister property on Maui. It sits on 863 acres of palm-fringed coastline, with little else for miles in any direction, other than two exclusive golf courses and some of the most expensive vacation homes in the state. Yet, conveniently, the hotel is only a 15-minute drive from Kona International Airport, and it isn’t uncommon for guests to fly in, park themselves at the resort, and never leave. Why would they? It’s an immaculate, ingenious playground, shamelessly verdant against the area’s prodigious black lava. There are seven pools to choose from, including one rock-walled rectangle in the ocean, and another man-made lagoon stocked with thousands of reef fish for guaranteed snorkeling success. Kids can camp overnight in a rock amphitheater. Lovebirds can have candlelit dinners on the beach. Even the accommodations are a Polynesian fantasy, with tropical woods and large headboards. All that, along with a tiki torch–lit beachfront, a French head chef, a swank sushi bar, a staff that treats every guest like Hollywood royalty, and honest-to-goodness cultural cred (the on-site museum and cultural center are well worth visiting), and it’s easy to understand why one would happily pay a king’s ransom to spend a few days here.
11-3968 Hale Ohia Rd., Volcano, Island of Hawaii
In the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it village of Volcano, on the slopes of Mauna Loa and just outside of Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, are a handful of B&Bs and cottage rentals (see also Volcano Rainforest Retreat). Among the oldest—but no less charming for its 25 years—is Hale Ohia. It’s a small cottage colony, with guest quarters scattered around a two-acre estate thickly carpeted in emerald-green moss and shaded by stands of soaring sugi (Japanese cedar) trees. The main house, a quirky Queen Anne style Victorian with a miniature turret and stone chimney that make it look like it was lifted right out of a children’s storybook, dates back to the 1930s when the manager of a sugar plantation built it as a summer holiday home. The gardens were planted by the same master landscape architects responsible for the Liliʻuokalani Gardens in Hilo (at one time the largest Edo style garden outside of Japan). All guest quarters are sweetly decorated, in a largely Craftsman style with ceramic tiles and soft woods; some have pretty, stained-glass windows. But on a chilly Volcano night—and most of them are since the town sits at 4,000 feet—nothing is quite as romantic as curling up by the fireplace in one of the three stand-alone cottages, unless, of course, it’s sitting in the garden and watching the dazzling night sky, which is reason enough to stay on this side of the island.
250 Lokahi Rd, Kapaau, HI 96755, USA
A clifftop eco-hotel surrounded by 50 barely touched acres on the bucolic North Kohala coast, Hawaii Island Retreat feels as far away as it gets. There are no TVs in the guest rooms, no air-con, and Wi-Fi only in certain spots. Solar and wind power provide all the electricity, while much of the fruit and vegetables are grown right on the property. Resident goats and bees supply the cheese and honey. The inn has 20 simply-furnished bedrooms in the main house, overlooking groves of cedar and pine trees, plus seven yurts a stone’s throw away, so it’s possible—likely even—that a guest might spend days here and rarely see another soul. The owners, a local spa therapist and natural healer and her physician husband, opened the property in 2009 with the express purpose of creating a wellness-focused retreat, which is why guests can sign up for classes in yoga, tai chi, and meditation, as well as facials and massages. Outdoor massage tables, placed under a tent, overlook a deep green valley. There’s also a mediation rock. So health-minded is this little retreat that it’s become a popular spot for guests recovering from serious illness or simply in search of a detox. Various packages have a wellness or spiritual theme.
62-100 Mauna Kea Beach Dr, Waimea, HI 96743, USA
The sweet smell of plumeria floats on gentle trade winds into each guest room at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel. When entering the room, you may be surprised that floor-to-ceiling picture windows and a beautiful private lanai (patio) beckon you to step back outside—closer to the rhythmic surf and paradise in nature. In the hotel’s main building, each morning you can wake up to warm accent colors in your room that recall the previous evening’s sunset. Natural light fills the entire space and you can brew a lovely cup of Kona coffee before leaving your room to face the world. A 2009 remodel of the main building rooms along with a 2013 beachfront wing renovation enable guests to unwind in the comfort of updated interiors that still remain true to Laurance S. Rockefeller’s original vision.
11-3832 12th St, Volcano, HI 96785, USA
Turning off the highway into Volcano Village, the one-street town leading into Volcanoes National Park, first-time visitors might think they just made a right turn into Oregon. Cool, misty, and thick with giant ferns, this corner of the Big Island is a small but serious rain forest, nourished mightily by eons of volcanic soil and abundant rainfall. Well concealed down one of the quiet side streets, in their rainforest property, are the four one-bedroom cottages that make up the Volcano Rainforest Retreat. Each is unique—one has a sleeping loft, another is a perfect hexagon, a third has a full kitchen. But with their cedar walls and ample windows and shoji screens, they bring to mind Japanese country houses. A stone pathway even leads to a Japanese soaking tub sitting outdoors beneath a moss-covered pergola. Interiors have eclectic, tasteful furnishings (leather club chairs, farmhouse-style quilts, handmade ceramics) that make each one feel like the guesthouse of a good friend. Though kids are allowed, and futons are available for extra guests, the setting is best for quiet twosomes, rather than families or boisterous groups of friends, as guest quarters are fairly close to one another. That, and in the hush of the rain forest, loud voices just won’t do.
Aulani, A Disney Resort and Spa
A Hawaiian fantasyland on Oahu’s more remote leeward coast, about 40 minutes from Waikiki, Aulani is so seductive—for all ages—that many guests are loath to leave the property at all. And who can blame them? The beach is an idyllic cove (albeit a man-made one) stocked with kayaks, boogie boards, and everything else little beach bums could want. Then there are the three pools, including one for adults only and one filled with tropical fish for snorkelers-in-training, two impressive waterslides, and the biggest crowd-pleaser of them all, a 900-foot-long lazy river where guests, big and small, splash around on inner tubes as they meander around a faux-rock grotto. Goofy, Minnie, Mickey, and the rest—all in their vacation outfits—make occasional cameos at the breakfast buffet or by (sometimes, in) the pool. But while Aulani is most assuredly every kid’s dream, it is not every parent’s nightmare. The resort decor is more traditionally Hawaiian than obnoxiously Magic Kingdom; the lobby is built to recall an old canoe house, on a grand scale, and is covered in murals, painted by local artists, depicting island life. Hawaiian storytellers gather around a fire pit at night, and rooms have warm woods, with a single subtle reference to the Mouse King—a wooden carving of Mickey with a surfboard and ukulele that doubles as a desk lamp. Perhaps best of all, the Aulani has an outstanding, supervised kids’ club that’s free to guests ages 3 to 12. Babysitters are available for kids as young as six weeks old.
450 Lewers St, Honolulu, HI 96815, USA
A few blocks up from the beach, the Coconut Waikiki is a bright and cheery budget-minded boutique hotel. The rooms are plenty roomy (197 to 265 square feet for the standard quarters; up to 1,200 square feet for the largest suites), and all have kitchenettes and private lanais. The look is fresh and modern, with light wood, white linens, and pops of color in armchairs and pillows. Amenities are minimal (no restaurant, no bar, and a teeny pool), but there’s free, speedy Wi-Fi, DIY laundry (for a fee), and, every morning, friendly international guests gathering in the lobby to toast their own waffles at the complimentary continental breakfast.
2199 Kalia Rd, Honolulu, HI 96815, USA
The most enviable address in Waikiki, the beachfront Halekulani is all about restrained elegance and pitch-perfect service. The hotel dates back a century, though it was entirely rebuilt in the 1980s—and the room decor—fifty shades of white and plantation shutters framing the turquoise sea—complements the scene outside. The beach itself is small and usually mobbed, but the pool is a dream—a giant oval big enough for laps, and quiet enough (few kids here) for a long doze under your chaise’s umbrella. The grassy courtyards and seaside restaurants are just as improbably serene; some might say stuffy, but for others, the reliably hushed atmosphere is a welcome tonic to the hubbub of Waikiki, just outside the Halekulani’s marbled entrance.
2365 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815, USA
Built in 1901, the legendary “First Lady of Waikiki” blends Victorian architecture with a golden beach and turquoise seas. Putting a luxury hotel in a deserted backwater was a bold move—but one that paid off. Tourism took off here and the Moana remains its ruling monarch. One of the most lovely, historical hotels in Hawaii, it still has Ionic columns supporting an elegant porte-cochère, plus a long shaded gallery along its facade where rocking chairs encourage guests to watch the world go by. A $21-million renovation brought it up-to-date in 2014 and added a new beach club. But an exhibit room still honors its rich past on the second floor of the Banyan Wing, and serves as a jumping-off point for free historical tours (11 a.m., Mondays and Wednesdays).
2169 Kalia Rd, Honolulu, HI 96815, USA
Both of Waikiki’s Outrigger hotels are a good value, but this one is a little bigger and a little quieter. It’s right on the beach, just north of the main resort cluster, and though a short walk to the middle of the action, far enough to feel out of the fray. The hotel itself is a quintessential Hawaiian family resort—big and friendly, with an unmistakable good-time vibe, old-school Polynesian decor throughout, and any number of activities on offer. The pool is set back from the beach and nothing fancy (no waterslides, no swim-up bar, and up against a giant wall), but it’s large enough for a serious game of Marco Polo, and there are plenty of lounge chairs to go around. Perhaps the best reason to stay here is the beach—a fairly narrow but sparkling white strand with more elbow room than its sister beaches; the rocky bottom may have something to do with that, but it’s a good place to learn to surf and a great place to catnap in the sun. One warning: the hotel lobby may feel overly commercial to some, what with a row of gift shops and a hard-to-miss timeshare desk, but it’s easy enough to ignore, if you wish.
5000 Kahala Ave, Honolulu, HI 96816, USA
Long considered one of the top hotels on Oahu, the Kahala has always been a particular favorite among the type of guests who travel with their own security detail. A number of past U.S. presidents, plus kings, queens, princesses Grace and Di, a handful of Nobel Peace Prize winners, rock stars, and movie stars, all have slept under its venerable roof at some point during the hotel’s 50-year history. The see-and-be-seen set moved on long ago, but privacy seekers still make a beeline here. They’re drawn less by the property’s fabulous beach (though that’s reason enough to stay here) than by its exclusive location—in a well-fortified cul-de-sac in the ritzy Kahala neighborhood. But there’s a warm and fuzzy side to the hotel, too. A pod of dolphins has full-time residency in the hotel lagoon, and visitors of all ages can swim with them (for a fairly steep fee). Rooms have a preppy beach house vibe—raffia ceiling fans, linen loveseats—and many come with heart-stopping sea views.
1775 Moana Blvd., Honolulu
A fairly new addition to the Waikiki waterfront, the seven-year-old Modern was a dream come true for those young urbanites who never quite felt at home in the more traditional Hawaiian resorts. It’s not directly on the beach—the closest is the lagoon and expansive beach in front of the Hilton Hawaiian Village, a quick walk on the hotel’s ramp—and instead overlooks the picturesque Ala Wai Boat Harbor, where many of the island’s boating excursions depart. Designed by George Yabu and Glenn Pushelberg, celebrities in the world of fashionable hotels, the look is warmly modern, all whites and creams and luxurious wood, and some striking art pieces, including a large surfboard installation in the lobby (titled “Wreck-tangles”). There’s a fun nightclub and some seriously good restaurants, though the real scene is out on the Instagram-worthy two-tiered teak pool deck, lined with lots of cushy chaises and shady corners to curl up. Upstairs is the adults-only pool—less a pool than a shallow water prop for frequent DJ-hosted dance parties. But for as much as the Modern is a hipster haven, the service is surprisingly good at making sure guests never feel like they’re crashing someone else’s party.
2259 Kalakaua Ave Honolulu, HI 96815
Built in the Roaring Twenties, the Royal Hawaiian ushered in the glam age of Waikiki Beach. The so-called Pink Palace, a Spanish Moorish–style confection set on bright-green lawns was, at the time, the priciest hotel project in the Pacific and a fast favorite of Hollywood royalty and East Coast blue bloods (who, in those early years, arrived by steamship, along with their piles of trunks and chauffeured cars). For those first few decades, anyone who was anyone, it seemed, stayed at the Royal Hawaiian; on any given day, you might see the likes of Spencer Tracy autographing a coconut or Joe DiMaggio surfing off the hotel’s beach. Once other luxury hotels sprouted up on Oahu, the Royal Hawaiian’s star faded some, but after a massive renovation in 2008, it became a member of Starwood’s Luxury Hotel Collection and, once again, one of the top spots on the island. The makeover managed to keep those graceful old bones and art deco flourishes (miles of tile, sweeping arches), while giving the whole place a long overdue upgrade. Genteel surroundings aside, the hotel is as lively as ever. But at night, when the oceanfront Mai Tar bar is rocking, guests can still scope out quiet corners. Retreat to the gracious portico lined with rocking chairs or the garden pathways dreamily lit by torches, and you’ll discover that the romance of old Waikiki lives on.
1, Keomoku Highway, Lanai City, HI 96763, USA
Lanai, a sleepy, 140-square-mile former pineapple plantation, is suddenly in the spotlight. Following the island’s purchase by tech billionaire Larry Ellison in 2012, the bay-facing Four Seasons Resort Lanai underwent a multimillion-dollar overhaul that reduced the number of guest rooms from 286 to 213. The rooms shook off their dated look with mahogany floors and walls clad in slate and teak. Guests can dine at outposts of Nobu and Los Angeles–based Malibu Farm, take private flight lessons and horseback-riding excursions, or book one of the resort’s wellness-focused retreats.
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