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The very Best Resorts in Hawaii
I get it if you’re planning a Hawaii vacation and unsure where to start. Planning a trip to Hawaii can be overwhelming! As a Hawaii Travel Agent, I talk to clients daily who tell me they just don’t know where to start. I recommend starting with where you’ll stay! Today, I will discuss the best resorts in Hawaii on five different islands.
Once you figure out which resort you’d like to stay at (and which island in Hawaii is best), the little things like a rental car, activities, and everything else will start to fall into place – especially if you’re working with a travel agent!
Even if we’re not working together, I hope this list of the best resorts in Hawaii helps you figure out where you’d like to start during your Hawaii vacation. When you’re done, check out some of my other Hawaii travel tips, such as 30 Things You Should Never Do in Hawaii, 10 things to know before going to Hawaii, and the Best Airport to Fly into Hawaii.
Now, let’s get to it!
The 25 best resorts in Hawaii
Let’s get to the best resorts in Hawaii, but first, I strongly recommend renting a car on any of the Hawaiian islands. You will need a car anywhere but Oahu, but even on Oahu, I recommend one if you want to explore the beautiful island outside of Honolulu and Waikiki.
You’ll find the best prices anywhere at Discount Hawaii Car Rental. Now, on to the best resorts in Hawaii, separated by island and starting with Oahu.
Best Resorts on Oahu
Oahu is home to over a million residents and is the most popular island for tourism (especially international tourism.) Fun facts about Oahu.
- Oahu is home to Waikiki Beach.
- Pearl Harbor is located on Oahu.
- The beautiful North Shore is wildly different from Waikiki/Honolulu and worth visiting. That can help us start with the only North Shore resort, Turtle Bay.
Turtle Bay Resort
There are plenty of luxurious resorts in Oahu. However, Turtle Bay Resort is the only one located on the North Shore.
The floor-to-ceiling windows in the lobby will give you the WOW factor you are looking for. Although, you may be more interested in the local artwork than the views at first. Especially since you can find the same stunning views from your guest room.
Speaking of guest rooms, the rooms and suites are incredible. They’re just not as incredible as the magnificent beachfront bungalows. Those bungalows have a shared swimming pool.
There are 12 miles of trails to hike along at this Hawaiian resort, and you can go on a horseback ride at sunset too.
The best experience at this resort is the Jamie O’Brien Surf Experience. The private sessions will have you surfing in no time at all.
There are plenty of other beach activities you can choose from if surfing isn’t for you! Imagine swimming with all the tropical fish in the ocean or building a sandcastle while hanging out on the sand.
And when you get hungry, there are eight different dining options here. I recommend attending the Paniolo Dinner. You can take hula lessons and listen to cowboy stories during your meal.
Oh, and the award-winning spa is the perfect place to relax in between thrilling adventures.
The Royal Hawaiian Resort Waikiki
You may wonder how The Royal Hawaiian Resort Waikiki can be as amazing as it is. After all, it is quite pink on the outside. However, this is one of the top resorts in Oahu.
There are more than 500 rooms and suites for you to choose from for your stay. The Historic Wing offers accommodations with a history-filled style. The Mailani Tower offers accommodations with contemporary styles. Those rooms also offer views of Diamond Head.
Waikiki Beach is only steps away from most rooms at this resort. Direct access means you can be swimming in the ocean only minutes after waking up in the morning. Although, if you don’t feel like walking to the beach, you can always spend time at either of the two pools.
History tours are offered twice a week. As are royal-style luaus. There are three restaurants, as well as a bakery, on-site. Each one is perfect for when you need to grab a bite to eat.
If you want a drink at night, head over to the Mai Tai Bar. The sunset views over Diamond Head are worth being amongst the other guests because it does get crowded. So, plan on being amongst many people who want to see the sunset like you do!
Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina
Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina can be found on the western shore. Only suites are available at this beautiful resort on Oahu. They all offer ocean views you can see from your bed. Which means you may have difficulty getting out of bed each day.
There are plenty of things to keep you active once you do get up. Outrigger canoeing, playing golf, and spending the day at the beach are all excellent places to begin.
While a family vacation means a lot of togetherness, you have options. Take a little time to get pampered at the spa while the kids have fun at the pool.
And if you are enjoying an adults-only vacation, head over to La Mer for dinner. It is an excellent dining option for all those special occasions.
Aulani – A Disney Resort
You will experience a little Disney magic while staying at Aulani in Oahu. This is one of the best Hawaii resorts for families. However, many couples find they love the Disney touches at this beautiful resort. I’ve booked plenty of honeymooners at Aulani!
During your visit, you can choose to stay in one of the rooms, suites, or villas. Each one offers the space and amenities you will need while on vacation in Hawaii.
You won’t be able to tear the kids away from Aunty’s Beach House. This is fine because you can have a little alone time when they’re at this kids club!
Everyone can take hula lessons at the kids club and learn how to make leis. At night, stories are told by the fire. Or you can all watch a movie under the stars.
Family time can be spent at the natural lagoon. Kids and kids-at-heart will also love the six pools and numerous waterslides.
Mealtimes are super easy at Aulani. Family-friendly meals can be found at the two restaurants, as well as the counter service options.
Best Resorts on Maui
Maui is the most popular island for American tourism (at least in my experience), and it’s certainly the most popular for honeymooners. Families also love Maui as it offers a mix of things to do for the entire family. Fun facts about Maui:
- Maui is the best island in Hawaii for snorkeling (although all islands are great for this!)
- The famous Road to Hana is located in Maui, and you won’t find anything like it outside of Maui.
- One of the most popular activities is visiting Haleakala at sunrise, and there are tours where you can bike down after seeing the sunrise.
Are you searching for a five-star resort with amazing golf courses for your Hawaiian vacation? If you said yes, I recommend staying at Ritz-Carlton Maui.
You can play on two championship golf courses. And if your game isn’t up to par, private lessons are available. If you love golf, check out the 15 best golf courses in Maui.
Cultural activities are available at the Honokahua Preservation Site. This is a great place to learn about the sacred ceremonial sites in Hawaii.
All the guest rooms offer the amenities you need while on vacation. You may prefer to reserve the premium rooms. Those offer shaded lanais, fire pits, and hammocks—all items you will need for the ultimate relaxation.
White sand beaches and sparkling bays are all within walking distance of this Hawaiian resort. Don’t worry, you can spend time at the swimming pool instead.
The Hana-Maui Resort offers easy access to Oheo Gulch and the Kings Highway. It is also close to Haleakala National Park.
Spacious rooms and suites offer stunning views of the ocean or gardens.
Instead, you will want to visit the sights I mentioned above or to spend the day at one of the nearby beaches.
Of course, you can always relax at any of the pools. The fitness center is a great place for workouts. Plus, this resort offers yoga classes and aerobic classes.
The onsite restaurant is perfect for meals. Especially brunch on those days you sleep in. Since you are so far from everything, the resort offers packages that include meals. It’s not truly all-inclusive, but it does offer a meal plan!
Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea
Luxurious rooms are available at the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea. Each room and suite is amazing. However, for the best experience, reserve a room on the Club Floor. This dedicated area offers 26 rooms and suites. Guests of the Club Floor receive personalized attention, including private check-in and check-out.
Fans who watched The White Lotus may recognize this resort’s open-air lobby and central pool fountain. Everyone else will be amazed at the sculpture garden, three pools, and beach yoga options.
You can stay right at the resort all day long and have fun. The complimentary shuttle service offers an escape for those who do want to go out and explore.
Take advantage of room service at least once during your stay. It’s a great way to relax. Plus, you can enjoy the views from your private outdoor space while you eat.
You should also spend time in the adults-only pool. It is a fabulous place to watch the sunset.
One of the more unique features of this resort is the helicopter tours that are offered with dinner. Your evening will begin with a helicopter tour. Then, a delicious dinner with wine will be waiting for you when your tour ends.
Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort
The Andaz Maui at Wailea is hands-down my favorite resort for honeymooners. Why? It’s not exactly child-friendly. No, it isn’t adults-only like nearby Hotel Wailea, but it doesn’t offer much for kids, so you won’t find as many families here.
However, if you are a family with teens or older kids, you might enjoy this property as you won’t find as many screaming toddlers at the pool! If you have screaming toddlers yourself, you may want another location, as this one doesn’t offer as much for those toddlers to do!
Each one of the 300-plus rooms and suites offers a private lanai. Oceanfront villas are also available for larger families and groups. I saw some of these during my recent stay at the Andaz, and they are stunning!
There is more than one infinity pool at this Hawaiian resort. Trust me when I say that these pools are the best places for lounging, especially if you take advantage of the drinks and snacks from the beach bar.
You will find a few places to eat at this resort and many others throughout the Wailea development. I do recommend making reservations at Morimoto Maui. This Japanese restaurant offers a fine dining experience you will never forget.
Montage Kapalua Bay
There are not too many rooms available at Montage Kapalua Bay in Maui. You will want to make your reservations early if you want to stay in one of the 50 rooms. The smallest room is 1,250 square feet. So you will never be short of space.
Couples and families will love this resort’s activities—especially the guidepool excursions and tropical hikes.
The kids may prefer to spend their time in the Paintbox Program, where they can play games, participate in activities, and work on crafts.
There are two restaurants on-site. You can dine at either of them or prepare a meal in your own kitchen.
Hotel Wailea, Relais & Châteaux
If you are searching for a child-free vacation in Hawaii, head to Hotel Wailea. The bungalow-style suites are the perfect place for a little alone time.
At check-in, you will be greeted with champagne and a lei. Head straight to your room or down to the pool for social hour.
A vintage Porsche can be borrowed if you want to explore the island. You must reserve this car early to ride in style around the island.
If you can’t reserve the Porsche, there is a limousine available. The limo can take you to Wailea Beach, The Shops at Wailea, and the golf courses. However, you already know that I recommend having your own car, especially in Maui!
There are plenty of recreational activities to choose from. Popular options include surf safari and the Hawaiian Outrigger cultural and turtle canoe tour.
Local produce is used to create the meals at the onsite restaurant. Take the time to enjoy a private dinner at the Treehouse. It’s a magical experience you will never forget.
Grand Wailea Maui
Grand Wailea Maui will show you that sometimes bigger can be better! Start with the 700-plus rooms and suites. Each one offers everything you need and want during a Hawaiian vacation.
If you have young kids, this is a great option! I consider it one of the the 15 best resorts in Maui for families.
The labyrinth of swimming pools will keep you happy. The Wailea Canyon Activity Pool actually spans six levels. Waterslides and a water elevator connect it. You will also find waterfalls, caves, and a lazy river.
Don’t worry, if the kids are at the kids club, you can relax at the Hibiscus Pool. This adult pool offers a quieter ambiance.
Popular activities at this resort include snorkeling, paddleboarding, and other water sports. In season, you can go on a tour to see humpback whales. And it’s never a bad time to watch the sea turtles.
There are a half dozen options for dining at Grand Wailea Maui. Families will love eating the pizza from Aloha Trick Pony. And the kids will love trying to pronounce Humuhumunukunukupuaa. That restaurant serves some of the freshest seafood in Hawaii!
Don’t miss out on the live music that can be heard regularly throughout this resort.
Fairmont Kea Lani
Spacious suites and villas at Fairmont Kea Lani make this one of the best resorts in Hawaii for family vacations. The villas all have private courtyards, barbecues, and plunge pools.
It is best to reserve a cabana at this resort’s three swimming pools. The loungers are always full, even early in the morning.
The kids will prefer the pool with the waterslide. However, the adults will love their time at the adult pool.
During the day, the younger family members can go to the Kids Club. The adults can spend their day at the Willow Stream Spa.
There are six on-site restaurants. They are all perfect for trying all the Hawaiian cuisine. I recommend inquiring about the Hoku Lanai Dinner. It is a torch-lit dinner for special occasions held on the Pacific Terrace.
Best Resorts on the Big Island of Hawaii
The Big Island in Hawaii is the least visited of the four main islands but has the most to offer regarding diverse landscapes. Here are some fun facts about the Big Island.
- Mauna Kea is the tallest mountain in the world when measured from the sea floor. You can even see snow in Hawaii sometimes during the winter months!
- Most macadamia nuts in Hawaii come from the Big Island
- The Big Island is home to many of Hawaii’s black-sand beaches
Four Seasons Resort Hualalai
This best luxury resort was constructed on the site of an ancient Hawaiian fishing village. You will learn a lot about Hawaiian culture during your stay. The Four Seasons Hualalai often wins awards for the “best resort in Hawaii,” so it made sense to include it in the list of the best resorts in Hawaii!
All the spacious rooms at this resort are incredible. But I recommend a ground-floor room if you want to incorporate the outdoors into your stay. They have outdoor lava stone showers.
One of the best world-class golf courses can be found at this resort in Hawaii. The Jack Nicklaus signature golf course offers 18 holes of putting fun.
Your time here will be spent at the private beach or 1 of the seven swimming pools. There are even three restaurants to choose from when it is time to eat.
One of the best activities here though is snorkeling in the King’s Pond.
Mauna Lani, Auberge Resorts Collection
Families of all sizes will learn about Hawaiian culture while staying at Mauna Lani, especially if you take the time to tour the Puako Petroglyph Archaeological Preserve.
Spacious suites, residences, and estates are all options for accommodations. Your family can choose the one that offers the space you require. Although, you won’t be in your room very long each day.
You may find yourself at one of the three swimming pools. The children’s pool offers a sandy bottom if you don’t want to go to the beach.
Send the kids to the kids club if you want a little alone time. The Holoholo Kids Crew offers all sorts of adventures for kids between the ages of 5 and 12.
There are five dining options at this amazing resort in Hawaii. The Surf Shack is the most popular option during the day.
Mauna Kea Beach Hotel
Mauna Kea Beach Hotel was actually the very first resort on the island of Hawaii. Many people believe the golf courses are the main attraction. But once you arrive, you will discover the main attraction is the Pacific Ocean.
The 252 rooms offer furnished lanais. You can enjoy multiple outdoor spaces if you choose one of the suites.
Your itinerary will include visits to the beach club, tennis courts, spa, and Hawaiian language classes. I can help arrange all these activities for you when I book your trip!
Oh, and you will want to indulge in all the cuisine that’s available at the on-site restaurants. Each restaurant offers a different type of cuisine, and you will want to visit them all. Mauna Kea is also located on one of the best beaches on the Big Island of Hawaii.
Fairmont Orchid is on the Kohala Coast. It is one of the unique places to stay in Hawaii. This is due to the mounds of black lava that contrast the sparkling water of the Pacific Ocean.
The rooms and suites are all filled with bamboo and rattan touches. You won’t have any difficulty at all relaxing in one of them during your stay.
The Spa Without Walls is a full-service spa that goes all out in making sure you are pampered while on vacation. Their treatments use Hawaiian sea salt, volcanic lava rocks, and Kona coffee.
The on-site restaurants will ensure you have plenty of options without leaving this resort’s tranquility. However, I never recommend staying at your resort all the time! Hawaii is meant for exploring, so check out 25 best things to do in Kona.
Royal Kona Resort
There are many amazing resorts on the Big Island, and most come at a higher price point. The Royal Kona Resort will check off many of your boxes but at a much lower price point.
While there are no all-inclusive resorts in Hawaii, some offer food packages. This is one of the best resorts that offers packages to travelers. So, it is possible to enjoy an all-inclusive-like experience while staying here.
The guest rooms and suites are all within three towers. Each space offers a beach vibe and a private lanai.
Your days can be spent exploring active volcanoes. Or heading out in the water to scuba dive with manta rays. Shopping is extraordinary in the village of Kailua-Kona. And you won’t want to miss the Voyagers of the Pacific Luau.
There is an on-site restaurant, so you won’t need to leave the comfort of this resort when you need a good meal. However, you’ll want to venture out to visit the many restaurants and best happy hours in Kona.
Best Resorts on Kauai
I may be a bit biased, but I think Kauai is the best island in Hawaii if you love beautiful scenery and outdoor activities. Fun facts about Kauai:
- Kauai offers some of the best hikes in Hawaii
- Kauai is home to the wettest place on earth – Mt. Waialeale – but this doesn’t mean you’ll have a rain-soaked vacation! There are parts of the island that receive almost no rain!
- The only navigable river in Hawaii is on Kauai, the Wailua River, and I recommend you take a tour that kayaks the river and takes you to a “secret” waterfall!
Hawaii Travel Agent tip: Only about 10% of Kauai is accessible by car, so the best way to see more of the island is via helicopter tour! Yes, it’s pricey, but I believe that it’s worth it, and my clients always rave about it!
Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa
Kauai is known for its lush gardens. So, it shouldn’t be surprising to find native foliage and flora in every room and suite at the Grand Hyatt Kauai.
I guarantee you will be at the lagoon or the multilevel pools when you’re not in your room. The lava-rock lazy river offers a relaxing way to enjoy the water. And the waterslide will get your heart racing before you start to explore the secret caves.
This is one of the best hotels for golfers. The 18-hole championship golf course offers ocean views to distract you from getting par. You may need to play a few rounds to get a good score.
Tidepools is the best restaurant at Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa. But there are other restaurant options available to ensure you are never hungry. You can also check out the best restaurants in Kauai for even more dining options.
Koa Kea Resort on Poipu Beach
One of Hawaii’s most romantic resorts is on the southern shore of Kauai. Koa Kea Resort on Poipu Beach offers travelers a luxurious and sophisticated experience.
The 121 rooms and suites all offer a private balcony or lanai. Those are the perfect places to watch the spectacular sunsets over the water. And you will love the beach access this resort offers. It won’t take you long to reach the beach from your room.
Outdoor activities include yoga on the lawn and massages under the coconut trees. You won’t miss any of the natural beauty surrounding this resort as the palm trees sway in the breeze.
The lava rock hot tubs will have you relaxing, hopefully with a drink in your hand.
Noelani Planas is the go-to restaurant for meals. There’s a small sushi bar you can visit too.
1 Hotel Hanalei
One of the newest Kauai resorts easily lands as one of the best resorts in Hawaii. 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay is located on the North Shore of Kauai – one of the most beautiful spots on earth.
1 Hotel Hanalei Bay is a beachfront resort with no resort fees and offers a kids club, onsite restaurants, and a stunning spa.
Best Resorts on Lanai
Lanai isn’t the most popular island in Hawaii for tourism, but it’s very popular amongst celebrities and those who want to get away in a more secluded area. Lanai may be right for you if you have a large budget and prefer quiet and serenity over crowds.
Sensei Lanai (a Four Seasons Resort) was one of the first wellness retreats on the Hawaiian Islands. This is one of the top Hawaii resorts for pampering and relaxation.
You will find this resort near Lanai City. Upon arrival, your personal sensei guide will create an itinerary that is best for you. This itinerary may include massage therapy, forest bathing, and yin yoga.
Feel free to relax in the onsen gardens or take a swim in the pool. A day at the Four Seasons Resort nearby can be arranged if you prefer the beach.
Just don’t skip a horseback riding adventure around Koele. The views and experience are breathtaking.
All your meals will include dishes prepared using ingredients from a nearby hydroponic farm.
Four Seasons Resort Lanai
There aren’t too many luxury hotels on Lanai. There aren’t many resorts in Lanai at all! If you do plan to stay in Lanai, you’ll either be in a very luxurious resort or a vacation rental-type of place. I certainly recommend a luxurious resort if you can make it worth it within your budget!
There are 168 rooms and 45 suites to choose from at this Four Seasons Resort. They all have everything you will need while on this amazing island.
You won’t find a private beach at this hotel. But you will find plenty of beaches nearby. And most of them won’t have anyone on them. So, it will be like having your own private beach during your Hawaiian vacation!
When you are not at the beach, you may be out sailing, ziplining, or taking a whale watching or dolphin tour.
The lagoon-style pools are the perfect place to unwind after your adventures each day.
End your days with a meal at Nobu Lanai. Then, venture over to the new observatory to see the stars.
The best resorts in Hawaii
These are the best resorts in Hawaii, listed in no particular order other than by island. Did your favorite Hawaii resort make the list? Hawaii has so many incredible resorts, and it’s hard to list them all. Fortunately, I do have other blog posts with more recommendations for places to stay in Hawaii, including:
- The best 5-star resorts on Maui
- The Best Luxury Resorts Big Island
- 5-star resort on Oahu
- Waikiki Hotels on the beach
- The 10 best honeymoon hotels in Maui
- The best boutique hotels in Hawaii
The best resorts in hawaii
Although I am a Hawaii Travel Agent, I only take on a select number of clients per month. Please get in touch with me and see if I’m available to ensure your trip to Hawaii is the best it can be!
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