5 unique luxury hotel experiences in Oahu


When you think of Hawaii, you want to wake up to waves and ocean breezes. Possibly the best place to combine a great hotel with matching luxury amenities and off-site experiences is Oahu. Because it gets constant visitor business, the competition is stiff, hotels and resorts tend to go the extra pillow and slippers. These five properties offer something both unique and luxurious if your destination is Oahu.

Four Seasons Ko’Olina

There is plenty of hustle in Oahu, and the Four Seasons gets to a part of the island that is a little quieter and secluded. The hotel is right along the cove, so plenty of access to water sports, beachside dining, and pool lounging. This is the kind of place you can shuttle to, stay a week, and not have to go anywhere while you soak up Hawaiian rays. A much better than average fitness center and spa as well round out the property, as well as Mina’s Fish House restaurant.

‘Alohilani Resort

Get your hipster on at the ‘Alohilani smack dab in the middle of Waikiki action. The rooms are well-appointed but meant as a base of exploration rather than palatial lounging. Built on a piece or royal land, the hotel stays true to promoting culture while having the three-story, Oceanarium “O Bar” complete with zooming live fish, and restaurants on property. And the surf is literally 112 steps away right across the street. And while it is a trendy place, the various pools, and art displays appeal to all adult ages.

The Laylow Hotel

The Laylow Hotel takes you back in time with a 1960s modern feel where you might think you will run into Elvis. Here the attraction is a small, boutique hotel where you can step out and be in the middle of the Waikiki action. A small but elegant pool plus classic cocktails and great service make an ideal stop if most of your time will be spend exploring Waikiki.

Lotus Hotel at Diamondhead 

Possibly the most iconic and photographed landmark is Diamondhead. The Lotus hotel gives you a chance for a little luxury next to this scenic mount in a quiet setting. Waikiki is a short jaunt away for dining and shopping. Expect unique boutique hotel amenities, such as evening wine service and bicycle rentals. Wake up in the Ocean View room with a view to both Diamondhead and the ocean.

Trump International Hotel Waikiki

The Trump Hotel is the only Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Hotel on the island of Oahu, and that should be a clue to that this is the best luxury hotel on Oahu. From the arrival minute to the departure hour, this hotel goes extra and maybe the best jumping-off point for exploring both Waikiki and the island. And, the concierge staff is above and beyond – if they don’t have it, they will get it. The suites include kitchenettes and washer/dryers, which are posh with enormous bathrooms and walk-in showers. The spa offers some unique services such as the Jet Lag Recovery Massage. Cocktails, as well as lunch dinner, are expertly prepared at the signature Wai’olu Ocean Cuisine restaurant and bar.


Comments (8)

  1. John Talbot says:

    The piece on food on Oahu got me salivating and now I’ve just read about some great hotels. When’s the best time of year, thinking of weather, to visit Oahu. We definitely don’t do rain but my wife’s not too good with high temperatures either.

    • John, from what I can tell late fall before the holiday period appears to be a little slower in Hawaii. Even though it is warm, June through September is more active with family vacations. Also, it is a little island-specific. You can also tell those statistics by rate specials as well.

  2. Cate P says:

    My friend’s jetting off to Hawaii for her honeymoon in June, I’m a teeny bit jealous! I don’t think she’ll be getting anything quite this luxurious though, but I hope she does. These places look amazing. Not sure how you’d choose between them to be honest. I’m curious about the aylow and the ‘1960s modern feel’. Do you mean like with decor? I think I’d want the best of both worlds in terms of location though. Close to the action, and more out in the open to enjoy some peace and quiet. I think I just like to be difficult.

    • Cate, hotels in the 1960s had a different idea of luxury. Their idea then was more about location, as it was exotic for people to travel at all, let alone that distance. So, yes there it is more about decor. I presented five properties all of which have a much different feel. So it really wasn’t choosing between them, but highlighting their differences and appeal points.

  3. Nicola Clarke says:

    Couldn’t help but laugh at how the Trump Hotel will get anything you need and go the extra mile to be helpful. The last time I went away (medium budget hotel in Spain, so I’d expected a little better) the hairdryer was broken. I asked for a replacement and was met with shock that I would even ask for such a thing. Didn’t get a replacement, just a snarky comment about how someone would fix it (they didn’t) and they simply have replacements on hand. That was only the start of the problems. Next time I go anywhere I’d really, really like a place that actually appreciates their customers. Sounds like all of these would fit the bill but to be fair, I’m not sure I’d mind that much because it’s Hawaii, that’s good enough for me. Love the idea of going there one day. Out of curiosity, how busy does Oahu get in the tourist season, like May or June to September?

    • Nicola, apparently some hotels do go the extra mile. I am sure we all have had experiences where something was not right. Since I don’t know the hotel in Spain, I cannot comment. I find it useful upon checking in to determine if all works correctly in the room, then report anything to the specific check in staff we met. That personal connection seems to get things resolved pretty quickly.

  4. Dan Swan says:

    Nice varied selection of hotels. The Four Seasons resort is very tempting but the trouble with resorts is that it’s all too easy to relax into their way of life. You can slip into a luxurious routine and never see anything else.

    Maybe a two centre holiday is the answer. Choose one of the other hotels first to see Oahu and then finish with a few days of relaxation at the Four Seasons.

    • Dan, quite notable you favor a two resort or more trip, that is what I like to do. You can pick one that is relaxing, then pick another that is a little more on the go!

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