Where to Stay in Oahu: Bustling to Remote Island Experiences

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Hula dancing on the beach, Where to stay in Oahu
Oahu’s many free cultural activities include learning to hula on the beach. Photo credit: Mimi Slawoff

Oahu, the third-largest island in the Aloha State of Hawaii, has pristine beaches, beach parks, mountains, hiking trails and historical sites. No wonder there’s a wide range of family-friendly things to see and do. Ditto for where to stay in Oahu. From boutique hotels to luxury resorts, there’s something for every style and budget around the island.

SheBuysTravel Tip: When planning your vacation, consider adding on visits to Maui, Kauai or one of the other Hawaiian Islands.

The Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort, Where to stay in Oahu
Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort. Photo credit: Mimi Slawoff


Honolulu, the capital of Oahu, is home to world famous Waikiki Beach. The resort area has numerous beachfront hotels, diverse dining options, high rises and a vibrant nightlife. Staying in Honolulu puts you in close walking distance to Kapiolani Park and the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center. The latter is home to shops, restaurants, free live entertainment and cultural activities. Nearby are the Ala Moana Shopping Center, Diamond Head Crater, Iolani Palace and Pearl Harbor.

The beach town is a good central location for exploring the various areas of Oahu. It’s a short drive to Hanauma Bay (popular for snorkeling) and about a 30-minute drive to the Windward Coast, home to some of the best beaches. There, you’ll find Kailua Beach Park and Lanikai Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Also on this side of Oahu is Kualoa Ranch, a private nature preserve with guided adventures.

She Buys Travel Tip: Having a rental car provides easy access to Oahu’s many attractions.

Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort

2005 Kālia Road
Honolulu, Hawaii 96815

Encompassing 22 acres, the Hilton Hawaiian Village is a sprawling resort with five pools, a saltwater lagoon, more than 18 restaurants and about 100 shops. Beautifully landscaped pathways with waterfalls meander among the five towers with resort, coastal or ocean views.  The Camp Penguin Kids’ Club entertains kids ages 5 – 12 with storytelling and cultural activities. Evening entertainment includes outdoor movie nights and the Waikiki Starlight Hawaiian Luau. Plus, the Spirit of Aloha Catamaran offers daily snorkeling and adventure sails. I highly recommend it!

Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort Highlights

  • Five towers with many room options
  • Five pools and a saltwater lagoon
  • Camp Penguin Kids’ Club
  • Waikiki Starlight Hawaiian Luau
  • Spirit of Aloha Catamaran snorkeling sails


Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort, Waikiki,

2259 Kalākaua Avenue
Honolulu, HI 96815

Also known as the Pink Palace of the Pacific, the beachfront Royal Hawaiian has a variety of room options with garden or ocean views. It’s an iconic Waikiki hotel with two swimming pools, four restaurants, a spa facility and a fitness center. Plus, it’s a short walk to the Royal Hawaiian Center.

Royal Hawaiian Highlights

  • Historic beachfront hotel
  • Two pools
  • Four restaurants
  • Short walk to Royal Hawaiian Center


Ko Olina, Where to stay in Oahu
Ko Olina is on the west side of Oahu. Photo credit: Mimi Slawoff

Ko Olina

Situated about 30 minutes west of Honolulu, this part of Oahu is the less developed leeward coast. It’s more secluded and has posh beachfront hotels surrounding four lagoons. This side of the island is home to the popular Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa. Next door is one of my favorite properties – the Marriott’s Ko Olina Beach Club.

Marriott’s Ko Olina Beach Club

92-161 Waipahe Place
Oahu, Hawaii 96707

The Marriott’s Ko Olina Beach Club has a prime beachfront location with its own lagoon. The guest rooms are large and some have kitchenettes. The one-, two- and three-bedroom villas have full kitchens. Three onsite heated pools feature hot tubs, waterfalls, waterslides and a sandy zero-entry area.  The resort also features a weekly Hawaiian luau dinner show, painting classes, kids’ club activities and movie nights.

Marriott’s Ko Olina Beach Club Highlights

  • Prime beachfront bay location
  • Various room options with kitchenettes or kitchens
  • Thee onsite pools
  • Kids activities and movie nights
  • Hawaiian luau dinner show


Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa,

92-1185 Ali’inui Drive
Kapolei, Hawaii 96707

The Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa has accommodations from standard rooms to three-bedroom villas with a full kitchen. Families like staying at the Aulani for the many free things to do, from canoe races to ukulele lessons. Plus, Aunty’s Beach House Kids Club offers free cultural experiences for children ages 3-12 years old.

Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa Highlights

  • A Disney resort with guest rooms and villas
  • Beachfront property
  • Many cultural activities
  • Keiki Cove Splash Zone
  • Aunty’s Beach House Kids Club
  • Family spa treatments


Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina

92-1001 Olani Street
Kapolei, HI 96707

For a luxury stay consider the Four Seasons Resort Oahu, which has a variety of guest rooms and suites. Kids stay free and there’s a free kids’ club. The beachfront hotel has four outdoor pools, a full-service spa, fitness center and four restaurants. Activities include scuba diving and snorkeling.

Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina Highlights

  • Children stay free
  • Free kids’ club
  • Free cribs/infant beds
  • Babysitting (surcharge)
  • Children’s pool


Turtle Bay Resort, Where to stay in Oahu
Turtle Bay Resort. Photo credit: Mimi Slawoff

North Shore of Oahu

In contrast to Honolulu, the North Shore is rustic, offering a laid-back vacation. This part of the island is popular with surfers for the big waves at Banzai Pipeline and Sunset Beach. It’s also popular with families seeking a quiet getaway. Things to do include visiting Haleiwa, beach parks and the Polynesian Cultural Center. Plus, the North Shore has a variety of food trucks.

Where to Stay in Oahu: Turtle Bay Resort

57-091 Kamehameha Highway
Kahuku, Hawaii 96731

Named for the resident sea turtles, the oceanfront Turtle Bay Resort is one of the best hotels on the island. It’s situated on 850 acres with five miles of beaches and a tropical forest. Accommodation options feature guest rooms, suites, villas and bungalows. My family of five enjoyed our two adjoining rooms with balconies and ocean views. Activities include horseback riding and onsite surf lessons. The resort also has a full-service spa and golf course.

SheBuysTravel Tip: Reserve your spot for the Paniolo, A Hawaiian Cowboy Luau on Wednesday evenings.

Turtle Bay Resort Highlights

  • The beachfront resort has a variety of accommodation options. Kids stay free.
  • Secluded location with miles of beaches and a forest
  • Swimming pool
  • Four restaurants and a weekly luau
  • Onsite horseback riding and surf lessons
  • Golf course


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