Best Hotels in Hawaii

Condé Nast Traveler

Readers' Choice Rating 96.2

Sited in the central highlands, this plantation-style lodge has an orchid house, stables, and an old church on its grounds. “We love the blend of refinement and Hawaiian aloha spirit.” Gold and red combine with plaid and floral prints in rooms with carved headboards. The Dining Room is known for its seafood and estate-grown ingredients, while the more casual Terrace offers bistro fare with garden views—“we’ve never had a bad meal there.” Guests can take part in interactive cultural classes or give back through volunteer programs. “Staff were superb, especially to the little ones.” Work out the kinks with a hot stone massage at the spa.

Readers' Choice Rating 94.7

This “drop-dead gorgeous, low-key resort, ” where the grounds are speckled with waterfalls, gardens, streams, and ponds, is on a cliff overlooking a bay. Rooms have private lanais overlooking the gardens or the Pacific and are done in tropical colors, with headboards that have pineapple motifs. Perched above Hulopo‘e Bay, Fresco specializes in contemporary Italian with ingredients supplied by local fishermen and farmers. "The fish tacos were to die for" and the staff are not only “helpful and courteous, they’re just plain nice.” Pool attendants supply Evian spritzes and chilled towels.

Readers' Choice Rating 95.2

“The perfect example of a hotel designed to fit its surroundings, ” this traditional Hawaiian resort sits on black lava rock. Palm fronds drape over low-rise bungalows, and earth-tone guest rooms have lots of bamboo, thatch, and slate. “Intuitive staff anticipate your every need from the moment you arrive. How did they know I needed a complimentary mai tai after that long flight?” Each room, with a private lanai, is built around a water feature or the Jack Nicklaus golf course. Book a ground-floor unit for an outdoor shower. Spa treatments incorporate crushed macadamia nuts.

Readers' Choice Rating 93.9

This “dream resort” on 15 acres is shaped like a horseshoe, providing views of the Pacific Ocean from almost every guest room. Done in blue, coral, and gold, rooms combine dark Koa furniture with Hawaiian rattan and white linens. “Service is spectacular, ” with ginger mint lemonade, a cold towel, and a lei offered at check-in. The “beautiful pools” include an adults-only infinity pool and come with “hourly surprises” like complimentary pineapple and ice water. “The pool cabanas make working on vacation not only tolerable but enjoyable.” Dine on Hawaiian and California cuisines at Wolfgang Puck’s Spago, or seafood and steak, including Japanese Kobe-style beef, at Duo. “Look forward to the ultimate pampering in a tropical paradise.”

Mariner Books Hotel Honolulu: A Novel
Book (Mariner Books)

All the islands are family-ish

by -

But for a good all-around Hawaiian vacation I recommend Oahu. You can have the best of both worlds: natural beauty and shopping. Waikiki is nice for shopping and doing touristy things, but get in a car and drive to any number of public beaches all over the island and in many places you have the beach all to yourself. Snorkeling, fishing, boogy-boarding, parasailing, it's all on Oahu.

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