Aloha, fellow Oahu travelers!
I’ve got the inside scoop on where to stay for your ultimate Hawaiian vacation. After years of exploring this beautiful island with my boyfriend, we’ve experienced firsthand the joys and woes of finding that perfect accommodation. From high-end resorts to budget-friendly hostels, we’ve relentlessly scoured every nook and cranny in search of the ideal place to rest our heads while soaking up all Oahu has to offer.
Now, let me tell you a little secret: my boyfriend once booked us what he thought was a sweet deal at a supposed “luxury” hotel – but it turned out to be more like a scene from an old horror movie! So trust me when I say, you’ll want to avoid making those same costly mistakes.
Through our extensive research and personal experiences (the good, bad, and ugly), we’ve put together a comprehensive list of not only the best places to stay in Oahu but also those perfectly suited for you – whether you’re here with family, as lovebirds or flying solo!
Warning: Finding that perfect spot might just convince you it’s time for an extended vacation or even make you wonder why bother leaving paradise at all.
So grab your sunblock and get ready – let’s find that dreamy Oahu accommodation together!
An obvious first choice to stay in Oahu is in Waikiki because its prime location places it at the center of all the action. There are tons of high-end hotels and resorts and budget-friendly hostels in the Waikiki strip, which open their doors directly on the beach and are within walking distance from restaurants and shopping hubs.
In addition, Waikiki is an ideal place for families with children to stay as it has protected beaches for swimming and taking surfing lessons and is within walking distance from most attractions on the island. Couples, solo travelers, and the elderly will also love Waikiki as it has activities catering to all age groups.
So if you love being at the center of entertainment on your vacation, head to Waikiki as it’s one of the best places to stay in Oahu.
- Waikiki has many dining options catering to every diet, palate, and cuisine.
- You can take every major island tour right from Waikiki.
- The island’s transportation system, The Bus, runs through Waikiki, so you can reach most places easily.
Best places to stay in Waikiki
Below you’ll find the best hotels and hostels to stay in when you visit Waikiki.
The Hilton Hawaiian Village
If you’re traveling with a group, the Hilton should be your first choice, as it’s located right on Waikiki beach, has beautiful rooms overlooking the beach, and has a protected lagoon where children can swim safely.
My boyfriend and I love staying at the Hilton because their quality of service never changes, and you can get the best entertainment here, like hula shows and fireworks every week.
Here’s why the Hilton Hawaiian Village is the best place to stay in Oahu:
- The location places it at the center of Waikiki, close to all the major restaurants and shopping centers.
- The lagoon is ideal for kayaking, snorkeling, and swimming as its currents remain calm.
- Their prices are reasonable for larger groups and fall in the mid-range category.
Polynesian Hostel Beach Club
It’s no surprise that you can find budget-friendly accommodations in Honolulu, but the Polynesian Beach Club raises the standard by being a four-star hostel with great amenities. In addition, the hotel’s central location places it within walking distance from Waikiki beach and the island’s best bars, stores, and restaurants.
The hostel is also a great place for backpackers and solo travelers as they can get acquainted with travelers from around the world through shared rooms.
My boyfriend and I have made many great friends from staying at the Polynesian Hostel, and it’s one of the best places to stay in Oahu.
- The hostel offers round-the-clock security, which keeps your belongings safe when you’re away.
- The rooms are spacious and well-kept, so you’ll never feel crowded with strangers.
- The low costs of staying here are a great value for money owing to the prime location.
The North Shore
Oahu’s North shore is a terrific place to stay for its quaint location and incredible surfing beaches. The North shore is also much less crowded than Waikiki and offers great accommodations for families, couples, and backpackers.
In the summer months, the beaches here offer calm waters for snorkeling with the island’s native marine life and incredible surfing waters in the winter. You can also try hiking to rushing waterfalls and taking scenic nature walks through the North shore’s lush landscape.
My boyfriend and I always come to the North shore for a peaceful time away from tourist crowds, and here’s why it’s the best place to stay in Oahu:
- The accommodations, eateries, and shopping here are much cheaper than in Waikiki.
- The Hawaiian green sea turtles frequent the beaches such as Laniakea beach, and you can snorkel with them.
- There are local surfing tournaments during winter which you can watch, and experts can even participate.
Best Place to Stay on North Shore Oahu
Below you’ll find the best resort to stay in when you visit the North shore.
Turtle Bay Resort & Spa
As the largest and most luxurious resort on the North shore, Turtle Bay offers everything you could want on your Oahu vacation. You can go horseback riding, take surfing lessons with a pro, go hiking, and snorkel with Oahu’s marine life, all from within its expansive property.
The resort is a great place for families, honeymooners, and retirees, as you can find many peaceful spots, enjoy fine dining meals, and take part in tons of outdoor activities.
Here’s why the Turtle Bay Resort & Spa is the best place to stay in Oahu:
- There are great restaurants in the resort, such as Alaia and Pa’akai, which prepare meals sourced from local ingredients.
- The resort grounds include twelve miles of biking trails which offer terrific views of the North shore.
- Prices range on the higher end owing to its luxury status, but the amenities and service are well worth the cost.
Oahu’s West shore remains highly underrated when considering the best places to stay in Oahu since it’s a good distance from Waikiki. However, this side of the island offers incredible views, quiet beaches, and a peaceful vibe to match the North shore.
In addition, West Oahu has great accommodations for families and larger groups from its well-developed and spacious resorts.
My boyfriend and I find that staying in West Oahu is much more peaceful, with the same amenities as the high-end places in Waikiki.
Here’s why the West shore is the best place to stay in Oahu:
- Some of the island’s best swimming and snorkeling beaches are in West Oahu.
- The accommodations here cater to families with children of all ages.
- It’s a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of Waikiki.
Best Place to Stay on West Oahu
Below you’ll find the best hotels and resorts to stay in when you visit West Oahu.
Four Seasons Resort and Spa Ko Olina
The Four Seasons resort redefines a luxurious stay with its world-class facilities and range of activities available from its prime location on the West shore. Guests of the resort can hike to the infamous Maili pillboxes nearby, swim, snorkel, and try water sports in the resort’s four artificial lagoons, and relax in the adult-only infinity pool.
This resort is ideal for families wanting a comfortable stay away from the activity of Oahu’s crowded side and is a favorite among honeymooners for their all-natural treatments and facilities at the Naupaka Spa.
My boyfriend and I love bringing our families to the Four Seasons for their excellent facilities and service. Here’s why it’s one of the best places to stay in Oahu:
- The resort has an amazing restaurant, Mina’s Fish House, nearby, which serves the best fresh seafood dishes in Oahu.
- The resort has a great golf course where guests and outsiders can play and take lessons.
- Some of their lagoons are only open to resort guests, which keeps them secluded.
Disney Aulani Resort and Spa
A stay at the Disney Aulani Resort is nothing short of entertaining with its seemingly never-ending amenities, such as a private beach with tropical fish, a lazy river, and entertainment for children like water slides and kids clubs.
Although the resort is expensive, it’s ideal for families with younger children, as they can meet and perform with Disney characters at the special character breakfast, which is also open to outsiders.
So if you’re planning a special trip for the young ones, head to the Disney Aulani resort, as it’s one of the best places to stay in Oahu:
- Some great facilities offered here include ukulele lessons and free storytelling around a fire pit at night.
- The rooms here are more spacious than most hotels and well-maintained.
- The resort has a terrific massage center.
Technically a part of Waikiki but a few hundred yards away, Diamond Head is a great locality for those who want to be close to the main activity hubs without getting too crowded. In addition, you’ll be a short walk away from most restaurants and bars and enjoy the same amenities offered by Waikiki’s resorts at much lower prices in Diamond Head.
This is a great locality for families and couples, as there are spacious parks, play areas, and gyms close by, plus the Diamond Head hiking trail, which lets you enjoy aerial views of Oahu.
My boyfriend and I prefer staying at Diamond Head since the hotels here are less crowded and much more affordable than most places.
Here’s why Diamond Head is the best place to stay in Oahu:
- You can find plenty of accommodations, from luxury hotels to budget-friendly places.
- The Diamond Head beach park is great for swimming and taking surfing lessons.
- It’s pretty much uncrowded and a peaceful place to stay.
Best place to stay in Diamond Head
Below you’ll find the best hotel to stay in when you visit Diamond Head.
Kaimana Beach Hotel
Located on the slopes of Diamond Head, the Kaimana Beach Hotel is a hoteling institution in Oahu that offers terrific facilities for an affordable price. The hotel looks onto the Kaimana beach and is a short walk away from the main Waikiki strip, placing you close enough to the activity without the crowds.
The hotel offers well-maintained rooms, a private beach, the Kapiolani park nearby, and proximity to great eateries and stores.
We often stay at the Kaimana Beach Hotel with friends as its quiet location and views of Waikiki make it one of the best places to stay in Oahu:
- The hotel is ideal for families, couples, and solo travelers owing to its prime location and great service.
- There are surf breaks near the hotel where you can learn and practice surfing.
- Each room has a lanai where you can enjoy views of nearby beaches.
What part of the island should I stay on Oahu?
Ideally, you should stay in Waikiki for your first time in Oahu, as it places you in the center of most beaches, clubs, and restaurants. However, people looking for a break from crowds will like staying on the North and West shores, which offer great hotels.
How many days in Oahu is enough?
If you want to explore Oahu in full, plan to stay for one to two weeks as it gives you enough time to explore the shores, take guided tours, and still have days to spend on beaches and shopping from the island’s premier malls.
Is it worth staying on the North Shore of Oahu?
If you’re looking to stay away from tourist hubs and enjoy a more rustic side to Oahu, the North shore will be your ideal place. There are luxury and budget-friendly hotels, secluded beaches, incredible surf breaks, and the best local eateries in North shore Oahu, which everyone will enjoy.
Winding Up The Best Places to Stay in Oahu
Whether you’re a first-time visitor to Oahu or have been coming here for years, you’ll find a range of terrific options to stay here. From high-end locations in Waikiki to quaint places on the North and West shore, Oahu offers accommodations with terrific amenities, and you can read about the best ones in this article.
Need a place to stay in Oahu close to Waikiki’s activity? Book the Hilton Hawaiian Village and the Polynesian Hostel.
Looking for budget options to stay in Oahu? Try the Kaimana Beach Hotel and the Polynesian Hostel.
Want a luxury hotel to stay in Oahu? Visit the Disney Aulani, the Four Seasons, and the Turtle Bay Resort.
Oahu’s best places to stay have something for everyone!
Last Updated on April 3, 2023 by Brigitte