While many of us associate Oahu with Waikiki, the island provides an outer island experience once you get away from Honolulu. And if you want a break from the urban bustle, these resorts will give you a great base to explore the big waves on the North Shore, deserted beaches and waterfall trails.
1. The Kahala Hotel & Resort
US News reports, “The Kahala Hotel & Resort – located about three miles southwest of Diamond Head on the coast of the Kahala neighborhood – has played host to a long list of ritzy clients. Even lovebirds Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton came to stay at this Honolulu landmark after their marriage. So naturally, the rooms are fairly posh, featuring private balconies with views of the ocean and or nearby mountains. While you’re here, take a break from the Honolulu hustle and bustle with a massage at The Kahala Spa, or simply kick back and relax in one of the cozy lounge chairs that line the pool. The hotel also boasts a pristine stretch of white sand beach, so you won’t have to worry about fighting crowds for a spot on the shore. While you’re here, recent visitors highly recommend taking advantage of Dolphin Quest: The Kahala grounds feature a lagoon where guests can swim with bottlenose dolphins. Afterward, enjoy a gourmet meal at one of the hotel’s multiple restaurants.”
The Telegraph adds, “From the breezy lobby with tall shutter doors and colorful chandeliers to the huge and tastefully decorated guest rooms, the Kahala is opulent without feeling uptight. There’s afternoon tea and a nightly turndown with Hawaiian salt chocolates, and plenty of ways to let your hair down — hula classes, free daily surf lessons, and sand toys for the kids.”
The 2,200 sq. Ft. Imperial Suite is on the resort’s top floor presenting spectacular views from the Kahala Bay shoreline to the Koko Head Crater in the distance. The suite is ideal for business or pleasure as a fully-equipped boardroom is linked to the living room. You can add one or two adjoining bedrooms.
More suites at Kahala Resort.
2. Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina
Conde Nast Traveler writes, “Ko Olina means place of joy in Hawaiian, and at this 370-room-and-suite Four Seasons resort, you can see why. The adventurous can take an outrigger canoe out onto the water or join a hike to see the area’s waterfalls, while if its low-blood-pressure bliss you’re after, you can book a massage on the beach or just sit back with a good book on your private lanai with panoramic views of the Pacific. Splash to your heart’s content in the family pool, but the 18-and-over crowd should head straight to the adults-only infinity pool: Its location on the western edge of the resort, looking right over the ocean, means you’ll be treated to a perfect sunset every night. With four restaurants plus a terrace cafe, you’ll have a hard time choosing where to grab a bite.”
US News adds, “Those seeking the best of Oahu may very well find it within the confines of this Four Seasons outpost. Situated along the turquoise waters of the Pacific, nearly 30 miles west of Waikiki, the Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina features 371 oversized rooms (the smallest options start at 640 square feet) that not only ooze with luxury, but most of which also boast unforgettable ocean vistas. Accommodations feature island-style decor (think palm patterned pillows, banana leaf headboards and wicker accents), 65-inch flat-screen TVs and furnished balconies. Beyond the rooms, the resort offers a 24-hour fitness center, a tennis terrace, a golf course and both adult and family pools, as well as the Naupaka Spa & Wellness Centre.”
This fourth-floor, two-bedroom Presidential Suite spans 2,840 sq.ft. with an additional 516 sq.ft. terrace. Every room in the suite offers full ocean views.
More suites at Four Seasons Ko Olina.
3. Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa
US News says, “Flanked by the white sand beaches of Ko Olina on the southwestern coast of Oahu, Aulani brings your favorite Disney characters to life amid lush Hawaiian scenery. The resort’s accommodations range from standard guest rooms to three-bedroom villas and they include minifridges, Wi-Fi access and flat-screen TVs. Obviously, this resort was designed with kids in mind: Aulani invites families to take advantage of the kid-friendly pools and water play areas, as well as the resort’s own snorkeling lagoon, Rainbow Reef. Should parents need some alone time, they can drop the kids off at Aunty’s Beach House for supervised activities and head off to the spa for a massage or to the fairways of the Ko Olina Golf Club.”
The Telegraph adds, “The experience begins when you walk in the bustling open-air lobby overlooking the pools. Guests are welcomed with traditional lei, while Goofy greets you in the pool. The whole place buzzes with the shrieks of thrilled children, but guestrooms are thankfully quiet — old Hawaii oases where Mickey, for the most part, is tastefully absent.”
Disney Vacation Club 3-Bedroom Grand Villa
The 2,174 sq.ft. 3-Bedroom Grand Villa includes a Master Bedroom with King bed and two bedrooms with Queen beds. There are three full bathrooms and addition Queen sleeper sofa.
More suites at Aulani, a Disney Resort.
4. Turtle Bay Resort
US News writes, “This boutique resort on Oahu’s northern shore – about 45 miles northwest of Waikiki Beach – is popular among avid movie- and television-buffs: Turtle Bay Resort was featured in the film, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and the the hit television show LOST used the resort’s grounds as a backdrop. It’s easy to see why Hollywood is so infatuated with Turtle Bay: The property encompasses roughly 850 acres of Hawaiian flora, fauna, and shoreline. Inside, you’ll find spacious guest rooms, each boasting gorgeous ocean views, as well as complimentary Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs. Outside of the rooms, amenities remain abundant. There’s golf courses, a spa, fitness classes, a tennis center, multiple restaurants, a luau experience, water sports activities and much more. Previous visitors have been wowed Turtle Bay’s setting above all and give kudos to the staff as well.”
The 42 Ocean Bungalows are grouped in clusters of six just steps from the water. Each beachside bungalow has been newly renovated, reflecting an elegant, naturalistic design. Features include ample seating area for lounging and an outdoor lanai that opens up to views and ocean breezes.
More suites at Turtle Bay Resort.