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Your selection of where to stay can be one of the more important decisions you’ll make in planning your visit. To some, it’s just a place to sleep and rather meaningless. To others, it’s the difference between a good vacation and a bad one. On this page, we give you our unbiased reviews of 6 popular Hawaii resorts.

Turtle Bay Resort (O‘ahu)

This 840-acre resort is on 5 miles of beaches. The place seems to have a very low-key, relaxed vibe overall, and the staff is nice. New owners have slowly but steadily been putting money—over $70 million (including solar power)—into the property. In other circumstances, they might have simply leveled the buildings and rebuilt them. But Hawai‘i’s current laws would never again let them build so close to the ocean. The result is a polished gem.

The thing that makes Turtle Bay so great is also what hurts it. It’s near the northernmost tip of the island—far, far away from Waikiki. Your dining choices are limited to the on-site restaurants, or you’ll drive into Hale‘iwa 20 minutes (or more with traffic) away. Your nightlife will be almost non-existent unless there is a cool event going on in the Surfer Bar. But that’s also the charm here. This is the only place on O‘ahu where you can see the sunrise over the water (at least from April to September) and sunset from the same location.

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Ko‘a Kea Hotel & Resort (Kaua‘i)

This was originally the Po‘ipu Beach Hotel built in the 1960s and whacked by hurricane ‘Iniki in 1992. It was left abandoned until the current owners rebuilt this upscale boutique-type hotel on the original footprint of the old buildings in 2009. The resort is airy and modern with themes of ocean life in bright colors scattered about. Most rooms are dark chocolate and white with a splash of hot pink, orange or teal and feel larger than their listed size. They’ve thought of many nice touches you don’t often find at hotels of this size, such as Nespresso machines (unlimited pods supplied), ceiling fans in every room so you can leave the doors open and enjoy the ocean sounds, reading lights, Egyptian cotton sheets, down feather beds and pillows (which they can remove if you don’t like them), keyboard height pull-out desks on wheels, and showers with rain shower heads mounted in the ceiling and wide benches to sit on. Overall, we found it relaxing, peaceful and appreciated the intimacy with the ocean.

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Hilton Garden Inn Waikiki Beach (O‘ahu)

This 1973 property was formerly the Ohana Waikiki West. Like so many other recent Waikiki hotel transformations, the $110 million spent on this property in 2016 was well worth it. Everything was gutted and replaced, even the elevators and the pool. From the moment you walk in, it has a fresh, modern feel with a lot of warmth. Each of the Garden Inns around Hawai‘i is unique, and we like that about this brand. It’s not overly pretentious or too pricey. Not all rooms have a lanai. One stack of rooms has no lanais, and one stack has standing-room-only balconies. So if that’s important to you, note it when booking. The rooms themselves are modern without feeling over the top.

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Grand Hyatt Kaua‘i Resort & Spa

It’s hard for us to review this resort without sounding like drooling sycophants. But the reality of the Hyatt is that they did almost everything right. Put simply, it’s our favorite big resort on the island.

As you walk into the lobby and see the ocean framed by the entrance, you realize that here they really sweated the details. The grounds are as exotic as any you will find in all the islands, complete with parrots and other birds. Their pools are incredible. Gallon for gallon, they’re more fun than any we’ve seen on the island. The upper swimming pool seems to meander forever. It even has a slight current and hides such goodies as caves tucked behind small waterfalls (they’re easy to miss). Take your time exploring as it winds through lush vegetation. The Hyatt’s an easy Real Gem, and their awesome grounds put them in a class of Hawaii resorts by themselves.

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Four Seasons Resort Maui

Oh, my, where do we start? We’re fearful of sounding like drooling stooges for the Four Seasons, but this is our favorite resort in Wailea.

When you walk in, you can actually feel the tension falling from your limbs. It soon becomes evident why. Here, they did everything right. The resort is immaculate and lovingly cared for. The smallest details seem to have been anticipated. The grounds are impeccable. Not a dead leaf or blade of grass in sight. The staff here is the most professional we’ve seen and seem genuinely concerned about your happiness. There are two and a half employees for every room. (It’s getting harder and harder to find those half employees.) While you’re at the pool, they’ll come by and spritz you with Evian water, clean your sunglasses, offer chilled towels, snacks and even wet the beach sand with water so you don’t toast your tootsies. (Their beach, Wailea Beach, is one of the best on the island, an absolute dream.) The pool area doesn’t feel as packed as some other Wailea Hawaii resorts.

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Mauna Kea Beach Hotel (Big Island)

This was the first resort to grace the Kohala lava desert area, and a large part of their business is repeat customers. Built by Laurance S. Rockefeller in 1965, it set the standard for all that came afterward. The Mauna Kea has traditionally been one of the most popular resorts on the island, and it’s a grand place to stay. The resort is very restful and pleasing, and the staff is top-notch. The rooms in the main tower are modern and clean with touches of teal and orange, the hotel’s trademark colors.

They have the best beachside location on the island, with the marvelous Kauna‘oa Beach (usually called Mauna Kea) right at its doorstep. This beach alone qualified it for a real gem, as far as we’re concerned.

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These are just excerpts from our app, read reviews of all the resorts on Kauai Island in our app. It’s free!

Maui App - Hawaii RevealedMore things to reveal in the app:

  • Reviews on Hawaii Resorts with their locations
  • Reviews on every single beach on the islands
  • Interactive maps of Kauai, Maui, Oahu, and the Big Island
  • Details to help plan your visit to Hawaii’s best sights, tours, activities and more

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