Where to stay

If you are planning a trip to Oahu, you need to decide whether or not you want to stay in Waikiki. Staying in Waikiki is easy. There is a wide variety of restaurants, shops, and activities available all within an easy walking distance from your hotel. Waikiki is a busy, noisy, active place with crowds of people walking up and down Kalakaua Avenue day and night. If you don't mind the hustle and bustle, it's a great choice for a first-time visit.

Some people, however, prefer a quieter setting. Perhaps you've been here before and you would like a different experience. There are three great resorts located on the Leeward side of the island approximately 30 miles or so from Waikiki:   Marriott Ihilani at Ko Olina, Makaha Resort, and the soon-to-open Disney Aulani. The Turtle Bay Resort is located up on the scenic North Shore, which can be a good hour and a half drive from Waikiki.

Waikiki beach hotels skyline

The two key factors in choosing a hotel in Waikiki are cost and location. Waikiki hotels can be very expensive. If you are renting a car, be sure to ask if there is an additional charge for parking. Some of the cheaper hotels let you park for free, while the more expensive ones can charge up to $25 per day . If traveling with a larger group, choosing a timeshare rental can be a very cost effective alternative. These units offer more space compared to most hotel rooms and the price is often less.

The "main action" of Waikiki takes place along Kalakaua Ave. That is where most of the stores and restaurants are located. The Diamond Head end (near the zoo) of Kalakaua has the best Waikiki beach experience. I would not pay a lot of extra money to get a hotel that is directly on the beach. Here's a well-kept secret: the beaches in Waikiki are really not that great. While the previous sentence may cause some anguish for the Hawaii Visitors and Conventions Bureau, it's the truth. The sand has been eroding for years and many hotels that claim to be on the beach, do not have that great of a beach in front of them. (except for the Hilton Hawaiian Village, which has a great beach, but is pretty far away from the "real action" of Waikiki). The point is, don't fret over whether your hotel is beachfront or not. You can easily walk to the beach from any of the hotels in Waikiki.

Your best bet is to decide how much money you want to spend and then go to a site like Tripadvisor, plug in the dollar figure, and read the reviews. Hotels are always changing and a user-review site like TripAdvisor can keep up with it. Check out Waikiki hotels using TripAdvisor. You can also get information from TripAdvisor on B&B's around the island.

Another way to slice the hotel pie is to look at a map-based source. This will give you an idea where the hotels are located. Google Maps is a great way to get a list of all of the Waikiki hotels, links to the official hotel websites, photos, reviews, and other information. Check out Waikiki hotels using Google Maps

Google Maps image of Waikiki