Luxury for Less: The Top 5-Star Honolulu Hotels

Vera Wang Suite, Halekulani, Honolulu Hawaii


Ah, Hawaii–beautiful beaches, fragrant leis, slack key guitar music, lively Waikiki nightlife–we're betting that at least a few of you are considering a fall or winter getaway to the Aloha State. We've previously covered some of the best tips for booking award flights to Hawaii, and also the 10 things not to miss on Oahu. Now we'll look at a few of our favorite 5-star luxury hotels in Honolulu, which we also offer to TravelSort members with Virtuoso benefits, such as complementary upgrades, breakfast and resort credits. Become a TravelSort client to book with Virtuoso or preferred partner benefits.


1. Halekulani

The Halekulani, a member of the Leading Hotels of the World, is legendary among visitors and locals alike, who for decades have held elegant weddings, savored Sunday brunch at Orchids, and enjoyed cocktails at sunset at the House Without a Key. The hotel was #8 in Travel + Leisure's World's Best Island Hotels 2011 and La Mer was picked by Open Table diners as the Best Oahu Restaurant in 2011. Its most iconic feature? The Halekulani's pool, with its signature orchid mosaic, made with 1.2 million imported glass tiles. Note that the hotel is currently renovating some of its guestrooms, through end of July 2012, but recent guests have reported very minimal noise. 

Orchid Pool at the Halekulani Hotel, Honolulu


2. The Kahala Hotel & Resort

If you want a more private beach and secluded area for your vacation in Honolulu, The Kahala Hotel & Resort, in the affluent Kahala residential district, is your answer. Enjoy a lei welcome, lovely white sand beach, plush beds with ultra-comfortable memory foam and Frette linens, complimentary beginning surfing and paddleboard lessons, and superb fine dining at Hoku's. Perhaps most uniquely, the hotel has its own private lagoon with dolphins, and for a fee, guests may arrange time to feed and play with the dolphins. While the Kahala is removed from Waikiki, there's a complimentary shuttle to Waikiki and also to nearby Kahala Mall, if you don't wish to rent a car or take a taxi. The hotel also loans out free bicycles if you prefer 2-wheeled adventures.

The Kahala Hotel & Resort, Honolulu Hawaii


3. The Royal Hawaiian

The “Pink Palace” as the Royal Hawaiian is nicknamed, is the most iconic hotel on Waikiki Beach. While not the first hotel on Waikiki Beach (that honor belongs to the Moana, which opened in 1901 and is now the Moana Surfrider) the Royal Hawaiian quickly became a magnet for celebrities, Hollywood stars, and well-heeled tourists. It was also where President Franklin D. Roosevelt stayed when he was in Hawaii, and even became known as the “Western White House.”

After a complete renovation in 2008, the hotel reopened as a member of Starwood's Luxury Collection. The hotel, especially its lush courtyard, offer a welcome oasis from the hustle and bustle of Waikiki Beach. The pool is a bit on the small side, but honestly, you have a fantastic beach just steps away, with complimentary lounge chairs provided in a private area of the beach. Also take advantage of the resort's many complimentary activities, from Hawaiian storytelling to lei making, Hawaiian quilting, and Hula auana lessons.


The Royal Hawaiian, Honolulu Hawaii


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