For many families, Spring Break means it’s time to pack up and get out of town together. After staying at hundreds of properties across many destinations, our undercover reporters have chosen the best hotels for family vacations. Traveling to Hawaii can be long and expensive from certain parts of the country (though West Coasters definitely have an advantage), but the journey is more than worthwhile for families who can make it. Below is our list of the most kid-friendly hotels in Hawaii.
The largest resort in Hawaii, the amenities-packed Hilton Hawaiian Village has more to offer families than any other property on Oahu -- or Maui or Kauai for that matter. The crowds are big. But if you can make a pre-breakfast detour to stake out chairs by one of the four impressive pools -- one is Waikiki's largest-- your kids will be thoroughly entertained. Among the top-shelf attractions are the dozens of species of animals on the grounds, including parrots and penguins, and the calm, coral-reef-protected waters at the beach. What'll you love? A chance for kid-free relaxation, thanks to the Rainbow Express Keiki Club, which plans field trips to the aquarium or zoo and activities like sandcastle building, for kids ages five to 12. (The $90 per day cost is half of the price of Sheraton Waikiki's kids' club.)
The Grand Wailea Resort may be the most kid-friendly resort on Maui; its biggest selling point has to be the one-of-a-kind pool system with some pretty awesome features. It has a lazy-river pool, four waterslides, a rope swing, and a water elevator at the center of a faux volcano. The resort also has one of the best kids camps we've seen. Camp Grande is a 20,000-square-foot facility with a video arcade, pingpong and foosball tables, a PlayStation room, a mini movie theater, and an activity room for kids five-12 (seasonal activities available for teens). As if that's not enough to keep your kid busy, the beach has great waves for body-surfing and stiller areas for snorkeling. Even the rooms are geared towards families: standard rooms are huge and connecting rooms are available. There are also great kid options on restaurant menus.
The Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort seems to have been built with its younger guests in mind. Kids who attend Camp Hyatt will not be entertained by typical video games, board games, or computers, but with a program designed to teach kids about Hawaiian culture. There are also kids menus available at many restaurants (even a room service kids menu) and the hotel also offers free rollaway beds and babysitters, with enough notice. If that's not enough to keep the kiddies busy, take them to one of the four pools, open 24 hours. They can kayak (yes, kayak) in the saltwater lagoon, hang out in the lazy river, play volleyball or basketball in the freshwater pool, or take a ride on the waterslide.
Guests never run out of things to do at the Hyatt Regency, which can feel like a zoo, waterpark, mall and food court all wrapped into one (crowds included), making it the perfect place to bring your kids on vacation. With flamingos, cranes, parrots, and penguins on site, great beach activities like kayaking, snorkeling, and windsurfing lessons, and various Hawaiian-themed kids activities, children will never be bored. And, like many other resorts on our list, the pool complex is impressive, to say the least. There is a children's area, rope bridge, and 150-foot waterslide. Most of the hotel's restaurants provide kid-friendly options and rollaway beds can be provided in the large standard rooms.
If you want a family vacation without feeling like you're at a megaresort, be sure to check out the Ko Olina Beach Club. It still offers plenty of fun childrens activities, minus huge lines and screaming kids. Snorkel boats and sunset cruises, great for the young and young-at-heart alike, regularly take off from the resort's marina. The four man-made lagoons make snorkeling and swimming safe for young kids. If a pool is more their speed, check out the two most kid-friendly pools of the four on-site: The Lagoon Pool with a volleyball net and basketball hoop and the Nai'i Pool with a waterslide and waterfall. Having a poolside emergency? The resort offers poolside MAZE huts ("Marriott Activity Zone Experience") that provide everything from towels (free) to shave ice or swim diapers (both at a cost). Kid-friendly food options and plenty of kids activities (and childcare options) will give you the quiet time you need. Most of the rooms are apartment style with full kitchens, and cribs are free, making bringing the kiddos along even easier.
The Sheraton Waikiki is the place to be if you're an avid people watcher. The second largest hotel (with an astonishing 1,636 rooms!) in Hawaii means huge crowds, but amenities a-plenty. Even better, children under 17 stay for free; however, roll away beds cost $80. If you can get over the incredibly packed pool (get there before 7 a.m. for a spot) the pool complex is impressive, with two connected pools, fountains, a Jacuzzi and a waterslide. Children can also enroll in the kids camp where they make leis and go to an aquarium, among other activities. Have a picky eater? Don't worry, because the Sheraton has some of the best kid-friendly options of any Hawaii hotel.
The Marriott Kauai is a beach bum's paradise. With the best beach on Kauai, kids will never be bored body surfing, snorkeling, taking surf lessons, or just playing in the waves. And that's not the only reason this is a great hotel for families: It also has the biggest single-level pool (26,000 square feet!) in Hawaii, with a children's pool, five Jacuzzis, and waterfalls. The Marriott also makes it easy to stay with your kids; the standard room can sleep up to four people, rollaways, cribs, and high chairs are free, and Marriott's Activity Zone Experience offers age-appropriate kids activities.
This hotel breaks the mold of the typical, crowded, noisy and bustling kid-friendly hotel. Come for a relaxing escape your kids will also love. While parents indulge in the great adult amenities the hotel offers, kids can participate in the resort's free kids club, go to the game room for video games, ping-pong, pool, golf, or play basketball, tennis, or croquet, and swim in one of the resorts three pools. It also sits on one of the best beaches (they even groom the sand) that is great for body boarding, paddle boarding, Hobie Cat sailing, and snorkeling. Even better, kids under five eat free at two of the resort restaurants, and all restaurants, plus room service, provide kids menus. There is also a children's welcome program that includes free cribs, high chairs, toiletries, and bathrobes, and a room can be child-proofed in advance upon request.