What makes a hotel qualify as one of the best in Hawaii? At Oyster, we know that the “best hotel” is different for just about everyone. For some, the best hotel is the most luxurious, and for others, it’s the one that offers the most for kids. We compiled lists of the best luxury hotels, best value hotels, best family-friendly hotels, most romantic hotels, and best hotel spas. Don’t have time to read all that? Not to fear. We selected one hotel from each list that bests its competitors (if only slightly). Below, we present the best hotels in Hawaii.
The Four Seasons is quieter and more subdued than Maui's more grandiose resorts, but a two-to-one staff-to-guest ratio means over-the-top pampering like nowhere else in Hawaii -- poolside Evian spritzes, beachside yoga classes, and they even have someone to unpack your bags for you. The best part? It's all free -- gym and spa access, beachside cabanas, outrigger canoe outings, and even the kids' club. No ugly "resort fee" surprises either, unlike at most Maui resorts.
Renovated in 2009, this 356-room, family-oriented resort on Kauai's Kalapaki Beach boasts big flat-screens in every room, a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course, a free fitness center, five affordable restaurants, and the biggest single-level pool in Hawaii. It might not have the fancy frills of the islands' pricier hotels, but it's still the best resort for the buck in Hawaii.
This gorgeous property in the Ko Olina resort complex delivers on all of the Disney staples -- but in a much more subtle way than the brand's mainland destinations. Service is excellent, the food is delicious, and the kids always come first. The pool area is gorgeous, boasting a lazy river, two waterslides, and a manmade reef, and the coved-in lagoon offers calm waters. Classic movie characters wander the grounds, posing for photos with kids of all ages, decked out in aloha shirts for that extra island flair. Dance parties at the pool happen daily. Keiki (kids) menus are available at every restaurant, be it sit-down or quick-serve. The spa offers treatments for everyone in the family (even toddlers!), or the whole family can enjoy a treatment together in the 'Ohana suite. Rooms are also incredibly family-friendly, with spacious layouts and mini-fridges in every room. Overall the resort is one of the best in Oahu for families.
Situated along craggy coastal cliffs on the rainforest-like east coast of Maui, hours from other big resorts, the Hotel Hana-Maui offers guests ample chances to be alone. After hikes to nearby waterfalls or hunts for hidden beaches, couples can take a dip in the infinity pool or the Honua Spa's outdoor lava-rock pool, dine at the excellent restaurant, and then retreat to spacious modern cottage suites (some with private hot tubs), where guests will find no phones, TVs, radios, or alarm clocks to spoil the mood.
The 50,000-square-foot neoclassical Spa Grande is the biggest in Hawaii -- and one of the top-rated in the U.S., thanks in large part to its extraordinary baths. They include five aromatic pools, a Japanese furo bath, cascading waterfall, Roman hot tub, and Swiss jet shower. The spa offers more than 100 treatments, including locally inspired signature therapies like the Pala'au Journey. Use of the bathing facilities for two hours costs more than most spas charge for a whole day, but they are free with a treatment.