A team of Oyster reporters visited the top hotels on the islands of Oahu, Maui, and Kauai. We slept in the beds, lounged on the beaches, ate in the restaurants, and even danced some hula, all with an eye toward selecting the most distinguished properties. Here’s a list of our favorite child-friendly hotels. All these places offer solid value, but families that are particularly budget conscious might also check out our list of the best value hotels in Hawaii.
At this gorgeous property in the Ko Olina resort complex, 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. It should come as no surprise that Disney delivers when it comes to family fun. 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.
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: 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 5-12 (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.
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.
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, rollaway beds are pricey. 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 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 love also. 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, and 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.
The largest resort in Hawaii is a veritable four-pearl village with five room towers, 20 bars and restaurants, 90 shops, five swimming pools, direct beach access, and a separate lagoon. Everything from surf lessons to a regular luau to a kids' club are on offer here, and the garden grounds include exotic animals. For families looking for a self-contained resort with loads to do, the Hilton Hawaiian Village is a top choice.
Honua Kai Resort & Spa, made up of individually owned units, combines hotel amenities in an upscale condominium complex. The rooms are huge, with full modern kitchens and private lanais, though not all have the best ocean views, and different owners provide different decor and amenities. The expansive beachfront grounds have multiple connecting pools, waterslides, and hot tubs. The steep prices and the daily resort fee might trigger a bit of sticker shock, but as family-friendly Maui destinations go, this one is highly recommended.
Situated right on the popular Kaanaapli beach with views of the landmark Black Rock, the location of the Sheraton Maui can’t be beat. And this upscale mega-resort fully takes advantage of its prime real estate, offering ocean views from a majority of its 508 sleek, contemporary rooms. Spanning 23 acres, the expansive resort features a full array of features, including a lovely spa, modern fitness room, five restaurants, and a large lagoon pool and lazy river. The snorkeling from the end of the beach is some of the best in Maui -- and it’s no secret, as this area is often crowded, especially in peak seasons. With many activities (tennis, ping-pong, giant Connect Four, mall putting green, ukulele or hula lessons), the resort is very kid-friendly and popular with families.
The Ho’olei at Grand Wailea offers luxury condos on a beautiful, relaxed property connected to the Grand Wailea, one of Maui’s most impressive mega-resorts. In huge villas that average 3,500 square feet, families will find all the comforts of a luxury home, including a decked-out kitchen. While the property has its own lovely pool area with waterfalls and two hot tubs, guests have full access to the Grand Wailea main resort’s elaborate maze of nine pools and waterslides, enormous fitness center, and other activities.