Think there’s nothing new to discover in Waikiki? Think again, friends. From Hawaii accommodation that is off the beaten track, to attractions even locals don’t even know about, here’s your guide to Oahu’s hidden gems.
Oahu’s best kept secrets
Oahu’s best kept secrets : The Honolulul Zoo is in close proximity to the Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel
Oahu’s best kept secrets : Local diner Ai Love Nalo is one of Oahu's best kept kept secrets
Oahu’s best kept secrets : Aqua Waikiki Pearl is one of the lesser known hotels
Aqua Waikīkī Pearl
If you’re the kind of traveller who loves a bargain, this hotel is for you. With a long list of possible deals, discounts and upgrades available to guests, Aqua Waikiki Pearl is right in the heart of the Waikiki beach district but it’s a few streets back from the beachfront so it’s one of the more affordable properties. The major upside is that the less you pay for your Oahu accommodation, the more greenbacks you’ll have to spend exploring the neighbourhood.
Waikiki Parc Hotel
If you’d rather blow your budget on dining, the Waikiki Parc Hotel is an ideal place to stay because it’s near some of Waikiki’s top dining establishments such as Roy’s Waikiki Beach. While the hotel itself is tucked away in an unassuming side street, it’s also a five-minute stroll to Kalakaua Avenue where you’ll find the Island Vintage Shave Ice stand. You can thank me for this tip later when you’ve fallen in love with this rainbow-coloured delicacy.
Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel
Feel like getting a little wild? The Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel is the hotel closest to Honolulu Zoo. Most visitors don’t even know the zoo is there, which is crazy considering it sits on 42 acres and is home to 905 different animals from the tropics including Komodo Dragons, orangutans, elephants, primates, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and a variety of African animals. What even less people seem to know is there’s a botanical garden on-site that’s home to a variety of plant species endemic to the Polynesian region.
Holiday Inn Resort Waikiki Beachcomber
You want to stay in the absolute heart of Waikiki? Look no further that the Holiday Inn Resort Waikiki Beachcomber. It’s easy to miss because it’s surrounded by some of Hawaii’s most famous hotels, but if what you’re looking for is proximity without the price tag, you’re going to love this place. It’s also right next door to the recently re-opened International Market Place, another great place to bag a bargain.
Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort and Spa
Like to chill? Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort and Spa is a safe distance from the hectic hustle and bustle of some of the other Hawaii hotels, but still super close to the beach. What’s more, it’s right on the doorstep of two of Waikiki’s most popular surf schools: Hans Hedemann which is about a block away and Kai Sallas’ which is in the resort itself, so you’ll have no excuse not to hang ten like a pro.
Three Oahu secrets that even locals don’t know about
- Byodo-In Temple – This temple is a non-denominational Buddhist temple, where anyone of any faith can worship and enjoy its beauty. There is a beautiful pond in front of the temple with black swans and a lot of koi fish. It’s a great place to meditate.
- Ai’ love Nalo – This is a ‘local’s only’ vegan restaurant which specialises in local food.
- Makapu’u Beach – It’s a little way out of Waikīkī but this beautiful beach is well and truly out of the tourist area.