Where to stay in Oahu with kids
Oahu is a dream destination to travel to with children. From the huge range of family-friendly Oahu accommodation, to the safety of the food, water and environment, it’s a perfect choice for parents who want to have fun without the worries that other countries can present.
Fortunately, Oahu is a multi-generational favourite from way back. Couples who had their honeymoons on the shores of Waikiki return with their honeymoon offspring, and those grown-up children come back with their kids. This has been happening since the first wave of wealthy guests arrived on steamships in the early 1900s, with maids and automobiles in tow, and is still happening today – just ask any long-serving concierge about how many families they see every year (and how many babies were the result of one too many sunset Mai Tais!).
So which hotels are the best for you and your brood? Read on for the top five family friendly hotels and resorts on the island of Oahu:
Hilton Hawaiian Village
This is a guaranteed crowd pleaser. With several levels of accommodation split across three distinct towers, the Hilton Hawaiian Village has its own lagoon for stand-up paddle boarding and safe swimming for toddlers, and a waterfront bar complete with loads of banana lounges for families who want to set up camp for the day. It’s not an exaggeration to call it a village either; there are gift and clothing shops, a huge range of restaurants, and lush, tropical gardens complete with live flamingos and koi ponds that will delight the kids. This property is within easy walking distance – even for little legs – of the heart of Waikiki’s tourist district, as well as the open-air Ala Moana Shopping Center.
Turtle Bay Resort
Located on the North Shore of Oahu, Turtle Bay Resort is a true escape from the hustle and bustle of Waikiki. With a focus on cultural and outdoor activities, Turtle Bay is a great place to have a family adventure. Go snorkelling on the reef and meet the local green turtles, take surfing or stand-up paddle boarding lessons, or splash out on a helicopter tour. Explore the trails on foot, mountain bike or horseback, or head out to sea in an outrigger canoe. The property also offers Segway tours, has pools galore and features a Championship golf course. One extra fun thing – for days when lazing around is preferable to getting out and about – is that Turtle Bay Resort has a kid’s and teen’s spa offering specialised treatments.
Aulani – A Disney Resort and Spa
Want to tick off two big items in one go? Why not visit Hawaii and have a Disney experience in the same trip? Aulani – A Disney Resort and Spa is 100 per cent designed with children in mind, from the ultra-popular free kid’s club, to the costumed character entertainers and the nightly fireside storytelling. And the daily activity program means that there’s always something fun to do. A huge bonus of this resort is that children under one stay free and the resort offers free cribs for families wanting to stay in one room. Located on the leeward side of the island, the resort is set in a secluded bay with its own private saltwater reef, as well as a lazy river, pool, waterfall and slide complex. Due to its location 38kms east of Honolulu, the resort also offers airport transfers by prior arrangement.
This beachfront property is in a top spot for families who want to hang out in the heart of the action. Sheraton Waikiki’s RumFire beach bar, with live entertainment every night and a fantastic menu of Hawaiian ‘pupus’ (appetisers), is an ideal place to kick off with sunset drinks (virgin, of course, for the under 21s) before a fun night out on the Kalakaua Avenue shopping and dining strip. Another noteworthy feature of this hotel is the nightly laser show visible from the pool area or from your room’s balcony. Watch in delight as an animated turtle character dances, swims and slides his way around the Hawaiian Islands – a sure fire winner with little kids and kids-at-heart alike.
Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach
This is chilled-out property is located right next to Fort Derussy Beach Park. The beauty of this spot is that you and your family can go ‘native’ because this is where local Hawaiians hang out and BBQ, play basketball and volleyball, and generally do everyday things like attend outdoor church services. The other benefit of being in this part of Waikiki is that you’re close to Chinatown’s vibrant food scene and can easily visit historical buildings like Queen Emma’s Summer Palace and the municipal art gallery that are close by. The Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach has a huge pool, as well as being on the waterfront, and will offer an authentic glimpse into local life.
Sheraton Princess Kaiulani
If you don’t have a beachfront budget and you’re still looking to stay in the heart of the Waikiki, this hotel is an ideal choice. Sheraton Princess Kaiulani recently received a USD$ 5 million upgrade to its Ainahau Tower meaning that you and your family will be staying in some of the swishest rooms and you only have to cross the street to get to the beach.
Tips for parents:
- Breakfast is rarely included in the room price in Hawaii so keep an eye out for places like iHop where they offer a fast, affordable breakfast menu suitable for kids.
- You can find the best Australian-style coffee places in Honolulu here.
- Stock up on snacks at the ABC Store (there’s one on every corner in Waikiki). These stores also sell pre-packaged sandwiches, sushi, fruit and salads if you want to go for a picnic.
- Many hotels charge a resort fee – a daily fee that covers things like WiFi and beach towels. This is in addition to taxes so check this before booking.