Looking for the best Hawaii accommodation for a party of two? Look no further than these couple-friendly hotels located in the heart of the action.
The Surfjack Hotel and Swim Club Oahu
This is one of Honolulu’s newest hotels but you wouldn’t know it from looking at it. ‘Why’s that?’ you may ask. Well, The Surfjack has been designed to look vintage. Think the fabulous 1950s and swinging 1960s, but with all the mod-cons that make a hotel stay seamless. Forget about faceless buffets; this hotel has a serious regional cuisine restaurant called Mahina & Sun headed up by the hottest chef in Hawaii, Ed Kenney. It’s not on the waterfront but this hotel has enough personality (and a very cool Swim Club bar) to give you plenty to look at, in or out of the water.
The Modern Honolulu
If sleek, modern, clean and bright are descriptors that resonate with you, you’re going to love The Modern Honolulu. The hefty dash of LA movie star-style makes this hotel the spot for the young and beautiful when they’re in town. With a grab ‘n’ go breakfast bar in the lobby for eager shoppers heading to the Ala Moana Center (the hotel is easy walking distance to this popular shopping haven), or poolside dining for people who would rather decompress with a Mimosa, this hotel is a mecca of contemporary cool. The Modern is also home to The Study, one of the most happening ‘secret’ bars in Waikiki, which is hidden behind a bookshelf in the lobby.
If you’re after classic Oahu accommodation, you can’t go past The Halekulani. Located in a prime position on Waikiki Beach, this waterfront hotel offers understated elegance for guests looking for a more traditional Honolulu experience. With high-end dining options in-house, as well as a multi-award winning spa, this is an ideal property for special anniversaries and celebrations where intimacy, exclusivity and a serene environment are the end goal.
Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa
Easy, breezy, frivolous and fun, Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa is where you want to be if heading out for a casual night on the margaritas or chilling out at the beach on your holiday agenda. Located at the Diamond Head end of Waikiki Beach, there are plenty of places to go for an affordable meal, to buy Hawaiian shirts or take a long board lesson with a bronzed Hawaiian surfing god.
Waikiki Parc Hotel
This Hawaii hotel is a hidden gem – it’s close to everything but without the price tag of some of the more ‘visible’ hotels. Boutique-sized and with modern design, one cool feature of Waikiki Parc Hotel is that the General Manager hosts a wine mixer from 5.30pm every Friday night. Set in the lobby, this weekly event is a great way to ease into the island habit of sundowners and ‘pu pus’ (the Hawaiian word for canapes) with the other guests. Try and time your stay to coincide with this fun event.
Tips for couples wanting to explore Oahu
Want to get out of Honolulu for the day? Here are some of the most popular couple’s day trips for the adventurous or the merely curious.
1. Pearl Harbor Memorial
Whether you sign up for an organised tour or self-drive, one of the key activities for visitors to Oahu is a visit to the USS Arizona Memorial. With an extensive visitors centre, tickets include a short boat trip out to the memorial, a structure built over the wreck of the sunken ship. These days, it looks more like an artificial reef but the audio commentary from the survivors is a chilling reminder of what went down. Little known fact: Elvis Presley helped personally fund the memorial.
2. North Shore
Head out of ‘town’ and drive up to the North Shore for an eye-opening day out. Stop at Dole Plantation for a serve of their famous Pineapple Whip, a sorbet-like treat made from local pineapples, have lunch at one of the ‘shrimp shacks’ near the extensive prawn farming operations, and loop back down via Halona Beach Cove where that famous kiss from the movie Here to Eternity was filmed.
3. The Polynesian Cultural Center
If you want to learn about Hawaiian culture, and the history of the greater Polynesian empire, the Polynesian Cultural Center is an ideal day out. Set in 42 acres of tropical, visitors can wander through a re-creation of a traditional village, attend a luau or check out the ultra-popular ‘Ha: Breath of Life’ show. Think scantily clad dancers performing hula and doing things with fire that you shouldn’t try at home, kids.
4. The Bishop Museum
If the grisly fate of Captain James Cook is your kind of bedtime story, you will love The Bishop Museum. This heritage building is chock-full of traditional items from South Pacific Islander culture, including a controversial feathered cloak and hat that was returned to the Hawaiian Islands after a long negotiation with Te Papa Museum in New Zealand.
5. Waikele Premium Outlets
Shopping used to be the number one reason Australians travelled to Hawaii. These days, shopping has been superseded by ‘R & R’ but this addictive little habit is still going strong thanks to Hawaiian Airlines’ ultra-generous baggage allowance of 64kgs per passenger. Waikele is where Aussies flock to buy heavily discounted clothing, shoes and handbags from all the big American brands like Kate Spade and Barney’s New York. Make sure you’ve got plenty of room on your credit card if you dare to venture forth.