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Hawaii Hotels

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Aqua Bamboo & Spa
2425 Kuhio Avenue
Honolulu , Hawaii
Tel: 866 971 2782 (toll-free)
Tel: 808 922 7777
reservations@aquaresorts.com
www.aquaresorts.com/aqua-boutique-hotels-1-75/aqua-bamboo-spa-home.aspx

This budget boutique hotel just one block from Waikiki Beach makes up in convenience (and price) what it lacks in luxury. High-speed Internet connections in every room, Wi-Fi in the common areas, and buffet breakfasts of fruit, yogurt, and pastries are all complimentary here. The 93 rooms, decorated according to feng shui principles with vintage Polynesian rattan and bamboo furnishings, have just enough modern accents to pass for stylish—although they are starting to look a little worse for wear. Each has a balcony and a fully equipped kitchenette. The outdoor saltwater pool area—which also includes a hot tub, cabanas, a man-made waterfall, and a spa—is pretty kitschy, but it's also pretty fun. A young, trendy crowd tends to stay here (many of them Japanese tourists), which makes for a friendly, uninhibited vibe.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Best Western Coconut Waikiki
450 Lewers Street
Honolulu , Hawaii
96815
Tel: 866 971 2782 (toll-free)
Tel: 808 923 8828
www.coconutwaikikihotel.com

The Best Western Coconut Waikiki—an 80-room, very cheap, and extremely cheerful hotel located on the Ala Wai Canal side of Waikiki—is a great place to stay even if you can afford better. (Splurge on a suite with water views, and it will still be half the price of the smallest room at the Halekulani or Kahala Resort). The first hint that this isn't your average Best Western is the giant gorilla stuffed animal that sits in the lobby—just for fun. The bright lime, aqua, and red Art Deco interiors give the entire place the feel of Pee-wee's Playhouse, and the young, friendly staff members have the enthusiasm of camp counselors. Rooms (well designed and Wi-Fi–equipped) have mini kitchens, and the complimentary breakfast buffet in the lobby includes toast, pastries, fruit, hard-boiled eggs, and cereals. Though the pool is the size of a large fountain, the beach and Waikiki strip are just three blocks away.—Cathay Che

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Fairmont Kea Lani
4100 Wailea Alanui Drive
Wailea , Hawaii
96753
Tel: 800 659 4100 (toll-free)
Tel: 808 875 4100
info@kealani.com
www.fairmont.com/kealani

Celebrities may still flock to the more lavish Four Seasons next door, but there are many compelling reasons to choose this gorgeous Fairmont hotel over its competitor. For one, it feels friendlier and less pretentious, and what's more, there are no bad rooms here, since all of the 413 feng shui–styled guest quarters are full suites, many with balconies and panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean. If you want to splurge, the 37 two- and three-bedroom oceanfront villas (upward of $3,200 a night in high season, including rental car) feel like private beach houses. Your villa's stark white Mediterranean-style architecture may seem out of place at first, but you'll have no complaints about the private courtyard plunge pool, full kitchen and outdoor grill, or palm-shaded location steps from the sand. The Kō restaurant, which serves a menu culled from the culinary traditions of Hawaii's plantation workers, has significantly upgraded the Kealani's dining options. And like good plastic surgery, a light renovation in 2008 of the poolside furniture, spa, and restaurants has given the resort a lovely fresh face.—Cathay Che

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Fairmont Orchid
1 N. Kaniku Drive
Kohala Coast , Hawaii
96743
Tel: 800 845 9905 (toll-free)
Tel: 808 885 2000
orchid@fairmont.com
www.fairmont.com/orchid

From the moment you enter, this 32-acre 540-room property is a compound of serenity. Palm trees sway, birds chirp, waves lap at the sand, and green sea turtles appear every afternoon. Once a Ritz-Carlton (you'll see it in the formal architecture), Fairmont took over in 2002 and overhauled the property from top to bottom. The renovation included warming up the guest-room decor with tropical touches, redesigning the popular Norio's Japanese Restaurant & Sushi Bar, and adding a Fairmont Gold floor (we recommend the upgrade—the money you'll save by feasting on three daily buffets offsets the extra expense). Views from the guest rooms vary quite a bit—ask for at least a partial ocean view. Dramatic ocean views are also to be had on the green fairways bordering black lava fields of the resort's adjacent 36-hole Francis H. I'i Brown Golf Courses (North and South), and the outdoor Spa Without Walls is one of the most unique facilities on the island. (Get a rubdown in a thatched hut with a stream of water running beneath.) In 2006, Fairmont added a hip outdoor dinner luau called "The Gathering of the Kings," during which performers in nontraditional costumes entertain with modern dance to a foot-tapping contemporary soundtrack.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
The Falls at Reed's Island
82 Halaulani Place
Hilo , Hawaii
96720
Tel: 808 935 7920
Fax: 740 931 7920
www.reedsisland.com

Until upscale hotels are built in Hilo (a picturesque locals' town that's just 30 minutes by car from Hawaii Volcanoes National Park), the Shipman House B&B and this lushly landscaped private rental home are the area's best bets. Compared to double-room rates on the other side of the island (one night at the Fairmont Orchid can top $800), this three-bedroom house on a small strip of Reed's Island in the Wailuku River Valley is a steal, especially considering the waterfall views and sexy indoor hot tub. It's best to focus on the lush scenery, as the interiors are generically functional. Even though the Falls feels as if it's on a distant private island, downtown Hilo's restaurants and shops are just about a mile away. Since tropical gardens are often rainy and buggy, come prepared.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Four Seasons Hualalai
72–100 Kaupulehu Drive
Kailua-Kona , Hawaii
96740
Tel: 888 340 5662 (toll-free)
Tel: 808 325 8000
Hualalai.reservations@fourseasons.com
www.fourseasons.com/hualalai

If you think all Four Seasons resorts fit the same mold, Hualalai may surprise you. There's no mammoth cement tower here. Instead, the bungalow-style guest quarters are housed in two-story buildings spread out on 800 acres. The 243 near-identical rooms have Hawaii-inspired decor, walk-in closets, slate bathrooms, and furnished lanais. Twenty one- and two-bedroom suites with 180-degree ocean views are perfect for the growing number of return guests who honeymooned here and now have kids. A trio of restaurants includes the Hualalai Grille (no longer under the direction of Alan Wong, but the market-based Pacific Rim cuisine is still excellent), seafood-centric Pahui'a, and the revamped Beach Tree, serving Italian-influenced California cuisine. While the beach isn't stellar, there are plenty of aquatic options, including a family pool, a small adults-only pool, a quiet pool (where cell phones are not allowed and people speak in dulcet tones), a lap pool, and, for snorkeling, a natural lava pond stocked with photogenic fish. Aside from a lunchtime grace period, if you leave your beach or pool lounger, you'll lose it. If that happens, retreat to the gardens of the top-rated Hualalai Spa to select local ingredients (perhaps volcanic ash or macadamia nuts) for your customized treatment.—Cathay Che

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Four Seasons Resort Lanai, Lodge at Koele
1 Keomoku Highway
Lanai City , Hawaii
96763
Tel: 800 321 4666 (toll-free)
Tel: 808 565 4000
reservations.koe@fourseasons.com
www.fourseasons.com/koele

The pine tree–lined road from Lanai City ends here, at a magnificent circular driveway where the international symbol of hospitality, a pineapple, is painted on the English manor–style main building. The 102 rooms are in step with Four Seasons standards, although the dimensions (a touch smaller than usual), Hawaiian motifs, local art, and rare blue marble in the bathrooms lend the spaces a more country-house than resort aesthetic. Many rooms have fireplaces, window seats, and balconies, and a 2007 renovation brought in better beds and a fresher, more luxurious feel than you'll find at sister property Manele Bay. Old-world charm is plentiful, down to an orchid-house conservatory and a croquet lawn. Guests can decompress on a Turkish daybed in the Great Hall, slip into a lounge chair on the expansive veranda, or head for the Greg Norman–designed golf course, horse stables, or shooting range. One of the largest wood-burning fireplaces in the whole state adds to the rustic yet luxurious atmosphere of the Dining Room. Remember to pack a sweater—even when sea-level temperatures are in the high 70s, thermometers in the up-country hover in the 60s, which is a nice reprieve if you've already gotten your share of sun. A $38 charge covers the 20-minute shuttle ride down to Manele Bay and the beach for the duration of your stay.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Four Seasons Resort Lanai at Manele Bay
1 Manele Bay Road
Lanai , Hawaii
96763
Tel: 800 321 4666 (toll-free)
Tel: 808 565 2000
reservations.man@fourseasons.com
www.fourseasons.com/manelebay

Built atop a lava cliff overlooking Hulopoe Bay, this Eurasian palace with Mediterranean-style architecture and Ming-dynasty decor evokes postcard-perfect Hawaii. Its 236 Four Seasons–standard rooms are spacious and airy (ask for a walk-out balcony). The grounds include a 2,600-square-foot pool with panoramic views and interior courtyard gardens that are so lush, finding your way back to the lobby can be tricky. There's also a much-lauded Jack Nicklaus golf course and an 800-square-foot fitness center with a studio for tai chi, yoga, and Pilates classes. (If you stick to the cardio machines, you'll be rewarded with beach views.) The stars here, however, are the white-sand beach and the marine preserve bay. Grab your complimentary snorkel gear early in the morning for a chance to swim with the dolphins that sometimes show up, but proceed with caution—currents can be quite strong. Fans of the Four Seasons Maui at Wailea looking for something even more exclusive—and without quite so much primping and posing—will be right at home here. Consider spending a couple of nights, or at least having dinner at the up-country Lodge at Koele as well to round out your Lanai experience. A $38 transportation fee covers a shuttle between the two hotels for your entire stay.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea
3900 Wailea Alanui Drive
Wailea , Hawaii
96753
Tel: 800 334 6284 (toll-free)
Tel: 808 874 8000
res.maui@fourseasons.com
www.fourseasons.com/maui

The Four Seasons Maui is like a vacation home for the celebrity A-list crowd, which explains why the paparazzi are permanently camped out on the beach. The 370 rooms and suites combine the best of Four Seasons's traditions—European luxury bedding and spacious marble baths—with energizing textiles in the reds, blues, and greens of the Hawaiian landscape, creating a harmony between the stunning beach views and the inner sanctum (now with HDTV and wireless). The new infinity-edged adult pool has mellowed the cutthroat jockeying for first-come, first-served cabanas at the main pool. Both pools offer mini spa treatments that take place in your lounger; free snacks, such as frozen fruit spears, are served on the hour. Spago, with its colorful wallpaper murals of giant sea anemones, is fun for cocktails, but there's also the newer Duo restaurant, which serves juicy aged steaks and fresh local seafood. And while the spa is less renowned than the one at the Waldorf Astoria Grand Wailea, it's still the best in Wailea for the quality and diversity of its treatments (such as the sexy "Couples Water Journey" that includes rejuvenating male and female elixirs). Overall, it's utterly charming to see a hotel that, while it really doesn't have to try that hard (it rarely has unoccupied rooms), still feels the need to thrill and surprise its guests.—Cathay Che

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa
1571 Poipu Road
Koloa , Hawaii
96756
Tel: 800 554 9288 (toll-free)
Tel: 808 742 1234
info@grandhyattkauai.com
www.kauai.hyatt.com

The Grand Hyatt is easily the most extravagant resort on Kauai's always sunny south shore, with 602 rooms and amenities that make it family-friendly yet elegant enough for a romantic trip for two. The six-story structure harks back to the plantation style of the 1920s, and since it's built on a slope to the sea, it just slides by the island's rule of thumb: No building can be higher than the tallest coconut tree. In 2007, a major renovation gave all of the rooms a much-needed makeover (replacing tropical prints with mod white fabrics and boxy furniture); it also expanded the Anara Spa, adding a beautiful outdoor treatment area, including a completely private couples retreat (massage tables, manicure chairs, outdoor showers, and whirlpool). Because the beach here isn't suitable for swimming, the focus is on elaborate saltwater and freshwater pools with a maze of slides, caves, and waterways. The 50 acres of manicured grounds are ideal for wandering (although it's quite possible to get lost among the sometimes confusing paths). And—best of all—you can send the kids to Camp Hyatt while you make the most of the cocktail lounges, restaurants, shops, rental car desk, and golf course designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr.—Updated by Cathay Che

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Halekulani
2199 Kalia Road
Honolulu , Hawaii
96815
Tel: 800 367 2343 (toll-free)
Tel: 808 923 2311
info@halekulanicorp.com
www.halekulani.com

Since opening in 1917 on this prime Waikiki beachfront spot, the Halekulani has grown to 454 rooms—but it still manages to feel like the most intimate, peaceful hotel on the island. There's a special Vera Wang–designed honeymoon suite and an excellent spa offering lavender-orchid body wraps and hibiscus-infused scalp massages. Even the basic amenities are pretty lavish: For instance, all Halekulani guests have VIP access to some of Honolulu's top cultural attractions, such as the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra and Shangri La, the Doris Duke estate. Guests also have equal access to the small slice of beach, the superb, mosaic-tiled swimming pool, and the attentive staff. (Ask the concierge for dinner reservations at Nobu, which is located in the Halekulani's sister hotel, the Waikiki Parc). The rooms, all outfitted in soothing blue and cream tones, have large lanais, and all except the Garden Courtyard rooms have ocean views. (For the best views, book a Diamond Head room.) For a souvenir of your stay, pick up one of the wonderful Halekulani-brand body products scented with maile, a fragrant Hawaiian vine, at the on-site spa boutique.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hanalei Colony Resort
5-7130 Kuhio Highway
Haena , Hawaii
96714
Tel: 800 628 3004 (toll-free)
Tel: 808 826 6235
aloha@hcr.com
www.hcr.com

This collection of 48 condos in Haena (a 15-minute drive west of Hanalei) has one major draw: views so idyllic that they almost look Photoshopped. From second-floor corner ocean-view units, you get a 180-degree eyeful of waves crashing on golden sand with the Bali Hai mountains as a backdrop. On a clear night, the stargazing is otherworldly as well. The two-bedroom, two-bath condos are otherwise average, with interiors done up in tasteful island decor and wicker furniture, but they work well for four people, either two couples, single friends, or a family. Each has a full kitchen, although there's also the Mediterranean Gourmet restaurant and a café that serves aromatic coffee and baked goods to a parade of surfers and locals. The decent spa takes advantage of the stunning views with massage tables under an oceanfront Polynesian-style pavilion. Take note that in the winter the surf is quite big; the water is better for swimming in the summer.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Holualoa Inn
75-5932 Mamalahoa Highway
Holualoa , Hawaii
96725
Tel: 888 392 1812 (toll-free)
Tel: 808 324 1121
www.holualoainn.com

This six-room hillside retreat 1,400 feet above sea level in the Kona Coffee belt is a serene and romantic adults-only B&B. All the rooms are comfy and unique, with modern plantation-style decor, lots of natural wood, cooling cross breezes from the windows, and original artwork—but the best is the Hibiscus Suite, which has panoramic views out to the coast and a private balcony. While you are not on the beach (that's about a half-hour drive down the hill), there's a small pool with sweeping views of the Kohala coast. Holualoa town, a small settlement of artists and craftspeople, has a few restaurants and boutiques, but each room has a dining area in case you want to whip up your own food at the inn's communal kitchen and eat in (there's also a lovely shared roof deck, too). If you are an ardent coffee lover, you can learn everything you ever wanted to know about Kona Coffee and how it's grown at the coffee farm on the premises. And of course, you'll be served the award-winning Holualoa Inn brew every morning with a gratis breakfast of fresh fruit, farm-to-table baked goods, and hot entrées.—Cathay Che

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hotel Hana-Maui and Honua Spa
5031 Hana Highway
Hana , Hawaii
96713
Tel: 800 321 4262 (toll-free)
Tel: 808 248 8211
reservations@hotelhanamaui.com
www.hotelhanamaui.com

Hana's lush beauty has been protected from overdevelopment by the daunting two-hour drive in or out on the twisty Hana Highway, and aficionados swear it's the last authentic place on Maui. This sprawling luxury ranch takes full advantage of the unspoiled setting: The eight one- and two-bedroom oceanfront Sea Ranch Cottages sit out where the land suddenly drops into the sea. The wooden houses have high, beamed ceilings, an enclosed garden off the modern bathroom, and interiors done up in vintage Hawaiian designs. There are amenities for guests at nearby Hamoa Beach, a pool that overlooks the ocean, and a state-of-the-art spa with open-air treatment rooms. An additional four Maui Bay Cottages sit closer to the main building, with views over Hana Bay or the garden, and for complete privacy, the turn-of-the-century Plantation House has two bedrooms and is a 10-minute walk from the hotel's main building (there's a shuttle service too). Attention, honeymooners: September is an adult-only month.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hotel Lanai
828 Lanai Avenue
Lanai City , Hawaii
96763
Tel: 877 665 2624 (toll-free)
Tel: 808 565 7211
hotellanai@wave.hicv.net
www.hotellanai.com

Originally built in 1923 by pineapple pioneer James Dole for company VIPs and guests, this historic property became Lanai's first hotel. Details such as hardwood floors, ceiling fans, pineapple-shaped bedside lamps, hand-stitched quilts, and vintage photographs evoke the bygone era. Its up-country location is about eight miles from the beach, but you'll get a more authentic feel for local life here than you will at the island's two over-the-top resorts, the Lodge at Koele and Manele Bay. Attentive, friendly service, out-on-the-porch tranquility, and the island's most popular restaurant—the lively Lanai City Grille—make this affordable 11-room inn a real gem. (For the most privacy, rent the original caretaker's cottage.) Being a stroll away from Lanai City center and Dole Park's shops and restaurants doesn't hurt either.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hotel Renew
129 Paoakalani Avenue
Waikiki Beach
Honolulu , Hawaii
96815
Tel: 888 485 7639 (toll-free)
Tel: 808 687 7700
info@hotelrenew.com
www.hotelrenew.com

The 72-room Hotel Renew, Waikiki's only "design hotel," is a favorite among fashion and film industry types from New York and California. Originally part of the cheap-and-cheerful Aqua chain, Renew reopened in June 2007 with a more upscale, urban design and nice extras such as valet parking, free Wi-Fi, and complimentary beach gear. Both the rates (sometimes under $200 per night) and the square footage (a standard room is about 300 square feet) are as minimalist as the design: Expect a sexy, moodily lit sanctuary with dark wood furniture and a somewhat overwhelming 80-inch projection television. The hotel has neither a pool nor a restaurant, and you probably won't want to spend too much time in the only public space—the lobby café where your complimentary continental breakfast is served—but Waikiki Beach is just a block away, and the neighborhood's plentiful restaurants and shops are within walking distance. Pooch lovers will appreciate that canine guests under 20 pounds are as welcome here as their owners.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Inn at Mama's Fish House
799 Poho Place
Paia , Hawaii
96779
Tel: 800 860 4852 (toll-free)
Tel: 808 579 9764
inn@mamasfishhouse.com
www.mamasfishhouse.com

Everyone has heard about Mama's Fish House restaurant in funky Paia. So it was just a matter of time before the ten idyllic cottages nestled in a coconut grove in Kuau Cove, a small stretch of north shore beach, also became too popular for their own good. Luckily, three new junior suites were added in June 2009 for couples. Families and multiples should book one of the four two-bedroom units, which each have a full kitchen, for $475 per night—a much cheaper option than staying on Maui's west coast. If you can reserve one, that is. (Book as far in advance as possible; Mama's has been referring guests to the nearby Paia Inn because its own accommodations are always sold-out.) Staying here means that you can get room service from Mama's restaurant and are a stone's throw away from adorable Paia town. But the best perk is that there's not a resort in sight—just unobstructed views of the most magnificent windsurfing and surfing waves on Maui.—Cathay Che

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Jacaranda Inn
65–1444 Kawaihae Road
Waimea , Hawaii
96743
Tel: 808 885 8813
tji@ilhawaii.net
www.jacarandainn.com

This luxurious inn enables guests to stay in the former bunkhouses on the Parker Ranch (one of the oldest ranches in the United States, and at 150,000 acres, the largest one still privately held by a single owner). Located on a 12-acre estate in Waimea, the main house was built in 1897 for the ranch manager and now serves as a public space for lounging with views of Mauna Kea. Each of the eight rooms is named for a flower that doesn't necessarily correspond with its design. For instance, Begonia is lofty, with lace curtains and green wicker furniture on the lanai, and White Lily has an Asian-inflected bedroom and blue-and-white tiles in the clapboard bathroom. Still, all are intimate, secluded, and romantic, and set in rolling hills 2,500 feet above sea level.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
JW Marriott Ihilani Resort & Spa
92-1001 Olani Street
Kapolei , Hawaii
Hawaii
Tel: 800 626 4446 (toll-free)
Tel: 808 679 0079
info@ihilani.com
www.ihilani.com

This west-coast 16-story resort has an "open, airy lobby and plantation shutters." Azul specializes in fresh fish and aged steaks; Naupaka Terrace focuses on Pacific Rim cuisine. Along with "amazing ocean views," rooms have teak furniture, duvets with Hawaiian tapa cloth designs, and "huge walk-in closets." The Ko Olina marina is a nearby base for sailing and diving excursions. Children can learn lei making and hula dancing at the kids' club.

(387 rooms)

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Kahala Hotel & Resort
5000 Kahala Avenue
Honolulu , Hawaii
96816
Tel: 800 367 2525 (toll-free)
Tel: 808 739 8888
www.kahalaresort.com

Set on a sheltered beach just a ten-minute drive from Waikiki, this 338-room resort was a Mandarin Oriental until 2006. With the new ownership came a much-needed room renovation. Now, Art Deco–style furnishings and silky gold- and cream-colored fabrics have replaced the '60s decor. You really never need to leave the property: There are five on-site restaurants (though only one, Hoku's, which serves Hawaiian-Asian-European fusion cuisine, is truly noteworthy); the Chi fitness center, with a variety of classes and a phalanx of very eager personal trainers; plenty of pampering in the ten private Spa Suites; and every kind of water sport imaginable on the 800-foot beach. Kids are catered to with special Keiki Club activities, like reef walking, hula dancing, and, unfortunately, a "Dolphin Encounter," where they can swim in a pool with the live animals. The dolphins appear to be healthy, and the program promotes environmental awareness, but it's odd to have what feels like a circus attraction in the center of an otherwise glamorous resort.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Kapalua Gold Villas
800 Kapalua Drive
Kapalua , Hawaii
96761
Tel: 888 227 6054 (toll-free)
Tel: 808 665 5400
reservations@kapaluavillas.com
www.kapalua.com/accommodations/villas/gold_villas.php

Guests at the Gold Villas at Kapalua have access to the same Kapalua community amenities as those staying at the nearby Ritz-Carlton: famous golf courses (where the Mercedes-Benz Championships are held each year over the winter holidays), DT Fleming Beach, the Waihua Spa, Merriman's restaurant, and the Mountain Outpost Adventure Center. Some people might even prefer this to the Ritz-Carlton, since the Gold Villas are multiple-bedroom units with full kitchens, washer/dryer facilities, and a parking garage—plus, they cost less. The Gold Villas are individually owned, but have a high standard of interior design, and include flat-screen TVs, Sub-Zero fridges, granite countertops, sunken spa tubs, and fine bedding. Outdoor balconies with a dining table, grill, and lounge chairs are perfect for friends or families traveling together. The Gold Oceanview Villas have stunning cliff views; book a Gold Golf Villa to stay right off the green.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Kauai Marriott Resort & Beach Club
3610 Rice Street
Lihue , Hawaii
96766
Tel: 808 245 5050
kauai@marriott.com
www.marriott.com/property/propertypage/LIHHI

The Marriott is a place even locals choose for a honeymoon, because of its authentic Hawaiian style and desirable location on the golden sands of Kalapaki Beach. A mile away from Lihue airport (with the sound of jets whooshing above to prove it), the Marriott's 356 rooms are a riot of tropical fabrics. The pool is equally over-the-top—at 26,000 square feet it's one of the biggest in the state of Hawaii. Ask for an ocean view: Nothing beats breakfast on the balcony overlooking the water. Continue enjoying the beach vistas over lunch or sunset cocktails at Marriott's in-house branch of the restaurant chain Duke's Canoe Club.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Kilauea Lodge
19–3948 Old Volcano Road
Volcano Village , Hawaii
96785
Tel: 808 967 7366
stay@kilauealodge.com
www.kilauealodge.com

Located inside the chilly volcano rain forest, the lodge promotes its "International Fireplace of Friendship"—hokey, but it was established when the building was a YMCA in the '30s. It's a good place to warm up after exploring the hot and cold lava of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park a mile away. Owner and chef Albert Jeyte, who was an Emmy-winning makeup artist for Magnum, P.I. in another life, has also established a surprisingly good restaurant. Who knew you could get a German sausage plate in Hawaii? More cozy than luxurious, the 14 unique rooms and stand-alone cottages are, nonetheless, completely charming. Some accommodations have a fireplace, and all have access to a hot tub. Golf aficionados should book the two-bedroom Pii Mauna, located on the sixth fairway of the Volcano Golf Course (a short distance from the main grounds).

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Koa Kea Hotel & Resort
2251 Poipu Road
Koloa , Hawaii
96756
Tel: 808 828 8888
Reservations@koakea.com
www.koakea.com

Located between several large chain resorts on Poipu Beach, the 121-room Koa Kea hotel is a partially hidden gem. (It can be hard to find if you don't know that it shares a driveway with the Marriott Waiohai.) The hotel's condo-style buildings don't make a great first impression, but the wow factor becomes apparent inside. While the decor gives a nod to the oceanfront location with large shells, pieces of coral, and photos of sea creatures, the design is definitely more city than beach: The sexy rooms, all with ocean views, are done up in crisp white and hot pink bedding and mod Asian-style furniture. The open-air Red Salt restaurant and bar attracts cool-seeking refugees from all over the island. And perhaps the best part of staying here is the smug satisfaction of sharing primo Poipu Beach (which is plenty big) with the monster resorts, then retreating to this intimate and stylish oasis.—Cathay Che

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Mauna Kea Beach Hotel
62–100 Mauna Kea Beach Drive
(Near Kawaihae)
North Kohala Coast , Hawaii
96743
Tel: 808 882 7222
reservations@princehawaii.com
www.maunakeabeachhotel.com

Fans of the Big Island's Mauna Kea Beach Hotel had quite a scare when an October 2006 earthquake damaged and closed Laurance S. Rockefeller's illustrious hotel. Since the original resort cost $15 million to build (the most expensive in its day), it seems a bit obscene that it took $150 million to bring it back and make it look much like it did before. The size, scale, and exterior of the property hasn't changed at all, thankfully, but the interiors are completely updated. (Before the renovation, even loyalists agreed that the Brady Bunch–era rooms were more kitsch than luxe.) The 258 rooms all have private lanais, hidden flat-screen TVs, Wi-Fi, and closets practically big enough to sleep in. Rooms at the Plumeria Beach Club have direct access to the rolling green lawn that fronts the resort's beach (the best one on the island) and are ideal for families. However, the very best are now the honeymoon-friendly Deluxe Ocean View rooms in the tower, which have two lanais—one off the bedroom, the other off an enormous bathroom equipped with a soaking tub for two and an open shower. The three restaurants on property have also been upgraded, and executive chef George Gomes is committed to showcasing local produce. The Hau Tree, by the pool, is still the spot for a barefoot lunch, but Number 3, at the golf club, has the tasty kalua pig quesadilla. Manta & Pavilion Wine Bar has been glammed up with Enomatic wine dispensers (you purchase wines by the ounce), and the menu includes local delicacies such as Big Island–raised, grass-fed Wagyu beef. All in all, it's the same Mauna Kea Beach Hotel you knew and loved, but no longer just resting on its laurels.—Cathay Che

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows
68–1400 Mauna Lani Drive
Kohala Coast , Hawaii
96743
Tel: 800 367 2323 (toll-free)
Tel: 808 885 6622
reservations@maunalani.com
www.maunalani.com

The oceanfront hammocks strung between coconut trees on the grounds of the Mauna Lani fulfill an image of Hawaii that's no longer easy to find. This tranquil, independent resort—nothing cookie-cutter about it—stands on a historic site of Hawaiian petroglyphs and ancient fishponds. One pond teems with sharks; look for a dorsal fin stalking the surface. A 2005 renovation gave the 343 small but well-laid-out rooms a contemporary edge with clean-lined koa wood and wicker furnishings; there are also five heavenly freestanding bungalows with private pools that are popular with visiting celebrities. The spa is the most beautiful on the island with a natural open-air lava-rock sauna in a landscaped "La'au" healing garden, and an outdoor lava-tube water-therapy pool (for something different, try the Watsu water massage). The Canoe House restaurant specializes in Hawaii regional cuisine: Well-seasoned and perfectly presented fresh local fish, salads, steaks, and homemade Kona coffee ice cream are served in a relaxed, open-air pavilion that's lit by tiki torches at night.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
The Modern Honolulu
1775 Ala Moana Boulevard
Honolulu , Hawaii
96815
Tel: 866-970-4161
Fax: 808-943-5820
weinfo@editionhotels.com
www.themodernhonolulu.com

Opened in October 2010, the first of Ian Schrager's Edition concept hotels (for Marriott) is predictably pretentious, but dazzles. A surfboard collage mounted behind the front desk is among the few references to Hawaii. Overall, the minimalist design wouldn't feel out of place in, say, Miami or L.A.—which locals have interpreted as a sign that Honolulu has finally arrived. Since the hotel overlooks the boat harbor, the "private beach" is a sand-covered deck with a bizarre wading pool open to adult guests only. The real beach is a two-minute walk away, at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. The Edition does have a modest saltwater pool: It's part of the attractive ground-floor deck, which is also open to nonguests visiting the boutique, pool bar, or Morimoto restaurant. One of the few splashes of color in the 353 guest rooms comes from the neon floral pareos for use during your stay (keep one, and you'll be charged). Otherwise, the bright white and chrome decor looks like something out of an Apple Store. On weekends, the hotel's Crazybox nightclub brings the party to you.—Cathay Che

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Napili Kai Beach Resort
5900 Lower Honoapiilani Road
Lahaina , Hawaii
96761
Tel: 800 367 5030 (toll-free)
Tel: 808 669 6271
stay@napilikai.com
www.napilikai.com

Napili Kai's quarter-mile white-sand crescent is arguably the prettiest beach on the island, but some might be put off by the resort's well-preserved '70s plantation-style decor, with lots of rattan, in all 163 rooms. Practical amenities such as a laundry facility (with free detergent) and bath products made from local coconut, ginger, and papaya are a nice touch for the core clients (many of whom are quite wealthy but interested in value) who return year after year with children and grandchildren. Most of the employees have worked here for more than 20 years, which adds to the sense of deep-rooted comfort. The restaurant menu includes fresh, healthy fare, but everybody's favorite is a stack of melt-in-your-mouth macadamia nut–and-banana pancakes with coconut syrup. The Masters of Slack Key concerts also take place here weekly.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Outrigger Waipouli
4-820 Kuhio Highway
Kapaa , Hawaii
96746
Tel: 800 688 7444 (toll-free)
Tel: 808 822 6000
wbr@outrigger.com
outriggercondos.com

Opened in 2006, this 190-room condo resort on the beach in Kapaa, a budget-friendly local's town on the east coast with a slightly bohemian vibe, is remarkable. There are studios and one-bedrooms available here, but for the same price as a standard hotel room in Poipu you get a two-bedroom, three-bath unit with trendy Indonesian decor, a washer-dryer, and a kitchen fitted with a Sub-Zero fridge and a Wolf convection oven. (A supermarket is within walking distance.) The wind makes the ocean here a good spot for kite surfing, but the water is too rough for swimming: The resort makes up for that with a huge, heated, therapeutic soft-water river pool (the water flows from an upper to a lower level and is pumped back up), with flumed water slides and three sand-bottomed whirlpool spas. All of this adds up to a surprisingly sophisticated blend of comfort and luxury that appeals to families and honeymooners alike (although lovers may want to request the oceanfront units away from the pool for more privacy).

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Paia Inn
93 Hana Highway
Paia , Hawaii
96779
Tel: 800 721 4000 (toll-free)
Tel: 808 579 6000
info@paiainn.com
www.paiainn.com

The modern incarnation of the Paia Inn opened in 2008 in the cutest former plantation town in all of Hawaii. It's a welcome addition to Maui's hip north shore—home to Owen Wilson and Laird Hamilton—where there were previously few hotels. Owner and architect Michael Baskin designed the five rooms with Asian-inspired teak furniture, European bedding, perhaps a few too many colorful paintings by local artists, and the usual tech perks (flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi). Scones from Anthony's—the surfer mainstay located across the street—accompany coffee in the lounge each morning, and the restaurant's low-key menu of sandwiches and smoothies is available for room service. The little stretch of beach right in front of popular surf break Tavares and Paia's many shops, cafés, and restaurants are a two-minute walk away. (You can park the car and not move it until you leave.) Reasonable rates (starting at $169 per night), and a location that dials you into local life, make it easy to overlook the only potential downside—the intimacy of this historic two-story building means that sounds from other guests can occasionally intrude. On the upside, it's also easy to make friends with fellow travelers.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Pure Kauai
Hanalei , Hawaii
96714
Tel: 866 457 7873 (toll-free)
Tel: 808 826 7703
info@purekauai.com
www.purekauai.com

You can't control which direction the trade winds blow, but you can specify almost every other aspect of your Hawaiian vacation when you're working with this outfit. Pure Kauai dials you into the island by prescreening rental homes; these range from a one-bedroom condo for $350 per night to a house with a freestanding master bedroom and two cottages on five acres of land with an infinity pool, Jacuzzi, gym, media room, full kitchen, and an office, priced at $8,000 per night (all properties have ocean views). Pure Kauai also vets potential members of your private staff—chefs, massage therapists, mountain biking tour guides, fishing- or dive-boat captains, surf instructors, yoga or hula masters, and even a life coach (or would that be a vacation coach?). If ordering up your holiday à la carte is too overwhelming, tweak the company's fitness, family-friendly, or romantic packages to suit your wants and needs. Once you're there, the Pure Kauai organizers act as your personal concierge: If there's a problem, they'll take care of it, and they can make changes to your itinerary, in case you'd rather sleep in than take that four-hour waterfall hike. And if there's something you fancy that's not on their list of services (a stripper pole, perhaps?), Pure Kauai will do its best to make it happen. Perhaps that's why celebrities like Jennifer Garner prefer it to a generic week at even the best resorts in the state.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Pure Maui
Hawaii
Tel: 866 787 6284 (toll-free)
Tel: 808 875 8833
info@puremaui.com
www.puremaui.com

Pure Maui dials you into your destination by prescreening rental villas and your needs and desires, lining up a staff to match. The agency's 25-plus standout properties include the to-die-for '70s party house on a marine preserve, Ahihi Bay Hideaway, and the Kanaha Beach estate in the millionaires' enclave of Spreckelsville. Pure Maui can arrange chefs, massage therapists, mountain biking or hiking tour guides, fishing or dive boat captains, surf instructors, yoga or hula masters—even a life coach (or would that be a vacation coach?). If ordering up your holiday à la carte is too overwhelming, tweak one of the company's fitness, family-friendly, or romantic packages to suit your wants and needs. Once you arrive, the staff acts as your personal concierge and can make changes to your itinerary, in case you'd rather sleep in than take that four-hour waterfall hike. And if there's something you want to try that's not on the list of services (stand-up paddling, perhaps?), Pure Maui will do its best to make it happen. Celebrities love this outfit for its discretion—especially now that paparazzi hide in the bushes in Maui too—but it's also dedicated to taking you off the beaten track. (And the staffers are as ridiculously good-looking as they are qualified.)

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Ritz-Carlton Maui, Kapalua
1 Ritz-Carlton Drive
Kapalua , Hawaii
96761
Tel: 800 241 3333 (toll-free)
Tel: 808 669 6200
www.ritzcarlton.com/en/properties/kapaluamaui

This 570-room resort reopened in December 2007 after a much-needed Hawaiian make-under. The $180 million renovation added a spa, refreshed the public spaces, and replaced the dated and out-of-place preppy guest-room decor with contemporary furnishings in simple dark wood, muted tropical prints, and some wacky lamps. The Banyan Tree restaurant has also been spruced up, and its menu of Pacific Rim dishes with a molecular-gastronomy twist puts it in the running for the title of Maui's top restaurant. The Ritz-Carlton's location in remote Kapalua—the community beyond Lahaina, Kaanapali, and Napili—is both the worst and best thing about it. (Kapalua is a 45-minute drive from the Kahului Airport, but a mere five minutes from the West Maui Airport, which serves inter-island flights only.) To occupy those who don't want to just lie on the beach, there are two 18-hole golf courses, a historic pineapple plantation, a 10,000-square-foot three-tiered pool (with a 20,000-square-foot sundeck), six tennis courts, and an adventure center with a two-mile-long series of zip lines. Lahaina and Kaanapali are close by, as is the famous surf break of Honolua Bay—not really a swimming spot, but if the surfers are out, it's a prime location for spectators.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Royal Hawaiian Hotel
2259 Kalakaua Avenue
Honolulu , Hawaii
96815
Tel: 808 923 7311
rh.concierge@luxurycollection.com
www.royal-hawaiian.com

After a multimillion-dollar renovation, completed in 2009, fans of the iconic pink palace can breathe a sigh of relief: The Royal Hawaiian Hotel is more glorious than ever before. (Purists may regret that the color scheme is a little less bubble-gum, though; the palette of pinks has expanded to include more sophisticated coral, magenta, fuchsia, and even maroon.) Playing off the historic hotel's original decor and Moorish design, all 592 refreshed guest rooms have a Moroccan flair and a nice balance of crisp white and lime linens with dark woods set against coral pink wallpaper with silver scallops. While the pink sheets and towels that reminded you of Grandma's house are gone, the pink robes remain. Modern public spaces, such as the Mai Tai Bar and Azure restaurant, which both have panoramic views of Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head, definitely bring sexy back—and, along with the adjacent, amped-up Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center, are helping Waikiki in its bid to become the new South Beach.—Cathay Che

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Royal Lahaina Resort
2780 Kekaa Drive
Kaanapali , Hawaii
96761
Tel: 800 222 5642 (toll-free)
Tel: 808 661 3611
hhr@hawaiihotels.com
www.royallahainaresort.net

The Royal Lahaina was one of the first hotels to open on Maui in the 1960s, and it occupies a still-isolated two-mile stretch of world-famous Kaanapali Beach (a three-minute walk north of Black Rock). Until a multimillion-dollar renovation in 2007, the look here was in line with the hotel's kitschy-cute Trader Vic's bar. Now, the 328 rooms in the hotel's 12-story Lahaina Kai tower sport mod minimalist decor in dark wood, crisp white, and orange. Seventy-five percent of them also have unobstructed honeymoon-worthy ocean views, which are best enjoyed from your small balcony. The 114 family-friendly cottages, public spaces, and restaurants (try the Kahlú'a pork quesadillas and ahi tacos) are still charmingly stuck in the Brady Bunch era, although more renovations are planned for 2010. What hasn't changed is the friendly service (much of the staff has been here for 30 years), and nostalgic types can book the property's villa (really just a humble three-bedroom house) to fantasize about the Lahaina of 50 years ago, when you could still build like this, with a lawn that ends right on the beach. The Royal Lahaina isn't the slickest choice in the Kaanapali area, but given the resort's small scale, relative seclusion, and rates starting under $250, it may be the smartest.—Cathay Che

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Sheraton Kauai
2440 Hoonani Road
Koloa , Hawaii
96756
Tel: 866 716 8109 (toll-free)
Tel: 808 742 1661
info@sheraton-kauai.com
www.sheraton-kauai.com

The Sheraton Kauai, the first resort built on Poipu Beach, is often overshadowed by the much larger Grand Hyatt Kauai nearby. But there is a lot of charm in the Sheraton's spacious mid-century layout: The four-story buildings of its original Beach Wing surround a flat grass courtyard that could've easily housed additional structures. The crescent of Poipu Beach that fronts the resort is stunning and rarely frequented by nonguests, although the sea here is not entirely placid. The 394 guest rooms were refreshed in 2009, and some have modern four-poster beds dressed in crisp white linens and a subtle beige-and-brown palette that's appealingly unfussy. The best accommodations are the ground-floor Ocean Deluxe rooms with semiprivate patios that lead out to a seaside lawn. Note that the hotel's Garden Wing is located across the street from the ocean. There are also three oceanfront indoor/outdoor restaurants, and the only oceanfront luau in Poipu adds to the resort's classic Hawaii vibe.—Cathay Che

Note: The Sheraton Kauai's public areas will be renovated between January and June 2011. During this period, the resort will remain open and all guests will receive a complimentary breakfast buffet.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Shipman House Bed & Breakfast
131 Kaiulani Street
Hilo , Hawaii
96720
Tel: 800 627 8447 (toll-free)
Tel: 808 934 8002
innkeeper@hilo-hawaii.com
www.hilo-hawaii.com

Proprietress Mary Shipman entertained Liliuokalani (the last queen of Hawaii) and writer Jack London in this historic Victorian mansion built in 1899. Now her great-granddaughter Barbara extends a taste of old Hawaii and family-style hospitality to guests. Filled with heirlooms from the early 1900s, this is the most elegant accommodation you'll find in Hilo, and it maintains some Victorian standards: no smoking, no pets, children under the age of 10 are discouraged, and no gentlemen callers (OK, that last one is a lie). The five rooms are unique, with some named after aunties (don't say spinsters). Book Auntie Clara's Shell Room for the claw-foot tub and splendid view of Hilo Bay.

Closed December 20 through January 2.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
St. Regis Princeville
5520 Ka Haku Road
Princeville , Hawaii
96722
Tel: 808 826 9644
stregisprinceville.com

The crowning glory of the St. Regis Princeville hotel, located in the private community of Princeville, near groovy Hanalei town, is the breathtaking view of Kauai's Hanalei Bay and mountains (a.k.a the Bali Ha'i mountains from South Pacific). The resort, which originally opened in the 1980s, was long a crystal- and gilt-encrusted pantheon to ostentatious wealth, but its transformation in October 2009 into a St. Regis made the vibe considerably more laid-back and Kauaian. (The private butlers are an interesting counterpoint to the mellow guitar player channeling Jack Johnson in the lounge and the younger and hipper-than-you-expect honeymooners in shorts and flip flops.) But as much as they try to change the energy here, there's no getting around the fact that the building itself is an 11-story monolith and many of the rooms are long and a bit narrow. Partially built into the side of sea cliffs, the hotel has a memorable, nontraditional layout: The lobby is on the ninth floor, with two floors of rooms above (if you prefer a view) and seven below, some of which open onto the lawn, beach, and pool at sea level. From ocean-view rooms, there's no development in sight, just the surfers hitting the waves. The food at Jean-Georges Vongerichten's elegantly casual Kauai Grill lives up to the chef's hype, and it's a pleasant surprise that prices are almost the same as at the less impressive Makana Terrace. The pool and two whirlpools at beach level are open 24 hours—perfect for gazing at shooting stars and the infamous Hanalei moon.—Cathay Che

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Travaasa Hotel Hana
5031 Hana Highway
Hana , Hawaii
96713
Tel: 800 321 4262 (toll-free)
Tel: 808 248 8211
reservations@hotelhanamaui.com
www.travaasa.com/hana

The most Hawaiian town on Maui (both in terms of population of Native Hawaiians and a rural way of life that modern Hawaii abandoned 50 years ago), Hana has been protected from overdevelopment by the daunting two-hour drive on the twisty Hana Highway, and in-the-know travelers swear it's the last authentic place on Maui. This sprawling luxury ranch with an eco-adventurer vibe takes full advantage of the unspoiled setting: The eight one- and two-bedroom Sea Ranch cottages sit out on a seaside bluff where the land suddenly drops into the sea. The pine tree green-color wooden houses have interiors done up in vintage Hawaiian designs, high-beamed ceilings, and enclosed gardens off the modern bathrooms. To sweeten the deal, the Travaasa also offers a smart all-inclusive package that covers three meals plus one activity (i.e., spa treatment or horseback riding) per person daily. What's the catch? There really is none, except that Hana is as quiet as a church mouse at night (so be sure to bring your own entertainment) and there's no beach access from the hotel, although there is a shuttle to the Beach Club at nearby Hamoa Beach. During the day, guests hike or drive to see local attractions like the Seven Sacred Pools or Lindburgh's Grave, or read on their private balcony, swim in the pool that overlooks the ocean, or get rubbed down in a state-of-the-art spa with open-air treatment rooms and an outdoor lava-rock whirlpool. Families are discouraged from staying on the Sea Ranch side of the resort (in part for safety reasons), although four Maui Bay Cottages ideal for people with children sit closer to the main building with views over Hana Bay. For complete privacy, the turn-of-the-century Plantation House has two bedrooms and is a 10-minute walk from the hotel's main building (there's a shuttle service, too).—Cathay Che

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Trump Waikiki
223 Saratoga Road
Honolulu , Hawaii
96815
Tel: 877 683 7401 (toll-free)
Tel: 808 683 7777
trumpwaikiki@trumphotels.com
www.trumpwaikikihotel.com

Some people call the Trump Waikiki home, which explains why the bellmen at this condo hotel greet people by name, and why service and security are top-notch (for hotel guests, a personal attaché is at your service for your entire stay). The prime location, across the street from the beach and just off Waikiki's crowded main strip, adds to one's impression of being a wealthy local here, rather than a tourist. The masculine decor and super-size flat-screen TVs do feel a tad corporate, but on the plus side, even the smallest of the 462 units (a studio) is 600 square feet, and all have closets the size of a New York City apartment, as well as washer/dryers and full kitchens. (If you're not into cooking, room service is available from the BLT restaurant downstairs, and there are private chefs for hire.) Rooms on the upper floors of the 38-story hotel literally tower over Honolulu: The views from the floor-to-ceiling windows are incredible, and even better from your balcony. A modest infinity-edge pool on the sixth floor has ocean views, but nothing beats sunset drinks at the lobby-level Waiolu Lounge. On Friday nights, its balcony is the best spot for viewing the fireworks put on by the nearby Hilton Hawaiian Village.—Cathay Che

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Turtle Bay Resort
57-091 Kamehameha Highway
Kahuku , Hawaii
96731
Tel: 800 203 3650 (toll-free)
Tel: 808 293 6000
tbrreservations@benchmarkmanagement.com
www.turtlebayresort.com

Ideally located on a five-mile stretch of a secluded North Shore bay, this luxurious 880-acre property has a high hip factor. In addition to being the occasional location for episodes of Lost, the property was the main set of the Fox TV show North Shore in 2004 and 2005. L.A. production crews still haunt the place, trying to catch film footage of local surfers in action (there's a good break just offshore). Each of the 443 rooms and private cottages has an ocean view and minimalist decor in soothing tones of sand and pale green. On-site amenities include the restaurant, Ola, a golf course, a surf school, tennis courts, and the posh Spa Luana, where guests can indulge in pineapple pedicures and macadamia-nut body scrubs. Labor disputes that made Turtle Bay the focus of negative press were finally resolved in July 2006—although the resort is once again in the hot seat over plans for a major expansion.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Waianuhea
45–3503 Kahana Drive
Honokaa , Hawaii
96727
Tel: 888 775 2577 (toll-free)
Tel: 808 775 1118
info@waianuhea.com
www.waianuhea.com

Located in the rolling green hills above Honokaa, on the Hamakua Coast, Waianuhea has just five luxurious rooms and feels like a stylish artists' retreat. Finding this solar-powered hideaway can be a challenge; it's best to arrive in daylight, and even then, there are no real landmarks to help you along except that you will turn and drive up toward the mountain when you see Tex Drive In. But once you're here, the extensive grounds and modern ranch-style building decorated with contemporary art, Philippe Starck chairs, and Thai daybeds are incredibly seductive. The rooms vary in size—the Kaulana Akea suite is the largest, with a private courtyard and a separate living/dining room—but all have wood-burning stoves (it gets chilly at night), Wi-Fi, and satellite TV. While breakfast and a sunset wine tasting are included in the room rate, there's no restaurant on the premises, so you have to make the 20-minute drive to Honokaa town for lunch and dinner. (Frozen Amy's organic dinners and a microwave are on hand as a backup.) Aside from that one drawback, this is an excellent home base if you plan to spend a full day, or more, exploring the Waipio Valley.—Cathay Che

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Waikiki Parc
2233 Helumoa Road
Honolulu , Hawaii
96815
Tel: 800 422 0450 (toll-free)
Tel: 808 921 7272
info@halekulanicorp.com
www.waikikiparc.com

Halekulani's little-sister property, this 297-room tower isn't beachfront—although you can quickly reach the sand via footpath—and has no grounds to speak of. What it does have is terrific bang for your buck. The rooms, with their minimalist dark-wood-and-white-fabric decor, are comfortable; the deluxe ocean-vista rooms have balconies with stunning views over the Halekulani to the sea. There's a heated rooftop pool, a fitness center, and access to the Halekulani's spa. The Parc is also home to the much-hyped Nobu Waikiki, an extension of chef Nobu Matsuhisa's sushi empire.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Wailea Beach Marriott Resort & Spa
3700 Wailea Alanui Drive
Wailea , Hawaii
96753
Tel: 888 236 2427 (toll-free)
Tel: 808 879 1922
waileamarriottreservations@marriott.com
www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/hnmmc-wailea-beach-marriott-resort-and-spa

Located on the same stretch of sugar-sand Wailea beachfront as the Four Seasons and the Grand Wailea, the Marriott may be the best deal on the island. Thanks to a multimillion-dollar renovation completed in 2006, gone are the stale, dated interiors that practically screamed budget. The extensive face-lift has delivered an almost all-new resort, with sophisticated island decor in beige and brown tones, structural changes to improve the lobby, a new restaurant—the second location of Lahaina's popular foodie hangout, Mala Wailea—and a spa and fitness center. It still doesn't have the cachet of its five-star neighbors, but the Marriott is a poor relation no longer. If the view is a priority, spring for an oceanfront room—spending the same amount next door will only get you windows onto the Four Seasons's gardens.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Waimea Plantation Cottages
9400 Kaumualii Highway (Highway 50)
Waimea , Hawaii
96796
Tel: 800 992 4632 (toll-free)
Tel: 808 338 1625
info@kikiaola.com
www.waimea-plantation.com

Composed of 62 individual cottages built in the early 1900s for plantation workers, this 30-acre property is a great alternative to frenetic resorts. There's nothing fancy or new here—and that's precisely the charm. Oceanfront cottages are preferred: They're the best way to take advantage of large porches. One, two, three, four, and five bedrooms are available, and all are equipped with full kitchens and tasteful rattan furniture; some have original claw-foot tubs. There's no room service, but the Waimea Brewing Company restaurant is on the premises and attracts locals and tourists. Join them and sip microbrews while snacking on island-style pupus (small plates). The Plantation's only drawback is that the beach isn't ideal for swimming, but alternatives are close by, as is the picturesque Waimea Canyon.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Waldorf Astoria Grand Wailea Resort & Spa
3850 Wailea Alanui Drive
Wailea , Hawaii
Tel: 800 888 6100 (toll-free)
Tel: 808 875 1234
www.grandwailea.com

This Wailea resort lives up to its "Grand" name with 40 acres of beachfront property, eight bars and restaurants, a 50,000-square-foot spa (the largest in Hawaii), and a priceless art collection that includes large bronzes by Fernando Botero and sculptures by Fernand Leger. Ask any kid on Maui where the best pool on the island is and the hands-down winner is also here—the Wailea Canyon Activity Pool, a mini water park that's actually nine pools with slides and an interconnecting river that carries swimmers along at varying speeds. Adults have plenty of options, too, such as exclusive use of the Hibiscus adult pool and access to five neighboring golf courses. The predominantly peach-colored room decor of floral prints and white-painted wood furniture errs a bit on the side of grandmotherly, but the 787 rooms are spacious (640 square feet) and have enormous soaking tubs, lots of closet space, and private balconies—be sure to ask for an ocean-view room for the stunning sunsets over Wailea Beach.—Cathay Che

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.