Where to Stay in Honolulu: Best Hotels in Waikiki for All Budgets!

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Are you looking for where to stay in Honolulu and the best Honolulu hotels and accommodations? This guide will uncover the best hotels in Waikiki Beach and beyond!

Are you planning your trip to Honolulu last minute?

If you’re traveling to Honolulu last minute, you want to ensure you have lodging/tours ahead of time! Below are some of our top picks on Oahu!

🌴  Best Tours and Activities on Oahu:

  1. Full-day Oahu island tour (my top recommendation to see the island!)
  2. Waikiki afternoon glass-bottom boat trip (a Honolulu bestseller!)
  3. Pearl Harbor and USS Arizona Memorial Tour (essential!)
  4. Paradise Cove luau (a luau that is great for families!)
  5. Diamond Head morning hike from Honolulu

🛌  Best Hotels and Lodging in Honolulu:

  1. Moana Surfrider Hotel (a famous place that I love!)
  2. White Sands Hotel (budget – I stayed here many nights and enjoyed it!)
  3. Hotel Renew (budget option in HNL)
  4. Laylow (mid-range and stylish)
  5. Espacio the Jewel of Waikiki (luxury living in Waikiki)

🚗  Traveling to Oahu independently? Be sure to book your rental car ahead of time to ensure availability!

One of the most intimidating things about planning a trip to Hawaii is finding the perfect place to stay! Is the location right? Does it have a pool? Is it within walking distance of the beach?

All of those questions are crucial to making sure you have a location that will make your trip even more memorable!

The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resor overview
Where to stay in Honolulu via Expedia

This guide will dive into all of your questions and help you determine which Honolulu and Waikiki hotels are the best for you and your travel companions.

I do focus on hotels in Waikiki more than other parts of the city, but we will include some alternative accommodations options that are outside of the most popular tourist district of the city.

Do you have a favorite hotel in Honolulu? Let us know your top picks in the comments!

Where to Stay in Honolulu – Neighborhoods & More

Let’s be honest, the most expensive area of Honolulu to stay in is Waikiki. But, you can find decent options there if you are flexible with your dates and travel out of the high season.

Below are some parts of the city that I can recommend staying in if you want to be in a convenient location.


The obvious choice. Waikiki will likely be the most expensive, but it is an ideal spot for tour pick-ups and the main attractions in Honolulu.

Over 7 million people a year head to Waikiki’s 2 miles of desirable beaches. If you’re not on a budget or you simply want to stay near the action, Waikiki is the ideal spot!

VIVE Hotel Waikiki Honolulu
Where to stay in Waikiki via Expedia

Attractions in Waikiki: Kuhio Beach Park, Ala Wai Harbor, Royal Hawaiian Center, Kapiolani Park, Kalakaua Avenue (great restaurants and shops), and Kahanamoku Lagoon.


Kakaako is the artsy district of Waikiki and is not too far from the main attractions in the city.

It is a decent walk to many of the main sights of Waikiki, but Honolulu’s buses are some of the best in the nation, and grabbing one is easy to do from this part of the city.

You’ll find good coffee, boutiques, and more here. This is also pretty close to where the whale-watching tours and other boat trips leave from!

OUTRIGGER Waikiki Beach Resort
Where to Stay in Kakaako via Expedia

Attractions in Kakaako: SALT, South Shore Market, Ala Moana Beach Park is close, murals everywhere


Kaimuki is my favorite area of Honolulu to stay in. It is a decent walk to Waikiki but you’re near some really delicious restaurants and boutique shops!

On my last trip to Honolulu, I stayed right beside Leonard’s Bakery and Fresh Catch on Kapahulu and I really enjoyed the area (and there was a large Safeway nearby). Prices are cheaper and the area is pretty quiet.

Attractions in Kaimuki: small shops along Waialae Avenue, slightly off-the-path restaurants

Where to stay in Kaimuki via Expedia

For this guide, we mostly focus on Waikiki accommodation options. We will give some alternatives at the end, but we have found that most people just want to stay in Waikiki! Understandable!

So, while we recommend other neighborhoods if this is not your first trip to Hawaii, we definitely think that the Waikiki hotels offer convenience and the vibe that most people want when visiting Honolulu.

Resort Fees in Honolulu

If you’re trying to book a hotel in Honolulu, you will quickly notice that as soon as you think you’re getting a deal on accommodation, the price quickly shoots up.

This is often because of the resort fees that the island charges tourists. The resort fee varies from hotel to hotel, but it is usually an additional $30-$50 a night. 

When booking, you will see that the price will initially say ‘includes taxes and charges‘ and this may or may not include those resort fees.

Just click through to see how everything is broken down to ensure you are paying exactly what you should be paying!

You may be charged for it on the spot or upon arrival. Just monitor your invoice to check.

Best Hotels in Honolulu

We have broken this guide up into several sections, including budget hotels, luxury hotels, beachfront hotels, hotels with pools, and boutique hotels. We have opted not to include mid-range hotels as they fall into budget/luxury depending on the price and season.

It is no secret that Hawaii is NOT a budget destination. And, unfortunately, hotel prices are indicative of this. 

View from a hotel in Honolulu
Best Hotels in Honolulu via Expedia

As a result, we have had to consider anything $300 and less to be budget and anything $300 and more to be luxury. Please take this into mind when reading this!

We will specify when hotels are at one end of the spectrum for budget/luxury where they could fall into a ‘mid-range’ type category.

Everything in this guide is in Waikiki until the last section where we include some top-rated hotels outside of Waikiki.

Airbnb and short-term rentals are currently undergoing bans or changes by the local government, so we do recommend hotels to ensure your trip stays on schedule and avoids cancellations!

Waikiki Hotels for the Budget Traveler

I have enjoyed a variety of Honolulu accommodations throughout the years and when I travel to Hawaii, I rarely travel for a few days, so I almost always opt for budget options.    

White Sands Hotel pool in Hawaii
White Sands Hotel via Expedia

But, as noted above, budget accommodation in Waikiki may fall under luxury prices elsewhere. So, while we hate saying a $250/night property is a budget, it often is in Hawaii.

Here are some of our favorite budget hotels in Waikiki:

  • White Sands Hotel: I stayed here for 4 nights and found it to be one of the best value-for-money hotels in Honolulu. It has a pool, is close to the ocean, and is very clean.
  • Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club: I didn’t have a chance to stay here but I have hung out here a few times and I am obsessed with it. It will be the next place I stay – and it is budget-friendly! Has a pool.
  • VIVE Hotel Waikiki: This Waikiki hotel is a boutique hotel located about a 7-minute walk from the beach. Rooms have mountain, city, or beach views. No pool.
  • Waikiki Malia by Outrigger: Only a 5-minute walk from Waikiki Beach, this budget-friendly hotel offers balconies for suites, a pool, and a fitness center.
INSIDER TIP: If you are visiting Hawaii on a budget and are flexible with dates, go there during the shoulder season and when kids are in school. Summer and December are the high seasons and hotel prices will reflect that!

Luxury Accommodation in Waikiki

If you have a larger budget, you can find some extremely beautiful luxury accommodation options in Waikiki!

Jacuzzi in Honolulu hotel
ESPACIO The Jewel of Waikiki via Expedia

Again, our options below have such a range of prices, but all are over $300 and we do note the ones that are at the lower end of luxury.

  • ESPACIO The Jewel of Waikiki: This hotel is indeed a jewel of Waikiki with luxuriously designed rooms, beautiful oceanfront views, a spa, gym, outdoor pool, and much more. The hotel also provides a free airport shuttle service.
  • The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort: The Royal Hawaiian, Collection Resort is a combination of taste, luxury, and comfort. Surrounded by a golden sand beach, the resort will welcome you with spacious rooms, gorgeous ocean views, a spa, a gym, and a high-class restaurant.

Beachfront Hotels in Waikiki

As strange as it sounds, there are not many beachfront options in Waikiki. While you will have plenty of hotels with views of the ocean, not many are right on the beach. 

Hotel room in Honolulu
Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort via Expedia

Below are a few options that are right on the beach, or so close that we consider it ‘beachfront’.

Needless to say, these hotels will be a bit pricier than others (and if you want an ocean view from your room, expect to pay even more)!

Best Boutique Hotels in Waikiki 

One really cool thing about Honolulu is that you can find some cool boutique hotels in Waikiki. Larger companies own a few, but not all. 

Hotel view in Honolulu
Hotel Renew via Expedia

These Waikiki boutique hotels offer a unique and somewhat creative atmosphere to stay in, with design elements that will make your mood as colorful as your accommodation is!

  • Hotel Renew: This gorgeous hotel is one block from Waikiki Beach and offers beautifully designed rooms!
  • VIVE Hotel Waikiki: This Waikiki boutique hotel is located about a 7-minute walk from the beach. Rooms have mountain, city, or beach views. No pool.

Waikiki Hotels with Outdoor Pools

If you’re a pool guy or gal, these Waikiki hotels with pools are a great option for you.

Hotel room in Honolulu
Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club via Expedia

To be fair, most hotels have their pools. But, here are a few that I can recommend for quick booking!

  • Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club: The name says it all. The 60s-inspired hotel offers bungalows, suites, and an amazing pool. There are also private cabanas!
  • White Sands Hotel: I stayed at this hotel; they had a nice outdoor pool area with lounge chairs, a tiki bar, and more! It is budget-friendly accommodation, too!

Best Honolulu Hotels (Outside of Waikiki)

Remember when we mentioned other parts of the city above (and then started discussing merely Waikiki lodging options)? Well, you can stay elsewhere!

The only issue with Kakaako and Kaimuki is that a lot of what is in the area are rentals and Oahu is currently putting bans on these as short-term rentals.

Do I agree with this? Yes. Hawaii has become unaffordable for locals and this exacerbates the issue.

Hotel room in Honolulu
Lotus Honolulu at Diamond Head via Expedia

I was actually been a part of the problem on my last trip there as I stayed in one for a couple of weeks (because I was there for a long time, I wanted a kitchen and private experience… still doesn’t mean I should have been permitted to do so). 

Nevertheless, there are places to stay in Honolulu outside of Waikiki… just not many! Here are some of my favorites:

  • Lotus Honolulu at Diamond Head: Located a bit farther from Waikiki Beach in Kapiʻolani Regional Park, this quiet and high-class hotel will welcome you with green landscapes, ocean views, cozy rooms, and more. The hotel also has room service, a gym, a tennis court, and a bar.
  • AC by Marriott Hotel Honolulu: If you are looking to stay near Honolulu International Airport, then this authentic design hotel is for you. The hotel is pet-friendly and has a gym, and single, double, and family rooms.

Honolulu Hotels FAQ & Quick Info

What is the average price of a hotel room in Hawaii?

Hotel prices in Hawaii can vary based on the season, location, and the amenities and services provided.

Here are the average prices per day with each star rating:

  • Hotel with 5-Star: $660
  • Hotel with 4-Star: $520
  • Hotel with 3-Star: $380
  • Hotel with 2-Star: $270
  • Hotel with 1-Star: $365

What is the difference between Honolulu and Waikiki?

Honolulu, the largest city on the Island of Oahu in Hawaii, is well-known for its Waikiki district, famous for its stunning beaches and hotels.

How far apart are Waikiki and Honolulu?

If we take the Honolulu International Airport as a starting point, Waikiki Beach is located approximately 9 miles (14 kilometers) away.

What is the Old Pink Hotel in Waikiki?

The old pink hotel in Waikiki Beach is known to be The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort founded in 1927. It was one of the favorite places for US presidents, Hawaiian kings, and celebrities.

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