Family-friendly resorts in Oahu for any budget. By Mimi Slawoff
Outrigger resort (Outrigger Reef on the Beach )
Luxury resorts, boutique hotels and condos are among the family-friendly accommodations available on Oahu. Most are in Waikiki and provide a good home base for exploring the entire island. Or you can divide your time between two or more hotels if you don’t mind the packing process. Here’s a sampling of 6 of these resorts to fit any budget.
Waikiki Outrigger Reef on the Beach
The oceanfront Outrigger is a great choice for value-conscious families seeking a prime beach location (with views of Diamond Head) in the heart of Waikiki. Feel the Aloha Spirit as soon as you enter the open-air lobby featuring Polynesian canoe art. Keep drinks and snacks handy in your in-room refrigerator. Complimentary cultural activities include lei-making, ukulele lessons, storytelling and bamboo-stamping. Savor pupus (hors d’oeuvres) while listening to live Hawaiian music at the poolside Kani Ka Pila Grille. Grill your steaks or fish at the Shore Bird Restaurant & Beach Bar or dine at the elegant Ocean House Restaurant. Summertime beachfront specials start at $229. No resort fees.
More fun: Buy a raft at an ABC store (they’ll inflate for a buck) and float in the gentle surf.
Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort
Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort (Hilton Hawaiian Village )
Encompassing 22 oceanfront acres, the sprawling Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort has three lodging towers, five pools, 20 restaurants/lounges and 90 shops. Stroll along beautifully landscaped pathways with waterfalls, lush plants and a penguin exhibit to reach the white sandy beach with calm waters. Kids ages 5 – 12 learn about Hawaii through games, storytelling and music in Camp Penguin.
More fun: You don’t have to leave the resort for a boat tour. Port Hilton is the gateway to snorkel cruises and the Atlantis Submarine.
(MORE: Find more amazing kid-friendly hotels in Oahu for any budget.)
Trump International Hotel
View from the Trump International Hotel Waikiki / (Trump International Hotel Waikiki)
Seeking luxury digs? The five-star Trump Hotel is located on the Waikiki Beach Walk. One, two and three-bedroom suites feature gourmet kitchens (with wine cellar storage), bathrooms with Italian marble and laundry facilities. Trump Kids amenities include complimentary cribs, baby proofing items, robes and coloring books. Trump Teens provides snacks, Nintendo Wii games and board games (for use during stay) and complimentary beach bag service. Pick up bags filled with water, fruit and towels at the concierge and return later. There’s an onsite pool and it’s a short walk to the beach.
More fun: Shop, dine and catch family-friendly entertainment at the Ala Moana Center.
Convenience and Comfort
Aston at the Waikiki Banyan
Aston at the Waikiki Banyan at night (Aston at the Waikiki Banyan)
Located about a block from the beach near Kapiolani Park, the Waikiki Aquarium and the Honolulu Zoo, the Aston isn’t fancy, but it’s a family-friendly condo complex with many amenities. Among them: Room to play in suites with fully-equipped kitchens and private lanais. A rooftop recreation deck includes a large heated pool, two jet spas, tennis court, basketball court, putting green, snack bar, a children’s playground and BBQ grills. Nightly rates from $134.
More fun: Buy authentic Hawaiian take-out at Rainbow Drive-In and enjoy a picnic on the beach.
Ko Olina (“Place of Joy”)
Nestled on Oahu’s western shore, these two family resorts sit on beachfront property away from bustling city life. Four lagoons are ideal for swimming, kayaking and other activities.
JW Marriott Ihilani Resort & Spa
Indulge in laid-back luxury. The 387-room JW Marriott Ihilani Resort spoils guests with swanky guest rooms and suites with marble bathrooms, several restaurants, two swimming pools, a health spa and year-round children’s program. While upscale, there’s nothing pretentious about this elegant hotel. Grab a burger or sandwich at the Poolside Grill, lounge on the beach and unplug with a color light therapy treatment at the spa.
More fun: The onsite Reef and Ray Adventure program offers guests interactive experiences with sharks, sting rays, starfish and sea urchins in saltwater ponds.
Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa
Your kids will love staying at Aulani. (Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa)
The Aulani hotel doesn’t scream Disney. Disney Imagineers worked closely with locals to create a resort that weaves in subtle Disney touches but immerses guests in Hawaiian culture, history and traditions. The result? A super kid-friendly property with spacious rooms, suites and villas. Even with the beach at hand, it may be hard to pull the kids away from the resort’s pools, slides and lazy river. The Aunty’s Beach House children’s program engages ages 3 – 12 in hula, games and various activities. Ages 13 – 17 are pampered at the Painted Sky Teen Spa.
More fun: Enjoy a family massage (ages 5 and older) at the onsite spa.
Turtle Bay Resort
Situated in Oahu’s countryside on the North Shore, the full-service Turtle Bay Resort spans 840 acres on five miles of prime beach (no wonder it attracts filmmakers). Learn to surf or paddle from the pros at the Hans Hedermann Surf Center, ride horses on coastal trails and kayak in Kawela Bay (watch for turtles!). Turtle Bay is also the only resort with helicopter tours onsite. Free cultural activities include lei-making and ukulele lessons. For meals, choose from several onsite restaurants. Catch nightly shows – fire knife dancers, drum circle, hula, etc. — at the poolside Hang Ten Bar & Grill. Relax on your private lanai in one of the newly renovated guest rooms or suites. Beach cottages and ocean villas also available. Summer specials start at $269.
More fun: Just outside the resort are roadside shrimp trucks and food shacks. Try chocolate haupia (coconut pudding) at Ted’s Bakery.