Waikiki’s first hotel was the Moana, a grand retreat set on Waikiki Beach.
Six stories tall, the Moana was the tallest building in the Hawaiian islands when it opened in 1901. From the rooftop, you could see one end of Oahu to the other, with nothing obstructing your view.
Of course, staying at such a luxurious haven came at a price. One woman who stayed at the Moana in 1908 wrote back to her mother, “The Moana is the most wonderful place in the world, but it’s too expensive.” (She was paying $37.50 a month!)
The hotel (renamed the Moana Surfrider) is now known as “The First Lady of Waikiki.” Today, Oahu’s accommodations menu is much like the island itself: bountiful, diverse and full of appealing options. From opulent five-star hotels to cozy bed-and-breakfast retreats, Oahu – “The Gathering Place” – offers something for every visitor.
Waikiki is a resort playground
The majority of the island’s hotels, condominiums and timeshares are found within the 1.5-square-mile area of Waikiki, Oahu’s famous resort playground. Here you’ll find most of the world’s premier hotel brands, including Hilton, Sheraton, Marriott, and Hyatt. Waikiki also offers locally owned chains such as Outrigger and Aston, as well as a wide range of economy hotels, hostels, and condos such as the Ilikai.
The airport and downtown areas of Honolulu are where you’ll find business-oriented hotels, although most major properties in Waikiki offer full meeting facilities and business services. Also, the Waikiki Convention Center is located on the outskirts of Waikiki, near the Ala Moana Shopping Center.
Oahu vacation rentals
Honolulu and Waikiki have a large offering of Oahu vacation condos. Heading east, the Windward Oahu town of Kailua has a nice selection of vacation home rentals and bed & breakfasts. In addition, the ritzy residential neighborhood of Kahala includes a world-class property, the Kahala Hotel & Resort. Right next door is the Waialae Country Club golf course, home of the PGA TOUR’s Sony Open.
Oahu’s “west side story” includes some of the island’s most beautiful beaches as well as the Ko Olina Resort, which includes the upscale Ihilani Resort & Spa, pristine beaches and the Ko Olina Golf Club.
Head north for the Turtle Bay Resort, rental homes, hostels, and bed & breakfasts. Famous for its huge winter waves, the North Shore also has the Polynesian Cultural Center, Waimea Valley Audubon Center, and other attractions.