There are a select number of hotels that actually sit right against the sand of Waikiki beach, and it would be hard to go wrong with any of them.
Stays at a place like the Outrigger Reef are at cheaper prices than some of the area competition, but they’re still always comfortable, with high standards, friendly staff, and clean rooms. The Outrigger also offer surfing and catamaran lessons for those who want to hit the water, and have a couple of good restaurants on site. And you won’t be paying huge sums for a mai tai after a long day.
Or upgrade to the elegance of one of the high-end hotels on the beach, like the Moana Surfrider, one of the two original hotels on Waikiki beach. You get everything you would expect to at this price, from impressive and elegant colonial architecture to top-notch service. The bar and restaurant at the Surfrider are the perfect place to watch the sunset, tropical cocktail in hand.
Another option is to stay near the sand but not it, like you would at the Waikiki Beachcomber, just across the street from the beachfront properties. Amenities aren’t any less than hotels of similar class that touch the sand, but the distance from the beach means a significant price drop. And since you can still request an ocean view and can spend the whole day on the beach anyway, why not stay here if you’re looking to have a cheaper vacation? Hotel Renew is another good option, also across the street from the beach, which has sleek modern decor and can be a nicer alternative to some of the more retro-inspired interiors you might come across elsewhere.
For a longer term stay, consider condo rentals like the Aloha Waikiki Vacation Condos. Complete with bedroom, living room, and full kitchen, you can spend less since these are frequently cheaper than many hotels in the area, and you can also cook some of your own meals. And really, what’s better than feeling like you’re coming “home” to your apartment near the beach?
One thing to beware of, though – Waikiki beach property on the sand is hard to come by during the peak tourist season, and you’ll be fighting for or paying for a lounge chair or a decent spot to lay out your towel. Traveling outside of peak tourist season or heading down the beach aways can help avoid the biggest crowds.
[photo courtesy of mjb84]