lWe live in Hawaii and the hardest thing to do in the world is to convince my husband to go to the beach! He acts like he’s the one with natural hair! Apparently the reason he doesn’t want to go is because he doesn’t like to deal with the packing up and parking just to come back home a few hours later. He prefers to just get a hotel and chill like a tourist for the weekend instead of staying for a few hours (he fancy y’all). So with this being his dilemma we’ve stayed at probably 6 or 7 different hotels in the three years we’ve been in Oahu. And here is a list of my Top 3.
Turtle Bay Resort
I freaking love Turtle Bay, it is exactly as you would imagine a Hawaiian Resort –minus the fact that the food isn’t included, but I’ll get to that later. The service is amazing. The very first time we stayed there was about 3 weeks after I had Vayda. Brown Sugar woke up to me crying one night because she wouldn’t sleep and I had to get up with Zion in a few hours. I guess he felt pretty bad for me because he came home after work and told me we were staying there for the weekend and he had booked me a massage. Heeeyyy! I never got said massage 🙁
The views are amazing, and you are bound to see a turtle or two especially if you go on the side by the cottages. The rooms are very modern and clean and the bathrooms are huge with amazing showers, and this was all before they renovated. Like I mentioned earlier, the food wasn’t included at this resort and it’s kind of pricey but its totally worth it. I believe there are about 4 or 5 restaurants on the grounds. One of my favorites is Ola’s – their short ribs are so good, I’m talking fall off the bone good and the gravy is pure perfection. I also like Lei Lei’s. They have a Signature Prime Rib that was sooo juicy and tender. I don’t even like horseradish but even that was good. Hang Ten’s breakfast buffet was really good and they boasted a large variety, but I thought the dinner was pretty gross. I ended up just eating cornbread 🙁 but Brown Sugar liked his dinner, and granted I’m a little more picky about the things I eat. In addition, to the sweeping views, one thing that you will find at Turtle Bay that you simply won’t get in Waikiki is the option to play golf and ride horses. These are just a few of the various activities offered daily. All in all, I love Turtle Bay and hope to return someday soon.
The Royal Hawaiian stay was my surprise Valentine’s Day gift. Isn’t he the best? Again, I was promised a massage but that didn’t happen this time (again). They wouldn’t massage me because I was still in my first trimester- do you see this horrible pattern?! But they did offer a foot massage and I was just like “Umm… no thanks, I’ll pass.”
This gorgeous pink hotel is conveniently right in the thick of it on the Waikiki strip. If you’re looking for action, nightlife, and great restaurants all within walking distance you simply can’t pick a better location. The service there was even better than Turtle Bay, which is really saying something. As soon as you valet your car, they lei you with these fragrant bright purple flowers. After that, you’re greeted with some delicious pink drink while you wait to check in. Zion, Vayda and I hung out on the deck facing the courtyard and sipped our drinks while Brown Sugar checked in. The soft soothing Hawaiian music in the background kept us company until he was finished. The atmosphere there just screamed opulence and luxury, you kinda have to adjust your mind to suck it all up. Believe me – you want to do that, embrace every single moment of it, you deserve it girl! Oh, and did I mention the Royal Hawaiian is pink?! Yes, it’s gorgeous inside and out. When you get to your room, there is a small, delicately wrapped box with banana nut muffins in them. Now everybody knows that I think bananas are disgusting – I even hate feeding them to my kids – but after hearing Brown Sugar go on and on about how good they were and him basically forcing it into my mouth, I will admit the muffins were good. But I still think bananas are gross.
The rooms had beautiful wallpaper, and now I feel so silly for not getting a picture of it. The pens in the room were all pink and the notepads had pink writing, everything about this hotel was well thought out. The décor is unlike any other hotel I’ve been in; this hotel had color and style and I really appreciated that. Our room had a courtyard view and that’s usually a little disappointing considering the hotel is right off the beach, but I actually really appreciated the view because I could see all the wedding parties passing through. Going from the lobby to the beach is like walking through a high-end mall because there are a bunch of really cute shops that lead you right out to the beach. Of course, this was Brown Sugar’s dream. In his opinion: “It’s the best location for a hotel.” The beach also boasts perfect views of Diamond Head Mountain, which can make for some really beautiful pictures. While we were there, we met a tiny Australian lady who kept staring at us. Eventually, she walked up to me and asked to take a picture because she thought I was “beautiful and exotic” – that compliment right there lasted me the rest of the month. When we checked in, they also gave us two free drink tickets for the Mai Tai bar located right off the beach, but I can’t tell you if their drinks are any good because I’m always pregnant. The breakfast at Surf Lanai was great – specifically the potatoes, I love potatoes. And kids under 5 eat free, which is awesome considering the prices you pay for everything else. We didn’t eat lunch or dinner at the hotel, so I can’t give any feedback on that, but the breakfast was really good. Again, Royal Hawaiian is definitely on the list of great places to stay in Oahu.
Ok I’ll be honest with you: I love Hale Koa mainly for the price (there, I said it.) The cost per night is calculated based off of a military member’s rank. And believe me, this is great for all those involved. This also means that rooms book up quick, especially during holidays and the peak summer season, so if you plan to stay here, book in advance – way in advance. The hotel consists of 2 towers, we stayed at Ilima Tower. The rooms aren’t all that fancy; in fact, when we stayed there this past Thanksgiving, they seemed pretty dated with aloha bedding and window treatments. I’m just not a fan of aloha furniture. Nevertheless, the room was clean. We had a beautiful view of the Waikiki strip and the ocean, so that was a double bonus. The staff also didn’t seem to mind sending up two cribs for Zaniel and Vayda and I appreciated that. We didn’t know this when we booked our room reservations, but the Thanksgiving dinner buffet is a huge deal and it sells out fast. Luckily, a friend snatched up some tickets for us early. The dinner was really good. There was a large variety of different foods and desserts and they had a live band, which was great for our front row table. One thing that was really nice about the dinner is that almost everyone there seemed dressed for dinner. I say this because in Hawaii people wear flip-flops and tank tops like it’s going out of style. So it was kind of nice to see people actually dressed up.
What we stumbled upon after dinner was so great! There was a winter wonderland tour on the other side of the hotel. It was outfitted in all kinds of Christmas décor, my kids loved this and I did too. We were able to get some really cool pictures. The Hale Koa was also right off the beach and of course, Brown Sugar loved this. But in addition to being right off the beach, there is a children’s pool that’s about a foot and a half deep and two full-size pools, all just steps away from the sand so you get the best of both worlds. Another plus is the fact that things aren’t insanely expensive like everything else downtown. For one, there’s a PX on the premises and the food from Barefoot bar wasn’t overpriced. Each morning we ate KoKo Café’s breakfast buffet. The food was warm and the fruit was fresh- which is a plus because I hate to see soggy fruit trays with gnats flying around. One thing that really stood out and I know my kids enjoyed were the lights and holiday themed décor – things like that make hotel stays memorable for me.
So there you have it, my 3 favorite hotels in Hawaii. What are your favorite hotels?