O‘ahu’s iconic tourism destination mixes Old Hawai‘i nostalgia with the world’s best restaurants and resorts. Come experience the tropical paradise of postcard-perfect white-sand beaches, turquoise waters and activities from sunup to sundown.
Waikiki’s first luxury hotel, the Moana Hotel (today known as the Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa, 2365 Kalakaua Ave., 237.2535, marriott.com), was built in 1901 to accommodate wealthy European visitors. It was built in the Beaux-Arts style fashionable at the time and was the height of luxury—think spacious rooms, telephones and private baths—with the first electric elevator in Hawai‘i to boot.
Reyn Spooner (2255 Kalakaua Ave., Shop 9, 275.4491, reynspooner.com) has been dressing visitors and locals alike in its Aloha attire since 1961. Be sure to pick up one of the shop’s fitted Aloha shirts for a modern spin on an island classic. At the International Market Place (2330 Kalakaua Ave., 931.6105, shopinternationalmarketplace.com), you’ll discover myriad stores not found elsewhere in the islands—think 3.1 Phillip Lim, Christian Louboutin, Intermix, Jo Malone London, Oliver Peoples, OndadeMar, Saks Fifth Avenue, Surf Line Hawaii and so much more. Resortchic boutiques worth visiting include: Kai Luxe (226 Lewers St., 926.5893, kailuxe.com), Mahina (226 Lewers St., Ste. 136, 924.5500, shopmahina.com), Letarte Luxe (The RoyalHawaiian Center, 2201 Kalakaua Ave., 921.2045, letarteluxe.com) and Lani Beach by Mireille (International Market Place, 2330 Kalakaua Ave., 664.0222). For uber-luxe retail, Luxury Row (2100 Kalakaua Ave., 922.2246, luxuryrow.com) offers Miu Miu, Moncler, Saint Laurent, Chanel and more, all just steps from each other.
Tucked inside the ‘Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach (2490 Kalakaua Ave., 922.2133, alohilaniresort.com) is the newest outpost of the brand all the cool kids are wearing: Salvage Public. This locally owned surf boutique serves up menswear and unisex clothing with a chic, minimalist take on Hawaiian classics.
Don't-Miss Dining & Nightlife
Fuel your day with locally roasted espresso by Kona Coffee Purveyors (International Market Place, 2330 Kalakaua Ave., 450.2364, konacoffeepurveyors.com), which pairs perfectly with kouign-amann made on-site by b. patisserie of San Francisco. For the ever-trendy bullet coffee, smoothies and smoothie bowls, as well as other healthful vegan-friendly treats and eats, head to The Sunrise Shack’s (2335 Kalakaua Ave., 926.6460, sunriseshackhawaii.com) second location. Friends and surfers opened the first shack at Sunset Beach on the North Shore of O‘ahu, and, now, both residents and visitors can enjoy it mere steps from Waikiki Beach. At Banán (2301 Kalakaua Ave., 200.1640, bananbowls.com), indulge without the guilt with its famed all-fruit soft-serve jazzed up with tropical toppings like macadamia-nut honey butter, papaya, shaved coconut and the like. What’s more, this locally owned company strongly focuses on supporting Hawai‘i’s farmers. Take in the sunset over micheladas at breezy Mexican bar and resto Búho Cocina y Cantina (2250 Kalakaua Ave., 922.2846, buhocantina.com). Hit the rooftop lounge at SKY Waikiki (2270 Kalakaua Ave., 979.7590, skywaikiki.com) for moonlight drinks and dancing. At Blue Note Hawaii (2335 Kalakaua Ave., 777.4890, bluenotehawaii.com) you’ll find an eclectic variety of performers nearly every single night. The newly revamped Queen l (150 Kapahulu Ave., 922.1941, queenkapiolani.com) has some of the best views of Diamond Head you could ask for—not to mention delicious dishes and craft cocktails.
The Laylow, Autograph Collection (2299 Kuhio Ave., 922.6600, laylowwaikiki.com) is the spot for Sunday brunch. The trendy midcentury-modern hot spot hosts a beautiful crowd and good food at its outdoor patio restaurant, Hideout. Take in the views of Kuhio Avenue while sipping a mimosa and enjoying the live entertainment from 10am to 1pm.
Don't-Miss Beauty & Wellness
Look and feel your best by treating yourself at the Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa, where visitors and residents alike are invited to indulge in a Diamond and Gold Facial ($225) or Wild Lehua Honey Scrub ($165) at the resort’s award-winning Moana Lani Spa. Guests of the Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort (2335 Kalakaua Ave., 923.0711, outriggerwaikikihotel.com) can take free stand-up paddleboard yoga classes directly in front of the property with Yoga Floats (585.1917, yogafloats.com), which also offers classes to nonguests at its Ala Moana Beach Park location. Find your Zen at Ohana Space Hawaii (1888 Kalakaua Ave., #C-307, 726.0286, ohanaspacehawaii.com). This Waikiki haven has a variety of classes from which to choose. Whether you’re looking for a deep stretch after a long flight, a meditative experience, prenatal yoga (looking at you, babymooners), or a high-energy dance and cardio class, Ohana Space Hawaii has you covered.
Many properties offer yoga classes, hula lessons, wellness workshops and other good-for-you activities, including the Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club (412 Lewers St., 923.8882, surfjack.com); Queen Kapi‘olani Hotel; and The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort, Waikiki (2259 Kalakaua Ave., 923.7311, royal-hawaiian.com). Kama‘aina and nonguests are welcome!
One of the newest properties adding to the Waikiki skyline is the ultraluxe Espacio The Jewel of Waikiki (2452 Kalakaua Ave., 564.7615, espaciowaikiki.com). Each of its nine full-floor suites comes with amazing amenities, such as 24/7 butler service, a rooftop infinity pool and complimentary luxury transportation. Don’t miss the full-service spa and exquisite dining at the resort’s Japanese-French restaurant, Mugen. Head
to the ‘Alohilani Resort for a modern oasis in the heart of it all. After lounging on the posh pool deck for sunset, make your way to the resort’s signature restaurant, Morimoto Asia, for renowned chef Morimoto’s blend of Western and traditional Asian ingredients. Momosan by Morimoto, also conceived by the internationally acclaimed Iron Chef, provides a more casual dining experience and an outdoor beer garden. The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach (383 Kalaimoku St., 922.8111, ritzcarlton.com/waikiki) blends the conveniences of a hotel and the comfort of a residence, plus the highest infinity pool in Waikiki. For a vintage Hawai‘i vibe with modern appeal, The Laylow, Autograph Collection, the Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club and Queen Kapi‘olani Hotel have you covered.
Even with world-class beaches a few steps away, sometimes you just need a relaxing day by the pool. The fifth-floor pool deck at the ‘Alohilani Hotel is a new favorite, with private cabanas, lounge chairs and an infinity pool with a view of the Waikiki strip. The signature Instagram-worthy pool at the Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club always draws a mix of locals and visitors with its monthly events. For classic Hawai‘i, the pink-parasoled pool at The Royal Hawaiian a Luxury Collection Resort, Waikiki is a tough place to top.