Take the Family to Oahu
After being cooped up for much of the last year you want to take the family for some fun in the . Hawaii is the perfect place for that! Consider these seven resorts on the island of Oahu for your trip and let me help you get the most out of your resort booking (I can often get a better price and/or some extra perks). First know that hotels in Hawaii are not cheap - really nothing in Hawaii is cheap so know that going in. There are a couple of resort areas in Oahu. So let's start with the obvious and most visited one: Waikiki Beach area, which is right in Honolulu. Here are the places that you can stay with kids and everyone will feel comfortable and relaxed:
The Royal Hawaiian Hotel on Waikiki
1. The Royal Hawaiian Hotel is a great hotel that is not necessarily aimed just at families but rather will be great for both the kids and the adults. It's not a "kids' hotel per se but it is next door to the Sheraton which is very family oriented. When you stay at the Royal Hawaiian you get to use all the amenities at the Sheraton (see below) but with the bonus of a quieter atmosphere at night when you come back to your hotel. The Sheraton's shared pool has two waterslides, a splash pad and a really kid friendly set up. With very young children you might feel a bit out of place here however and might be better off at a hotel focused on families with small children. But for those with older kids or teens this is a great choice.
The pool at the Sheraton Waikiki
2. The Sheraton Waikiki is definitely set up for families with kids of all ages. A huge pool complex covers much of the grounds. This is a large hotel, with 1500 rooms, and it has a kids club which is great for parents who want a little alone time. Price wise the Sheraton is a bit lower cost than the Royal Hawaiian next door. If you are looking for a trip where the kids are happy all day splashing around the pool and the adults can gather at night with the entertainment Honolulu offers right out the door then this is your place.
The Hilton Hawaiian Village and it's lagoon
3. The Hilton Hawaiian Village might be the most kid friendly place on the island. It has 3,400 rooms and is spread over 22 acres and it is a true resort in all senses of the word. There is a lagoon area for beginers at swimmers, stand up paddle boards, kayaks. The lagoon is man made and very shallow and not open to the ocean so no waves. There are stand up paddle boards and small boats you can rent and this is great for kids. And there is a fireworks display on Friday nights. So this is a place that kids will love. This property is at the end of Waikiki Beach which means a good walk to get into the action of the restaurants and shopping in the area. For some people that is a good thing and others not so much. In general Waikiki beach will be crowded and lively and right at your doorstep if you stay at one of the above three hotels. So if that doesn't appeal then consider going further out into the islands for your stay: The area of Ko Olina on the south west side of the island also has some great options for families.
Disney's Aulani Resort in the Ko Onlina area of Oahu
4. The big name over here in the Ko Olina area is the Aulani Disney Resort. If hanging out with Mickey and Goofy is what you are looking for then this is your place. The Aulani is a new resort, built in 2009, and it offers a mixture of rooms, villas and suites so you can get the type of lodging that is just what your family needs. But be aware that your stay will not like going to Disney World. There are however character breakfasts and a kids club for children ages 3 to 12. Outdoor activities for the kids can be added at an extra fee. This resort also has an extensive pool area with a lazy river and lots of slides so this is sure to be a hit with all ages. The resort is on the premium spot on the Laguna where is sits so that you can have some great beach time as well. The lagoons in this area are not really all that deep nor does this area offer much for snorkeling. Still for a family that loves all things Disney this might be the right place.
The Four Seasons Ko Olina
5. The Four Seasons may not be the first thing that pops into your mind when traveling with kids. But the Four Season Ko Olina is both a luxurious property and a family friendly one. This hotel is smaller than all the other resorts in this area with only 371 rooms. This gives a quiet and calmer experience with beautifully kept grounds and pool area that most think is the nicest hotel in the area. They have a kids club for children 3-12 and the activities may make the adults green with envy. Star gazing, S'mores making, outdoor activities during the day all these and more are included in the price of the resort which is the highest ticket in this area. The pool is not as "fun" as other resorts and should be considered more adult so it may not be best for very active kids. It shares the lagoon with the Disney Aulani. It is also right across from shopping and restaurants which makes it very convenient to visit outside of the resort if say you want to go out for ice cream. This is also the only hotel with a tennis court in the area if that matters to you.
Marriott's Ko Olina Beach Club
6. Marriott's Ko Olina Beach Club offers several room options. These include standard rooms and two room suites as well villas. It has a wonderful pool for splashy fun but it does not offer a kids club. It is a very large property so be sure that you are ready for a lot of walking. It is on lagoon 3 so far from Ko Olina station (where you will find shopping and restaurants) so you won't likely walk there but will have to take some type of transportation. The pool area is going to be very busy and hard to find a seat during the peak tourist months. This area has some world class golf courses for the adults as well as walking paths that take you around all the lagoons for roughly a three mile stretch with shuttles available if you don't want to walk. Sunsets here are amazing given the location on the island. Want to go deeper into the Hawaiian experience and a little more out in the island?
Turtle Bay Resort and it's beach 7. Turtle Bay Resort on the North Shore of Oahu. It might just be that I saved the best for last. The North Shore of Oahu, famous for surfing and food trucks, is a whole different side of the island. Turtle Bay Resort has a variety of lodging options from 400 rooms to ocean villas and cottages as well. The resort sits on 800 acres and has over 5 miles of beach front! It has a golf course, and several restaurants. Taking the kids into consideration know that most rooms have a refrigerator which allows you to keep a few essentials on hand. This resort is not strictly a kids hotel and this property is also great for couples and really anyone looking for a relaxing get away. The rooms are spacious with beautiful views right off your balcony. The pool area has a waterslide as well as a great family swimming pool. The beach areas include some protected spots for younger kids as well. It's far from Waikiki and the Pearl Harbor exhibit though so if those are on your list be prepared to go for a long drive. Note that movie rentals are also a included amenity so that you have options for rainy weather with the kids. Turtle Bay Resort is an older hotel but it did go through an extensive refresh in 2016. The resort is on the North Shore of Oahu and this is the windward side of the island so you most definitely will experience more rain than you would at other resorts. But rain in this area is not always the kind of all day non stop rain that you may be used to.