Friday, February 12, 2010

Staying On Oahu

Let's be real, you're not going to find a little grass shack on Oahu, an island the size of Kauai only with a mil-plus peeps compared to Kauai's 60,000. To find your little getaway on this island, the best bet is to lock down a room in the sky in one of Waikiki's high-rises, where you'll find the quietude of concrete and be an elevator ride down to great beach and city walking. The museums and attractions of downtown Honolulu are a short shuttle bus away, and the splashy stuff of Waikiki, Ala Moana Park, and Kapiolani Park are within flip-flopping distance. Buses serve Oahu attractions, like Pearl Harbor, Polynesian Cultural Center, and Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve. It's also easier to venture out from Waikiki to see the rest of Oahu (make sure your hotel has parking and find out the cost!) than it is to come into Waikiki or downtown Honolulu from elsewhere. You can get anywhere on the island in a day.

Pictured here is the Pink Lady, the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, circa 1927, the hangout for passengers during the glory days of cruising on the Lurline and other Matson liners. It's next door to the other grande dame of hotels, the Moana, which dates from 1901. Of course, these preserved ladies are surrounded now by gleaming towers, including a new one by Trump on the Waikiki Beach Walk, as well as a long run of haute courture shops, eateries, and purveyors of souvenirs along palmy, torch-lit Kalakaua Boulevard. Spread throughout the Waikiki grid (5 by 10 blocks between the beach and Ala Wai Canal, are Aqua Boutique Hotels, which vary greatly and offer many choices for the independent traveler.

Oahu Trailblazer has strategies for visiting the island, including thumbnails on other places to stay (Windward, North Shore, West Side), including recommendations of specific accommondations.

Aqua Bamboo & Spa, 922-9473; Aqua Aloha Surf & Spa, 923-0222; Aqua Waikiki Tide, 922-1616; The Equus, 949-0061; Aqua Palms & Spa, 947-7256; Aqua Waikiki Wave, 922-1262; Best Western Coconut Waikiki, 923-8828; Aqua Continental, 922-2232; Aqua Waikiki Marina, 942-7722; Aqua Waikiki Beachside,931-2100; Island Colony, 923-2345; Park Shore Waikiki, 923-0411.
Aston Pacific Monarch,, 823-9805
Breakers,, 800-426-0494
Halekulani,, 800-367-2343, 923-2311
Hilton Hawaiian Village,, 949-4321
Hyatt Regency Waikiki,, 923-1234
Ilima Hotel,, 923-1877
Kahala Mandarin Oriental,,739-8888
Kai Aloha Hotel,, 923-6723
Marriott Waikiki Beach,, 922-6611
Moana Surfrider,, 922-3111
Ohana Islander Waikiki,, 923-7711
Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach,, 923-0711
Pacific Monarch,, 923-9805
Queen Kapiolani Hotel,, 923-9805
Renaissance Ilikai Waikiki,, 949-3811
Royal Hawaiian, Sheraton,, 923-7311
Sheraton Waikiki,, 922-4422
Waikiki Beach Tower,, 926-6400
Waikiki Grand,, 923-1814
Waikiki Prince Hotel,, 922-1544
Waikiki Resort Hotel,, 922-4911