There’s a reason so many couples get engaged, say “I do” and honeymoon or renew their vows in Hawaii: America’s own little slice of the South Pacific is easy to get to (no passports are required), beguilingly beautiful (swaying palm trees, brilliant blue ocean, surreal sunsets) and oh-so romantic (you’re sure to fall under the Aloha State’s magic spell).
Even Oahu, the most populous and cosmopolitan island—home to the capital, Honolulu, and legendary Waikiki Beach—has a seductive aura. You just need to know where to find it. If you’re looking for couple-centric amenities (think inspired room décor, sexy adults-only pool areas, atmospheric bas and lounges and pampering spas), here are the 10 most romantic hotels in Oahu for couples.
With a name that means “house befitting heaven” in Hawaiian, Halekulani is a serene and romantic oasis in the center of Waikiki. The luxury hotel owes its soothing ambience to its elegant monochromatic décor—seven shades of white—and to the calm-inducing space in its 453 rooms, which are 500-to-700 square feet, with most offering at least a partial ocean view. Truly spectacular are Diamond Head Ocean Front rooms, which like the hotel’s suites, provide panoramas of Oahu’s famous landmark. Couples looking to unwind can soak up the South Pacific sun on the beach or at the shimmering glass-tile mosaic pool, enjoy a lomi lomi massage for two at SpaHalekulani, and experience traditional Hawaiian music, dance and appetizers at House Without a Key. Headed here for a honeymoon, anniversary or proposal? Indulge in a dinner at La Mer, Hawaii’s longest AAA Five Diamond-rated fine-dining restaurant.
The Royal Hawaiian, A Luxury Collection Resort
Couples who prefer their getaway spot to have a romantic vintage vibe should consider The Royal Hawaiian, A Luxury Collection Resort. Nicknamed the “Pink Palace of the Pacific” for its a rosy hue and seductive Spanish-Moorish architecture, this 528-room hotel, constructed in 1927, underwent a $110 million renovation in 2009 that polished its historic charm while adding 21st-century amenities; upgrades to the Mailani Tower followed in 2015.
Its public spaces channel a retro movie set—curved archways, hand-painted wood-beam ceilings, lush tropical palms—and Old Hawaiian-style pampering awaits in its Historic Wing rooms, which feature koa wood seating and patterned wall coverings. Or mix it up by enjoying contemporary ocean-and-coral-inspired décor and gorgeous views in a Mailani Tower room. When you don’t have the “Do Not Disturb” sign hung, relax at the cabana-lined beachfront pool or the Abhasa Spa. After the sun sets, enjoy tropical treats at the Mai Tai Bar and seafood specialties by candlelight at Azure.
After undergoing a $125 million makeover in 2018 that transformed it from a traditional Waikiki property (the Pacific Beach Hotel) into a sexy 21st-century haven, the 839-room Alohilani Resort emerged as a vibrant option for couples who love contemporary décor and lively pool and bar/lounge ambience.
In addition to rooms and suites done in a sleek palette of sand-and-sun hues, the resort features a 17,000-square-foot Swell Pool & Bar deck with an infinity pool, private louvered-wood cabanas and an outdoor lounge known for its Happy Hour; a rooftop fitness area offering sunset yoga classes; and a soaring lobby that features a 280,000-gallon Oceanarium filled with colorful sea life. There are also two restaurants by Iron Chef Masuharu Morimoto, Momosan by Morimoto for casual small plates and noodles and Morimoto Asia for Pan-Asian specialties.
For a setting that’s low-key and decidedly residential, consider this boutique hotel located on the eastern edge of Waikiki. The Lotus Honolulu features 51 rooms and suites with an array of views (the top ones feature views of the ocean and nearby Diamond Head) and modern furnishings in shades of taupe and blue set atop polished hardwood floors. There’s daily wine tasting in the lobby each evening from 5:30 to 6:30pm, free beach cruiser bikes for exploring, and a pet-friendly policy, so you can take your favorite four-legged friend (under 25 pounds only) with you to paradise.
What the Lotus lacks is on onsite pool or restaurant and direct access to the beach (the sand is a short walk away). But if a more residential kind of stay is your thing, and you travel to experience local culture and restaurants, the hotel’s spacious rooms and wonderful views won’t disappoint.
Turtle Bay Resort
A romantic beach cottage in Hawaii? You can stay in one if you leave behind the bustle of Honolulu and head to Oahu’s North Shore. Here, not only will you experience the beauty of the island and the thrill of its legendary surf breaks, but you’ll also claim your own little piece of nirvana at Turtle Bay Resort. While the 800-acre property offers accommodations to suit most budgets—including spacious Resort Rooms done in relaxing pale turquoise—it’s the 42 Beach Cottages that provide the ultimate in romantic seclusion, featuring Brazilian walnut floors, marble baths with deep soaking tubs and a shady lanai with direct beach access.
Active couples will also find plenty of sports to enjoy— including surf lessons, stand-up paddle boarding, snorkeling, kayaking, hiking and golf—as well as seven restaurants and bars, among them Pa’akai for fresh-caught seafood and Roy’s Beach House for casual Pacific Rim fare. And when it’s time to relax and revive, enjoy sustainably sourced treatments at Nalu Spa.
Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina
Four Seasons knows how to pamper its guests—and that adults-only pools are a must for many couples booking a romantic getaway—and its newest Hawaiian property, the Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina, delivers both. Originally a JW Marriott built in 1998, this 371-room enclave debuted as a Four Season in 2016. It’s located on the island’s west coast about 35 minutes from Honolulu in an area known for its Instagram-worthy sunsets.
Couples looking to enjoy Oahu beyond Waikiki and who love water and land activities—from snorkeling and outrigger canoe rides to golfing and tennis—will appreciate the resort’s varied amenities. Plus, at 640 square feet, rooms are incredibly spacious with airy island-inspired design (banana-leaf wall coverings and furniture made with local woods), some with spectacular ocean views. In addition to the serene oceanfront adult pool, there are three others, plus a lagoon, five restaurants and lounges and the Napauka Spa & Wellness Center.
The Kahala Hotel & Resort
When you want the best of both worlds—access to the energy of Waikiki plus upscale seclusion with a fabulous ocean view—this 338-room luxury resort in Kahala, a residential area of Honolulu located 10 minutes by shuttle to the east, lets you have it. The Kahala Hotel & Resort is set on an 800-foot arc of palm-tree-lined beach and all of its rooms and suites feature chic and airy Hawaiian décor and views of the Pacific Ocean and Diamond Head and Koko Head craters.
There’s a beachfront pool and hot tub, a 26,000-square-foot seawater lagoon that’s home to resident dolphins, four restaurants (including Hoku for global Hawaiian cuisine or book a romantic private oceanfront dinner) and the Kahala Spa offering treatments based on Hawaiian healing traditions.
Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa
Yes, it’s located front and center in lively Waikiki, but there’s something about the elegant Victorian architecture of Waikiki’s oldest hotel—notably the inviting verandas lined with retro rocking chairs—that whispers romance. The Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa, which opened in 1901 and was renovated about a decade ago, elegantly mixes historic and modern elements in 793 rooms.
The hotel is also home to a magnificent 115-year-old tree that shades its Banyan Courtyard, the perfect spot to sip cocktails and enjoy slack-key guitar melodies at sunset. Rooms in the Historic Banyan Wing are smallest but have charm, those in the Diamond Wing are larger and offer city or ocean views, and those in the Tower Wing are largest and have balconies—while all feature Westin’s Heavenly Bed. Two restaurants, two bars and the Moana Lani Spa make this a great base in Waikiki.
Paradise Bay Resort
Seeking to get away from it all? The affordably-priced studios, one-bedroom waterfront cottages and one-bedroom suites at the Paradise Bay Resort feel far removed from civilization (thanks to this boutique property’s location on quiet Kaneohe Bay about a 30-minute drive from Honolulu on Oahu’s windward side) and offer a Zen-like Oahu experience centered on yoga, stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking and simply kicking back and relaxing by the pool or on your lanai.
Accommodations all feature contemporary décor and kitchenettes, so if hitting a local market for fresh fish and produce and cooking together appeals, you can do that here, too.
The Laylow, An Autograph Collection Hotel
Sleek and sexy mid-century style is the signature of the The Laylow, An Autograph Collection Hotel, which appeals to couples seeking pool-centric modern romance in a location convenient to Waikiki but a few blocks away from the crowds.
The vibe is definitely youthful and trendy—rooms feature 1960s-inspired wood furniture and a feature wall in a vibrant palm leaf print and there’s a bar and restaurant called the Hideout that serves Modern Hapa Hawaiian cuisine and artisan cocktails in an open lanai setting—but this high-rise oasis of cool appeals to social, design-loving couples of all ages (and their pets). Room options include a high-floor Executive Level King or Corner Suite with a partial ocean view or a Pool Cabana Room with direct pool access.