The Hawaiian Islands are fast becoming the most impressive locations for full service resorts in all of The United States. From The Big Island to the rural landscape of Molokai, there are resort options to fit everyone’s needs! Choosing a resort can be a slightly daunting task, simply because there are so many to choose from, but the following guide should get you well on your way to your Hawaiian vacation dreams.
The first step in choosing a resort in Hawaii is to decide what island that you want to visit. Each island is different and offers unique opportunities for fun, relaxation and adventure. Getting a good feel for each island is a must before choosing where to visit.
Hawaii’s Big Island is the largest island in all of The United States, and is larger than all of the other islands in the Hawaiian Chain combined. With two active volcanoes, this island is in a constant state of change. If you’re interested in volcanoes and other natural wonders like black sand beaches and lava rock formations, this is a good choice. The Big Island offers a nice mix of rural geography, beautiful beaches and beach city life.
The island of Oahu is known as the “gathering place” for good reason; it is the third largest island, but is the most populated, being the center of metropolitan life and government life of the entire State. If you’re looking for lots of “activity”, this is probably the best island to choose. From Pearl Harbor to Diamond Head, there is not a shortage of places to go and things to see. Oahu is also a great choice for the “younger crowd”, as the city of Waikiki offers many night-life options.
Maui is the known as the “Valley Isle”, because of the large, fertile area between the two volcanoes that make up the island. Maui is truly an island like no other, with friendly people, quaint villages and probably some of the best food of all the other islands. There are many activities to enjoy on Maui, from horseback riding to zip-line tours, and you can even take a bicycle ride from the top of a volcano to sea level. If you’re looking for true relaxation in a beach paradise with a fair bit of night life and activity, this is the island to visit.
Kauai is known as the “Garden Isle” because of the massive amount of fertile and lush greenery covering it. There are portions at the center of the island that are impossible to access and have remained untouched for a countless number of years. There are several resort areas on the island, but there are really no big cities or towns that offer a good after dark scene. In fact, many shopping areas and restaurants actually close at sunset! Still, if you want complete relaxation in near isolation, there is no place better than Kauai.
Lanai is known as the “Pineapple Island” because of of its past as one of the largest pineapple plantations. There is only one small town on the entire island, called Lanai City. There are only two resort hotels on the island, both managed by The Four Seasons. All of the “attractions”, or places to see, on the island are situated down dirt roads and require 4×4 vehicles to access. This island is perfect for honeymooners, celebrities, or people looking for a very secluded vacation.
Molokai is truly a place to get a feel for old world Hawaiian culture. Known as the “Friendly Isle”, Molokai is one of the least developed of all The Hawaiian Islands, but actually has quite a large population. The island is really divided in to two distinct areas, the western half, which is mainly farmlands and is fairly dry, and the eastern half, which is a plateau rising high above sea level. Molokai boasts some of the highest sea cliffs in the entire world. Most of the visitors to this island come for a quiet and unobtrusive holiday.
The second step in choosing a resort in Hawaii is to figure out what your vacation needs are. Are you looking for a place with a family atmosphere that is close to all of the attractions necessary to keep your children busy and entertained, or are you searching for the perfect romantic getaway with your significant other? If you’re looking for a family vacation, Turtle Bay Resort on the island of Oahu is a good choice, as it offers activities from horseback riding to surfing lessons and also has world class golfing for dad and a wonderful day spa for mom. Another good family choice is the Grand Wailea Resort on Maui, which offers a truly amazing pool that has 9 different areas connected by a man-made river. If you’re looking for romance, The Grand Hyatt on the island of Kauai is quite beautiful, offering many opportunities for quiet relaxation with your special someone. Another good choice is The Four Seasons Resort Lanai on Manele Bay…there is nothing like the isolated atmosphere and breathtaking views to get you in the mood for love!
The third step in choosing a resort in Hawaii is to decide how much “activity” that you want to do while on your vacation. If you want to, for instance, spend your vacation visiting historical sights like Pearl Harbor, or sightseeing through quaint towns and villages, you’ll want to choose a resort that is more centrally located on the island of your choice. For instance, if you’re planning a vacation to Maui and want to be centrally located, the Grand Wailea is a great choice, while the Turtle Bay Resort on Oahu isn’t the best choice on that particular island if you want to spend a lot of time in Waikiki or Honolulu.
Finally, you’ll want to consult your budget before making a final decision on your resort destination. If money is no object, The Four Seasons is always a grand choice, but if you don’t want to spend your entire yearly vacation budget in one shot, you might want to choose something slightly more affordable. If you’re on a budget, the islands of Maui and Oahu are good choices, because they offer more of a wide range of activities as well as a larger selection of resorts. If you want to splurge and truly immerse yourself in the resort experience, Kauai and Lanai are great destination choices, as the resort options are slightly more limited and more “upscale”.
In the end, the sky truly is the limit when it comes to choosing a resort destination in Hawaii. No matter what your taste or your budget, there is definitely someplace perfect for you in Hawaii!