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8 Best Oahu Boutique Hotels (And 1 to Avoid)

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The text reads "Best Boutique Hotels. Oahu, Hawaii." The images show 1) a woman floating on a rainbow pool floatie in the hotel pool, 2) stationery with a tropical print, 3) a hotel lobby with colorful prints and frames on the wall, and 4) a hotel pool reflecting bright neon tropical mural painted behind it.

We love a great boutique hotel. Our favorites in Oahu have a lot of personality and style along with one of a kind perks and amenities.

Here are our 8 favorite boutique hotels in Waikiki and Honolulu (and one that didn’t make the list, but we hope it makes a comeback):

Didn’t make the list:


Every bit of The Laylow is meant to be photographed. Fun amenities include poolside shave ice and a welcome basket full of flip flops and goodies. It's part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection, delivering boutique style with the service of a luxury hotel. It was fully renovated in 2017 for $60 million dollars and ranked in the 2022 Travel & Leisure’s list of the 500 Best Hotels and Resorts in the world (and there were only 13 included from Hawaii and 147 from the US).


  • ~$350 - $450 / night

  • Amenity Fee: $29

  • Valet Parking: $50 / day

The Vibe

The Laylow has a lot of personality. Nothing cookie cutter here. Their central location draws a diverse crowd — couples and families, young and old. But the vibe definitely skews towards couples and a fun, young crowd who come for the good coffee, the rooftop bar, fun perks, and Instagrammable everything.


  • Waikiki

  • It’s not beachfront, but it’s only a 5 minute walk.

  • Central location is walking distance to the beach, shopping, and great food.

  • 2299 Kūhiō Ave., Honolulu, HI 96815

Perks + Amenities

  • Everything is Instagrammable — from their bold hibiscus print wallpaper to the rows of vintage hula girls behind the front desk.

  • Welcome baskets are full of local goodies and Laylow branded flip flops. (If you need a different size of flip flops, just ask the front desk.)

  • Comfy beds.

  • Lanais (balconies) with every room (except for the poolside ones where you walk right out to the pool).

  • Great coffee at Hideout Coffee, their retro style coffee bar.

  • The pool has cabanas and partially submerged lounge chairs.

  • Live music, fire pits, and craft cocktails every night at their rooftop restaurant and bar.

  • Complimentary shave ice served poolside every afternoon.

  • Hideout Restaurant serves farm-to-table Hawaiian food.

  • 24 hour gym. It’s small but there’s a ton of natural light.

  • If you book a room on one of the top 2 floors you get Ho‘okipa Level access which comes with better views and includes coffee, non-alcoholic beverages, and light snacks throughout the day.

  • Complimentary beach cruisers to borrow.

  • Gift shop that actually has some cute souvenirs.

  • Ukulele lessons. Each room comes with a ukulele for you to borrow during your visit. It’s $75 if you want to take it home.


  • Rooms on floors 14 and below don’t have coffee makers, but there is a coffee bar on the main level.

  • The pool isn’t deep. Only about 3 ft.

  • It can get noisy at night, but they provide earplugs in every room.

  • Views from the rooms are good, not great. If an incredible ocean or city view is important to you, this may not be the right place.

Tips + Tricks

  • Book a room on the 15th or 16th floors and you’ll have Ho'okipa Level Access. Aka free snacks and non alcoholic beverages all day.

  • By mid afternoon, the pool daybeds are all taken, but if you come by earlier you can snag one.

  • Towels can be checked out at the gift shop.

  • The lobby is not on the ground floor. Take the escalator to the 2nd floor.


Here’s everything you want to know about The Laylow.


Hotel Renew is the place to book if you want a great location and a calm, relaxing spot to call home, but don’t want to break the bank to get it. Hotel Renew is a block from Kuhio Beach and walking distance to all of Waikiki’s shopping and restaurants. There aren’t a ton of amenities (no pool, spa, restaurant, etc) but they have some helpful perks (like complimentary beach gear and in room fitness equipment). All in all, this is a great option if you want to save your travel budget for other things, but still want a nice, peaceful place to lay your head at night. It’s a great value for Waikiki.


  • ~$150 - $200 / night

  • Amenity Fee: $25 / night

The Vibe

There’s a laid back, intimate feel with modern, minimalist styling throughout. There are no loud bars or restaurants drawing crowds and noise at night. Zen-like rooms are tranquil and calming. It’s a good spot for couples and solo travelers. They have cribs and rollaways available, but it’s definitely an adult crowd here.


  • Waikiki

  • One block from Kuhio Beach.

  • Walking distance to great food and shopping.

  • 129 Paoakalani Avenue, Honolulu, HI 96815

Perks + Amenities

  • Comfy beds.

  • Complimentary beach gear — boogie boards, snorkel gear, towels, and chairs. [Subject to availability.]

  • In-room fitness equipment — yoga mats, bands, weights, and medicine balls for private workouts. [Subject to availability.]

  • Surfboard storage.

  • Filtered water station.

  • Weekly yoga class.

  • In-room Illy espresso and coffee machines.


  • The rooms and bathrooms are small, but that’s kind of expected for the price tag.

  • No pool, gym, restaurant, spa, or activities, but that’s also expected for the price point.

  • Showers are so-so. Nothing to write home about.

  • No balconies.

Tips + Tricks


Here's everything you want to know about Hotel Renew.


A $60 million renovation in 2016, turned The Surfjack into a vintage surf-inspired oasis with one of the most photo-worthy pools in Hawaii. It’s laid back and relaxing, but not at all lacking in charm or polish. The hotel itself is on the small side, but it has a fantastic restaurant and bar, a cool boutique, and they pack the schedule with lots of events and workshops. In 2020, they received Condé Nast Traveler Readers' Choice Award, TripAdviser’s Travelers’ Choice, and Honolulu’s Best Hotels by Jetsetter.


  • ~$180 - 350 / night

  • No Amenity Fee

  • Free validated off site parking at Hyatt Centric Garage at 349 Seaside Avenue, Honolulu, HI 96815

The Vibe

Their photo-worthy pool says it all, “Wish You Were Here.” It has a vintage-inspired surf feel thanks to local designers who created all the one-of-a-kind stylistic details — from the fabric on the headboards and restaurant chairs to the wallpaper print.


  • Waikiki

  • Not beachfront but it’s close (about a 12 min walk or a 3 min drive).

  • Walking distance to great food and shopping.

  • 412 Lewers St, Honolulu, HI 96815

Perks + Amenities

  • Instagrammable outdoor pool with “Wish You Were Here” written out in tiles along the bottom. Raw Elements reef safe sunscreen dispensers available.

  • Comfy beds.

  • All rooms have lanais (balconies).

  • Mahina & Sun’s restaurant is chef Ed Kenney’s 4th restaurant. He’s a four-time James Beard Award nominee.

  • Daily cocktail hours at Mahina & Sons poolside restaurant.

  • Regularly host events like themed pool parties.

  • Beach Tote, Towels, Beach Chairs to use during stay.

  • One, two, and three bedroom suites available.

  • Jack, their hotel dog, hangs around the lobby. (He’s got his own Insta @jackthehoteldog.)


  • The pool is on the ground floor, right off the sidewalk. Not the end of the world, but not as secluded feeling as other hotels.

  • No coffee maker in the rooms, but they’ll bring their special blend coffee to your room, if you ask. There’s also complimentary coffee and tea at the bar every morning.

  • No spa or gym.

  • The rooms are on the smaller side.

Tips + Tricks



The Shoreline Hotel had Instagram in mind when they underwent a $4M renovation in 2018, with the theme “nature meets neon.” It’s a fun looking boutique hotel where bright colors reign supreme. Each room has a bold accent wall with a map of Hawaii and the words “You Are Here” pointing at Oahu. This hotel is definitely fun to look at, but keep in mind that if you look past the bright colors, it can be a little underwhelming.


  • ~150 - 200 / night

  • Daily Amenity Fee: $30

  • Parking: $45 / night

The Vibe

The Shoreline is bright and cheery. Bold colors reign supreme — from the red carpet and vibrant colored lobby chairs to the statement walls in each bedroom and the tropical neon wall mural behind the pool. This is where you come to take vacation photos. Beyond the fun aesthetics it’s a little stripped down, so this is best for anyone whose first priority is staying in a cool looking place and is less concerned about luxury.


  • Waikiki

  • Not beachfront, but only a 5 minute walk away.

  • Close to public transportation.

  • Walking distance to good food and shopping.

  • 342 Seaside Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815

Perks + Amenities

  • Each room comes with a complimentary basket of local snacks.

  • Comfy beds.

  • All rooms have private lanais (balconies).

  • Rooftop pool with a bright, colorful wall mural.

  • Pool and beach towels available at the front desk.

  • Restaurant on site.

  • Dole Whip Sample Upon Arrival.

  • Daily Morning Hawaiian Coffee (available in the lobby).

  • 2 Logo Reusable Water Pouches Per Stay (souvenir gifts).

  • Yoga Mats (upon request).


  • This hotel looks really eye-catching, but heads up that a lot of its charm is aesthetic only. The rooms are fun, but pretty basic. The bathrooms are also pretty standard. So if you want a fun place that’s simple, but Instagrammable and not a bad price for Waikiki, it’s a good option. But if you’re looking for more luxury or lots of comfort, you may want to try something else instead. The Laylow is a good alternative — everything was designed with Instagram in mind but it’s a couple steps up from the Shoreline.

  • The pool is pretty small and there are just a few chairs, so it gets crowded fast.

Tips + Tricks

  • Each room has a bold statement wall in either red, yellow, or blue. If you have a preference, email or call them after you book your room. There are no guarantees you’ll get the one you want, but they’ll try to make it happen.

  • If you’re just here for the gram, you can swing by and snap some photos in the lobby without booking a room.

  • Check their website for special discounts and offers.



The Lotus is a small (only 51 rooms) luxury boutique hotel with views of Diamond Head and the ocean. This is a great spot if you want easy access to everything Waikiki has to offer, but also want to escape to a peaceful retreat to relax. You’re a 15 minute walk to the start of Waikiki, but when you’re here, you’re removed from all the noise and crowds. The hotel rooms look towards Diamond Head and / or the ocean.

$$ - $$$

  • ~$270 - $340 / night

  • Resort Fee: $25 / night

  • Free On-SIte Parking (Included with resort fee.)

The Vibe

The Lotus is luxurious but comfortable. It’s like a zen Oasis that’s a stone’s throw from the hustle and bustle of Waikiki. The atmosphere here is peaceful and relaxing. Everything is bright and airy with a modern design. The grounds are lush and green and smell like tropical flowers. This is a great hotel for couples, or really anyone who wants to be close to all the action of Waikiki, but also want to be able to retreat from the crowds and noise.


  • Diamond Head

  • 60 steps to San Souci Beach — a great swimming beach.

  • Kapiolani Regional Park is right behind the property with lots of jogging trails, picnic areas, and tennis courts.

  • Close enough to bike around Diamond Head on one of their complimentary beach cruisers.

  • About a 15 min walk to the edge of Waikiki and about 30 to the center of it.

  • A 4 min walk to the Waikiki Aquarium or a 14 min walk to the Honolulu Zoo.

  • 2885 Kalākaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815

Perks + Amenities

  • Spacious rooms.

  • Pillowtop beds with premium bedding.

  • Each room has a private balcony with a view of either Diamond Head or the ocean.

  • Walking paths to Sans Souci Beach (just 60 steps away).

  • Beach chairs and towels.

  • Kapiolani Regional Park is just behind the property and has several jogging trails, picnic areas, and tennis courts.

  • Weekly yoga classes in Kapiolani Park.

  • Free wine tastings every Wednesday.

  • Hui day car rentals.

  • TBD…by Vikram Garg Restaurant.

  • Complimentary beach cruiser bike rental. [Subject to availability]

  • In-room Illy coffee system and pods.

  • Open-air hallways.


  • No pool.

  • No fitness center.

  • No bathtubs.

  • It’s about a 20-30 min walk to the heart of Waikiki. Great if you want to be able to get away from the crowds and noise when you’re at your hotel but not great if you want to be close to nightlife.

Tips + Tricks



Queen Kapiolani sits on the edge of Waikiki, but away from the noisiest parts. It’s just one block from the beach and the newly renovated poolside deck has incredible panoramic views of Diamond Head. A $35M renovation in 2018 updated the guest rooms, lobby, and public spaces and added a poolside restaurant and an 8000 square foot open-air lanai that looks out over Queen’s Beach and Kapiolani Park, with Diamond Head in the distance. They’ve also got some nice amenities like a Dole Whip stand and Hans Hedemann Surf School right in the lobby. And you’re just a block from Waikiki Beach.

$$ - $$$

  • ~$240 - $300 / night

  • Resort Fee: $45 / day

  • Onsite Valet: $45 / day

The Vibe

The hotel feels modern, but with a vintage surf vibe. This is not a party hotel and stays quiet in the evenings. This is where you want to be if you want to enjoy Waikiki, but also want to be able to retreat from the noise and crowds. The pool isn’t the most exciting but its newly renovated lanai and restaurant serve up great cocktails and brunch with a perfect view of Diamond Head.


  • In Waikiki, but on the very southern edge (on the Diamond Head side) .

  • 1 block from the beach.

  • Walking distance to great shopping and food in Waikiki. It’s about a 15 min walk to the center of Waikiki, but there are lots of beaches and restaurants that are closer.

  • 150 Kapahulu Ave., Honolulu, HI 96815

Perks + Amenities

  • Serta Dream Mattresses with extra comfort linens.

  • Deck, the open-air poolside restaurant and bar serves great cocktails and brunch with an incredible view of Diamond Head.

  • Daily happy hour at Deck.

  • Knots Coffee Roasters coffee shop in the lobby.

  • Lots of events and activities — Lei making workshops, yoga classes, Run Club, and surfing demonstrations.

  • Hans Hedemann Surf School in the lobby.

  • Dole Whip stand in the lobby and they give you a free tasting when you check in.

  • Fitness center.

  • You can cancel without any penalty up to 72 hours prior to arrival (as of Aug 2022).

  • The Royal Gallery features portraits of figures who are important to Oahu’s history and culture, done by local artists during the 60s and 70s. The hotel’s cultural advisor, Ikaika Pestana, hosts a 30 min weekly Royal Art Gallery Tour on Fridays.

  • Local artwork throughout the hotel. In the lobby, find the huge portrait of Queen Kapiolani wearing her famous peacock dress that she wore during a visit to London in 1887. Throughout the hotel and rooms, you’ll find vintage posters, Hawaiian prints, and 1960s advertisements of surfers.


  • In-room espresso pod machines are only in the Junior Suites and 1 Bedrooms.

  • Parking is first come first serve so it can fill up if the hotel is packed.

  • The pool is not heated and some people complain that it’s too cold.

  • The bar closes at 10.

  • They only have a few beach cruisers and they’re first come, first serve, so grab yours early.

Tips + Tricks


Here’s everything you want to know about The Queen Kapiolani.


Vive Hotel is a more affordable option for a Waikiki boutique hotel. The colorful styling and graphic art in the rooms and lobby make it feel unique and not just another generic hotel. The rooms are on the smaller side, but the staff is friendly and the location is great — just 3 blocks from Waikiki Beach and walking distance to nightlife, food, and shopping.


  • $210 - $260 / night

  • No Amenity Fee if you book through their website

  • Valet Parking: $35 / day

The Vibe

Vive is great for anyone who wants a stylish place to stay with an unbeatable location, and don’t mind sacrificing some amenities and room size to get it all for a good price (by Waikiki standards). The styling is simple and contemporary. There are also a couple themed suites with some added personality, like the Musician’s Suite with a huge painting of John Lennon on the wall.


  • Waikiki

  • 3 blocks to Waikiki Beach.

  • Walking distance to great food, shopping, and nightlife.

  • 2426 Kūhiō Ave., Honolulu, HI 96815

Perks + Amenities

  • Comfy beds .

  • Showers have great water pressure.

  • Free continental breakfast.

  • Complimentary beach gear — beach chairs, mats, towels, boogie boards, beach umbrellas, and beach toys.


  • No pool.

  • No fitness center.

  • Rooms are on the small side.

Tips + Tricks



Kaimana Beach Hotel is a luxury beachfront option that’s close to Waikiki (but closer to Diamond Head). It’s right on Kaimana Beach (aka San Souci), which is much more secluded and less crowded than Waikiki Beach.

$$ - $$$

  • ~$250 - $350 / night

  • Kaimana Club Pass (aka Resort Fee): $25 / night

  • Valet Parking: $40 / night

The Vibe

Kaimana Beach Hotel is tasteful and comfortable with rooms looking out on either the ocean or Diamond Head. It’s great for anyone who wants a lot of comfort and to be close enough to Waikiki to take advantage of the great restaurants and shopping, but remote enough to be nowhere near the crowds. It’s more secluded and private than hotels right in the middle of Waikiki.


  • Diamond Head area.

  • About a 15 min walk to the edge of Waikiki and 30 min to the center.

  • It sits on San Souci Beach, one of the best swimming beaches in the area (and without the crowds of Waikiki Beach).

  • 2863 Kalakaua Avenue, Honolulu, HI 96815

Perks + Amenities

  • Most rooms have private lanais.

  • Hau Tree Restaurant serves small plates, cocktails, and a great brunch (and is run by one of the original owners of Senia).

  • Electra Cruiser Bike Rentals.

  • Complimentary classes like circuit training, yoga, lei making, and stand up paddle boarding.

  • Peligro Beach Chairs, Beach Umbrellas & Towels.

  • Surfboard Rentals from Kai Sallas' Pro Surf School.


  • No pool, but you’re right on the beach.



And one to avoid.....

We wish we could put The Modern on the list, but we just can’t… It seems like the service, cleanliness, and all around experience have taken a bit of a hit during Covid. They also used to have more bars and restaurants, including a nightclub and Morimoto’s Asia (which moved to the ‘Alohilani Resort in 2016) as well as a spo, but has been stripped down to just one poolside bar / restaurant. We’re hoping it makes a comeback though.

There are still some things to love about it. The picturesque pool deck and many rooms look out over the marina and sea and the contemporary styling gives off a calm and relaxing feel throughout. It’s just along the northernmost edge of Waikiki, which means it’s close to all the action, but removed enough to feel secluded.

Fingers crossed that it comes back to its previous glory sometime soon.


  • $300 - 440 / night

  • Resort Fee: $42

  • Self Parking: $24.95 / night

The Vibe

The Modern is sleek and trendy but doesn’t come off as stuffy. It feels airy and light with lots of neutral tones and the occasional color pop from green from tropical plants. The rooms are minimalist and flooded with natural light, giving off a calm and relaxing vibe. Families are welcome, but it’s definitely more of an adult spot.


  • Just outside of Waikiki on the northernmost edge. It sits on Ala Wai Harbor.

  • About a 20 min walk to the center of Waikiki for great food, shopping, and nightlife.

  • About a 10 min walk to either Ala Moana Beach orFort DeRussy Beach.

  • 1775 Ala Moana Blvd, Honolulu, HI 96815

Perks + Amenities

  • Spacious rooms.

  • Many rooms have balconies.

  • Pillowtop bed comes with down comforters and premium bedding.

  • Fitness Center.

  • THE GROVE Restaurant + Bar for all day cocktails and food along with a daily happy hour.


  • It’s not beachfront, but it does face the harbor and ocean. The closest beaches are about a 10 - 15 min walk away.

  • A lot of the amenities and services have been scaled down during Covid. There’s now just one bar / restaurant, no spa, no room service, and as of July 2022 they’re still not offering any housekeeping services. Hopefully this will all change in the future.

Tips + Tricks



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