VacationWiser Guide to Hawaiian Islands

There’s no question the Hawaiian Islands are filled with spectacular scenery, but which island is right for you?


On the island of Oahu you will find Waikiki Beach in the main city of Honolulu, immortalized in the Beach Boys songs. The most frequently visited island by tourists, this island is the most urban and reminds some people of New York City. Still, it offers plenty of Hawaiian allure with Hula dancing shows or lessons, beautiful beaches and excellent Pacific Rim cuisine. Try a hefty “plate lunch” or the loco moco - a belly filling favorite among the locals. You can take surfing lessons on the North Shore, and don’t miss thef abulous Polynesian Cultural Center.  You can spend the day there visiting the different villages and learning all about Polynesian cultures, then stay into the night for their spectacular Luau feast and show. Visit America’s only Royal Residence - Queen Iolani’s Palace in Honolulu. Climb Diamond Head or visit the historic Pearl Harbor Memorial and U.S.S. Arizona. Travelers can enjoy a stay at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa, or the fabulous Hilton Hawaiian VillageTurtleBay Resort is an option if you want a quieter location away from Waikiki Beach to watch the sunrise or sunset.


Maui is ideal for anyone inclined towards outdoor activities, for anyone who enjoys communing with nature, and partaking of adventurous excursions. Climb up dormant Haleakala volcano, then hang glide off the mountain top and land on the beach. Drive the scenic road to Hana and submerge yourself in the Seven Sacred Pools near the end of the switchback road.  Go waterfall rappelling, then visit Whalers Village,or take a tour of a pineapple plantation. Try scuba diving, snorkeling,kayaking or windsurfing. Take a helicopter aerial tour of the island. Go ziplining, or just watch the cliff divers jump off the 30-foot high black rocksat the Sheraton hotel each night at sunset. We can suggest The Royal Lahaina Resort, or the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort. The perfect place to stay to see thesunset Black Rock Cliff Divers is at the Sheraton Maui Resort and Spa.


The BigIsland of Hawaii is most notable forbeing the location of Volcanoes National Park and black-sand beaches.  Hawaii is nearly twice as big as all theother islands combined (hence, it’s nickname, “The Big Island”). Kilauea hasbeen very active throughout 2018 causing the closing of Volcanoes National Parkbut reopened for tourists in September. You can now see the level of destruction left by lava flows andfissures.  Hotel accommodations rangefrom the deluxe to extraordinary.  For a good,affordable hotel try the Royal KonaResort in the heart of Kailua town. Step up to a 4* property at the AstonWaikola Colony Villas, a superior condominium resort.  The MaunaKea Beach Resort is a true luxury property located 27 miles north of KonaInternational Airport.


If you arelooking for old world Hawaii – the serene, Polynesian paradise where you canrejuvenate your soul, look no further than the island of Kauai.  Of all the islands,this “Garden Isle” typifies the Hawaii you imagine when you think aboutParadise - thanks in part to thetropical rainforest covering much of its surface. With breathtaking waterfalls,plentiful hiking, and numerous caves to explore, you can gaze at the dramatic cliffs and pinnacles of itsNa Pali Coast, or you can just relax on the pristine blue waters ofHanalei Bay. There’s a reason thisisland has served as a backdrop for many Hollywood films including “Six Days -Seven Nights”, “South Pacific”, “The Descendants”, “Pirates of the Caribbean:On Stranger Tides”, [Elvis’s] “Blue Hawaii”, “Just Go With It” and many others.This lush island intoxicates you from the moment you step off the plane andinhale the fragrant plumeria scented air.  Hotels to enjoy on Kauai include the Hanalei Bay Resort, The Courtyard by Marriott Kaua'i at Coconut Beach, or, for a LUXexperience that you’ll never forget, you can’t go wrong at the StRegis Princeville Resort Kauai.


The smallIsland of Lanai is very popular withgolfers because it features numerous championship quality golf courses.  Off-road enthusiasts take advantage of 400miles of 4-wheel-drive trails and enjoy a lunar-like landscape area called theGarden of the Gods.  The no-stoplightisland has just two hotels.  On theisland’s south side, The Four SeasonsResort Lanai overlooks pristine Hulopoe Bay.  The 1930’s era Hotel Lanai is a charming in-town hideway and an affordablealternative.  


Molokai is the quietest, least touristoccupied island of Hawaii.  It is home tothe highest sea cliffs in the world and the longest continuous fringingreef.  There are only about 400 rooms onthe whole island spread among charming oceanfront hotels, vacation rentals, cottagesand bed and breakfasts.  The Hotel Molokai is the only full-servicehotel on the island.  

Which ofthese islands appeals to you most? Contact your Vacationwiser travel specialist at 1-800-258-3883 or vacationadmin@vacationwiser.com to help you plan out your Hawaiivacation.

Here are some suggested hotels.  Prices include airfare from Chicago based on a mid-Fall departure.  Prices will vary based on time of year and advance purchase time..


Waikiki Pearl -- Waikiki Beach (2.5 *)

This economy hotel is ideal forbudget travels and affords a superb location at the centre of Waikiki. It is ashort distance to the International Marketplace and a few paces to WaikikiBeach. Shops, restaurants and entertainment venues are all to be found in thenear vicinity. It is approximately 16 km to Honolulu International Airport.Guests may also visit Bishop Museum, all these attractions are within shortdriving distance. This air-conditioned hotel comprises 135 rooms spread over 10floors. All units come fully-equipped with its convenient amenities includingin-room coffee facilities, microwave, and mini-fridge. Amongst the facilitiesare a lobby with a 24-hour reception desk, a cloakroom and a lift. Furtheramenities include a cocktail lounge, free Internet access and laundry services.Accommodation units range from basic standard rooms to more spacious twoBedrooms suites.

Payments starting at $55 weeky for 3-night stay over weekend

Payments starting at $53 weekly for 4-night midweek stay

Sheraton Princess Kaiulani -- across from Waikiki Beach (3.5*)

Locatedin the heart of one of the world's most famous playgrounds, Waikiki, TheSheraton Princess Ka'iulani offers comfort and relaxation while providingvisitors an exceptional vacation value. The hotel graces the former estate ofHawaii's last and most beloved princess Victoria Ka'iulani, and is juststeps from world-famous Waikiki Beach, unlimited shopping, dining andnightlife. Our guests enjoy romantic poolside dinners, nightly entertainmentand Creation - A Polynesian Journey, dinner show. Sheraton Princess Ka'iulaniembraces warm Hawaiian hospitality as it was intended and delivers that spiritwith Aloha to all of our guests.

Payments starting at $60 weeky for 3-night stay over weekend

Payments starting at $56 weekly for 4-night midweek stay

Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel -- across from Waikiki Beach (3.5 *)

Why be near the action when you canbe a part of it? Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel exudes a hip Hawaiian sense of placejust across Kalakaua Avenue from a prime stretch of legendary Waikiki Beach.This casual, contemporary hotel lets you hang loose with its modern resortatmosphere - from the colorful surfboard-studded lobby with complimentary WiFiaccess to its retro Tiki’s Grill & Bar.

Designed with naturally inspireddecor, newly refreshed comfortable guest rooms and suites have cool touches andconveniences like mini-refrigerators and large flat-screen TVs. Most open tofull or partial ocean views, while most feature private lanais (balconies)where you can soak up the scenery that defines this dynamic destination.

For the most exceptional views optfor an Aston Select Room. Aside from premium sweeping vistas, these selectOceanfront and Ocean View retreats indulge with an arrival amenity ofHawaii-made treats personally selected by the hotel’s general manager.

Payments starting at $69 weeky for 3-night stay over weekend

Payments starting at $72 weekly for 4-night midweek stay

Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort -- on Waikiki Beach (5 *)

Seton the widest beach in Waikiki, Hilton Hawaiian Village is a non-smoking resorthotel. The daily resort charge is added to the room rate and includes guestinternet access, history wall, outdoor exercise classes, cultural activitylessons, outdoor movies, local toll-free and credit cards calls with no accessfee, 20 percent off afternoon sail, discount on Waikiki Beach activity rentals,10 percent off or 1 category upgrade on a 2-day car rental. The resort islocated on 22 acres on the widest stretch of Waikiki Beach. Five swimming poolsinclude the 10,000 square foot super pool and the best waterslides in Waikiki.The resort offers 20 restaurants and lounges, nightly entertainment at Tropicsand Tapa bar, Friday fireworks show on the beach, 90 shops and services, suchas fine boutiques, jewelry, souvenir, and sundry shops, and doctors on call.Water activities include on-site surfing lessons, snorkeling, standup paddleboard, kayaking, Atlantis submarine, catamaran sailing from Port Hilton. On land,Hilton Hawaiian Village features weekly hula lessons, lei making, and ukelelelessons. Camp Penguin children’s program is for ages 5-12. The full serviceManadara Spa is open daily, access to the fitness center is complimentary. Fivetowers on the tropical landscaped grounds feature a variety of guest rooms andsuites offering resort or stunning oceanfront views. The Alii has an exclusivecheck-in desk, concierge services, private pool, fitness center and poolterrace bar. 

Payments starting at $77 weeky for 3-night stay over weekend

Payments starting at $78 weekly for 4-night midweek stay

Waikiki Beachcomber by Outrigger - across from Waikiki Beach (4*)

Juststeps from the beach, you’ll find Hawaii’s first and only craft hotel locatedin the heart of Waikiki’s dining, entertainment and shopping. A hotel whosestyle and design aesthetic has been curated by a collection of local artistsand influencers, the Beachcomber Originals, to create a one-of-a-kind stay,immersing guests in the sights, sounds and tastes that are uniquely Hawaii.Every guest room or suites features magnificent views of the azure PacificOcean, Diamond Head or Vibrant cityscapes from private lanais. “Discover yourAloha” at the new high tech interactive Beachcomber Activities Lounge. Join fora meal but stay for a pint at the Maui Brewing Co, featuring almost 40 craftand specialty beers on tap complimented with the artisanal, naturalisland-inspired cuisine. Hawaiian Aroma Café is a daily must as Honolulu’s mostinstagrammable coffee shop, located poolside to sip on “Another day inparadise”.

Payments starting at $82 weeky for 3-night stay over weekend

Payments starting at $87 weekly for 4-night midweek stay

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