With nearly 140 islands spread over 1,500 square miles of Pacific Ocean, Hawaii offers visitors a huge variety of things to see and do, from verdant jungles and active volcanos to swimming with manta rays and surfing some of the world’s wildest waves.
Of the major islands, most visits start in Oahu. The name literally means ‘gathering place’ and from the early days when Hawaiian royalty chose Waikiki Beach to build their first houses, to today, when nearly 350,000 people call Honolulu home, the island has been the centre of Hawaiian culture. A visit to the moving Pearl Harbor National Memorial offers a fascinating insight into one of the most pivotal moments in US history. A hike up Diamond Head provides breathtaking views of Waikiki Beach. And from November to March, the island’s legendary North Shore is pounded by some of the most monstrous waves on the planet, from Haleiwa to Sunset Beach, past Waimea Bay and the notorious Banzai Pipeline.
Second largest in terms of population, Maui ticks a lot of boxes, with whale-watching experiences, beautiful beaches and some of Hawaii’s swankiest resorts among its trump cards. Watching sunrise from the top of hulking Haleakala Volcano is an absolute must, as is driving the corkscrew Hana Highway, a zig-zagging route along Maui’s north-east coast that offers awe-inspiring views of waterfalls, beaches and tropical rainforests.
Though if it’s rainforests you want, you might prefer the island of Kauai. Hawaii’s ‘Garden Isle’ is the greenest and oldest in the Hawaiian archipelago, with a laidback vibe that’s a million miles from the hubbub of Honolulu. About two thirds of the island is carpeted in jungle, with the other third home to some truly dramatic scenery, including the jaw-dropping cliffs of the Na Pali Coast and the spectacular Waimea Canyon.
Then there’s Hawaii Island (aka Big Island) whose biggest draw is unquestionably Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, home to two of the world’s most active volcanoes, including Kilauea, where molten lava flows can still be seen today.
Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa, Waikiki Beach
Known as the ‘First Lady of Waikiki’, Moana Surfrider combines Victorian elegance with contemporary comfort. Tastefully appointed rooms and suites are spread across three wings, with many offering breathtaking ocean views. Wa [...]View Hotel
All but a handful of rooms at heavenly Halekulani enjoy wonderful sea views. Spacious guestrooms come in natural, neutral tones; suites offer more space with one or two bedrooms, extra-large bathrooms and at least one balcony, wh [...]View Hotel
Ko`a Kea Hotel & Resort
Known as the ‘Garden Isle’, Kauai is beloved for its tropical rainforests, wild, dramatic scenery and long sandy beaches. It’s on one of these beaches that you’ll find Ko’a Kea, regarded as one of the most romantic hote [...]View Hotel