Pack your bags, because right now it’s summer in Hawaii and the perfect time to visit. The wet seasons finishes in March and from now until October skies are clear and the temperature stays around 30 degrees. The American Spring Breakers have also returned home, so the islands shouldn’t be too crowded. Hawaii’s legendary big surf is calmer during the summer months (and the water is around five degrees warmer), but this means that it’s a great time for beginners to learn to surf.
Direct flights to Honolulu are available from Sydney and Brisbane and flight time is around 10 hours. Return economy fares start from A$1,000 and business class fares from A$3,700.
The Hilton Hawaiian Village, Honolulu
Best for Families
The slogan on the website for this resort says “more pools, more beach, more paradise” and it’s true. It is a very big resort indeed and that’s great if you’re travelling with kids and you don’t really want to have to venture far from base. There are endless dining options among the village shops that surround the towers that house the resort’s accommodations. There are free dvd movies from vending machines in the lobbies and there’s something going on somewhere for kids and families all of the time. It is like a gigantic Hawaiian-based family fun factory. If you’re not travelling with kids, it’s probably not the best choice for a luxury, Hawaiian holiday.
Rates: Entry level rooms from US$329 (about A$323) per night and suites from US$405 (about A$396) per night plus taxes.
The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua
Best for Golfers and families
If golf is a big part of your holiday plans, this is your Hawaiian resort. The Maui golf Course, right beside the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua is the annual home of the PGA Tour’s season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions. Set amongst an historic pineapple plantation, Kapalua’s Plantation Course and Bay Course are two 18-hole golf experiences with incredible ocean views. This is also where families get to spread out in large rooms and suites, dine at six on-site restaurants and relax in day cabanas (with TVs) around an enormous central swimming pool. For the kids the Jean-Michael Cousteau’s Ambassadors of the Environment program is one of the most comprehensive and educational kids club programs on offer anywhere in the world. Daily activities designed to engage kids with the local environmental issues include exciting whale watching adventures, snorkelling and rainforest walks. They can do that while you play golf.
Rates: Terrace rooms from US$399 (about A$393) per night and one-bedroom suites from US$859 (about A$845) per night plus taxes.
The Modern Honolulu
Best for Hipsters and young families
A self-described urban resort at Waikiki Beach in Honolulu this place is glamorous and sophisticated as well as being relaxed and comfy. I bet you didn’t think that was possible but that was in fact the stated aim of its designers and you’d have to stay there to really see how they’ve achieved it. Perhaps because it’s a little quirky in some of its design details, you get the sense that it doesn’t take itself too seriously, and so neither do you and everyone can relax. A high standard of service, great, exciting and healthy food, a big swimming pool, a great location with the famous Waikiki Beach visible from the rooms and a short stroll away all combine to make it one of the best places in Honolulu for stylish Australians to stay. Spend a couple of night here on your way to the islands.
Rates: City view rooms from US$246 (about A$242) per night and ocean view suites from US$765 (about A$753) per night plus taxes.
Four Seasons Resort Hualalai at Historic Ka’upulehu
Best for Romance and Relaxation
On Hawaii’s Big island, a short flight from Honolulu, the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai at Historic Ka’upulehu is perhaps the island’s very best resort, situated among the island’s other best resorts grouped together on the gorgeous Kona-Kohala Coast, a 20-minute drive from the airport. In the manner of Four Seasons, the resort is beautifully designed (taking its direction from local architecture and crafts) and runs with a high staff to guest ratio. Couples won’t have to leave the resort with five dining venues serving up fine food and casual fare with views. For a distraction there’s seaside golf on a course created out of the island’s famous black lava still visible on many holes, eight tennis courts and several heated pools (including a separate kids’ pool). The poolside food service is excellent for those who are truly dedicated poolside relaxers.
Rates: Ocean view rooms from US$1,025 (about A$1,009) per night and suites from US$1,575 (about A$1,550) per night plus taxes.