When you think of a dream vacation or bucket list trip, Hawaii undoubtedly falls on the list. From the lush tropical landscape to the dazzling ocean views and balmy breeze, it’s one of the most quintessential getaways you can ever experience. If you’re in the midst of planning your dream honeymoon, coordinating a bachelorette jaunt with your closest friends, or considering a destination wedding, Hawaii is an iconic location to commemorate such a momentous time in your life. Besides, who doesn’t love the beach?
With eight islands to choose from, Hawaii offers something for every kind of traveler, whether you’re keen to explore and hike landmarks like Diamond Head trail in Oahu, discover Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island, or traverse the green, rugged trails of the Nā Pali Coast State Wilderness Park in Kauai); or if you'd rather treat yourself to a luxurious resort retreat in the city scene of Waikiki, along the breathtaking white, red, and black sand beaches of Maui, or in the surfer’s paradise of Oahu. And perhaps you want a bit of both—no problem! That’s the beauty of Hawaii: You can have your cocktail and feed your adventurous spirit too. What could be better for a romantic honeymoon as newlyweds or as a celebration with your dearest friends before you say I do?
How ever you choose to experience Hawaii—and trust us, there’s no wrong way to do it—your perfect trip starts with an incredible hotel, which is why we’ve rounded up three impeccable places worth noting for your itinerary, ahead. Aloha!
The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach
For the perfect blend of city and sea, Waikiki Beach in Honolulu is an extraordinary setting where The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach is nestled five minutes from the oceanfront and steps away from the iconic Luxury Row and Ala Moana Center (which is the world’s largest outdoor shopping center where you can indulge in some retail therapy at the likes of Gucci, Miu Miu, Christian Louboutin, and more). With breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean, the luxury residential-style resort offers two private cabana-lined infinity pools on the eighth floor of the property (the highest in the city!), serving as a relaxing base below two stunning skyscraper towers—the Ewa tower and the newly opened Diamond Head Tower. Boasting 38 stories and 552 ocean-facing units between them—ranging from studio, one-, two-, three-, and four-bedroom residential accommodations and penthouses in both towers—the accommodations are perfect for luxury-loving couples, a group of friends for an elegant pre-wedding getaway, or family members for a luxe destination wedding stay. With a contemporary island-deco design by interior designer Jon Brent, the hotel offers a variety of stylish spaces for indoor or outdoor wedding ceremonies as well as rich dining experiences, such as the Market, an open-air restaurant and bar on the eighth floor; a world-renowned Omakase sushi experience at Sushi Sho, led by chef Keiji Nakazawa (with limited seating, this is a divine and romantic experience for newlyweds), and even the casual-chic Dean & Deluca market. For a day of Hawaiian-inspired wellness (which is particularly essential on honeymoon), you can break a sweat in the premier fitness center designed by celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak and retreat to the Ritz-Carlton Spa where a range of customized treatments and services from massages to facials and skin boosters are on offer, utilizing traditional Hawaiian healing methods and locally sourced products.
For wellness enthusiasts, adventurers, and yogis, Kukui’ula is a gorgeous property in a real estate community on the south shore of Kauai that combines luxury amenities with the laid-back lifestyle Hawaii is known for. Whether you travel here for a romantic honeymoon, bachelorette retreat, or destination wedding, Kukui’ula is not your standard hotel experience, but a unique property with a remote feel. The Lodge is a collection of sun-drenched luxury club cottages, bungalows, and villas that range from one- to four-bedroom units for guest stays at the resort, including access to the property’s clubhouse, a 10-acre farm (where you can forage for local produce and flowers), an 18-hole Tom Weiskopf–designed golf course, and fresh and saltwater Makai pools (two of which flow into nearby cascading waterfalls and a waterslide) which all make for a one-of-a-kind experience. Of course, no Hawaiian getaway is complete without a little (or a lot of) wellness, and the property’s Hi'ilani Spa is the definition of serene—lava rock walls and beautiful meditation gardens set the tone for massage, acupuncture, and a dip in both hot and cold plunge pools. The Lodge at Kukui’ula also offers monthly intensive series designed to elevate experiential travel and provide singular outdoor experiences, such as the “Living Well Yoga Guru" series in which premier teachers from across the country bring their sought-after practices to guests and club members, as well as intensives in surfing, sailing, canoeing, and stand-up paddle boarding intensives.
See more: 8 Gorgeous Oahu Wedding Venues
The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort
Located on the Big Island of Hawaii at Hapuna Beach State Park, the Westin Hapuna Beach Resort is a newly renovated property offering honeymooners, destination wedding guests, and bachelorette attendees immediate access to the striking blue waters and white-sand beaches of the Kohala Coast shoreline, paired with unobstructed—and exceptionally romantic!—sunset views of the resort’s westward-facing horizon. More than 85,000 square feet, the resort features a contemporary design juxtaposed with luxuriant gardens and open-air feel of the ocean along with four reimagined dining venues, an award-winning 18-hole golf course designed by Arnold Palmer, and two swimming pools (including an adult-exclusive infinity pool overlooking Hapuna Beach—hello honeymooners!). For wellness-focused travelers, the property’s Westin workout center offers a premier facility including a CrossFit studio and Run Concierge (if you’re the outdoorsy type, don’t miss your chance to explore the exotic surroundings on a challenging nature run) while the Hapuna Spa offers a combination of Balinese- and Hawaiian-inspired therapies including a fire and ice massage which features heated basalt stones and an ice-cool, refreshing gel to detoxify the body, alleviate stress, and ease aching muscles.