Okay, we admit it — the resorts in Hawaii are so incredible, we almost had to give up trying to pick the best.
But when it comes down to it, one option really stands out: Koa Kea Hotel & Resort, located on Kauai’s southern shores, is a luxurious, secluded resort where you can truly unwind. With a top-notch restaurant, palm-dotted gardens, and state of the art spa, you will leave this place feeling relaxed and refreshed. Oh, and did we mention that it’s right on the ocean?
Hawaii is the quintessential tropical vacation spot, and with good reason. With its incredibly diverse islands, this archipelago offers an outstanding variety of sceneries, climates, and activities. You can go from hiking active volcanoes one day to sipping cocktails on the beach the next, not to mention whale watching, surfing, and fine dining. And who hasn’t heard of the world famous friendliness of the Hawaiian people?
If welcoming people, breathtaking scenery, and turquoise waters are your thing (seriously though, how can they not be?), you really can’t miss a vacation in Hawaii. With cheap flights from almost anywhere in the U.S., you get all the perks of an exotic destination without really having to leave your home turf.
Unlike other exotic locations, most resorts in Hawaii (and several on our ranking) are not technically all-inclusive. Many of the selections on our list offer both normal nightly rates and inclusive packages, some of which include meals, airport transfers, or activities.
But don’t let the lack of all-inclusiveness put you off! Hawaii is an extremely safe and all around stunning destination, so you’ll definitely want to leave your resort to go explore. Plus, all the resorts in our ranking have several restaurants and exciting activities to keep you busy, so be sure to keep an eye out for some incredible package deals.
First though, choose where you want to go by looking at our thoroughly researched Top 10 All-Inclusive Resorts in Hawaii ranking.
The All-Inclusive Resorts in Hawaii we RAVE About
Best Overall: Koa Kea Hotel & Resort
Hidden away in lush gardens, right on the pristine Poipu Beach, Koa Kea is a classy resort that offers world class snorkeling, gourmet dining, and unique spa experiences, right on your doorstep.Read Full Review
Best Luxury Resort: Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort And Spa
On the southern shores of Hawaii’s Garden Isle, nestled between the ocean and the mountains, the Grand Hyatt is a resort of unparalleled luxury. From the extravagant, chandelier-draped lobby to tranquil Koi ponds and a sprawling jungle spa, this is the place to be if you really want to treat yourself.Read Full Review
Who hasn’t grown up dreaming of Hawaii? Whether you’re into surfing or just chilling on some of the world’s most stunning beaches surrounded by friendly people and a rich culture, Hawaii has something for everyone. And, since Hawaii is the most recent state to join the U.S., you don’t even have to worry about visas or foreign currencies.
The state includes nearly the entire volcanic Hawaiian archipelago, comprised of hundreds of islands spread over 1,500 miles (2,400 km). But with so many different islands, how are you supposed to choose one for your vacation? We’ll make it a bit easier for you by giving you a brief guide to Hawaii’s best islands:
Oahu is home to Hawaii’s state capital, Honolulu, a buzzing melting pot where you can experience all of Hawaii’s different cultures. Waikiki Beach, Pearl Harbor, and the North Shore are all on Oahu, so you won’t be short on things to see. If you’re looking for a vacation that combines laid back surf vibes with frenetic city life, Oahu might just be the place for you.
“Big Island” is a very popular destination thanks to unparalleled snorkeling, incredible beaches, and compelling history. This island offers some of the archipelago’s best scenery and wildly different climates, and it is also famously home to Hawaii’s only volcano. Lots of world class resorts can be found on Big Island, making it a truly dreamy option.
If you’re the active type and there is no such thing as a “beach vacation” for you, make sure to check out Maui, Hawaii’s adventure island. Not that you won’t find some breathtaking beaches here — in fact, you’ll be stunned to see anything from black to red to white sandy beaches. But there is so much more to do: You can explore Haleakalā National Park, or trek to the top of the volcano Haleakalā and spend a few hours mountain biking down.
This island looks like something straight out of Jurassic Park (minus the dinosaurs). It’s one of Hawaii’s oldest islands, and age has graced it with thick rainforests, surreal mountains, dramatic cliffs, secret valleys, and winding rivers. The Waimea Canyon is a must see, and you can’t skip hiking along one of the island’s many trails. Kauai boasts some great resorts, but if you come here, you’re going to want to explore. If you’re the adventurous type, Kauai is another great island to pick for your unforgettable vacation.
Is life is getting to be too much? Are you looking to truly check out? Head to Molokai, an island with a small population and remote feeling. With its rugged landscape, windswept cliffs, and Hawaii’s longest fringe reef (making it an awe-inspiring snorkeling location!) Molokai is perfect if you want to explore and venture off the beaten path. If you’re into weird and wonderful history, hike up to Kalaupapa National Historical Park, a former leper colony, or check Palaau State Park’s nearby Phallic Rock, said to have fertility powers. Don’t expect the height of luxury or the most modern amenities, though; they are not what makes Molokai special.
This little island, also known as Pineapple Island due to its fruit plantations, also isn’t very heavily populated, so it feels like a well-kept secret. The air of exclusivity has attracted the likes of Will Smith, Cindy Crawford, and other celebrities who love this little gem of an island. If it sounds like your cup of tea, you’re in luck: Lanai is easily accessible from Maui, so you can stop here while island hopping. Or if you really love it, you can choose from Lanai’s luxurious resorts, which also boast some of the best golfing around.
What We Love About Hawaii
So now you know your way around Hawaii’s islands. But why exactly should you choose it as your next vacation destination? We all know about the volcanoes, pristine beaches, turquoise waters, towering cliffs and waterfalls, incredibly rich wildlife, and breathtaking panoramas…we could go on and on. But there’s one thing that really makes Hawaii unique: its famously friendly people and vibrant culture, expressed through singing, dancing, art, and of course hula-hooping!
It took us weeks of researching, reading, and studying to compile this ranking. We started by consulting websites such as CNN Travel, Travel + Leisure, and many others. Then, we moved on to reading user-generated content on blogs and other platforms. Finally, we carefully sifted through hundreds of online reviews to hear what customers have to say. Although many resorts are spectacular in their own unique way, we paid special attention to these characteristics:
- Value for money
- Overall style and sophistication
- Variety of packages and deals available
We built our ranking of the 10 best all-inclusive resorts in Hawaii on these variables.
The Best All-Inclusive Resorts in Hawaii
Koa Kea Hotel & ResortLocation: KauaiKids allowed?: Yes
Located on Kauai’s southern tip, Koa Kea has long been a popular resort for movers and shakers around the world, and with good reason. Take a walk down one of its winding paths, shaded by palm trees and surrounded by lush greenery, and you’ll soon find yourself on the resort’s pièce de résistance: a pristine, sandy beach.
If you ever manage to tear yourself away from the seafront (and no one will make you), be sure to explore all corners of the resort and you’ll find many hidden chill-out spots. Once you’re done with that, head to Koa Kea’s world class spa, whose wellness treatments use locally sourced ingredients. The resort was recently renovated into a sleek and modern design, but sits on the grounds of the 60s era Poipu Beach Hotel. We’re glad to hear it has kept some of the original features, giving it some old Hawaii charm.
Like others on our list, Koa Kea Hotel & Resort isn’t all-inclusive — but it’s still an excellent choice for your vacation plans.Book your stay with Koa Kea Hotel & ResortPros
- Beachfront location
- Excellent dining
- World class spa
- Some balconies lack privacy
Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort And SpaLocation: KauaiKids allowed?: Yes
We’ll stay on Kauai a while longer and take a look at another one of our favorite resorts, the Grand Hyatt Resort and Spa. If understated is not your thing, this grandiose resort might just be the one for you. With seven restaurants, four pools, a giant waterslide, koi ponds, and a seemingly infinite spa, the Grand Hyatt certainly doesn’t scrimp on anything.
The quintessentially Hawaiian resort sits atop high cliffs with stunning views of the coastline, which is great for surfing, but not so great for swimming. Don’t worry though, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to dip your toes in one of the many pools, or in the charming saltwater lagoon, which is also great for kayaking and snorkeling.
If you’re environmentally conscious, you’ll be happy to know that the resort has implemented several measures to reduce its carbon footprint and impact on the environment.Book your stay with Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort And SpaPros
- Incredibly luxurious
- Quintessential Hawaiian vibes
- Incredible swimming pools
- Not a great beach for swimming
- Daily resort fee
Wailea Beach ResortLocation: MauiKids allowed?: Yes
Marriott’s Maui Wailea Beach Resort is an elegant and peaceful spot that boasts some of the island’s finest dining, served up by some of Hawaii’s best chefs. Although many of the resorts we review have incredible spas, this one is truly to die for. At 10,000 square feet, the resort’s Mandara Spa is a true oasis of tranquility, offering some unusual luxury treatments.
If you are traveling with a partner (or if the kids are entertained elsewhere!) make sure you spend some time in the adults-only Serenity pool which, with its breathtaking views of the ocean, is one very romantic spot indeed. If you do come with the family, there is absolutely no chance of the kids getting bored. In fact, they might be a little overwhelmed by all the activities! There’s a kids club, game room, life size chess, giant Connect Four, a movie theater, and music and sand art corners to keep them entertained.Book your stay with Wailea Beach ResortPros
- Close to the airport
- Great for kids
- Excellent spa
- Resort and parking fees
- On a busy part of the island
- Not a great beach for swimming
Mauna Kea Beach HotelLocation: Kohala CoastKids allowed?: Yes
Opened by Laurance S. Rockefeller in 1965, this hotel maintains all the grandeur and personality you’d expect from such a historic institution. The northernmost resort on Big Island, Mauna Kea Beach Hotel borders one of the island’s most stunning beaches (and that’s saying something), the sparkling white sand Kaunaoa.
The décor is sleek and modern, and has some quirky elements that make it a special place, such as the impressive collection of Hawaiian art. The Mauna Kea also boasts a unique 18-hole championship golf course, so it’s perfect if you’re a die-hard golfer. There are many reasons to love this resort, from its amazing restaurants to its gorgeous location. Mauna Kea’s history and personality set it apart from the rest.Book your stay with Mauna Kea Beach HotelPros
- Historic hotel
- Great golf course
- Right on a gorgeous beach
- Main building feels outdated
- Restaurant service can be slow
Four Seasons Resort HualalaiLocation: HualalaiKids allowed?: Yes
This resort is truly what you’d expect from the Four Seasons brand, if not more. Nestled between the Hualalai volcano and a gorgeous beach, the resort has seven (yes, seven!) pools, including a kids pool, an adults-only pool, a lap pool, and the absolutely incredible King’s Pond, where you can swim with thousands of fish and the special spotted eagle ray. Make sure you take a snorkeling tour with one of the marine biologists, who will give you fascinating insight into Hawaii’s underwater world. Also, take a look at the secluded parts of the beach in late afternoon, and you might catch a glimpse of the rare green sea turtle.
The Four Seasons boasts a wonderful, tranquil spa that lets you choose treatment ingredients straight from their apothecary. It also features a sauna, steam room, hot and cold plunge pools, and a wading pool.Book your stay with Four Seasons Resort HualalaiPros
- The King’s Pond is unique
- Spa features apothecary bar
- Excellent service
- Needs renovating
- Can get very crowded
- Quite expensive
Hilton Waikoloa VillageLocation: WaikoloaKids allowed?: Yes
The sprawling Hilton Waikoloa Village might not be the most luxurious option around, but it is absolutely perfect for families. Your kids (and you!) can enjoy seaside mini-golf, waterslides, hidden grottos, magical whirlpools, games, activities, and not to mention the infamous FishPipe (think of a huge hamster ball that rotates very, very fast).
The resort is not on the beach, but there is a trail leading you to A-Bay, one of the island’s largest sandy stretches. But with nine eateries, several pools, and a never ending list of activities for both adults and children, simply leaving the Hilton isn’t an easy feat! As much as we love the Waikoloa Village, there is no escaping the fact that it is a mega-resort, and it does sometimes feel chaotic. But we have no doubt that the young ones will love the theme park feel!Book your stay with Hilton Waikoloa VillagePros
- Perfect for kids
- Great value
- Expansive spa
- Big and crowded
- Not on the beach
- Overpriced restaurants
HalekulaniLocation: WaikikiKids allowed?: Yes
Slap-bang in the middle of Waikiki, the venerable Halekulani recently celebrated its 100th birthday. This iconic hotel has certainly grown and changed a lot since it opened, but it has maintained a boutique atmosphere, tasteful décor, and lush gardens, giving a feeling of understated luxury.
The hotel is not right on the beach, but most of its insanely well decorated rooms enjoy breathtaking ocean views. All rooms are decorated in the super sleek signature “seven shades of white” style, and guests rave about the marble bathrooms with deep soaking tubs. If you can’t get enough lounging in a tub, head to the spa and choose between its whirlpools, saunas, and steam rooms. And why not get one of the many skin treatments to choose from while you’re there?Book your stay with HalekulaniPros
- Historic hotel
- Stylish rooms
- Great spa
- Not the best pool
- Some rooms are noisy
Montage Kapalua BayLocation: MauiKids allowed?: Yes
This relatively new hotel in Maui is a great option for families and couples alike. We absolutely love how the resort’s pools overlook the ocean and blend perfectly with the lush, palm-dotted surroundings.
Just a five-minute walk down from the hotel is the lovely Kapalua beach, which is public but has a special section reserved for Montage hotel guests. The tranquil coves are perfect for snorkeling among hundreds of species of colorful fish, and you just might get the chance to swim with sea turtles. If this nature adventure leaves you wanting more, why not participate in one of the complimentary guided hikes or paddle boarding lessons?
That will keep the adults occupied, but don’t worry about the kids. The Montage offers plenty of activities for kids of all ages.Book your stay with Montage Kapalua BayPros
- Great for families
- Stunning beach
- Good spa
- Far from the airport
- Inconsistent service
Farimont OrchidLocation: WaimeaKids allowed?: Yes
It’s kind of unfair to have such a beautiful resort on an equally beautiful location. The Fairmont has everything you could ask for, but try to tear yourself away and go exploring.
First though, take in the resort: Located on 32 acres of beautifully curated grounds and bordering the scenic Kohala Coast, the Fairmont offers a range of activities for adults and children. While you’re busy indulging in a traditional lomi lomi Hawaiian massage and aromatherapy session, the kids can be kept occupied with the super adventurous Keiki Aloha Program.
Check out the water sports package if your family loves adrenaline!Book your stay with Farimont OrchidPros
- Great location
- Good Spa
- All rooms have good views
- Spotty service
- Average food
Turtle Bay ResortLocation: KahkuKids allowed?: Yes
Located on Oahu’s northernmost tip, jutting right out into the Pacific Ocean, Turtle Bay is an expansive resort including five miles of gentle white sand beach spread between three bays. If that’s not enough, the Kuilima beach cove is a sandy inlet perfect for snorkeling and only a few minutes away. Although the resort is a little remote, it’s well worth your time, and once you’re there you’ll be close to the must-see Waimea Falls Park and the Polynesian Cultural Center.
Although there are loads of places to kick back and relax, this resort is perfect for those who like doing things: helicopter rides, diving with sharks, yoga courses, and horseback riding are just some of the activities Turtle Bay offers to keep you busy.Book your stay with Turtle Bay ResortPros
- Lots of activities
- Different accommodation types
- Incredible beach
- Can get busy and crowded
- Hidden costs
Why choose a resort in Hawaii?
Travel writer Paul Theroux once claimed Hawaii is not a state of mind but a state of grace. We have to say we agree wholeheartedly. The islands are the quintessential tropical destination, so you can enjoy warm weather, gorgeous beaches, lush greenery, exotic food, and awe-inspiring sunsets. But the archipelago has so much more to offer: You can learn how to surf, go whale watching, hike volcanoes, and discover the unique Hawaiian culture.
There is also the fact that getting to Hawaii is just so easy. Since Hawaii is one of the 50 United States and flights to Hawaii from the U.S. mainland are considered domestic, you can get some really great deals if you keep an eye out. It also means you don’t need a passport (although photo ID is required) or a visa, and you don’t need to worry about exchanging currency.
Are the resorts in Hawaii truly all-inclusive?
Unlike Mexico or the Caribbean, resorts in Hawaii are not usually all-inclusive. But don’t let this discourage you! Most of the hotels (and all the ones we have listed in our ranking) offer different inclusive packages for couples, families, business travellers, and adventurous types.
Hawaii is very safe, so you don’t need to worry about security when you leave the resort. Plus, all the Hawaiian islands are so full of things to see and do that no matter how wonderful your resort is, you will want to explore!
All the resorts offer different kinds of activities, and all have several on-site restaurants and bars. But food in Hawaii is plentiful and diverse, so be sure to venture off the resort and try some local fare too!
When is the best time of year to book an all-inclusive stay in Hawaii?
You can visit Hawaii any time of year, but keep in mind that the dry season falls from April to October, while the wet season is from November to March. Many people choose to visit during the summer, but the climate is very hot and humid, so it’s best avoided if you struggle with high temperatures or plan to go hiking. During winter, temperatures are cooler but the weather can be gray and cloudy. If it’s a tan you’re after, wait for the summer months.
Every island is a bit different too, so make sure you check the weather conditions before you book. Also, what are you looking for in your Hawaii trip? Hawaii’s tropical climate means gorgeous flowers bloom year round, so you’re in for a treat whenever you go. If you dream of watching humpback whales, visit between November and early May. If you want to catch Hawaii’s world famous surf, the best time to visit is from November to January. If large crowds are not your thing, try heading there in late summer when the islands are not as busy or hot.
Costs vary throughout the year too: Flights and accommodations become more expensive during high season, between mid-December to mid-April. If you want to experience Hawaiian culture at its best, look up some of the archipelago’s best festivals and organize your holiday around them.
What is the best all-inclusive resort in Hawaii?
Resorts in Hawaii come in all forms, shapes and sizes. There are sprawling mega-resorts that feel like theme parks, secluded boutique hotels, luxurious resorts, and cheap and cheerful options. Plus, some are perfect for kids, others for honeymooning couples, and others are for travelers who like to keep busy with sports and outdoor activities.
The perfect resort for you also depends on which island you want to visit, so be sure to consult our little island guide above. Want to go surfing, or are you looking to party all week? Or maybe you want to be far from everyone and everything and just want to hide out in a tropical paradise. Take a good look at our ranking and you’ll find the best resort for you.
However, we’d be lying if we said we don’t have a favorite resort in Hawaii. After doing our research, comparing reviews and talking to customers (you can read more about our methodology above), we think that the Koa Kea Hotel & Resort on Poipu Beach is as good as it gets. Other than being set in lush grounds and bordering one of Hawaii’s best beaches, the Koa Kea’s value is in the details, from tasteful décor to personalized spa treatments.
Now that you’ve got your resort picked out, it’s time to pack. To help you get started, here are some of our favorite travel essentials.
- Lonely Planet Travel Guide: From O’ahu and Kau’i to Waikiki and Honolulu, Lonely Planet can help you make the most of your Hawaiian vacation.
- Captive Paradise: A History of Hawaii, by James L. Haley ($14): If you decide to stay on the beach, you can always get to know the islands by reading this captivating book.
- Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Water Resistant and Non-Greasy Sunscreen Lotion ($13): When it comes to your skin, it’s important to choose the best. Neutrogena is known for top quality sunscreens, and with all that surfing you’re going to do in Hawaii, you definitely need this one!
- Camo Coll Outdoor Boonie Hat ($12): If hiking up volcanoes is your thing, know that it gets hot and sweaty up there. This outdoorsy hat comes in loads of colors and will help keep you cool and protected from the sun’s rays.
- ALEADER Unisex Barefoot Beach Water Shoes ($14): Some of Hawaii’s coast is pretty rocky, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy exploring it! Slip on a pair of these funky waterproof shoes and you’re good to go.