Deciding where to stay is the biggest decision you need to make when planning a Hawaii vacation. A lot depends on your budget and how much you want to pay per day. Do you want to go to a plush hotel resort, moderately priced hotel or a condominium resort where you can prepare some of your own meals.
Many travelers are most comfortable with hotel brands whose names and reputations they know. If that's you, many of the national and international hospitality companies have hotels in Hawaii.
There are also several large companies whose properties are exclusively in Hawaii and the South Pacific, but whose names you may know or may have read about.
Here's a look at the biggest, and in many cases, best operators of resorts and hotels in Hawaii - including condominium hotels and resorts. You most likely won't go wrong staying at any of their properties, but, as always, do your homework and read the many reviews available for any property you're considering, either here on this site or elsewhere online.
The newest player in the Hawaii hospitality industry has quickly become a company that its competitors cannot take lightly. With twelve properties on Oahu, and one all-suite resort on Maui, Aqua Hotels & Resorts provides a great alternative to the much better known companies.
Founded in 2001 by Hawaii hotelier Michael V. Paulin, Aqua Hotels & Resorts was ranked the #8 "Fastest 50" growing Hawaii Company by Pacific Business News in 2007 and 2008.
Six of their Oahu properties are designed as boutique hotels with the amenities and ambiance of an upscale hotel properties and six, designated Aqua Lite hotels, are ideal for the budget-conscious traveler with comfortable accommodations, convenient locations and affordable pricing.
The 26 Aston properties range from boutique accommodations to authentic charming plantation cottages to hotels and condominium resorts which offer the value of a complete condominium experience, a feature that will play particularly well as travelers become more cost conscious.
Each property is located on or near the beach. Their properties offer a variety of choices for any lifestyle, taste and budget. Many of their properties have undergone extensive renovation in recent years.
Aston was the first hotel management company in Hawaii to develop all-suite condominium resort hotels with the blending of two concepts: hotel services and spacious condominium accommodations including kitchens and separate living rooms and bedrooms.
Another relatively new player in the Hawaii hospitality industry the Castle Resorts & Hotels was founded by veteran hospitality executive Rick Wall in 1994 and is now the third largest resort management company based in Hawaii.
Their portfolio includes 24 hotels and condominiums throughout Hawaii on Kauai, Oahu, Maui, Molokai and the Big Island of Hawaii; as well as properties in Micronesia on Saipan and Guam and in New Zealand on Auckland’s North Shore.
Accommodations range from full-service hotels to spacious resort condominiums, all of which combine value, convenience and genuine island hospitality.
Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts operates four resorts in Hawaii, all of which have been consistently rated among the top resorts not only in Hawaii, but in the world.
Two of the resorts are the only two resorts on the island of Lanai - the Four Seasons Resort Lana'i at Manele Bay and the Four Seasons Resort Lana'i The Lodge at Koele. They also operate the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai at Historic Ka'upulehu on the Big Island and the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea.
These properties are all some of the most expensive in Hawaii, but for guests who seek the ultimate in luxury and service, the Four Seasons cannot be beat.
Eight Hawaii properties are members of the Hilton Family beginning with their two signature properties, the Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort & Spa in Waikiki and the Hilton Waikoloa Village on the Big Island.
Other Oahu properties are the Doubletree Alana Hotel - Waikiki, the Embassy Suites – Waikiki Beach Walk, the Grand Waikikian by Hilton Grand Vacations Club and the Hilton Waikiki Prince Kuhio. The Grand Wailea Resort Hotels & Spa is one of Maui's top resorts and the Hilton Kauai Beach Resort is one of the newest members of the Hilton family.
I've stayed at four of these properties and visited the others. Hilton is clearly a leader in Hawaii's hotel industry.
Hyatt operates three resorts in Hawaii, the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa, the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort & Spa and the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa.
The Hyatt Regency Waikiki was the first hotel my wife and I stayed at in Hawaii back in the early 1990's and it will always have a special place in our hearts.
All three properties have superb ocean views, modern amenities, superb restaurants and plenty of shopping opportunities. All have excellent spas right on the property.
Marriott Resorts Hawaii consists of eleven properties, six of which are hotels or resorts and five of which are vacation ownership properties that include separate living and dining areas and kitchenettes. These "Ocean Club" properties all offer a number of units for rental to non-members.
Their signature hotel/resort properties are the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa on Oahu, the Wailea Beach Marriott Resort and Spa on Maui and the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa on the Big Island and the Kauai Marriott Resort & Beach Club on Kauai.
Many of the properties have undergone major renovation or complete reconstruction in recent years.
Outrigger Enterprises Group is the largest player in the Hawaii hospitality industry with 29 properties in Hawaii operating primarily under the Outrigger and OHANA brands and consisting of both full service hotels and resorts as well as resort condominiums.
Their top of the line properties are their beachfront properties, the Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach and Outrigger Reef on the Beach in Waikiki and the Keauhou Beach Resort on the Big Island.
One of the fastest growing lodging and hospitality companies in the Pacific, Outrigger manages properties with more than 12,000 rooms in Australia, Bali, Fiji, Guam, Hawaii and Thailand.
Their story is the story of Roy C. Kelley and How One Man's Dream Became a Reality.
Prince Resorts Hawaii operates four Hawaii properties - the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel and Mauna Kea Beach Hotel on the Big Island, the Maui Prince Hotel on Maui and the Hawaii Prince Hotel Waikiki and Golf Club on Oahu.
All feature pristine beaches, championship golf courses, world-class cuisine and gracious island hospitality. The Hawaii Prince Hotel Waikiki is the only Waikiki hotel that owns and operates a golf course.
The Mauna Kea Beach Hotel reopened in December 2008 following an extensive multi-million dollar restoration following the earthquake that struck the Big Island in December 2006.
Headquartered in Japan, Prince Hotels is Japan's largest hotel operator with 40 hotels and resorts, including nine hotels alone in Tokyo.
Starwood manages eleven properties in Hawaii under their Sheraton, Westin and St. Regis brands. In Waikiki alone, they manage the Moana Surfrider - A Westin Resort & Spa, The Royal Hawaiian, the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani and the Sheraton Waikiki.
On Kauai they have three properties, the Sheraton Kauai Resort, the St. Regis Princeville Resort and the Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas. On Maui they manage the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa, the The Westin Maui Resort & Spa and The Westin Ka'anapali Ocean Resort Villas. On the Big Island of Hawaii, they manage the Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort & Spa.
I have stayed at six of these properties and visited all of the others. I can assure you that you can't go wrong staying at any of these