This Pacific island idyll has perfect beaches, dramatic surf, colourful flowers, rugged rainforests and soaring volcanoes – it’s the stuff of movies (and has been the backdrop for blockbusters including Jurassic Park, Jumanji and Pirates of the Caribbean). Hawaii has certainly attracted its fair share of stars over the centuries having famously been a favourite of Elvis Presley. Warm all year round and easy to access from the US mainland, it’s packed with rich culture and delicious food. Rather than a single destination, Hawaii is an archipelago, offering a range of different experiences and activities across its eight main islands, so you can pick the spot that suits you best.
The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach
Perched beside one of the most famous beaches on earth, The Ritz-Carlton Residences has the highest infinity pool in Waikiki (eight floors up), furnished with private cabanas offering food service. Choose from a bedroom, a suite with sweeping ocean views, or one to four-bedroom apartments with kitchens and expansive living spaces. But with dining venues such as the 16-seater Sushi Sho showcasing the ancient art of edomae, Dean & Deluca and outdoor restaurants like La Vie and Quiora onsite, you’ll probably want to give the cooking a miss. And do visit the spa, with treatments incorporating volcanic stones, rainforest leaves, lehua blossoms and lomilomi massage techniques.
Four Seasons Resort Maui At Wailea
Just 17 miles from the airport and a few minutes walk from the sea, this resort hotel has something for everyone. Choose a room with an ocean, mountain, or garden view, or a presidential suite with up to three bedrooms. Dine on Hawaiian and California fusion cuisine at Chef Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant Spago, Ferraro’s Italian Bar e Ristorante, at sushi in the Lobby Lounge bar, or get a table at DUO Steak and Seafood restaurant, beside one of the three pools. There’s also a spa, a beauty salon and tennis courts.
Sensei Lanai, Four Seasons Resort
Another from the Four Seasons portfolio, Sensei Lanai is just for adults. Found in a secluded enclave reached via a semi-private flight from Honolulu, the resort offers a quite unique experience. The wellbeing retreat has developed programmes and journeys, using a blend of science, evidence-based practices and innovative technology, led by expert practitioners. Engage in yoga, meditation, hiking and lectures, surrounded by beautiful artwork, a breathtaking sculpture garden and calming water features that help evoke an atmosphere of self-discovery. Guests staying here dine at Sensei by Nobu in a glass pavilion building, or outside, beside a koi pond.
Montage Kapalua Bay
With an aquamarine roof shaped like a canoe house, Montage is a smaller, separate resort within the wider Kapalua hotel complex. It stands beside a rugged, rocky portion of coast, offering one, two, three and four-bedroom suites with sitting areas, kitchens and laundry spaces that are ideal for families. Guests can dine in the Cane & Canoe restaurant, drink and eat more casual meals in The Hideaway, get food by the pool, or snacks in Mahana Market – there’s also a stunning event space, Cliff House, which opens as a restaurant during peak times. Complimentary services include guided hikes and tide pool explorations and lessons on the regions cultural heritage.
The Ritz-Carlton Maui, Kapalua
Enjoy facilities on a large scale at this Ritz-Carlton property on maui’s northwest shore. Flanked by an enormous natural preserve and two protected marine sanctuaries, it’s the place for tropical eco-adventures. Or make the most of amenities across its 54 acres, such as a spa with treatments inspired by ancient Hawaiian traditions, two tennis courts, a kids’ club, 466 bedrooms and a triple-level free-form 24 hour outdoor pool, overlooking the ocean. There are many food and drink outlets too; the Banyan Tree is arguably the highlight, plus there’s a burger shack, a poolside diner and a chic lounge with firepits.
Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina
Following a $500 million overhaul, the Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina opened in 2016. Here you can sip cocktails on the sand at Mina’s Beach Club, tuck into plant-bsed fare at La Hiki, swim up to Dr. Mai Tai’s in the infinity pool, pop along to a weekly barbecue and enjoy romantic dinners at Noe Italian and Mina’s Fish House. The indoor-outdoor Naupaka Spa and Wellness Center enables adults to unwind, while the kids take part in organized activities. Found on the western coast, the resort also has swimmable lagoons and an excellent golf course.
The Kahala Hotel & Resort
Formed from two man-made peninsulas protected from the elements, The Kahala has been in business for over 60 years. During that time it has welcomed almost every US president, the Hollywood elite (including Angelina Jolie, Christopher Walken, Elizabeth Taylor and Dean Martin), the British Monarch, international rock stars and the Dalai Lama – to name just a few of its iconic patrons. Inside you’ll find Thai-teak parquetry, enormous chandeliers made of Italian fused glass and even Japanese multi-feature toilets in bedrooms. Outside, there are waterfalls, a lagoon with turtles and dolphins, over 100 palm trees and the beach bar that was featured in TV’s Magnum PI.
The Royal Hawaiian, A Luxury Collection Resort, Waikiki
Boasting a private section of Waikiki beach, The Royal Hawaiian dates back to the 1920s and was once owned by the Royal Navy — it is instantly recognisable by its pastel pink Spanish-Moorish facade. Amenities include cultural activities, a programme for kids, two swimming paradises (a Malulani Pool and the Helumoa Playground), watersports, an onsite bakery, a seafood restaurant and the award-winning Azure, and Waikiki’s only waterfront luau. Stay in the landmark Historic Wing or the magnificent Mailani Tower in one of the hotel’s 528 colourful and glamorous rooms.
Four Seasons Resort Lanai
Found on Hawaii’s smallest island (that the public can access), Lanai is a privately owned, unspoilt idyll. The Four Seasons can be reached via a 30-minute flight from Honolulu, followed by a 15-minute transfer from the island’s airport. Landscaped gardens and traditional Pacific-style pavilions are complemented by high-tech mod cons, antique furnishings and rustic decorative touches. Swim in a lagoon pool, surrounded by swaying palms and cabanas made from natural materials. Dine on healthy food at the poolside Malibu Farm, eat at One Forty steakhouse and fine dining in an outlet of the famous Nobu. The resort also boasts a spa, golf course and watersports.