Your Personal Paradise: The Hawaiian Islands

These islands offer outdoor pursuits, jaw-dropping scenery, and loads of romance, each with its own twist. Find the right flavor for you.

For the City Scene: Oahu

If you love the 24/7 excitement of a big city, consider devoting a good chunk of your Hawaiian honeymoon to Honolulu, the Aloha State’s capital and gateway. Located on Oahu and home to almost one million people, Honolulu is known for both its iconic sun-and-surf culture — on bustling Waikiki Beach — and an haute restaurant and bar scene.

the moderne honolulu hawaii
Photo courtesy of The Moderne Honolulu

The Island Vibe

City chic is the name of the game on Oahu, especially when it comes to dining and shopping. There’s an endless array of designer boutiques set next to the expected island beachwear outfitters at the Royal Hawaiian Center and the 290-store Ala Moana Center. Refuel at one of the area’s award-winning eateries. Indulge in creative Asian-inspired Hawaiian regional cuisine at Alan Wong’s, savor delicious steaks at The Beachhouse and enjoy a sophisticated take on seafood at Azure in The Royal Hawaiian hotel. Whatever your tastes, be sure to book a table at Morimoto Waikiki, a sushi outpost of the world’s most celebrated master. Cocktails and small plates are also popular city eats, as are enjoying both at sunset. At the trendy, tiki-torch-lit RumFire bar the scene is hip and the ocean views are spectacular. For a more authentic experience, there’s the atmospheric Banyan Courtyard at the Moana Surfrider, which offers local entertainment and mai tais beneath a 110-year-old banyan tree or the romantic House Without a Key at Halekulani for traditional slack-key guitar music and hula.

outrigger reef on the beach in oahu hawaii
Photo courtesy of Outrigger Hotel and Resorts

Of course, it isn’t all citified fun on the island of Oahu and typical Hawaiian pursuits — surf lessons, riding an outrigger canoe with Waikiki Beach Services and just kicking back on the beach — are abundant. The easy two-hour climb up the dormant volcano Diamond Head provides a great bird’s eye view.

Where to Stay

The recently renovated, 639-room Outrigger Reef on the Beach is located adjacent to the shops and eateries of lively Waikiki Beach Walk, and sits on its own lovely section of sand (room rates start at $204 a night; The 793-room Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa, charms with historic details (circa-1901 architecture, a rocker-lined porch) and a beachfront location. The Heavenly Beds and a Hawaii-centric spa continue the draw (room rates start at $270 a night; Youthful and nightlife-centric, The Modern Honolulu offers contemporary decor in its 353 rooms, two pools and trendy eateries and clubs, but no beach access (room rates start at $340 a night; For the ultimate in romance, splurge on a room with a Waikiki view in the Royal Beach Tower at The Royal Hawaiian, A Luxury Collection Resort — the hotel has been a pink-hued beachfront icon since 1927 (room rates start at $355 a night;

the moderne honolulu hawaii
Photo courtesy of The Moderne Honolulu

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