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Ko’olina is an oceanfront resort area on the leeward (west) side of Oahu. It’s a preplanned community (as in, much of the infrastructure was laid out before many of the resorts and restaurants moved in) so it has a bit of a curated and idyllic vibe that although is definitely not “local” Hawaii, is nevertheless heavenly for vacationers. It’s location on the leeward side means that the weather is almost always dry and sunny, and it’s home to some of the island’s loveliest beaches. There are four lagoons in the Ko’olina resort area that are ideal, protected places to swim.
Where to Stay
The Ko’olina resort isn’t that big so narrowing down a place to stay won’t be too difficult.
Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa: Aulani is the big star around these parts. While being “Disney,” it’s surprisingly the most “Hawaiian” resort I’ve come across in Hawaii. The resort has taken amazing steps to preserve and honor Hawaiian culture and heritage as well as share it with guests. It’s definitely THE place to stay if you have kids. It practically has its own waterpark, and the place has a very comfortable but upscale feel. There’s so much to do at this resort that you’ll constantly be torn between taking advantage of all of the activities and wanting to just lounge around the amazing beach and pools. Read this post for a more in depth review of Aulani. Check rates and read reviews here.
Four Seasons Oahu: If you’re looking for luxury, you’ll find it at the Four Seasons. Recently renovated and converted from a JW Marriott, this property is everything you’d expect from the Four Seasons. With an amazing spa, tennis facility, multiple pools, and yummy restaurants, you’ll be able to pass your vacation here in style. This Four Seasons is considered an entry level Four Seasons property (not quite as lavish and expansive as the resorts on Maui and the Big Island), so if you’d like to experience luxury at a lower price point, this is a great option. It’s usually on par price wise with Aulani. Check rates and read reviews here.
Marriott Ko’olina Beach Club: If you’re a points tracker or loyal to Marriott/Starwood, you’ll definitely want to check out this spot. This gorgeous resort has more pools than you can imagine and wonderful amenities if you’re looking for good bang for your buck. The resort has 1-3 bedroom villas with kitchens so you’ll have more room to spread out. The Marriott is also the only resort on lagoon #3 in Ko’olina (Aulani and the Four Seasons share lagoon #1), so it may seem a little quieter. Check rates and read reviews here.
Ko’olina Beach Villas Resort: If you’re looking for a spacious condo with resort like amenities, you’ll love this place. It’s located on Lagoon #2 and it’s a great option to save some money while still feeling like you’re living it up. You can book your unit through the resort or independently through owner via sites like Airbnb (use this link for $40 off your first stay) or Vrbo.
RELATED: Not very familiar with Oahu? Read up on the lay of the (is)land and where to stay plus my favorite beach resorts, budget hotels, condos, honeymoon resorts, family friendly resorts, luxury resorts, and boutique hotels.
Vacation Rentals: There’s also a little neighborhood behind the shopping center that’s surrounded by the golf course where you can rent individual houses/villas through Vrbo.
Kapolei: If you’re looking for something even cheaper, expand your search to the nearby town of Kapolei. It’s inland a few miles but still close enough to pop over to the beach and you might find more economical accommodations if you’re just looking for someplace to set up a basecamp to explore the island from.