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Finding just the right place to stay on Oahu can be tricky, especially with recent legislation limiting zoning for vacation rentals in residential areas.
If you’re looking for alternate accommodations (not a hotel or a resort), I tend to recommend condos over apartments and houses anyways as it puts less of a burden on local housing demands, however on Oahu, the options are self limiting now
Basically, properties that don’t have a permit to operate as a vacation rental and are outside of certain zones have been shut down (it’s estimated as many as 10,000 properties were being rented without permits on sites like Airbnb!) so if a hotel or resort isn’t in the budget (or you’ll looking for more amenities), a condo is a good option.
The condo situation on Oahu is interesting. Compared to the other islands, there are definitely fewer condos and complexes that cater to visitors as many of them (especially in Waikiki/Honolulu) have full time residents.
I’ve made recommendations for specific condo units in this post (mostly budget options), but availability, seasonal pricing, or other factors may leave you still needing more options.
In this post, I’m recommending several condo complexes (also called condo-tels or condo resorts) by area on Oahu that I think are good places to stay. I’ve also got descriptions of each area so you can figure out what part of the island is most appealing to you.
I think the best place to find (and book) Oahu vacation rentals is Vrbo. They’ve been around forever and are probably the most reputable booking platform online (with owners and vacationers alike), which means that you’ll find more quality properties listed on Vrbo than anywhere else online. I used to book more often with Airbnb, but I’ve begun to find that they often don’t have what I’m looking for (especially when I want to book a condo/unit within a resort property). So all of the condo complexes I will be linking to are bookable within Vrbo.
Disclaimer: This is by no means an exhaustive list of every condo complex on Oahu. There are soooooo many, and there likely are some that aren’t on this list that are perfectly good places to stay at. I’ve compiled this list largely based on location, ratings and reviews, and an overall vibe of what I’m looking for in a place to stay.
Turtle Bay (North Shore)
Oahu’s famous north shore stretches all the way from Laie to Haleiwa and is what locals call the “country.” You won’t find a Target or Costco up there. But you will find gorgeous beaches (only swimmable in the summer), and sleepy little surf towns. The only resort on the north shore is Turtle Bay and it’s lovely. There are some condos situated in the Turtle Bay resort area.
Villas at Turtle Bay: Clustered around the main resort, these villas and condos are the perfect blend of the resort amenities (beaches and resort shops and restaurants) and the added comforts of a vacation rental (kitchen, laundry, etc.) Find specific condo units here.
Ko’olina & West Side
This resort community on the west side feels a world away from Waikiki, but very much like a vacation spot instead of the more “local” Kailua and north shore. In Ko’olina you’ll find a Four Seasons, Marriott, and the big Disney resort as well as a small shopping center. There’s also a Target and Costco in nearby Kapolei. Otherwise, Ko’olina is a little remote from the rest of the island, which could be a good thing!
Ko’olina Beach Villas: The Ko’olina Beach Villas is a large resort complex that sits on its own lagoon in between the Marriott and Disney’s Aulani Resort. The pool is lovely and the units are large and new. Find specific condo units here.
Makaha Shores: Situated on a gorgeous beach on the west side, this is a much more local area and although a little bit removed from the rest of the island, it’s a good bang for your buck. Find specific condo units here.
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Waikiki (a beachfront neighborhood in Honolulu) is home to about 95% of the island’s hotel rooms, so by default, it’s where most tourists end up. Waikiki/Honolulu is basically a big city on the beach. Think endless high rises, flashy shopping centers, all the major chain restaurants, and a million people. All of the major hotel chains are represented as well as plenty of budget options and even trendy new boutique hotels. But there are also a few condo properties that I like in the area.
Illikai Hotel & Luxury Suites: The Illikai is the best place to get the classic Waikiki experience. It’s got a great location, modern units, but it costs a fraction of the price as nearby resorts. Find specific condo units here.
Waikiki Banyan: This large tower is a couple of blocks from the beach, but many of the higher floors have ocean views. There’s a good sized pool and tennis courts. You’ll definitely get a city vibe staying at this property amidst the high rises, but the price is right. Find specific condo units here.
All photos in this post are from Vrbo.com listings.
This post has focused on recommending condo complexes (or condo resorts), for recommendations on specific condo units (especially budget ones), see this post.
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