Chill out at the revamped, beach-house-inspired Shoreline (from $159), which reopened last May after a multi-million-dollar renovation overseen by architect Anthony Laurino. Though it’s just a five-minute walk from Waikiki’s iconic stretch of white sand, it’s tempting to skip the beach for the calm rooftop pool, ideal for soaking up some rays and doing a few laps in peace. Inside, the 134 airy rooms are outfitted with ’70s modernist furniture, all-white bathrooms with fresh flowers, and mini lanai balconies with city views. Check out the lobby chalkboard for the young staff’s picks on events and must-try foods in the area, and spend an afternoon siesta in the light-flooded lobby, with its cathedral-high ceilings, expansive windows, and comfy, retro-chic leather couches.
Stay above the fray of the bustling Kuhio drag at the year-old Vive Hotel (from $152). Start each day in the lobby’s convivial “living room,” where guests mingle amidst clusters of mahogany leather couches and dig into a fresh (and free) island breakfast, including local fruit and cheese pastries and slabs of cantaloupe, watermelon, and pineapple. Global statement pieces throughout the space, from porcelain vases and woven pillows to black-and-white photographs, are all sourced from local design shops, and that eye toward relaxed, contemporary style spills over into the rooms, with vivid graphic art on the walls, roomy walk-in showers, and clever touches like captain’s-bed-style drawers. Splurge on one of the three 22nd-floor penthouse suites for panoramic views of the city and beach.
Escape to the edge of Waikiki Beach at the Modern (from $320), designed with an eye toward organic luxury by architects George Yabu and Glenn Pushelberg. Start the day lazing in a custom teak chaise by the Sunrise Pool, then stroll through the lush grounds planted with pink bougainvillea, jasmine, and autograph trees (named for the practice of etching messages into the leaves). Be sure to take in brunch alfresco at the Grove, where in-house chef Scott Toner drums up locally sourced dishes like a Kalua pork burrito ($22) and Molokai sweet bread French toast with toasted coconut ($17). In the evening, head up to the serene, adults-only Sunset Pool: The central lagoon is laid with custom tiles by Yves Klein, and the 180-degree Pacific Ocean views go perfectly with a microbrew like Kona Brewing Co.’s Big Wave Golden Ale ($7).