Hawaii is the stuff of dreams. With a culture, language, and landscape different from mainland USA, way out in the Pacific Ocean is a world of its own, spread out over eight islands. The hotels in Hawaii are usually located directly on the beach, granting you the unique and blissful experience of waking up with a view of the open ocean. They are often furnished with natural materials grown on the island — bamboo and wood being the predominant components of the interior design. The spacious rooms and suites are decked out with floral ornamentation and fresh flowers from the surrounding landscapes. For a special treat, book a hotel with a bungalow for complete privacy and a totally romantic stay.
Honolulu is not only Hawaii’s capital and largest city, it also just barely misses the top ten list of largest cities in the US. Located on the coast of Oahu, Honolulu promises a real Hawaiian, real big-city experience. From the restaurant-lined streets of Chinatown to the US’ only royal palace, from the iconic Aloha Tower to the world’s largest open-air shopping arena Ala Moana, there’s something for everyone here and for a while. Just outside of Honolulu is beach resort paradise Waikiki, home to skyscraper hotels that hug the coastline and are sure to take your breath away. Lounge all day on the rooftop pool or in the super chill bar area and then walk the block or two at sunset to the most perfect beach you can conjure up — pure white sand slipping into crystal-clear water, lined with palm trees and overlooked by the Diamond Head volcanic cone. Those active travelers should test their limits with the challenging hike to the top of the mountain — after an hour and some steep incline, you’ll be rewarded with the most amazing views of the island. Elsewhere on Oahu, find secluded hotels that offer all you could desire, fit even for a honeymoon.
Maui is particularly well known for its breathtaking beaches — from which you may be able to spot a humpback whale or two, as well as outstanding natural island scenery and the Hana Highway or Road to Hana road trip route along the coast from Kahului to Hana. This route can be treacherous to drive on one’s own on account of its curvy and coastal character and is best experienced on an organized tour. Almost all the hotels on these particularly magical islands are situated directly on the beach and boast spectacular patios prime for soaking up the breathtaking views and whiling away an afternoon or two drinking wine and coffee with the one you love. The interiors of these extremely fine hotels are what you dream of when you dream of that perfect holiday: rooms perfectly dressed in light color concepts, massage tables surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows with a view out to the sea, and elegant dining halls serving up first-rate fare. Lanai is an enticing destination for fans of golf and luxurious resorts. The smallest inhabited island open to visitors, Lanai also boasts a quieter side with secluded beaches, where you can snorkel among sea turtles, and a pretty inland, through which you can horseback ride.
The island of Hawaiʻi, commonly referred to as the Big Island, is the United States’ largest island and its surface area is greater than that of all the other Hawaiian Islands combined. The most amazing thing about this surface area is that around 75% of it is composed of volcanoes, one of which, Kilauea, remains extremely active and is the world's most visited volcano. The Hawaii Volcanoes National Park hosts this monster of a mountain as well as Mauna Loa — make sure to schedule time to wander past fires, the ethereal glow of lava, craters, and more. Lining the Big Island on all sides are some seriously gorgeous beaches, dotted with hotels of the highest caliber. Imagine a beachside hotel with an in-house spa, boats to rent, personal sun loungers, sprawling golf courses with an ocean view, and amazing pool complexes that’ll make you forget all of your worries. On top of that, these establishments stay true to the local culture and traditions, especially in maintaining warm hospitality as is the spirit of aloha. The Big Island is the perfect choice for those looking to pack some action in their leisure; there are myriad exciting activities and sights to see for visitors of all ages, from colorful beaches to hiking and biking trails, from lush rainforests to steaming volcanoes.
Getting there: The only way to get to Hawaii from the UK is by flying direct to one of the US’ more major airports like LAX or Atlanta (ATL) and transfer there to a nonstop flight to Oahu (HNL), Maui (OGG), Kauai (LIH), or one of the two airports on the Big Island (KOA or ITO). Most island hopping is done by inter-island flights, although there are ferries between Maui and Lanai and between Maui and Molokai. Though it might sound daunting to have to take flights around during your vacation, the process is quite breezy, not too expensive, and worth it for the chance to experience the totally different worlds on each island.