Hidden away in the upscale residential neighborhood of Kahala (on the other side of Diamond Head from Waikiki), this elegant oceanfront hotel has played host to celebrities, princesses, the Dalai Lama, and nearly every president since Lyndon Johnson as one of Hawaii's very first luxury resorts. The Kahala is flanked by the exclusive Waialae Golf Links and the Pacific Ocean, surrounding it in a natural tranquillity. Pathways meander out along a walkway with benches tucked into oceanfront nooks for lazy viewing—only a 10-minute ride from Waikiki by free shuttle. The expansive oceanfront CHI Health Energy Fitness Center offers outdoor yoga and Pilates. Fine dining is available at Hoku's; the poolside bar and grill will serve you at your lounge chair on the beach. The reef just offshore makes the waters here calm enough for young kids. The hotel's "keiki club" offers complimentary cultural crafts and experiences, including pole fishing on the jetty. You can also sign up for dolphin interactions
in the 26,000-square-foot lagoon or simply sit and watch the dolphins play throughout the day. The 550-square-foot guest rooms, decorated in an understated Island style with mahogany furniture, are spacious: bathrooms have two vanities, and the lanai are big enough for lounge chairs. If you're a golf fan visiting the second week of January, ask for a room overlooking the course for a bird's-eye view of the PGA Sony Open from your lanai. If dolphins are your thing, request a room overlooking the lagoon.