21. Most couples we’ve interviewed say honeymooners should avoid larger resorts, as they tend to me more family friendly. As we’ve said numerous times, nothing tends to ruin a romantic mood more than an eight-year old’s cannonball or a toddler screaming in the room next door.
22. Smaller resorts are an option, but many honeymooners opt to enjoy the privacy, lower prices and kitchens offered by renting a condo or home. We stayed in a small cabin in the rainforest near Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island during our honeymoon and absolutely loved it. VRBO.com is a valuable resource for both research and booking rental properties.
23. The vast majority of hotels on Oahu are located in Waikiki, but we’d avoid staying there if you can. Although certainly famous and home to countless hotels, the over-abundance of humanity robs much of that relaxed atmosphere you’re probably looking for on a Hawaii honeymoon. The hotels there are more indicative of those in a city rather than a resort complex you’d find elsewhere. But if you’re looking for bustling nightlife, give it a shot.
24. The options outside Waikiki are relatively few and tend to be more expensive, but in general provide a more quintessentially Hawaiian experience. Some examples include Turtle Bay Resort, which was featured in the film “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” and the JW Marriott Ihilani Resort & Spa at Ko Olina.
25. Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa, has become THE place to have a wedding on Oahu. The marriage (pun intended) of Hawaii and Disney’s fairy tale weddings is just as special as you might imagine. The resort itself is also a pretty special place to stay, though it certainly goes against Tip No. 21.
26. Unlike Oahu, Maui provides a greater diversity of locations to stay, and unlike in the Big Island’s vast Kohala/Kona areas, your resort is likely to be closer to sites, attractions and a beach.
27. There are two principle resort areas. West Maui is the busiest area home to the town of Lahaina and the popular resort areas of Ka’anapali and Kapalua. There are great beaches, shopping, dining and historic sites here, along with consistent hot, humid weather. The South Shore presents big-time resorts in the southern portion and an abundance of rentable condos in the north, and although still prone to traffic, is generally less busy than West Maui. It’s more central location also makes it a better place if exploration is on your to-do list. The North Shore and Hana are less populated and more remote, resulting in more relaxed experiences but also limited dining and nightlife options. You won’t find any mega resorts or big condo complexes here, rather smaller inns, B&B’s and boutique hotels.
“The room we stayed at (in the Inn at Mama’s Fish House in Hana) had its own courtyard, its own kitchen, bathroom, huge bedroom and living space. It was really nice,” said Renee Capallero who honeymooned on Maui in 2011. She and her husband Lucian actually preferred staying there to the otherwise spectacular Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas, a mega resort in West Maui.
28. There are fewer hotels and resorts on Kauai than on the other islands, and many (as on the Big Island) lack direct beach access. However, sand and surf is usually an easy walk away. For instance, Chris and Elie Mehl stayed at the Westin Princeville Ocean Villas during their Kauai honeymoon in 2011, and although it lacked a beach front, they had the option to walk or take a 5-minute shuttle to the St. Regis Princeville sister hotel’s beach.
29. A more popular option is to rent a condo or vacation house during your Kauai honeymoon. Although you’ll lack on-site restaurants and other hotel amenities, many condos still include a pool and similar beach access. Houses offer more privacy, though may be more remote. Both will give you more space, kitchens (preparing some of your own meals is a great way to save money) and tend to be cheaper.
30. Although Kauai is circular like the other islands, there is neither a complete ring road nor a highway that bridges the interior. In other words, it’s a very good idea to stay near the area you’re interested in exploring.
31. The South Shore is home to the most resorts, and has the most consistently sunny weather. However, it’s a tad less picturesque than the secondary resort haven, the North Shore. Its scenery has a major “wow” factor but it can be rainier there. To find lower prices and perhaps a more traditional, laid back experience, head to the East Side. This is your chance to be amongst the locals while saving a bit of money, although the beaches aren’t as nice.
The Big Island
32. Our 42 Tips for a Big Island Honeymoon has a more complete take on where to stay, but it’s most important to note that the Big Island is indeed big and broken into distinct areas. The vast majority of resorts and white sandy beaches are located on the western, drier part of the island in Kailua-Kona or Kohala. The lush, canyon-filled areas reminiscent of other islands is in the north and northwest, but there are few hotels there. The town of Hilo and plenty of picturesque gems are on the eastern coast. The active Kilauea volcano and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is in the southwest (we’d recommend renting a house here, such as the Honeymoon Chalet pictured above) and the colossal mountain volcanoes of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea are in the center like the humps of a camel.