Researching Best Place to Stay in Waikiki for Families
I had the opportunity to meet my Mom on Oahu last month. She lives on Kauai but my in-laws invited me to fly to Oahu with them on a work trip. This meant I didn’t need to fly to Hawaii with kids on my own! The first thing I did was Google the best hotels in Waikiki for families.
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I knew I didn’t want to be located right on Waikiki Beach this trip. There are so many things to do in Oahu with kids. Our plan was to be out an about every day rather than relaxing at Waikiki Beach. Instead, I wanted to stay somewhere where we could easily walk to restaurants and shopping. And that would be easy to drive in and out of. Oh and didn’t feel dated. That’s when I found the Waikiki Courtyard Marriott!
Waikiki Family Accommodation
What you’ll notice when you are looking for the best Hotels in Waikiki for families is that some are brand new and some are very old. The Courtyard by Marriott Waikiki Beach was recently renovated. This $20 million updated 403 rooms, including 95 suites that are perfect for families in Waikiki. Take a look at what their “Island Chic” hotel looks like in the urban oasis in the heart of Waikiki.
Since I was traveling with my mom, my preschooler, and my toddler, we reserved a Deluxe Double Double guest room. We also had a pack-n-play reserved. We’ve discovered when traveling with kids in Hawaii, they prefer to co-sleep with an adult.
So, my mom took one kid and I took the other. We were impressed how comfortable the beds were. They are pillow-top beds. The pillows are also very comfortable. I had my preschooler use the small pillow and it was perfect for him!
Some of the best hotels in Waikiki for families feature a kitchen. Waikiki Courtyard Marriott is no exception. When you are traveling to Hawaii with kids, having a mini fridge is so helpful. We stocked it with milk and string cheese as soon as we arrived. Throughout our stay, we filled it with restaurant leftovers. This saved us a lot of money in Hawaii with kids since we could eat in the hotel room.
We also appreciated that the Courtyard by Marriott Waikiki Beach had a sink in their kitchen area. It was perfect for washing out my toddler’s sippy cup in between uses. Plus, it made it easy to rinse off utensils and cups to reuse later in our trip.
For our family, the Deluxe Double Double guest room was the perfect size for our family. My toddler was able to push the rolling chair around the room. And his stroller. And our luggage.
The bathroom was also quite large. As a mom of two little kids, I’m used to them following me everywhere. The bathroom is no exception, so I appreciated the extra space. The only place that wasn’t roomy was the shower itself.
View From Our Courtyard Waikiki Beach Room
So, you know how I said the Courtyard by Marriott Waikiki Beach is a few blocks from the ocean? That doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a view. It’s just more of a city view, which is exactly what my kids were interested in.
My preschooler loved to be able to scope out the pool in the morning. My toddler was quick to point out all the tour buses. And one morning, the boys watched the tiniest garbage truck empty bins on a side street. For families with little boys, you understand what a cool view this is!
Why it’s One of the Best Hotels in Waikiki for Families
Location Near Waikiki Beach
I’ve stayed in Waikiki a handful of times without kids. Usually we are on the beach or across the street. While that’s super fun when it’s just adults, it can be a bit overwhelming for families with small children.
The Courtyard by Marriott Waikiki Beach is one of the best hotels for families because it’s NEAR Waikiki Beach without being on the beach itself. It’s next to an ABC Store, Whaler’s General Store and it’s a 5 minute walk to the popular Waikiki Beach Walk. We also were able to easily walk to the famous Duke Kahanamoku statue, the Royal Hawaiian Center, and the new International Market Place.
Hotel Activities for Families
Do your kids like watching movies? How about watching movies while swimming in Hawaii? The Courtyard Waikiki Beach has “Dive In” movies playing at the pool! When we were there, the movie was Disney’s Moana.
They also have corn hole set up in the front lawn at the Courtyard by Marriott Waikiki Beach. My son had fun tossing the bean bags when we got back to the hotel. It helped refocus his energy. It’s unusual perks like this that make it a best place to stay in Waikiki for families.
Pool + Hot Tub
For most kids, the pool is their favorite part of staying at a hotel on a Hawaii family vacation. My son is no different. The Courtyard Waikiki Beach has a modest pool and hot tub. The area is very quiet. We stayed here during the week and I think many of the guests were here on business, so the pool area wasn’t crowded during the afternoon.
The hot tub was the perfect way to relax after exploring Waikiki with kids. They also have comfortable pool chairs. Plus, you can grab a cocktail at the Lobby Bar for yourself. And head to the Market for a frozen treat for your kids!
The Market at Courtyard Waikiki Beach
My boys are always hungry. Like they want a snack AFTER they have inhaled their entire dinner. So, it was nice that the Courtyard by Marriott Waikiki Beach has an array of food options available in their lobby. Plus, there’s a microwave. It’s a great option for families who want to grab snacks for the road while heading up to the Polynesian Cultural Center, Hanauma Bay or Pearl Harbor.
On the other side of the Market is their business center. Just ask the front desk for the password and you can use their computers and printers. This was perfect for printing off a waiver I needed to bring with me to Aulani later that week.
KiMOBEAN Hawaiian Coffee
I need a latte every morning. No, the hotel coffee just doesn’t cut it for me. I need a coffee drink with lots of milk and sugar to kick off my day in Hawaii with kids. This is a main criteria for my picks of the best hotels in Waikiki for families!
Not only does KiMOBEAN Hawaiian Coffee have an array of coffee and tea drinks, but they also have breakfast items. I was mostly impressed that they offered musubi, which is a family favorite. Perfect spot for a light breakfast before hitting the road.
If you don’t want to pack a ton of clothes on your Hawaii family vacation, you don’t have to. The Courtyard by Marriott Waikiki Beach has laundry services on the other side of the parking lot. This came in handy for our family after my kids had a few accidents. I hate traveling with smelly clothes.
Something that’s extra cool about the laundry at Courtyard Waikiki Beach is that you can track it on your phone. We found that we did the wash cycle one time, but needed to do the dry cycle a few times. No one else used these facilities while we were here. We actually walked to get some Spam musubi while our clothes were being washed!
Quick Valet Parking at The Courtyard By Marriott Waikiki Beach
Another reason this is one of the best hotels in Waikiki for families is their valet service. It’s so fast! No one likes to wait for their car. They brought our minivan around in under 5 minutes every single time.
The valet/bell services employees were so nice! One of them let my toddler roll our suitcase all the way from our hotel room to the valet area. He made sure my son wouldn’t fall over and chatted with my preschooler the whole time. Top notch employees like this is why the Courtyard Waikiki Beach is my pick for the best place to stay in Waikiki for families.
Things to Do on Oahu with Kids
Honolulu Cookie Company
I recommend taking the kids to the Honolulu Cookie Company location at Waikiki Beach Walk. It was recently expanded and it’s one of their larger stores in Waikiki. They offer mini cookies as free samples. It’s surely to be a hit with kids!
Plus, Honolulu Cookie Company is a great stop for grabbing gifts. We purchased a few gift boxes to bring back to my son’s preschool teachers. Since their cookies are individually wrapped, they are perfect for bringing to school or work. And they make a fun treat in a lunch box. Oh, did I mention the cookies are adorably shaped like pineapples?
Toa Luau in Waimea Valley
One of the newest, most authentic luaus on Oahu is Toa Luau in Waimea Valley. It just launched in October 2017 and my family attended it’s 17th show. I’d say this is definitely one of my top things to do in Oahu with kids!
Toa Luau offers hands on activities, a Kava ceremony, coconut tree climbing, food and a Polynesian show. It’s family-owned and operated. They have a focus on Samoan culture in addition to several other Polynesian cultures, including Hawaiian. I loved this activity so much that I wrote an entire blog post about Toa Luau!
Musubi Cafe Iyasume in Waikiki
I got a great tip from an Oahu local to swing by Musubi Cafe Iyasume on Seaside Ave in Waikiki. She told me it was a tiny shop that usually has a line out the door. Boy, she wasn’t kidding! This location is about the size of my closet and there’s really only room for maybe 3 people max inside.
But, it’s one of my top places to eat in Waikiki with kids! It’s take-out only, but they have a few chairs outside if you want to sit and eat. Musubi Cafe Iyasume offers all kinds of musubi (including Hawaiian Spam musubi,) bento boxes, poke bowls, and rice balls. It’s perfect grab and go food! We actually stopped in again on our way to the airport so we’d have yummy food to eat on the plane!
Polynesian Cultural Center
If you are looking for things to do in Oahu with kids, the Polynesian Cultural Center is something not to be missed. It made such an impression on me when I visited as a teenager. I visited 5 years ago when I was pregnant with my son. So, it was really special to bring him to the Polynesian Cultural Center now that he’s a preschooler.
What’s new at Polynesian Cultural Center is their Hukilau Market. This area features food trucks, sit down restaurants and shops and you don’t need a ticket to enter here. You do need to purchase a ticket to explore the Polynesian Cultural Center and attend their luaus and Ha: Breath of Life show.
Thanks to the Marriott by Waikiki Beach for extending me a media rate for my stay. I also received discounts to Polynesian Cultural Center, a gift from Honolulu Cookie Company and tickets to Toa Lua for review purposes. All opinions are my own.