Your Perfect Slice of Paradise

Local experts recommend their favorite things to see and do at their favorite Hawaii resorts.

Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa

Photo: Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa

Ask anyone who’s been to America’s 50th state and they’ll tell you there isn’t just one Hawaii. Each of the six main islands offers a unique culture and countless must-see attractions special to that place.

Start your next adventure by finding the perfect Hawaii resort at which to lay your head, be pampered at a luxury spa, get back to nature and enjoy quality time with your family. Whether you opt for Maui’s dramatic natural beauty and laid-back island vibe or feel a pull to the kinetic energy of Oahu and its action-packed Waikiki Beach, the Hawaii you experience will be different each time you visit.

Maui for Insiders

Set on the widest stretch of Ka‘anapali Beach with spectacular views of Lana’i and Moloka‘i, The Westin Maui Resort & Spa offers nonstop pampering, with an award-winning spa where treatments are infused with local ingredients.

Concierge Larisa Hudson is a font of inside information for off-the-beaten-path experiences at the Hawaii resort. “I highly recommend hiking the Maunalei Arboretum trails and snorkeling at Honolua Bay 15 minutes from the Westin,” says Hudson. A shuttle will take you to the easy-to-moderate trails from the Village Center, she adds. If it’s home cooking you crave, Hudson would send you to Nagasako Okazu-Ya Deli in Lahaina for an amazing plate lunch. Westin guests can hop on a complimentary shuttle to Lahaina, which stops a five-minute walk away from the deli.

AAA Travel Counselor Ramsey MacKay, Reno, Nevada, says watching the sunrise at Haleakala Crater should be at the top of your Maui must-do list.

“You need to get up there around 3 a.m. to beat the crowds,” he says. “But the spectacular views are a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Driving up the mountain and through the clouds was unbelievable.”

Disney Magic in Oahu

Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa, a Hawaii resort set on the beautiful beaches of Ko Olina on the western coast of Oahu, offers a combination of Disney’s signature touches with an authentic Hawaiian experience that’s perfect for families. Concierge John Delos Reyes sends outdoors lovers to Keawa‘ula Beach, a stretch of protected shore land 20 miles north of Aulani, for easy hiking and views of Hawaiian monk seals, native birds and green sea turtles. To get a real dose of aloha spirit, Delos Reyes says don’t miss the Starlit Hui luau, a fantastic show that tells the story of Hawaii through music and dance.

AAA TRAVEL COUNSELOR HA-WOW-I FAVORITES

The Royal Hawaiian

Photo: The Royal Hawaiian

The Royal Hawaiian

Diane Habell-Jower, AAA Travel Counselor, Oakland, California, never gets tired of the views at The Royal Hawaiian.

“Walk down the hallway from any room, and you’ll find breathtaking views of the ocean and Waikiki Beach below,” she says. The archways that frame the Pink Palace’s open tower offer stunning seascape vistas, another beloved feature. Add in continental breakfast and mai tais for two every day, and you’ve got the perfect Hawaii resort for the perfect romantic getaway.

Wailea Beach Marriott Resort & Spa

Photo: Wailea Beach Marriott Resort & Spa

Wailea Beach Marriott Resort & Spa

“With its koi ponds, white beaches, banyan trees and stunning views, Wailea Beach Marriott Resort & Spa is one of Maui’s most luxurious resorts,” says Terri Pena, AAA Travel Counselor, San Jose, California. The Hawaii resort lets two kids 17 and younger stay free with their parents. But if you need a dose of tranquility, Pena recommends the adults-only infinity-edge pool and its six exclusive over-water cabanas.

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Marco Ruiz, AAA Travel Counselor, Monterey, Calif.

I love to suggest Italy and Spain because of the culture and the flair of the people–their fashions, language and way of life. They take time to enjoy life's pleasures. When you're there, you feel it, too.

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