Ko Olina Oahu
Hidden Paradise on the West Side

Ko Olina Oahu is a 642 acre gated and secured resort community on Oahu's west side offering the purest, bluest water, championship golf, world-class scuba diving and snorkeling and beautiful swimming lagoons.

ko olina oahu aerial

This stretch of coastline has been the least tainted by development offering lots of space to spread out and almost always sunny skies.

West Oahu is my first choice for snorkeling and dolphin and whale-watching due to the clear water and beautiful mountain backdrop. Located 24 miles east of Honolulu it takes about 25 minutes to get here from the airport WITHOUT TRAFFIC.

Other immediate area conveniences include a movie theater in the nearby town on Kapolei. Chain restaurants can be found there as well as Starbucks, Jamba Juice and grocery stores.

If you are vegetarian or health food minded there is an excellent store and restaurant called Down to Earth. They have a juice bar, salad bar, hot food bar and nut/cereal bins. In the grocery section are dry goods and there is a fresh fruit/vegetable section as well.


Hotels & Resorts

JW Marriott Ihilani Resort & Spa
4 stars 1/2

jw ihilani resort

The JW Marriot Ihilani Resort and Spa has 387 rooms in this direct oceanfront resort. With a recently renovated spa in January 2011 now featuring a zen garden and meditation area it definitely has relaxation in mind.

There are 3 ponds on site with sharks and tropical fish. There are 7 dining options on site including casual and a fine dining option. Rooms are large at 640+ sf, have a lanai and are decorated in a plantation style decor and include bathrobes, slippers, signature bedding and turndown service upon request.

Marble baths with large soaker tubs are part of the design as well. The resort includes all of the basic amenities such as a business and fitness center (with steam room), room service, outdoor pool, 1 meeting/conference room, wedding services, tennis childcare/activities and wireless internet for a fee.

Pricing and Availability

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Aulani-A Disney Resort and Spa
4 stars 1/2


The Disney Aulani resort has 359 rooms on 21 acres sitting directly on the ocean and just opened up in 2011. It is basically what you would expect in a resort in Hawaii except that there are Disney characters walking around.

Very family and kid-based resort with this audience in mind. 4 outdoor pools including one just for little kids with 3 waterslides. There is a large 8200 st pool and a private snorkeling lagoon. 4 whirlpool spas on site.

All of the basic amenities you would expect to find in a hotel including a full-service spa, fitness and business center, wedding services, a hair salon and meeting/conference facilities. Babysitting services are available and there is a kids' club.

All rooms have tvs and dvd players, a queen sofa bed, free wireless internet, a mini fridge, coffee/tea makers and bathrobes and slippers. There are 3 restaurants on site.

Pricing and Availability

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Marriott Ko Olina Beach Club
3 stars1/2

marriott ko olina beach club

949 direct oceanfront all suites hotel offering the comforts of condominium living with the amenities of a full service hotel. Suites include kitchenettes or full kitchens with stoves, full size refrigerators, microwaves and in-suite washer and dryer. Dining room, living room and furnished lanais are standard as well. 3 outdoor swimming pools, 7 whirlpool spas, 2 restaurants, free high speed internet, smoke-free environment,kids's activities, business center and fitness center are among some of the perks to be enjoyed. More details on this page.

Pricing and Availability

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Immediate Area Attractions

Ko Olina Marina

marriott ko olina beach club marina smaller

330 slip that is home to lots of water-based activities in Ko Olina. You can go on a snorkel/dolphin cruise , whale-watch cruise, sunset cruise or go sports fishing. There's excellent scuba diving over here as well, arguably the best on the island.

The waters on the west side are super-clean, clear, blue and unpolluted. The west side is the least developed of all of the shorelines on Oahu so the aquatic and marine life is still intact.

Also you don't see any high-rises or heavy development for the most part so you can enjoy the beauty of the Waianae mountains as a majestic backdrop while you do your activities.



Paradise Cove Luau

paradise cove luau smaller

Paradise Cove Luau is my favorite luau on the island because it is oceanfront on the beach, has lots of activities, landscaped very pretty, has a good show and you can see the Imu ceremony very well.

Learn more about luaus in general on the island on my page about them. Get pricing and availability for Paradise Cove Luau here.


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Wet n Wild Hawaii

wet n wild hawaii

Wet n Wild Hawaii is a waterpark nearby offering over 25 rides and attractions. Appropriate for both families with children to those seeking a thrill there is a variety of choices.

There are slides, pool and a 130ft water tube attraction called The Tornado to participate in.



Hiking at Kaena Point

kaena west hike

If you're up for a nice hike then you can drive to the end of the road on the west side past Yokohama beach and do the 2 hour hike to Kaena Point.

If the west side met the north shore or you could drive completely around the island this is where you would be. It's a moderate oceanfront hike that is very peaceful and beautiful.

You will observe natural bird sanctuaries and might even catch a seal asleep on the rocks. I wrote more about it here.




roys ko olina dishA Hawaiian fusion fine dining restaurant known for its steak and fish preparations.

Open for lunch and dinner and located on the Ko Olina golf course the setting is very nice.

Consider treating yourself to a nice meal here. Menu details and more restaurant info here.





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ko olina oahu golf club

Ko Olina has an 18 hole championship golf course designed by Ted Robinson. It was voted Oahu's #1 golf course by The Honolulu Advertiser and has been the host site for senior PGA and LPGA golf tournaments.

You are able to rent clubs and shoes and golf carts have hands-free GPS systems. Another plus is that at the 9th and 18th holes you can order food and refreshments from the snack bar without having to get out of your cart! For pricing, availability and more details read here.

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Pros & Cons


Away from Waikiki-quieter, more room, away from the hustle and bustle

Safe, clean, secure community

Clean water, swimming lagoons

Amazing sunsets


Marina-ideal for ocean water sports such as snorkeling, swimming with dolphins, scuba diving, sunset cruises and sports fishing.

ko olina oahu lagoon aerial


Distance-Traffic to this part of the island is bad, no make that horrible if you are commuting during peak rush hour times. Not a centralized location like Waikiki so commute times to some popular attractions in other parts of the island will take longer.

Need to rent a car-you don't HAVE to but if you don't want to feel stuck at your resort and want to explore or commute around the general community then you'll need a car.

You'll need a shuttle from the airport and if you want to minimize the time that you're renting a car at $30/day to park then I would say 2-3 days is fine and you can spend the rest of the time lounging by the pool.

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