• Halekulani (Oahu;; tel. 800/367-2343): When price is no object, this is really the only place to stay. An oasis of calm amid the buzz, this beach hotel is the finest Waikiki has to offer (heck, I think it's the finest in the state). Even if you don't stay here, pop by for a sunset mai tai to hear Sonny Kamehele sing the old hapa-haole tunes of the 1930s and 1940s while a lovely hula dancer sways to the music.
  • Royal Hawaiian (Oahu;; tel. 800/325-3535): This flamingo-pink oasis, hidden away among blooming gardens within the concrete jungle of Waikiki, is a symbol of luxury. You can step back in time by staying in the rooms in the Historic Wing, which contain carved wooden doors, four-poster canopy beds, flowered wallpaper, and period furniture. One of Waikiki's best spas, Abhasa (; tel. 808/922-8200), is located on the property.
  • Kahala Hotel & Resort (Oahu;; tel. 800/367-2525): The location of this luxury resort alone offers a similarly wonderful compromise: Situated in one of Oahu's most prestigious residential areas, the Kahala provides the peace and serenity of a neighbor-island vacation, but with the conveniences of Waikiki just a 10-minute drive away. The lush, tropical grounds include an 800-foot crescent-shaped beach and a 26,000-square-foot lagoon (home to two bottle-nose dolphins, sea turtles, and tropical fish).
  • Four Seasons Resort Hualalai at Historic Kaupulehu (Big Island;; tel. 888/340-5662): Private pools, unimpeded ocean views, excellent food, and a new 18-hole championship golf course -- what more could any mortal want? This new low-impact, high-ticket hideaway under the dormant Hualalai Volcano ups the ante with its residential resort of two-story bungalows clustered around five seaside swimming pools on a black lagoon.
  • Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows (Big Island;; tel. 800/367-2323): Burned out? In need of tranquillity and gorgeous surroundings? Look no further. Sandy beaches and lava tide pools are the focus of this serene seaside resort, where gracious hospitality is dispensed in a historic setting. From the lounge chairs on the pristine beach to the turndown service at night, everything here is done impeccably. The rooms are arranged to capture maximum ocean views, and they surround interior atrium gardens and pools in which endangered baby sea turtles are raised. A shoreline trail leads across the whole 3,200-acre resort, giving you an intimate glimpse into the ancient past, when people lived in lava caves and tended the large complex of fish ponds.
  • The Fairmont Orchid Hawaii (Big Island;; tel. 800/845-9905): Located on 32 acres of oceanfront property, the Orchid is the place for watersports nuts, cultural explorers, families with children, or anyone who just wants to lie back and soak up the sun. This elegant beach resort takes full advantage of the spectacular ocean views and historic sites on its grounds. The sports facilities here are extensive, and there's an excellent Hawaiiana program.
  • The Fairmont Kea Lani Maui (Maui;; tel. 800/659-4100): This is the place to get your money's worth: For the price of a hotel room, you get an entire suite -- plus a few extras. Each unit in this all-suite luxury hotel has a kitchenette, a living room with entertainment center and sofa bed (great if you have the kids in tow), a marble wet bar, an oversize marble bathroom with separate shower big enough for a party, a spacious bedroom, and a large lanai that overlooks the pools, lawns, and white-sand beach.
  • Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea (Maui;; tel. 800/334-MAUI): This is the ultimate beach hotel for latter-day royals, with excellent cuisine, spacious rooms, gracious service, and Wailea Beach, one of Maui's best gold-sand strips, out the front door. Every guest room has at least a partial ocean view from a private lanai. The luxury suites, as big as some Honolulu condos, are full of marble and deluxe appointments.
  • Travaasa Hana (Maui;; tel. 808/248-8211): Picture Shangri-La, Hawaiian style: 66 acres rolling down to the sea in a remote Hawaiian village, with a wellness center, two pools, and access to one of the best beaches in Hana. Cathedral ceilings, a plush feather bed, a giant-size soaking tub, Hawaiian artwork, bamboo hardwood floors -- this is luxury. The white-sand beach (just a 5-min. shuttle away), a top-notch wellness center with some of the best massage therapists in Hawaii, and numerous activities (horseback riding, mountain biking, tennis, pitch-and-putt golf) all add up to make this one of the top resorts in the state. I highly recommend this little slice of paradise.
  • Four Seasons Resort Lanai at Manele Bay (Lanai;; tel. 800/321-4666): The well-known luxury hotel chain Four Seasons took over management of this 236-unit resort after a multimillion-dollar makeover in 2005. Perched on a sun-washed southern bluff overlooking Hulopoe Beach, one of Hawaii's best stretches of golden sand, this U-shaped hotel steps down the hillside to the pool and the beach. Designed as a traditional luxury beachfront hotel, the Manele Bay features open, airy, oversize rooms, each with a breathtaking view of the big blue Pacific. The guest rooms have been redone in the clean, crisp style of an elegant Hawaiian resort, with 40-inch flatscreen TVs, huge marble bathrooms, and semiprivate lanais.
  • Four Seasons Resort Lanai, The Lodge at Koele (Lanai;; tel. 800/321-4666): The sister hotel to Manele Bay , was rebranded in 2006 after a $50-million renovation, which gave all 102 guest rooms new carpeting, glass bath partitions, signature Four Seasons beds, 42-inch flatscreen TVs, new furniture, new fabrics, and high-speed Internet service. This inn, which resembles a grand English country estate, was built in 1991 and needed the makeover -- the new look is spectacular.
  • Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa (Kauai;; tel. 800/55-HYATT): This Art Deco beach hotel recalls Hawaii in the 1920s -- before the crash -- when gentlemen in blue blazers and ladies in summer frocks came to the islands to learn to surf and play the ukulele. The architecture and location, on the sunny side of Kauai, make this the island's best hotel. The beach is a bit too rough for swimming, but the saltwater swimming pool is the biggest on the island. An old-fashioned reading room by the sea houses club chairs, billiards, and a bar well stocked with cognac and port. Nearby diversions include golf, horseback riding, and the shops of Koloa, a former plantation town.
  • St. Regis Princeville Resort (Kauai;; tel. 800/826-4400): This palace of green marble and sparkling chandeliers recalls Hawaii's monarchy period of the 19th century. It's set in one of the most remarkable locations in the world, on a cliff between the crystal-blue waters of Hanalei Bay and steepled mountains; you arrive on the ninth floor and go down to get to the beach. Opulent rooms with magnificent views and all the activities of Princeville and Hanalei make this one of Hawaii's finest resorts.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.