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This sprawling resort is like a microcosm of Waikiki—on good days it feels like a lively little beach town with hidden nooks and crannies to discover and great bars in which to make new friends, and on bad days it’s just an endless traffic jam, with lines into the parking garage, at the front desk, and in the restaurants. Need an oasis in the middle of it all? Choose the Alii Tower; it has its own lobby lounge, reception, and concierge, and even its own pool and bar; it’s like a hotel within a hotel.

But there’s something for everyone at the Hilton Hawaiian—I’ve seen families settling in for a screening of The Lorax on the lawn, winter breakers leaving the Tapa Tower (the largest tower) to hit the bars, and well-heeled (literally) tourists returning to the Alii Tower with their shopping bags. Room views can range from a straight-on view of the tower in front to oceanfront, so close to the water you can hear waves lapping. Cheaper rooms are in the Kalia, Tapa, and Diamond Head towers (which are farther from the beach), and the more expensive ones in the Rainbow and Alii, which are closest to the water. I found rooms in all the towers to be spacious, clean, and comfy, so ultimately it may come down to how close you want to be to the beach.

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