Oahu’s once-sleepy town of Kapolei, about 20 miles west of Honolulu, is enjoying a growth spurt in resorts that could turn it into a rival of the popular Waikiki Beach.
Plans call for 800 guest rooms and suites as well as 524 residences on the 26-acre resort . The Oahu property will feature an Aquaventure water park and an aquarium.
The resort site isn’t new. The Ihilani Resort and Spa opened in 1993 near the western end of Interstate H-1. The hotel became a JW Marriott in 1999 and a Four Seasons in 2016.
Disney’s Aulani opened in 2011.
Aside from the luxury resorts, you’ll find budget-minded options in West Oahu.
In the fall, the Hampton Inn & Suites Kapolei became the brand’s first location in Hawaii.
Rooms starting at around $200 a night may seem high for this chain hotel, but that price is hundreds of dollars less than many of Waikiki lodgings.
Other pluses: Rooms are brand-new, and breakfast is included in the price.
Aside from places to stay, West Oahu also offers attractions that visitors won’t find in Waikiki.
Naked Cow Dairy Farm and Creamery, opened in 2007, welcomes guests to its location in Waianae, about 13 miles up the coast from Kapolei.
The dairy farm offers tours starting at $7 for kids and $10 for adults. To make a day of it, consider taking a cheese-making class.
During the 90-minute sessions, participants have a hands-on experience learning how to make mozzarella from start to finish.
Classes begin 11 a.m. Saturdays and cost $85 per person.
For an adrenaline rush, visitors can spend a few hours at Coral Crater Adventure Park in Kapolei. Instead of merry-go-rounds and roller coasters, the theme here is challenging, hands-on experiences.
You can go off-roading on an electric mountain bike or ATV, or soar above the island on the park’s Adventure Tower. The climbing, jumping and swinging experiences start at $50.
Luaus are a staple in the islands. Disney is the latest entrant in this evening dinner-and-a-show category.
When the dinner show started in November, the Ka Waa was restricted to guests. Now it’s open to all.
It costs $119 for adults and $79 for kids ages 3 to 9 years old. VIP seating is also offered.
Guests staying at the Four Seasons can take a five-mile trek on private land to sacred and historic sites in the mountains of West Oahu.
From a scenic perch overlooking the Waianae coastline, hikers can see the neighboring islands of Lanai, Maui and Molokai.
Those who love to shop have a place to go too. The 100-store Ka Makana Alii mall opened in October. For those occasional rainy days, it’s also home to an eight-screen movie theater.