How to have the perfect girlie getaway in Oahu, Hawaii

No boys need apply! Here’s a local's guide to where to get pampered, get cultured and get stuffed (with food and drink) on a girls' trip to Hawaii’s most popular island.

Oahu is perfect for your next girls-only adventure.
  • Michele Bigley
  • July 2019

Local artist Kris Goto spills her insider knowledge on the perfect itinerary for you and your besties for a vacay in and around Honolulu. Is it Mai Tai time?

Art and beer

Wander through Kaka’ako and explore the murals and craft breweries of this former industrial district turned hipster hood (you can also check out my new mural on the corner of Cooke Street and Ala Moana Boulevard). Start at Honolulu Beerworks for coconut hefeweizen before stopping at Aloha Beer Co, Tropics Bar and Grill and, of course, Brewseum, a hybrid brewpub, beer museum, World War II relic museum and speakeasy tiki bar.

Discover Hawaii's craft beer scene at The Aloha Beer Co.
Discover Hawaii's craft beer scene at The Aloha Beer Co.

Relax-a-thon

If you’re OK being in your birthday suit around your friends, Aloha Sauna and Spa is Oahu’s secret refuge. This Asian-style spa might not look like a place of indulgence but inside, they offer body treatments at a great price. Soak in the hot tubs before enjoying a body scrub, aromatherapy massage and a cucumber facial to help your skin keep that post-sun glow. Same-day appointments are available during the week and the on-site café serves light snacks and drinks.

Culture hit

You’ll probably wonder if you’re really in Hawaii as you explore Shangri La, a mansion filled with Islamic art, culture and design. Built in 1937, this museum houses billionaire tobacco heiress Doris Duke’s artefacts from her North African journeys. Here, the tiled walls and gorgeous late-Ottoman Syrian décor complement the panoramic ocean views, Mughal carpets and architectural feats. Tours are limited and must be reserved well in advance through the Honolulu Museum of Art.

The Shangri La mansion is every Instagrammer's dream.
The Shangri La mansion is every Instagrammer's dream.

Dinner, dancing, drinks…

With loads of new restaurants, galleries, boutiques and bars, Chinatown is the epicentre for Honolulu’s cool kids – and you can easily walk between the local haunts. Start at Livestock Tavern for a leisurely dinner of smoked ox ribs or ricotta ravioli and then head to The Manifest for dancing and a Manhattan cocktail (go early to avoid a cover charge). Cap the night off at Smith’s Union Bar, the oldest bar in Chinatown, to sing karaoke before you head back for a well-earned rest.

Retro tiki vibes

Sure, Waikiki is a little touristy but that’s because it’s so beautiful. Surfjack Hotel is bringing old-school Waikiki style back – in a cool, laid-back way, of course. With 112 bungalows and suites, all decked out with 60s charm, and a central pool and courtyard flanked by the hotel’s restaurant Mahina and Sun’s, the location and nostalgic vibe is hard to beat. In the kitchen, local icon Ed Kenney slings sustainable ingredients, using the best local veggies. His house pickles pair well with the fresh juice mimosa.

Surfjack is the ultimate chill-out hotel in Waikiki.
Surfjack is the ultimate chill-out hotel in Waikiki.

Local tip

For a Hawaiian tiki bar experience with a vintage vibe, head to La Mariana Sailing Club, where the bartenders have been making Mai Tais since opening in 1957.