Ko Olina Oahu

Beautiful Ko Olina Oahu was recently built up within the last decade or so.  This Best of Oahu Beach is located in the sunnier and drier part of Oahu on the western leeward side of the island.  Ko Olina’s main attraction are the four magical man-made beach coves called the Ko Olina Lagoons. These pristine crescent-shaped swimming holes are tucked away in the Marriott Ko Olina beachfront property. This is a “do not miss” when you visit Oahu.

Ko Olina Oahu

The Four Seasons Hotel, as seen in the picture above, was currently  renovated earlier this year and reopen up in April 2016.  The 500 million dollar renovation gave this Oahu resort a nice face lift and a few added features, including some great open-air restaurants, a tennis club, a new spa, and even a beautiful wedding chapel!  Alantis Resorts & Marina has anounced that it will also be joining the Ko'olina resort area.  It will feature a 800 room hotel, life size aquarium, and waterpark & spa.

The four lagoons are but a small stroll between each other.  The soft powder sand that runs between your toes was imported from Lanai, one of the neighboring Hawaiian islands.  And the rock levies that act as sea walls help encase the lagoons, allowing ocean water to enter the protected swimming area while keeping out the turbulent waves.

Marriott Ko Olina Oahu Lagoons

Ko Olina Lagoons Number 1

Also known as the J.W. Marriott Ihilani Resort and Spa, this Ko Olina Oahu beach resort is one of the newest and best luxury resorts on the island.

Marriott Ko Olina Grounds & Gardens

The grounds are beautiful and worth of checking out, even if you are not a registered guest.  There is a casual outdoor bar up the stairs from the beach area where you can order drinks and listen to live music later in the evenings.  Wander higher up the pathway and stairs for more spectacular views.

Keep an eye out for a large waterfall feature that empties into an ocean pool with sting rays and hammer head sharks swimming around.

The Marriott is one of the Ko Olina Oahu resorts that were built outside of the bustling hotel strip of Waikiki and it is definitely worth a vist. 

Marriott Ko'Olina Lagoons

I usually stay away from large resorts, opting for the smaller boutique hotels, but the Marriott Ko Olina’s grounds are so beautiful and the lagoons are so perfect for a relaxing dip in the ocean, that it is now touted as one of the best places for beach time on the island.   It has been  ranked as one of the top 3 beach areas in Oahu.

Ko Olina Oahu is far and away from the hustle and bustle of Waikiki so that you feel just isolated enough to enjoy a truly relaxing resort-style vacation.

Aulani Disney Resort

Aulani Disney Resort

The Disney Aulani Resort, also known as " The Aulani" is finally open, and is the newest addition to the Ko'Olina resort area.  The Aulani is a beautiful, spacious resort that resides in front of the first beach lagoon. 

Aulani Lagoon Water Platform

The Aulani lagoon area mirrors the other beautiful Ko'Olina Beach Lagoons, but also features a soft water pad 20 yards out into the water  that you can swim to, climb onto, and dive off of.

Aulani Resort Outrigger

The Aulani also has their own mini catamaran that sails in and out of the lagoon, giving rides to Mickey’s Clubhouse Members - if you are staying there, you are considered a member!

Aulani Resort

Whether or not you have kids, this Hawaiian Disney resort might be the magical place for you to stay when visiting Oahu.  The only problem with booking a reservation here is that you might never make it to the Ko'Olina beach lagoons, with all the surrounding entertainment and many resort features the Aulani has to offer.

Step outside your hotel room and enter the tropical grounds with an impressive endless water park that runs through it...not to mention a few side attractions along the way. 

The gigantic Wailani Pool takes up most of the resort grounds and has many adventurous twists and curves, including a few impressive waterfalls to swim under, an active volcano, and a lazy river called Waikolohe Stream where you can sit back and float down in a tube into the Waikolohe Pool. 

Aulani Resort

After enjoying a beautiful Hawaiian sunset on Ko'Olina beach, stroll back up to the fire pit area where you can hangout and enjoy a beautiful end to your day as you head  into the night!

Ko Olina Golf Course

Ko Olina Golf Club 18th Hole

The Ko Olina lagoons are not the only attraction on this side of Oahu.  If you are looking to do something other than beach hopping,  the Ko Olina Golf Course is a great alternative.   This impeccably maintained par 72 course does not disappoint with its impressive club house, rolling hills, and cascading waterfalls.  See more details and book a tee time.

Roy’s Restaurant

Roy's Restaurant Ko Olina

As an added treat, the Ko Olina Golf Course boasts one of the best Oahu restaurants – Roy’s Restaurant, serving Hawaiian fusion cuisine by famous chef, Roy Yamaguchi.  It is kid friendly and the wait staff was attentive and helpful when we ate there.

The food is tasty and the drinks are great (tried the pineapple martini and the sparkling sake).  The views of the golf course are beautiful from the restaurant.

Limited Parking at Ko Olina Beach Coves

The limited parking that is available for each Ko Olina beach, helps keep the beach crowds down, and allows you enjoy the lagoons in peace.  There are literally less than 20 parking spots available for each Ko Olina Beach, with no outside parking available for miles.  It doesn’t hurt to arrive early to secure a spot, but unless it’s a weekend or holiday, I’ve always found that people are coming and going, so parking spots do free up fairly quickly.  Sometimes you will need to be patient and wait in a shady spot for someone to leave.
If you are not planning on staying at the lugubrious Marriott Ko Olina resorts, which would give you prime access to the Ko Olina beach areas without any hardship, then I would highly recommend driving to this series of four beautifully replicated Oahu Beaches with your handy Oahu rent a car.  Ko Olina Oahu can be reached by taking the bus from other parts of the island, but not without taking a few bus transfers.

Getting to Ko Olina Beach

Ko Olina Resorts and beaches are located just beyond the Ewa Beach area on the south western tip of Oahu.  It will take you a good 45 to 60 minutes if you drive from Waikiki.  Even with the limited available parking, driving your own vehicle will be one of your best options.

Ko Olina Oahu Map:

View Larger Map

Driving directions:

From Waikiki, take the H-1 (located above Waikiki towards the back Mountain ridge)
Stay on the H-1 for about 25 miles
Continue on as the H-1 turns into the Farrington Hwy
Take the Ko Olina Oahu Exit
Drive up to the security gate, where you will need to check in (announce where you are headed on the Ko Olina Marriott grounds) before proceeding down to the beach.
Follow Aliinui Dr to the left, and look for the posted signs for the different Ko Olina Lagoons.  They will be numbered 1 thru 4.

Oahu Bus:

It will take a little patience, but you can make the trek out to the Ko Olina Resorts taking the local Oahu Bus.  From Waikiki, take the #20 bus from Kuhio St, out of Waikiki and past Downtown Honolulu.  You will need to change to bus #40 or #40A on the lower level of the Nimitz Hwy.  The bus drivers can help direct you where to get off and make the bus transfers.  Finally, make a 3rd bus transfer at the Kapolei Transit Center to a Special Kapolei bus, which will take you into the Ko Olina Marriott Grounds.

Beach Facilities

The Ko Olina Beach areas are nicely equipped with accommodating facilities for beachgoers.

Bathroom facilities located at each lagoon are clean
Beach rinse off showers
Free Parking lots at each beach spot
Wheelchair access
Grass sitting areas w/ partial shade
Friendly swimming areas with calm waters
Note:  No Lifeguard on duty
Outdoor restaurant and bar area at the Marriott Ko Olina Resorts

Food Tips 

Ko'Olina Hawaiian BBQ

While there are no food concession stands on the beaches, there are a few casual restaurants near by, including a Mexican and Hawaiian BBQ restaurant, and even an ice cream shop.

You will discover these and other shops located just beyond the main enterance gate.  I would also recommend packing up some food and drinks to bring along with you to the beach.

Marriott Naupaka Terrace Restaurant

You also have the choice of dining at one of the four restaurants available at the Ko Olina Marriott Hotel, or the many new restaurants and food stands located at the new Disney Aulani Resort.  If you’re looking to keep it casual and fun, check out the Marriott Naupaka Terrace and outdoor seating near the poolside that overlooks the Pacific Ocean.

The food is good and affordable.  Some days during the sun setting hour, they host live music.  I’ve been known to wander up after a nice day at the beach and enjoy the sunset with a Mai Tai in hand!

Roy’s RestaurantAs mentioned above, for a real treat, check out Roy’s Restaurant which is locatedt at the Ko Olina Golf Club, which you will see as you pass the check in gate.  It’s one of my favorite fancier Oahu restaurants to visit.  Dinner can average $45 an entree, but lunch is a steal!  Roy’s is a small chain on the island, with Ko Olina being the only location that features lunch –don’t miss it!

More Visiting Tips

Ko'Olina Lagoons

Catch a sunset:  The sun sets in the west, and really can’t get much more west than on this western tip.  You have a choice of capturing it from the magical beach lagoons or from the outdoor bar side with live music at the Marriott Ko Olina Oahu Hotel.

Ko'Olina Market

Local stores There are now a handful of restaurants, and a small but nice grocery market open for business on the Ko Olina Oahu grounds.  I’m sure there are many more shops and restaurants that will open as this area continues to be developed and built out. 

Ko'Olina Lagoons

Oahu for Kids The Ko Olina beach areas could be viewed as 4 gigantic salt water pools for beach going kids.  They will have a blast playing in the enclosed lagoons, which provide a shallow calm swimming area.  Adult supervision is still necessary, and unfortunately there is no lifeguard on duty.

In the Area

Ko Olina Golf Course

Ko Olina Golf Course:
  This is one of the best featured public golf courses on Oahu.

Nothing short of manicured greens, open fairways and unforgettable ocean views.  Take sometime if you can to golf this 18-hole championship Ted Robinson golf course See more details and book a tee time.

Roy's Restaurant Waikiki

Roy’s Restaurant:  Located in the Ko Olina Golf Club house, Roy’s seems to compliment the common theme of the Marriott Ko Olina Oahu grounds, and that’s pure excellence.  Roy’s is a big time favorite on the island, for many tasty reasons, and well worth the splurge!  

Roy’s restaurant does not usually fire up their grill for lunch, but still manages to pull off a delectable lunch menu.  Maybe their Kalua Pork Club sandwich will capture your appetite!

Paradise Cove Luau Oahu

Paradise Cove Luau
If you are interested shaking your hips and  attending a Hawaiian Luau with some Hula performances and entertainment, you might want to stick around after a day at the beach and hop next door to the Paradise Cove Luau.  It’s far from the real deal if you must know, but I have heard nothing but good things about this event. 

The luau takes place nightly starting at 5pm.  And yes…there’s lots of Kalua Pork and Poi to be had, so don’t hesitate if you’re thinking about it.

Aloha and Enjoy!!

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