Waimanalo is on the windward side of Oahu, 25 minutes drive from the airport. It is a small town on a 5 mile beach that is truly world class. My family and I spent 2 weeks in a vacation rental in the Waimanalo Beach Lots in September 2010. I knew I didn't want to stay in Waikiki, but where else should we go? We decided the North Shore was too far from everything for our tastes, so it was Windward side or Lee side. We made the right decision (windward) and I highly recommend it to you.
Our rental was literally a 90 second walk from 5 miles of fine, white sand. It was fantastic. I've never been so relaxed. I watched the sunrise every morning. If you are spending $200 a night on a condo or a couple of hotel rooms, look into renting a house. It really can be cost effective and give you a completely different experience. We shopped and ate with locals in town, 2 minutes away. Or we drove to Kailua (North 12 mins) for more choices in eating and shopping. We rented kayaks in Kailua and snorkeled off Lanakai Beach.
When we decided to go to Honolulu, it was an easy 30 minute drive. The windward (East) side is windy, but not too much. More like a nice breeze to cool you off (except at night directly on the beach - but then it was still a warm wind). The area gets rain almost daily (short bursts) so it is beautifully lush.
If you are looking for a different experience than Waikiki, something relaxing and rejuvenating, I can't recommend Waimanalo highly enough.