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lbaboyd Jan 19th, 2006 03:39 PM

Any Views About These Honolul Hotels?
Just starting plans for a 7-10 day vacation -- just DW and I -- in Honolulu. Have always gotten good ideas from Fodorers (or is it Fodorites) for past vacations.

So, was wondering if there's any Fodorers out there these days who might lend us a hand by sharing experiences or thoughts on the location and accommodations of these hotels:
1) Castle Waikiki Shore, 2161 Kalia Rd; 2)Imperial Hawaii,205 Lewers St; 3)Hilton Grand at Kalia Tower, 2005 Kalia Road; 4) Shell Vacations Club at the Ilikai, 1775 Ala Moana Boulevard; 5) Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel, 2570 Kalakaua Ave; 6) The Hale Koa, 2055 Kalia Road.

Particularly interested in their location with respect to how far a walk it might be to the nearest beach; or if you need to drive it?

Really haven't tied down any dates just yet, but probably looking at next year sometime, as I hear you have to make reservations for these places quite a bit in advance.

Appreciate any ideas.

OldSouthernBelle Jan 19th, 2006 04:03 PM

The Hilton Hawaiian Village is made up of several hotel 'towers', one of which is Kalia Tower. It is located right on the street, one of the fartherest towers from the beach...We stayed in the Rainbow Tower, which is directly ON the beach, looking toward Diamond Head. It was beautiful and we could watch surfers and beachers looking down off our balcony.

Hale Koa is military so, I assume you are as well? If so, there would be no contest as to where I'd stay...THERE! Military people get major discounts! It is part of 'Ft. DeRussey' and right next door to HHV. Excellent location!

I can't answer on the others, but the guidebook, Oahu Revealed will give you all the details on anyplace there, so pick one up!


kopp Jan 19th, 2006 04:46 PM

What OSB said re the Hale Koa.

FYI, they take reservations a year ahead, so if you want one of the oceanview rooms, have the date marked on your calendar that you can call.

No worries about driving to the beach from here either. It's right out your front door.

Happy travels!

Waldo Jan 19th, 2006 05:49 PM

The Hale Koa is the BEST hotel in Waikiki. Nothing comes close!

dusty56438 Jan 19th, 2006 06:13 PM

Any place in Waikiki is walkable. The beach runs the entire length of Waikiki. There are shops, restaurants, etc., located throughout Waikiki.

Castle Waikiki shore - This is the only condo right on the beach in Waikiki. Very good location. This is a co-managed property with Outrigger managing 33 units and Castle the rest. It does not have a pool. For those renting Outrigger units, they can use the facilities including the pool at Outrigger Reef on the Beach which is next door. The reservation desk in the lobby is for Castle. Those staying in the Outrigger rooms use the reservation desk at Reef on the Beach.

Imperial is right behind the Outrigger Reef on the Beach. Some construction in the area.

Ilikai is nice, but no beach. I'm not sure which tower Shell Vacations Club is in. It overlooks the Ala Wai Boat Harbor. Nearest beach is behind Hilton Hawaiian Village or across the bridge to Ala Moana Beach Park.

Waikiki Beach Hotel is on the Diamond Head side of Waikiki, close to the Honolulu Zoo. It is across Kalakau Ave from the beach, but has an unobstructed view of the beach. Great location.

Hilton & Hale Koa have been described really well by the others.

Here's a map that has most Waikiki hotels:

lcuy Jan 19th, 2006 06:41 PM

I had family staying all over Waikiki this Christmas...Some at Outrigger on the Beach, Outrigger Reef, Ohana Waikiki (East? I think), the Ohana across from Outrigger on the Beach and the Hale Koa.

NO contest...Hale Koa! Nice rooms, good pool, good beach, and good dining. If the hotel is full, put your name on a wait list, then book somewhere else where you can cancel on fairly short notice. My sister wanted December 22 to Dec 28, and a room opened about a two weeks before that.

Rates are based on your rank and duty status, so some people pay more or less than others, but even at the very top of the rate chart, my sister felt their room rate was very good for Xmas in Waikiki.

travelina Jan 19th, 2006 07:02 PM

Hale Koa hands down. I was there last year and will be back in October..I like their gardenview rooms...

lbaboyd Jan 19th, 2006 07:41 PM

Geez -- some great views! Thanks all around.

Yeah, I'm retired USAF, so The Hale Koa is one of our options. The others are possible decent deals which might could work out pretty good with our timeshare exchange.

From the map, the Hale Koa appeared a little aways from the beach, so wasn't sure about getting to and from the beach. As dusty noted, The Castle Waikiki Shore appeared to be right there on the beach -- though some drawbacks apparently.

I noticed travelina, you liked the gardenview rooms at the HK. I believe we'd likely shoot for the oceanview, but you make those rooms sound inviting as well. Any particular area of the hotel to not take, in your view?

Fodorers are always so helpful. We took 31/2 weeks and drove out to San Francisco from Austin and back last year -- and we took in some great stuff, thanks to the views and ideas shared on this forum. You all are great. Thanks again.

rjscott Jan 19th, 2006 08:35 PM

We stayed at the Hale Koa with our BIL & SIL and our niece. BIL/SIL had an oceanfront room, we had an oceanview room and niece had a garden room. All the rooms were lovely. Our OV room also had a great view of Diamond Head. The beach is right in front of the hotel, and it is a very nice stretch of beach. It may look a distance from the hotel, as there are gardens and a walkway b/t the hotel and the beach. There are watersports rentals on the beach. Another great thing about the Hale Koa is that parking is much less than at comparable hotels. Also, if the Hale Koa does not have availability when you plan to visit, they have arrangements with other hotels to offer discounted rooms to guests.

dusty56438 Jan 19th, 2006 09:50 PM

Hale Koa is about as close to the beach as you can be without being right on the beach.

Go for the Hale Koa.

doloskeeter Jan 20th, 2006 06:19 AM

Since you are retired military and are about a year out; you might also want to consider a side trip to the Big Island and visit the Volcano National Park where Kilaeua is. There is a military lodging facility on the property called Kilaeua Military Camp. Address is It looks fantastic and I didn't even know it was there until I stumbled upon a message on another travel board.

kakalena Jan 20th, 2006 07:01 AM

Steer very clear of the Aston unless you are interested in the sparsest of vacations for your money and poor service etc.

We always stayed at the Marriott because we had a connection there for a good rate and found it very nice and convenient to beaches.

kakalena Jan 20th, 2006 07:06 AM

I remembered one more thing about the Aston. There was an ancient decrepit building behind it that they used for overflow.

Ceiling tiles hanging, carpet bunched up from moisture problems etc., dirty, rundown furniture etc.

We heard no small amount of complaining at the front desk from guests who were unwittingly given rooms there.

Waldo Jan 20th, 2006 08:54 AM

I've visited the Hale Koa for the past seven years, and I look forward to go there every yrear. It is one of those places where you don't have to ever leave the hotel to have a great vacation. It is more a resort than a hotel. I comprises sixty six acres, I believe, and it has all sorts of great features. It has three pools, great walking courses, beautifully sculpted gardens and a fantastic lobby, in which you can just sit and people watch in a glorious atmosphere with nobody trying to sell you anything. It has great restaurants, with good prices, and NO TAXES on ANYTHING!. It has a moderately sized BX where you can purchase lots of stuff at great prices. The hotel itself is super clean and attractive. A little secret--In my opinion, the best rooms are in the Maile Tower, the newer one, and with the room number ending in --39. The view from these rooms is unbelievable. It is an ocean view, a mountain view, and a fantastic city view, all in one. They are corner rooms, very large, and they are classified as Garden view, now priced at only $110.00/night WITH NO TAXES. GO FOR IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

annikany Jan 20th, 2006 09:05 AM

I've stayed at the Waikiki Shore property twice. The rooms are very nice. Condos with kitchens and washer and dryer. That is a plus if your vacation is long because you can pack less. The floors 13 and up have views of both ocean and Diamond Head. Location is great. Lanais are great. The rooms look real clean. However both times I've stayed there I've had to kill cockraches. Not nice! I sleep with the lights on! Other than that it's a great place to stay.
Sounds to me like the Hale Koa is the place though.
Have fun!

pspercy Jan 22nd, 2006 08:48 PM

Hale Koa if you can get a room.
In that area we've stayed at Outrigger Luana Waikiki (across park from Hale Koa) and Ohana Maile Sky Court (about 150 yds in front of Luana); different style places but both good value if you get a decent rate. Check construction etc around Lewers area:

Have fun ;)

Intrepid1 Jan 23rd, 2006 01:01 AM

We just got back from two weeks at the Hale Koa in a deluxe oceanfront room. Read the reviews at
This is the BEST bargain on the beach, period, and, as others have said, it is right ON the walk out from the pool area/poolside bar and you are a few steps from the sand and the hotel is about a ten-fiften (max) walk to the very center of Waikiki.

If you have a rental car the parking is also a bargain at $5 a day with full in and out priviledges..

Reservations may be made on line or by phone up to a year in advance (strongly recommended).

You can pay a LOT more for other hotels but you won't get much, if any, better views, and you won't get any comparable views or beach access at a lower price at any other hotels.

Furthermore, once there, the food and other things are considerably cheaper than at other places and there is a PX on site.

The pool is large and very nice, too.

Intrepid1 Jan 23rd, 2006 01:06 AM

Another thing: if you have a car by all means go over to the Windward side for a day at Bellows (Air Force Station) beach; access is restricted to AD and retired military folks, mainly, and the beach is absolutely wonderful and totally UNcrowded and it actually has surf unlike what you'll get at Waikiki.

kopp Jan 23rd, 2006 09:59 AM


Thanks for the tip about Bellows. I'm heading to the Hale Koa in May with my parents (Dad is retired Army). We'll only have a car a couple days, but will make sure to hit Bellows while we've got it.

I absolutely LOVE the Hale Koa. Have been there about 8 times, remember it waaay before the new addition.

lbaboyd Jan 25th, 2006 08:17 PM

All of these recommendations and tidbits are really good to read and prepare us with a lot of anticipation for a wonderful Hawaii vacation. Thanks again to each of you for sharing.

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