"Doing" Hawaii

Old Mar 9th, 2024, 11:50 AM
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Different priorities. I can't afford (don't want to pay) ocean front, ocean views, and honestly don't really care about that. Since this is a 'once in a lifetime trip' might be worth it to you? I see the ocean every day when I'm out and about in Waikiki. I do like to have a lanai with air, some kind of a view, private outdoor space to have drinks, a meal, read a book, relax. Even in what some consider "lesser" hotels I've had a view of sunrise over the backside of DiamondHead, or watching people on the golf course and running along the canal, maybe a patio overlooking a courtyard garden.

tom, if you go the AirBnB route for Waikiki and want to post the buildings the units are in, likely some folks would know and be able to chime in... about noise, street life nearby, general ambiance or 'vibe' of the place.
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Old Mar 9th, 2024, 12:26 PM
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Many of the Airbnb's on Oahu are illegal, if that matters.

If you don't care about a pool or "back by the canal' and don't need parking then Oahu is more affordable. Once you add in the car and the resort fee and the 20% taxes, a base rate of $160 a night quickly reaches well over $200. Suggest you use Expedia which shows all-in pricing (excluding parking). Although your search is by base rate, unfortunately. Sometimes if you go direct to a hotel's website there may be third night free and/or a reduced resort fee. If you don't mind a tiny room check out the Queen Kapiolani Hotel studio rooms (no balcony) or the city view larger rooms. Another "old school" budget place to look at in Waikiki is The Breakers. I think you have to call or email to book. https://www.breakers-hawaii.com/ Note those rooms actually have kitchens!

I don't know that I've seen "cleaning fees" except at condos and AirBnBs. Maybe you are looking at a condo rather than a hotel or seeing the Resort Fee. (Some like Iliakai are actually condo hotels).

For Volcano National Park I have stayed in Hilo (I like the Dolphin Bay Hotel) which if you book direct with them, you can get starting at $149 a night, plus taxes, no resort fee, units have kitchens but no pool. It's "across the bridge" from downtown Hilo in a residential neighborhood. Around Banyan Drive, There are a few that are okay too. It's only about a 45 minute drive up to the Park entrance and it's much warmer in Hilo, with better options for meals.

Last edited by mlgb; Mar 9th, 2024 at 12:40 PM.
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Old Mar 9th, 2024, 01:19 PM
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My niece is a freshman at UH Manoa, so recently I've made a few trips to Oahu after not having been in ages. We usually rent a car and stay near Diamond Head (more relaxed vibe but still in the city for the many excellent restaurants). As a daily jogger, this is a good location for me too. I've stayed at Kaimana Beach Hotel a couple times, and I like it a lot. It's not a luxury property, but well-located, nice design, with a terrific bar.

Anyway, it depends what you're looking for. Have a great trip!
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Old Mar 9th, 2024, 01:29 PM
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Leely, Kaimaina Beach Hotel is an excellent suggestion, it's on the outskirts of Waikiki towards Diamond Head on San Souci beach. I love the look of the corner lanai rooms! There isn't a pool there or at The Lotus next door if that is a consideration.
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Old Mar 9th, 2024, 03:59 PM
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Thanks for all the tidbits. Thereís a bit of unease when so many know Hawaii, I do hope this isnít another Vegas or Orlando teeming with tourists.

Anyway hereís an example of cleaning fees on the Costco website. Some of these packages are almost $1000/day (including car).



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Old Mar 9th, 2024, 05:34 PM
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You will find Waikiki crawling with tourists.

Sorry my only Maui visit we stayed in Kihei, not Kaanapali. Tripadvisor is good for Maui advice.
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Old Mar 9th, 2024, 06:59 PM
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I've never done a package (half-dozen trips to Waikiki) rather booked directly with the hotel. I have never paid any fees like are shown on your example.
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Old Mar 10th, 2024, 07:20 AM
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I used to go to Hawaii almost every year but haven't been for almost 7 years now. I love it! When we go we enjoy exploring the islands and snorkeling. I really need to plan another trip.

In my experience, Costco packages are overpriced. I've been looking at hotels in Greece and checked out Costco. Their packages are twice as high as compared to booking myself. Same with a cruise I researched a few years ago. I was successful though using Costco for a reasonably priced rental car earlier this year.

My brother and his family just came back from Maui. They used Airbnb and found a place in Kihei for around $300/night. It was across the street from the beach and walking distance to restaurants. Most of their time was spent exploring the island with some beach time in the evening.




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Old Mar 10th, 2024, 03:31 PM
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I believe that those fees are actually charged by the hotel, not Costco.

Cut and paste straight from Aston website (for three nights). Not sure if this is something unique to Maui and this particular hotel. At least you don't have to pay for parking. Again, I suggest you give the Maui forum on Tripadvisor a shot.

Taxes and Fees
$679.84
Room Occupancy Tax
$128.13
Room General Excise Tax
$58.90
County TA Tax
$37.50
Amenity Fee $33 General Excise Tax
$4.65
Amenity Fee $33 County TA Tax 2024
$2.97
Amenity Fee $33 TAT 10.25%
$10.14
Reservation Process Fee $69 plus tax
$81.39
Daily Amenity Fee $33 2024
$99.00
Damage Waiver Charge $79 plus tax
$93.19
Cleaning Fee: Studio $139 plus tax
$163.97

My approach to finding hotels is to use Expedia and Google Maps, to narrow it down (Expedia is better than booking.com for showing the total price before you hit "buy") Then you can also check the hotel website, Costco or AAA. You do have to be careful with TripAdvisor as often the reviews are "gamed" and the forums vary in quality. With Expedia it's people who have actually stayed there although they truncate some of the comments. Sometimes you get lucky and a Fodorite you "trust" has actually stayed in a property RECENTLY and has some good insight. I don't find general comments from those who haven't stayed in a place especially useful. And not everyone has the same wants and needs. For example, I value a quiet room, convenient parking and a coffee maker more highly than a pool when I'm staying steps from a beach. I usually do location research by using the Google Maps "walking man" street view.

PS I also used to go to Hawaii every year up until the mid 1990's and have been to all of the major islands, the only one I never wanted to return to was Maui. Kauai was always my favorite, it's a shame you've written that one off. My last trip was just after they said they wanted tourists back post-pandemic.

Last edited by mlgb; Mar 10th, 2024 at 03:49 PM.
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Old Mar 11th, 2024, 05:46 AM
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Appreciate all the comments. I know 2 people who went to Kauai, one in January the other February, who said it rained all the time, literally constantly, and they couldn't do or see anything. So hoping that other islands in the rainy winter season are not so wet.

As an aside, I am finding a lot to do on Oahu, was thinking initially of shorting that island but now thinking that's a mistake and maybe a full week is in order. Also considering a non-Waikiki location, maybe even a suburban AirBnb, to avoid hordes.

I have heard Maui derisively described as built up "like a suburb of San Diego" so maybe less time allocated there.

My $50/day for a rental car was optimistic, that's for the prepay rate, and this far out I don't want to prepay, more like $70 with a cancelable rate (which isn't really that bad these days).

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Old Mar 11th, 2024, 05:53 AM
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I didn't think you were going in winter? Most of the Short term rentals outside of Waikiki are illegal.
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Old Mar 11th, 2024, 01:13 PM
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Originally Posted by tom_mn

As an aside, I am finding a lot to do on Oahu, was thinking initially of shorting that island but now thinking that's a mistake and maybe a full week is in order. Also considering a non-Waikiki locatio.
Outside Waikiki, surprisingly, accommodation is very limited, one or two resorts not appealing to me, one or two guesthouses with a minimum 7 nights (not mentioning properties with 1 month minimum stay to comply with local regulations).
but in the end it was not a problem to stay in Waikiki. I usually hate places filled with tourists but it was not the case there.
Maybe because we were on the road during the day, riding The Bus to visit the island or museums in Honolulu, walking the beaches and being back in the evening to enjoy the festive atmosphere.
maybe also because we stayed in "small" hotels (by Waikiki standards) and kept away from the busy crowds in restaurants (and preferred a much quieter one with a local feeling).
I think we stayed about a week in Oahu and it wasn't too much.
weather was generally OK but with more rain on North shore.

Last edited by rouelan; Mar 11th, 2024 at 01:45 PM.
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Old Mar 11th, 2024, 02:05 PM
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I think I mixed up your timing for Peru. You are going in winter in which case the north/windward sides of islands will get more rain and yes, you are correct that Kauai typically gets the most. Unless trip there is a "Kona Storm" and then the weather comes in from the south/west. All of the folks who paid the big bucks to stay on the west side of the Big Island got rain, and I had sun in Hilo. I barely made it out of Honolulu before some urban street flooding hit. I actually cancelled Kauai at the last minute thinking that the weather forecast was reliable (It wasn't).

Trip Report Oahu and Big Island Dec 2021
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Old Mar 11th, 2024, 07:55 PM
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What location "outside Waikiki" are you considering? There aren't too many options really. I've spent 10 days in Waikiki) a half-dozen trips to date and feel I barely scratched the surface of Oahu.

You can't accurately describe an entire island... like people saying Oahu is just NYC with a beach or Maui being a suburb of wherever. Depends where you stay and what you do, what your impression will be, regardless of which island(s) you choose.
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Old Mar 12th, 2024, 01:11 PM
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I am finding a lot to do on Oahu

Yes worth considering in the plans.

aloha...

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Old Mar 16th, 2024, 05:30 PM
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That aston is not really a hotel, that's why those fees. Looks like a condo or time share, units are individually owned.
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Old Mar 16th, 2024, 06:07 PM
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That makes sense
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Old Mar 26th, 2024, 06:58 PM
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Noting that as I look for lodging, the photo internet search trick does work. The same Maui condo that is $1950/week on VRBO is $1714/week on a local Maui property management site.
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Old Apr 1st, 2024, 12:33 PM
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If you have three weeks I would settle on two islands, likely the Big Island and Oahu, Last time in Hawaii we stayed in a nice ocean view room at Marriott Kamehameha - great restaurants are in walking distance and many of the fun water activities start right to the south of the hotel. Then we got a place in Volcano for a few days. Then onto the Hilo area. And finally up north. We found a great horseback riding ranch - so much fun and views! At some point I'd fly over to Oahu for Pearl Harbor, Diamondhead, amazing restaurants, lovely waterfalls, etc.
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Old Apr 2nd, 2024, 10:14 AM
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Strategic question:

For the Big Island, it looks like 2 places to stay makes the most sense. Flying home from KOA. Can fly into either KOA or ITO.

So How many nights west side of island vs east side, and does it make more sense to start in ITO then end on the west side, or is there an advantage to starting and ending in KOA and so circling the island getting to Hilo and back and seeing both the north coast and south. Cost and convenience flying into KOA or ITO from HNL essentially the same.

Also Turo seems much cheaper, is that a valid option, or risky?
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