Can you get a room in paradise for under $200? Whether you’re headed to Lanai or Kauai, Maui or Molokai, the answer for savvy travelers is “yes.” In fact, some of our favorite inns, lodges, and villas are on the affordable side, in great locations with generous amenities and warm Hawaiian hospitality. Here are our top value recommendations.
The Big Island
Several homes in this upscale gated community do double duty as vacation rentals. Prices range greatly, from $150 a night for a small house with an ocean view to $1,000 a night for a huge mansion on a hill with a private tennis court and pool. This is a fantastic location — close to the island’s best beaches, resorts, and to the airport.
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The Palms Cliff House Inn
This handsome Victorian-style mansion, 15 miles north of Hilo, is perched on the sea cliffs 150 feet above the crashing surf of the tropical Hamakua Coast. Individually decorated rooms have private lanai. Suites include double hot tubs (the one in Room 8 is in the window with a stunning view of the coast), but there’s also a communal hot tub in the garden. A husband-and-wife team serve breakfast with pride on the veranda overlooking the cliffs.
A mile from the entrance of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, this inn dating from the 1930s is tastefully furnished with European antiques. Rooms have rich quilts and Hawaiian photographs as well as their own wood-burning fireplaces. A charming one-bedroom cottage with a gas fireplace and a private balcony are perfect for romance. Rates include breakfast.
Kanaloa at Kona
The 16-acre grounds provide a peaceful and verdant background for this low-rise condominium complex bordering the Keauhou-Kona Country Club. It’s within walking distance to the golf course but a five-minute drive to the nearest beaches (Kahaluu and White Sands). Large one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments have koa-wood cabinetwork and washer-dryers; oceanfront villas have private hot tubs. (photo, right)
For a taste of Hawaii in the ’60s, right after Statehood, go retro at this low-rise hotel a mere half-block from Waikiki Beach.The Breakers’ six two-story buildings surround its pool and overlook gardens filled with tropical flowers. Guest rooms have Japanese-style shoji doors that open to the lanai, kitchenettes, and bathrooms with showers only. This tiny haven is in the shadow of the on-going construction, expected to last through 2006, of the Waikiki Beach Walk, and all the sounds that go with it. Once Beach Walk is finished, however, The Breakers will enjoy enviable proximity to this new entertainment and retail complex. The resort is very popular thanks to its reasonable prices and great location. Parking is limited, but it’s free.
Waimea Plantation Cottages
History buffs will adore these reconstructed sugar-plantation cottages, which offer a vacation experience unique in all Hawaii. The one- to five-bedroom cottages are tucked among coconut trees along a lovely stretch of coastline on the sunny West Side. It’s a great property for family reunions or other large gatherings. These cozy little homes, complete with porches, feature plantation-era furnishings, modern kitchens, and cable TV. BBQs, hammocks, porch swings, a gift shop, a spa, and a museum are on the property. Complimentary wireless Internet access is available in the main building; in-room data ports are available if requested in advance. (photo, right)
Ha’iku Plantation Inn
Water lilies and a shade tree bedecked in orchids greet you at this forested bend in the road. A remnant of Haiku’s plantation history, this gracious estate was built in 1870 for the company doctor. A feeling of wellness persists—revered Hawaiian healer Kahu Lyons Naone teaches traditional medicine and hooponopono, literally “making right,” on-site. A small massage hale stands beside a thatched roof gazebo in a lush garden of ulu (breadfruit), lilikoi (passion fruit), sugarcane, bananas, and pineapple. Rooms are uncluttered and charming with private baths; the Plumeria room has a claw-foot tub.
Old Wailuku Inn
This historic home, built in 1924, may be the ultimate Hawaiian B&B. Each room is decorated with the theme of a Hawaiian flower, and the flower motif is worked into the heirloom Hawaiian quilt on each bed. Other features include 10-foot ceilings, floors of native hardwoods, and (depending on the room) delightful bathtubs and Swiss jet showers. The first-floor rooms have private gardens. A hearty breakfast is included.
Built in 1923 to house visiting pineapple executives, this 10-room inn was once the only accommodation on the island. The recently refurbished plantation-inspired rooms, with country quilts, light pine woods, and local art, make it seem like you’re staying in someone’s home. Rooms with porches overlooking the pine trees and Lanai City are especially nice. The restaurant has a small bar. A self-serve Continental breakfast with fresh-baked breads is served on the veranda and is included in the rate.
Friendly staff members here embody the aloha spirit. Low-slung Polynesian-style buildings with wood roof shingles are set waterside. Simple, tropical furnishings with white rattan accents fill the rooms, and a basket swing awaits on the lanai. The Oceanfront Dining Room serves breakfast, lunch, dinner, and libations—with entertainment on weekend nights. Ask about deals in conjunction with airlines and rental-car companies when you make your reservation.