Tucked away on a residential side street near Waikiki's Ala Wai Canal, this locally owned 17-story condominium-style hotel is a throwback to old Waikiki, offering large units that are ideal for families. The glass-walled lobby with koa-wood furnishings, original Hawaiian artwork, and friendly staff feels like a Hawaiian home-away-from-home. Rates are decent for the spacious studios and the one- and two-bedroom suites, all with full kitchens, cable TV, and spacious lanai; there's an on-site coin-operated laundry room. The interiors are dated but clean and well-kept. It's a two-block walk to Waikiki Beach, shopping, and Kalakaua Avenue restaurants. The parking is free but limited; when the spots are full, you can sometimes park on the street. Every Friday morning the Ilima Ohana Chorus performs in the lobby and guests are invited to sing along.
YOU SHOULD KNOW The hotel charges a $20 daily amenity fee, which is basically covering your in-room Wi-Fi, coffee, and a few other minor things. It’s a bit steep of a fee, considering there are lots of typical resort offerings that are not available here.
Rooms are quite large, and even the smallest option comes with two beds. Décor is sparse and furniture is very basic, but the painted pink lanais bring a bit of fun and whimsy to the space. All rooms, even the smallest, have full kitchens that are stocked with dishes. Rooms range from studio to one- and two-bedroom suite, along with a penthouse.
The penthouse at Ilima isn’t fancy, but if you’re looking for accommodations for a large group and want a hotel instead of a condo or rental house, this is a great option for the price (with a three night minimum). The penthouse sleeps 8 (with a $30 per person charge if you have more members), two kitchens, two bathrooms, in-suite washer/dryer, six beds, all in a spacious suite.
Bathrooms are sparse and lack any real personality. There’s no real vanity, but a large mirror that stretches through a lot of the bathroom. The one-bedroom suites have deep jacuzzi tubs and the others have tubs that are on the larger size, in addition to the shower.
Though fairly simple, the lava rock wall behind the wooden corner reception desk gives a small taste of Hawaii as guests check in. A few couches and Hawaiian paintings throughout also lend a nice air of authenticity.
The small bean-shaped heated pool is in an odd location, pressed right up against the hotel, making getting any sun there a bit difficult. Fortunately, the hotel has two rooftop sundecks if guests need a little Vitamin D.
The hotel has a small dry sauna that’s a nice treat.
The one treadmill and one exercise bike that sit almost on top of one another are barely enough to be considered a gym.
Because this hotel is a bit far from Waikiki and other attractions, a rental car is a good idea. Parking is free (though first come, first served), making it a little easier.
Eggs n Things (5-min drive) will help satisfy those island breakfast cravings, with a large omelet menu, along with pancakes, crepes, and waffles, served with different fruits and towering dollops of whipped cream. You’ll have a hard time choosing between the daily specials and the classic menu, but you can’t really go wrong, either way. This popular eatery has been serving locals and visitors since 1974.
If you’re looking for some hearty Korean BBQ or stews, Sorabol Korean Restaurant (8-min) is a great option for classic Korean food, along with an extensive sushi menu. They’re especially great night for some late-night indulging, as they stay open until 1 a.m. during the week and all night on the weekend.
While Tiki’s Grill and Bar (5-min drive) has a pretty delicious Pacific Rim menu, you don’t need to go much further than the bar to have a good time. The drink menu is full of fun, tropical cocktails, including the memorable Son of an Itch. This tasty treat comes in your choice of glasses to take home, is served with a bamboo backscratcher, and the best part – it has dry ice in it, so it’s as playful as it is yummy. Live music helps make this popular place even more fun.
Visit the oldest sports pub in the entire state at Legends Sports Pub (3-min walk) for great deals (especially on their Mai Tais), a variety of screens, and a chance to watch NFL games at 7 a.m.!
WHY WE LIKE IT
The suite sizes are what makes this hotel stand out from the others, and as a budget hotel, it is a good deal for traveling families. Free in-room WiFi, a few cultural activities, and free parking (if you get there early) helps make it a good budget hotel for larger groups.