Where to Stay in Waikiki, Honolulu, Oahu

Waikiki by itself holds the biggest number of hotel accommodations in the entire island of Oahu. For this reason, finding a place to stay for your tropical getaway should be the least of your concerns. From luxury resorts to quaint vacation homes, from posh condo units to homey bed and breakfasts (B&B), Waikiki offers you a sea of choices as vast as the Pacific. Everything is up to you, and the only limitations mainly depend on what your lifestyle is and how much you are willing to spend for accommodations. Whether you’re the budget-conscious tourist or one with a taste for everything deluxe, you’ll be sure to find something that is to your liking.

The neighborhood of Waikiki is preferred by many tourists when searching for a place to lay their head on when going on a holiday in Oahu, and for very good reasons. With its eclectic landscape, Waikiki screams “tropical beach and the city,” the perfect sanctuary for anyone who’s craving a little “me”-time basking on golden sand, but not ready to trade in the convenience of modern amenities and an urban lifestyle just yet. Also, Waikiki is just a few minutes away from downtown Honolulu, Oahu’s melting pot of arts, culture, and cuisine. To top it all, it’s just 9 miles away from the gateway to Hawaii, the Honolulu International Airport. Waikiki is home to many Hawaiian points of interest, such as the iconic Diamond Head cone, the surfing legend Duke Kahanamoku’s memorial statue, Waikiki Aquarium, and Honolulu Zoo. Plus, the possibility of getting a room with a staggering view of the Pacific is almost 100% in Waikiki.

A taste for history and luxury

Be ranked with royalty and check in at the Kahala Hotel and Resort (formerly the Kahala Hilton), with the likes of Princess Diana and Queen Elizabeth II among the names featured in the hotel’s guest list. Located at 5000 Kahala Avenue, the Kahala is one of the Top Ten Pacific Rim Resorts according to Conde Nast Traveler Magazine Readers Choice 2006 and Gold List 2008. With an interior reminiscent of Hawaii’s timeless elegance and an amazing view of the Diamond Head Crater and the Ko’olau Mountain Range, it’s no wonder why some of the world’s most powerful people and legends have chosen Kahala as their “home away from home” in Hawaii. Frank Sinatra, Michael Jackson, and just about every US President since Nixon, all have stayed in its spacious suites. The Kahala has 338 rooms, 5 exclusive spa suites, and a secluded lagoon with its own resident Bottlenose dolphins. Room rates range from $395 to $600+ per night, with a maximum occupancy of 3 adults or 2 adults plus 2 children. You can get a Best Rate Offer from its website (www.kahalaresort.com).

Of course, there’s the historic Moana Surfrider – A Westin Resort, which is hailed as the First Lady of Waikiki. It was the first ever hotel on Waikiki when it was opened to guests in 1901, when the world’s rich and famous began to make Waikiki Beach their top destination. It still stands on 2365 Kalakua Avenue, majestically facing the Pacific Ocean. With its distinctive veranda and thick columns, the European influence in the architecture of Moana Surfrider is a tell-tale sign of the period it was built. Although granted the President’s Historic Preservation Award, the Moana also offers the amenities necessary for a modern lifestyle. It has 793 rooms, 46 of which are suites, a freshwater swimming pool, and a beach bar—contemporary facilities that surprisingly complement its Banyan Wing, which has earned its rightful place in the National Register of Historic Places. Room rates range from $200+ to $300+ a night. A maximum of 4 occupants are allowed in one room. You may check for new promo offers and book online at www.moana-surfrider.com.

A sense of frugality

If you’re like most travelers, what you might be looking for is a nice hostel with good service and a wide range of amenities available for a reasonable price. After all, it is hard-earned money, and you don’t plan to stay in anyway. The Waikiki Beachside Hostel on 2556 Lemon Road is one of the best hostels according to Hawaii’s guidebook and hostel bookers’ rating. It is a top choice especially among the younger crowd. With more than 175 beds, and a choice between dorm or semi-private rooms, the Waikiki Beachside Hostel is the largest hostel in Oahu. It is noted for its cleanliness, security, and pro-active customer service with great attention to detail. The hostel has discounted tours, high-speed and free wireless Internet access, outdoor lounge with 61-inch TV sets, laundry facility, parking space, and round-the-clock customer service. The best thing about the Waikiki Beachside Hostel is that every room is air-conditioned and has cable TV, free local calling, its own bathroom, private lanai, and a fully-equipped kitchen, without you having to pay extra fees. It is guaranteed to be a fun, friendly, and unpretentious place. The cost per head for dormitory arrangement ranges from $26 to $44, depending on the season (Hint: Rates are highest on New Year’s Eve and lowest around February to July). Rates for semi-private rooms range from $67 to $88 a night for a maximum of 2 occupants, so that’s just $33 to $44 each. With their Summer Price Matching Special, you can give them a cheaper quote from another Honolulu hostel, and they will match it. You may call the hostel toll free at (866)478-3888 for reservations or you can check out their website (www.waikikibeachsidehostel.com).

The comforts of home

Sometimes, the choice of accommodations is also not just about the glam or the amount of money you can save. Especially if you’re with your partner or the entire family, what you might need is the cozy feel of a home where you can sit back and relax, free from the impersonal confines of a hotel room and the hustle and bustle of a hostel. Homes, condo units, and cottages for rent could be your thing. Vacation home rentals are also perfect if you’re staying for more than 5 days, and a nightly hotel rate would simply hurt your budget. At the heart of Waikiki is the Polynesian Plaza, right on 2131 Kalakaua Avenue, a stone’s throw away from Waikiki Beach. Each studio has a kitchenette, which is fully furnished like the rest of the unit. It has air-conditioning, solar heating, and WiFi access. The place also has a salt water pool, tropical garden, sundeck, and lanai. If you don’t feel like cooking on some days, there’s also a restaurant in the Polynesian Plaza. For a week’s stay, studio rates go at $500+ for a maximum of 4 tenants. For reservations and inquiries for monthly rates, you may check out its website (www.polynesianplaza.com) or call 808-923-4818.

A block away from Waikiki Beach is the upscale The Cabana at Waikiki, located at 2551 Cartwright Road. It’s on the more peaceful part of the neighborhood, although Waikiki Beach is just a block away. The four-story property is a short walk away from everything: free movies at the beach (referred to as “Sunset on the Beach”), Honolulu Zoo, Kapiolani Park, and the Waikiki Aquarium. Aloha suites are fully furnished, from refrigerator to iPod dock, with a private lanai and cocktail bar. Rentals include maid service and itinerary planning. Aside from these facilities and services, the Cabana has a great view of the Diamond Head. Rates for Aloha suites are $119, $798, and $2,850 on daily, weekly, and monthly bases, respectively. For inquiries, you may call its toll free number 877-902-2121.

Before you book reservations, keep in mind that room rates may change so make sure to check the sites or inquire first for any updates or new promo offers.

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