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Lodging Choices

Accommodations in Hawaii vary widely in price, but the three most important factors are location, location, and location.  If you buy, lease, or rent a home, the location determines the price more than any other factor.  The same is true when you stay at hotels, resorts, and condominiums in Hawaii.  So, it's important that you decide how much you are willing to pay to stay on the beach compared to being one or two blocks from the beach.  And this applies whether you are considering a hotel on Waikiki Beach, or a remote location in Princeville or on Molokai.

Ritz Carlton Kapalua
Luxurious Ritz Carlton at Kapalua, Maui

Realize also that what you get can be more important than what you save.  Staying in a hotel two blocks from the beach may "save" 75% compared to staying on the beach.  But some people would rather stay on the beach for a 25% discount off regular price and pay three times the price of the "bargain" hotel two blocks from the beach.

Normally the rooms in an establishment are similar in size and quality where ever they are located, but the expensive ones have the fabulous views.  Be sure you are clear on what you are getting before committing to the extra cost.  The following definitions can vary from one establishment to another.  Establishments on or near the beach probably have rooms in more than one of these classifications. 

Ocean Front  Only establishments located right on the beach can have these rooms.  However, we have seen hotels located across a busy street or highway classify rooms as ocean front because you can sit on your lanai and see the ocean with nothing blocking your view.
Ocean View  Some establishments don't distinguish between ocean front and ocean view rooms which have a full view of the ocean.  Typically ocean view rooms have a full view of the ocean, but the rooms are not on the beach.  The establishment may be across the street from the beach or the rooms may be situated so that part of the ocean cannot be seen from the room.
Partial Ocean View  It's very difficult to tell what you are going to get if a room has partial ocean view.  It could be as good as an ocean view room or you may only be able to see a small sliver of ocean from your room.  Really check into this one before paying very much for it.
Mountain View, City View, and Garden View  These are the economy rooms.  City view is used in Honolulu because there are so many tall buildings that you can't see the mountains.  Mountain view is the same thing on the other islands which are less developed.  Garden view rooms normally face an interior courtyard where your view is of the other side of the hotel, the pool, and the hotel's landscaping.

If you want to see the ocean from your room you are going to pay more for the room.  Don't be surprised if it costs you up to $200 more per night than a city or mountain view room.  If you plan to spend very little time in the room you can save a considerable amount by staying a 5-10 minute walk from the beach.   It's easy to pay in excess of $300 a night if you stay at a resort on the beach.  However, you can spend less than $100 a night if you stay a couple of blocks from the beach at a less well-known hotel.  You can find some very good and inexpensive hotels where the only view is of the local city streets.  Even if a hotel is on the beach, you will pay much more for an ocean front or ocean view room as opposed to a garden or mountain view.  If you plan to spend a lot of time at the hotel, you may decide to pay the extra money for the view.  We usually do not pay for ocean front rooms because we spend most of our time sightseeing, on the beach, or at the pool if it is beachside.

In addition to location the size of the room, brand recognition of the establishment, and amenities affect the price.  We love ocean front and ocean view rooms but we often choose the lower priced rooms.  If paying for an ocean front room would cause us to skip activities, souvenirs, etc. on the trip, we don't feel it's worth it and we get our ocean views from walks along the beach, restaurants at sunset, etc.

Hotels versus Condominiums  It all depends on what you like.  Some people can't stand the thought of buying a few groceries and fixing a meal while on vacation.  Others can't stand the thought of eating three meals a day at restaurants for a week.  Some people totally relax in a nice hotel room with a king sized bed, table, TV, and bathroom while others would feel "cooped up" and prefer a condominium with a full size living room, bedroom, and small kitchen for light meals.  We are flexible and like both so you will find both hotels and condominiums covered on this site.

Browse our lodging listings for each island to see the price range provided by the establishment (just click on the buttons for each island at the upper right side of this page).  However, be aware that all room rates in Hawaii have various taxes of almost 12% added to them.  Rarely do the prices quoted include the tax. 

We regularly save money on hotels in several ways.
Entertainment Publications  These books are often sold by charitable and non-profit groups as fund raising activities.  Discounts of up to 50% are given by the establishments listed.  In addition, participating restaurants and fast-food places are listed where you can buy one meal and get a second of equal or lower cost free.  
Quest International  This is similar to the lodging portion of the Entertainment Book listed above but is limited to lodging only.  There are some differences but many establishments are listed in both books.
Auto Club and AARP  The discounts aren't as much but if the establishment you want to stay in isn't listed in one of the two books above, always ask for their discount for members of the Auto Club, AARP, frequent flier programs, or other organizations you belong to which may receive group discounts.

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