Anybody who knows me knows I have a thing for Hawaii. Well, certain parts of Hawaii — that is, anything slightly reminiscent of a volcano curls my toes. I'm hoping to make a trip about once a year, though we'll see how it goes. I have to balance my love of volcanoes with my desire to see new places and all. You understand. And a good way to go about getting there and making plans (and seeing that Hawaii needn't cost an arm and a leg)? Hipmunk.
In the Hussle and Bussle of Waikiki
Practically every trip to Hawaii involves spending at least some time in Honolulu, and most travelers tend to gravitate toward Waikiki. Since our blog is all about being real, let's be real: Honolulu needs some serious updating and Waikiki can be a nightmare for pale ambiverts like myself. Because of this, all the more reason you need a decent place to stay. And take it from me: do your research beforehand.
On my most recent trip to Hawaii, my mom and I booked a hotel that claimed to be four stars and had the prices to match. Let's just say that when we got there, my mom was on the phone within 30 minutes calling other hotels. Let's save you the trouble — here are three sturdy Waikiki options from Hipmunk Hotels that get the job done.
On a budget: Aqua Aloha Surf Waikiki
Pros: You shouldn't have to pay more than around $200 per night here, and possibly considerably less depending on the time of year. There's a nearby shuttle that takes you to Ala Moana Shopping Mall and it's a 2-block walk to Waikiki Beach (which means the hotel's price is a steal, considering the location). And, as is most important to me, rumor has it the continental breakfast isn't too shabby.
Cons: The rooms are reported to be a little small and parts of the building are outdated — but if outdated bothers you, you shouldn't be spending time in Honolulu (a city that froze in 1976)
On less of a budget: Aqua Waikiki Wave
Pros: The Wave is a bit more new-school in their practices. For example, they're super green and they allow pets. Another perk is the great location — you're right in the heart of it all. The mai tais will ensue at roughly $200 per night.
Cons: There's no real luxury here, like spas, breakfast, or pools. If you're not a beachcomber, the real perk going on here, this hotel isn't for you.
On the budget of royalty: Hawaii Prince Hotel Waikiki
Pros: The ocean is everywhere here, and it's impossible not to view the Pacific out your window. Literally. This is a 4-star hotel (prices can get as high as $450 per night), so it comes with the goods: a great breakfast, serious spa treatments, etc. If you want to do Hawaii like the Queen of England's younger sister, this is a good place to start.
Cons: The only cons seem to be that the Wi-Fi is slow (we suggest you get off your phone anyway).
Right off Waikiki
If you need to be somewhere just a titch quieter than Waikiki, and we understand, there's still plenty of options (and they're a bit cheaper). We're still talking walking distance, but away from the mad crowds and partiers.
Pros: Coming in well under $200 per night, Maile Sky Court is a no-frills answer to your Waikiki problems. Still a good location, cheap, and rumor has it they have a very generous happy hour (with delicious mai tais).
Cons: Needs some updating and the Wi-Fi isn't great. Seems to be a theme around these parts.
Island Hopping to Maui
Because sometimes you just need off Oahu, and the prices can be much, much more reasonable. Every island is different, so you've gotta see 'em all!
Pros: Super cheap for the area (for anywhere, really; I've paid more in Franklin, IN) — you're looking at around $100 per night. There's also free parking and a shuttle to and from the airport and anywhere within 5 miles (so you may not need that car). With decent breakfasts, a rooftop pool, and a sundeck (that's close to the beach anyway), all your vacation needs are covered.
Cons: Apparently the gym is in need of some love. But we're guessing if you're the type that's at the gym on your Hawaiian vacation — well, you wouldn't be reading our blog.
Our advice: Stay in Waikiki one night for the experience (and to get rid of the jet lag from your flight), and then head straight to Maui and the rooftop of the Maui Beach Hotel. On your way out, be sure to say "Aloha!" to the chipmunk.
All this goes to show that Hipmunk is super useful when it comes to planning a vacation, and that's why we paired up with them to spread the word. We would never endorse something we don't love, and we obviously love that little chipmunk.