It's been many years since visiting the Islands of Hawaii - and for millions of people Oahu is an easily accessible Hawaiian holiday destination. Any time is a good time to visit Hawaii. There is usually a wide choice of accommodations, travel modes, restaurants and day tours to suit all ages, interests and pockets. It is a wonderful relief to arrive at Honolulu airport and see sunny blue skies, green hills and swaying palm trees especially when travelling from a cold, winter climate. Aloha.
I think all year is pretty much a busy time of year for Hawaii so planning in advance is recommended. We made a last-minute booking, and found our first three choices of hotel were full. This surprised us but an article in the local newspaper during our stay mentioned that several Waikiki hotels had "no room at the inn" and March is a busy time of the year. We sandwiched our visit between the Honolulu Festival (parade) and the Half Marathon and North American school spring break. There is so much information available online, it is recommended that hotel reviews, etc be read before making your booking.
Considerations when deciding Hawaii accommodation
If you need a kitchen or kitchenette unit; great when travelling with young children or those with dietary restrictions, it may take you a little longer to decide on a reservation. Also think about :
- Are you interested in views of Waikiki beach, Ala Wai canal or Diamond Head
- How do you plan to spend your time; such as sitting on the beach or poolside, snorkeling, surfing on the north of the island, touring, etc
- Are you going to rent a car ~ if so one day only is recommended as rates and parking in Honolulu can be very expensive and rush hour (yes, there are two!) can perhaps remind you of peak hour elsewhere
- If stairs are an issue make sure your hotel lobby is at street level and they have an operating lift, even to the lower floors
- If you plan to spend a lot of time on your lanai ~ a view of palm trees is preferable to a view of another hotel or condominiums
- Ditto if you plan to spend your days mostly by the pool soaking up the sun ~ and check if the pool is heated
- Check online reviews for noisy elevators, air conditioners, traffic and nighttime party destinations
- Of course cleanliness of accommodation and friendliness of staff goes a long way at any time - it's important to be comfortable and safe where you stay
- Check if smoking or non smoking rooms available, WiFi, complimentary continental breakfast, airport shuttle, etc
- Sorry to say but one of our reasons to check hotel reviews is for frequent, or repeated negative comments about bed bugs, room service, hotel bankruptcies, etc
What type of holiday are you looking for?
There is a lot of construction all over Hawaii at the time of our visit and it is great that many buildings from the 1950's and 1960's are being upgraded, and it can be noisy during the day. If you are looking for a quiet relaxing vacation in Waikiki make sure to check on work in progress. A few other pointers :
- Honolulu is easy to get around: it has a great bus service (The Bus) and there are many other reasonably priced trolley bus tours where you can get off and on. One of the reasons many people, including ourselves, choose Waikiki is that it is central to many attractions and services. There is so much to see such as a leisurely (maximum) half hour walk to the zoo or beach or a bus to the Botanical Gardens or Ala Moana
- The beaches can be very crowded, especially on weekends or school holidays, with the Diamond Head "end" being quieter and less congested
- Walking or jogging by the Ala Wai canal or playing golf is easily accessible
- Walking, bicycling, motorbikes or mopeds are a great way to travel in Oahu
- Remember to follow common sense safety rules when travelling. Avoid isolated areas and beach parks especially at night, travel with a friend, don't take valuables or lock them in your hotel safe, obey signs ~ several swimmers were stung by Box jellyfish during our stay
Whatever your preferences, enjoy your stay, take in the beautiful vistas, enjoy the warm ocean breezes and be safe and happy. Aloha
- There are so many restaurants and food outlets from fast food to world-class dining, it is easy to find a restaurant to suit your palette. We did notice on occasion, several restaurants with long lineups of people waiting to enter
- If travelling with a person with food allergy or intolerance, a kitchenette is a great choice - we found food prices at grocery stores higher in Waikiki
- Retail outlets ~ well, Waikiki is a great big one ~ again, there are so many options and we laughed at an ABC variety store outlet on every street corner!
- There are several natural food restaurants and stores in Waikiki and a Saturday morning market Kuhio Market
- There is a great protected beach for kids to swim at south-east end of Waikiki called Kuhio Beach
- We met many helpful friendly "islanders" who helped us with directions and bus routes. Thanks !
- When swimming the local beaches, stay within view of the Life Guards and obey warnings. ~ some beaches have strong currents
- A few hotels may offer two star accommodations with three star prices. Check those reviews and ratings
- At the time of our stay two large hotels were in "bankruptcy" during our visit - always check
- Hawaii was a wonderful way to spend a week while waiting for results from a PET scan
Links and References
- Record high numbers of tourists visit Hawaii
- "Hawaii Fiftieth Star" by A. Grove Day, 1993 ~ an history of the Hawaiian Islands
- Ala Wai Canal
- Ala Wai Golfcourse
- Kuhio Saturday Market
- Box jellyfish and other great information
- Honolulu Airport, Hawaii
- Uncle Bob's Taxi saved us lots of time and hassle - a good way get to your Honolulu hotel after a long international flight