Honolulu vacation rentals?
February 2, 2009 12:25 AM   Subscribe

My boyfriend and I just booked a flight to Honolulu for the first week of May and now we need to find accommodations. We're hoping to find a week-long rental somewhere within the city to use as a home base, spend most of our time at the beach and/or exploring nearby tourist-y sites via public transit, and maybe rent a car for just a couple days.

I've had a look at the other ask.me questions about Honolulu but we have some pretty specific requirements that aren't really covered in those.

Our ideal place would be:
- around $100 US a night
- equipped with a kitchen
- walking distance to a beach that has decent waves for surfing
- a short walk or bus ride to a grocery store or farmer's market

We don't need anything super-fancy - a basic studio or one bedroom apartment would suit us just fine. We might be willing to pay more for somewhere *really* nice though.

I'm checking out the usual suspects (TripAdvisor, VRBO, craigslist) but would love to hear personal recommendations from anyone who has stayed in the area before.
posted by sanitycheck to Travel & Transportation (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I just found this place which isn't too far above your price point at some times of year. But I haven't been there.
posted by jon1270 at 5:06 AM on February 2, 2009

My wife and I stayed at resortquest waikiki last fall. It's not the best (it's kind of run down, awaiting either renovation or being torn down) but it's directly across from the beach, and there are a lot of places to rent cars in the area (though the hotel has no parking of it's own, you can using a neighboring hotel lot for parking). We managed to get an ocean view room for just over $100 a night, but be warned, the non-ocean view rooms either have no windows, or look out at other high rises in the area.

Damn. No kitchen, sorry about that (need to read the question), but there are a good number of places that are pretty cheap to eat, and there are fridges in the room.

Just so you know, there are no cheap supermarkets in Waikiki (which means near the beach). The ones in walking distance are all quite pricey. The only reason I suggest Waikiki is that all of the tourist sites are within distance there, and all of the stuff geared towards tourists is in the area as well (rentals and such).

There are, I believe, a good number of apartment/studio rentals in Waikiki, near the canal, if that helps.
posted by Ghidorah at 6:20 AM on February 2, 2009

I hate to be the Rainer of Parades, but that is a pretty steep order! Because the area is so touristy, prices are very high for accommodations, and ones with kitchens and such are going to be even more expensive than usual. Also, note when you're looking at places that just about everywhere charges for parking and it can run $20-$30 per day just to keep your car. Public transportation in Waikiki works ok and it's very walkable, but the best surfing is not on these main beaches and would be in places you'll need to drive to. A lot of people rent scooters instead to get around during the day, but I'm personally a little hesitant about it because motorists are not always polite to scooter people and it's easy to get hurt.

If you have any friends/family in the military, you might ask them to inquire about housing and hotels on the bases. At Hickram AFB there is a pretty nice hotel and the rates are fantastic (b/c they're for military use) and they have private beaches plus it's easy to drive in/out to explore the island on your own. Most bases also have other types of cabins and condos that can be rented by military families.

Just a side note, because I learned this the hard way: Honolulu Airport is no where near Waikiki. So factor that in with your travel plans. :) If you plan to stay closer to the airport (rather than stay near the beach), you can probably reduce some of your hotel costs, but you will definitely want a car to get back and forth.
posted by giddygirlie at 12:03 PM on February 2, 2009

It sounds to me like you would be better served renting a car and retreating from the most expensive areas around waikiki. You're much more likely to be able to get a nice place with a kitchen if you're a few miles away from the beach. And with a car, you'll be ablet to zip all over the island and see the attractions on your own time. It's true that Oahu has a great bus system, and you can definitely get to a lot of great beaches from downtown or waikiki on the bus. But it's time consuming and there's always a bit of a learning curve for a bus system, and it's slower. Also, Oahu is a lot bigger than most first-time visitors imagine. Waikiki to North Shore is an hour by car without traffic.

Oh, there are several touristy but enjoyable farmer's markets, one good one is at Kapiolani Community College Saturday mornings, about 2 miles from the East end of Waikiki.
posted by bluejayk at 1:55 PM on February 2, 2009

Check the sites for the hotels that operate here (Resortquest, Aqua, Marriot, Outrigger.) there are some old fashioned places like the Breakers http://www.breakers-hawaii.com/, or http://www.hawaiiankingcondo.com/intro.php you can find a $100 a night room but mostly you get a small room and no kitchen, if you want a kitchen attached search specifically for condominiums away from the beach, Waikiki is not even a half mile wide at its widest, and you can get to the beach from anywhere in Waikiki in under 2 minutes walking, resortquest used to specialize in just condo’s but they have moved away from that.

For Surfing it depends on how good you are, you can surf queens in Waikiki just behind the dukes statue and be among 30 people who never been on a surfboard before or you can walk 15 minutes and be at alamoana bowls with guys from the ASP tour. Be respectful and have fun and you will get on fine.

For supermarkets as said before, you need to shop outside of Waikiki and most likely you will still suffer from sticker shock, easiest way is to eat like a Japanese person, but there are so many cheap restaurants around you can almost eat for little more than the cost of groceries, but for that you need to also get out of Waikiki and go up to the University area.

The Airport is 7 miles away from Waikiki where 90% of the tourists stay, anywhere else on the island is going to be more expensive due to limited capacity. I suggest you rent the car, you can get a sub compact for like $50 a day, cheaper if you rent multiple days, but watch out, parking will get you.
posted by kanemano at 5:21 PM on February 2, 2009

Response by poster: I don't drive at all and my boyfriend rarely drives (we don't own a car and take the bus or walk pretty much everywhere here in Vancouver) so we're really hoping to avoid having to rent a car, which is why we want to stay within easy walking distance of as much as possible.

We're no strangers to public transit, though, and are comfortable hopping a bus to get us to somewhere a bit more interesting for a day trip, or to do a less expensive grocery run at a mall outside of the main tourist area. I gather there's a Walmart, etc. a mile or two outside Waikiki?

As far as surfing goes, we're both beginners (only been surfing twice) so we're probably fine to join the mass of newbies at Waikiki Beach.

We currently have a reservation request in at this place. At $135 a night it's definitely more than I had originally planned, but it also qualifies as *really nice* in my books - much nicer than the sketchy condos I've been encountering on VRBO in the $100 range. It's in the Four Paddle condo building. Can anyone here comment on building's location and quality? Is it really only a few minutes walk from the beach?
posted by sanitycheck at 11:39 PM on February 2, 2009

Best answer: You can buy a 4 day bus pass for $10 at the ABC stores, with that you can get on any bus any time, you can check out The Bus (new window) for maps and schedules

Walmart is about 2 miles away, close to Ala Moana Shopping center, but you can also check out Don Quixote a Japanese supermarket chain, they are also pretty reasonable and have a large selection of asian food,

The Four Paddles is pretty central, GMap (new window) and as you can see the water is just a run ship and a hop away

Going to the North Shore by bus is about 2 1/2 hour ride plus time waiting for transfers Kailua and Lanikai beach is about 2 hours and they run the aircon on the buses pretty cold so bring a sweater.
posted by kanemano at 10:30 AM on February 3, 2009

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