budget lodging close to KOA airport
May 31, 2013 4:57 PM   Subscribe

Do you have any suggestions for budget lodging on the big island in Hawaii (we'll be coming into KOA airport)? We've never been and are at a loss for how to find a good place to stay. What I really want is suggestions for places that you have personally stayed in and can highly recommend, preferably less than $100, and definitely less than $150 (upper end only if it is really truly breathtaking). Individually owned condos and whatnot are perfect suggestions if it means getting something stunning at an affordable price.

Bonus points for suggestions as to whether we should spend the whole week on the big island or if we should go to other islands- we've never been anywhere in Hawaii before. Thank you!!!
posted by cacao to Travel & Transportation around Hawaii (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
When are you looking for reservations?
posted by fiercekitten at 5:53 PM on May 31, 2013

Response by poster: Roughly July 21-28, 2013, give or take a day.
posted by cacao at 6:01 PM on May 31, 2013

I had good luck with vrbo.com for finding a rental. I think it's going to be tough to find something for the price you want - mine, on Oahu, was about that, but I successfully got the rental car guy to tell me that the area was "kind of ghetto"
posted by ansate at 6:09 PM on May 31, 2013

Just got back from the Big Island and had a fantastic time! Congratulations, you're going to love it, no matter where you stay. We personally did 5 nights on the Kona side (actually in Kohala) and 3 nights on the Hilo side. Unfortunately the place we stayed at in Kohala is quite a bit outside your budget (the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel). If you are thinking about going to the Hilo side for any length of time though (which I would recommend, it's completely different from the beachy Kona/Kohala side, like a tropical rainforest), I would highly highly recommend the B&B we stayed at for three nights, the Orchid Tree B&B. Absolutely wonderful place, great owner (Steve), stunning breakfasts of fresh fruit arranged artistically by Steve, a spacious suite, hot tub and pool for $149 a night plus taxes (for two people). I will note that the Hilo side is about 2.5 hours from Kona airport and not really where you want to stay if you're only interested in beaches and snorkeling -- but it's great to use as a base for exploring Volcanoes National Park, trying to see active lava flow, or just soaking in the amazing vegetation (Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden was a favorite) and the farmer's markets. We personally stayed the entire time on the Big Island and found it more than enough for us -- such incredible diversity. Do MeMail if you have any questions.
posted by peacheater at 6:18 PM on May 31, 2013 [1 favorite]

I would definitely go the airbnb route. It's economical, and you will have the local expertise of your hosts to hook you into the insider gems of the island. Plus being able to cook for yourself, with all the gorgeous local produce and seafood...heaven.

My recommendation would be to stay on the Big Island for your entire trip. There is tons to explore -- it is an intensely interesting place. You can circle the island, spend a few days at the volcano, go up Mauna Kea, get rained on in Hilo. A week will let you dig deep. And, you'll have time to just relaaaaaaax and slow down to local speed.

Kona is just too stinkin' hot in July for my taste, and Kailua-Kona is too trinkety and touristy, so my rec would be to spend half of your nights in the cooler areas: up in Volcano, and the Hamakua area (Hilo side). In Kona, maybe think of finding a groovy airbnb upslope in "old" Kona.
posted by nacho fries at 7:53 PM on May 31, 2013

On airbnb.com there are a lot of places like you describe with reviews.
posted by cda at 7:56 PM on May 31, 2013 [1 favorite]

All these people are correct - airbnb or vrbo is the way to go, and the Big Island will keep you plenty busy for a week. I normally source everything from forums these days, but I do recommend the book Hawaii The Big Island Revealed. Go around the whole island and marvel how the whole vibe changes.

I suspect everybody on this thread could give you their favorite places, because it's that kind of place. Yelp is pretty good on the Big Island for finding good restaurants, grocery stores, etc.

posted by troyer at 9:48 PM on May 31, 2013

The Big Island is awesome. May I suggest- if you are adventurous- just renting a camper van and slowly circumnavigating at your leisure? That way you can stay in places you like and not be tied to someplace you may or may not like. We used these guys who were delightful, and it's probably one of the loveliest, most relaxing vacations we've ever had.
posted by charmedimsure at 11:28 PM on May 31, 2013

If you want to go the mainstream hotel route, use tripadvisor.com to checjk out the reviews. We've found them to be reliable.
posted by blue_beetle at 6:02 AM on June 1, 2013

I was thinking campervan at first, too, but the daily rate exceeds the OP's budget (esp once you add in all the taxes and charges). Though depending on what you'd be spending to rent a (non-camper) car to get around, it could end up being cost-effective.

One known issue is that you'll be leaving all your valuables in the van while you are snorkeling, hiking, exploring; and unfortunately, there are issues at the beach parks and other camping areas with theft from vehicles.

On the other hand, you don't have to pack/unpack every time you change locations/hotels, so there is the convenience factor.
posted by nacho fries at 4:24 PM on June 1, 2013

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