Oahu Travel Guide
It's getting more and more expensive to visit Oahu, and, for once, it has nothing to do with the cost of coladas or airline tickets. This time, it's actually the hotel industry that's pumping up prices by turning budget-friendly accommodations into luxury lodging. Grr.
Now, don't think this is malicious -- there's a lot of good work being done -- but the fact is that budget-friendly hotels are disappearing. Smith Travel Research reports the number of budget rooms on Oahu and Waikiki has decreased by 10% over the last ten years.
In 2006, Oahu had 33 budget properties but by the end of last year there were only 27 (less than 700 budget hotel rooms in total). Because of the high cost associated with building new on Waikiki, developers are deciding to renovate older buildings, turning them into newer, nicer, and pricier properties.
Despite that trend, you can still find a cheap hotel on Oahu. For our purposes, we consider anything under $200/night in Waikiki during high season a "budget property." Here's a sampling of some of the options we found, based on guest feedback as well as our own. Keep in mind it's currently the high season in Hawaii, meaning you can get even lower prices (and less crowds) if you visit in the late spring or summer...
Name This Caption / Hotel Snapshots / Have You Ever Done This / Hawaii Hotels / Hilton Hotels / → All Tags
It's Monday and just the right hour to take a minute and play Witty Wordsmith with us, whydontcha? That's right, it's time to Name.This.Caption!
Check this photo taken during a visit to the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Waikiki. There was something going down as a Japanese film crew commanded part of the beach to capture a pop-star's video.
But this couple sunning on the beach here? Didn't raise an eyebrow. Didn't move their backpack not one bit to see what all the fuss was about.
We were torn between watching them bake (and ignore the boom) and figuring out who was was being filmed. We're so nosy, we admit it!
So do we name this photo "Jaded in Oahu"? "The Nap Trumps All"? Or can you do better?
Help us out! Have a humorous hunch about what's happening here? Let us know in comments below!
Hammertime happened right here!
We’re island-hopping around Hawaii this week for a few assignments, and stopped by Turtle Bay Resort on Oahu’s North Shore to do a quick tour of the hotel. The 880-acre property is a real stunner with five miles of perfectly uncrowded coastline. If we gave a rat’s ass about golf we're sure we'd be impressed by the Arnold and Fazio pro golf courses, but sadly, the sport is lost on us.
But, as an Oahu wedding or honeymoon destination, Turtle Bay Resort is one of the best.
That’s why MC Hammer (a.k.a. Stanley Burrell) decided to have an impromptu vow renewal with his wife of more than 23 years during a recent spring break stay at the resort. All the Kleenex-worthy drama will air this Sunday on the has been 90’s rapper’s reality TV show, Hammertime on A&E.
While many of us in the continental U.S. were busy snuggled up next to heaters and staring at our televisions this weekend, folks who had been lucky enough to take a Hawaiian vacation to Waikiki were unlucky enough to find themselves without power in their hotels when a blackout hit Oahu.
Waikiki hotel guests were (understandably) frustrated when the area lost power on Friday night, and, according to MSNBC, power was not completely restored until midday on Saturday. Until then, there was no running water, no electricity and no fun.
Tourists were willing to share stories of how they survived the night. Some had to climb more than 30 stories to get to their hotel rooms. "My husband and son walked up. The girls and I choose not to, and we waited for the elevators," visitor Virginia Moore said.
It was an unsettling night for many. "I was worried about careless candles and I hesitated to go up to the 38th floor," Moore said.
Tourism officials said some hotels were offering breakfasts to guests to make up for the inconvenience, but so far no word on whether or not any awesome glowstick raves resulted from this particular power outage.
[Photo: Charles Dietlein]
Walt Disney Resorts just announced plans for an 800-unit resort on the island of Oahu called The Ko Olina Resort & Marina. It will be the first resort that's not attached to any Disney theme park (that sounds like a plus) and will offer Disney Vacation Club time-share units (hmmm...not a plus.)
Details are scarce but the place will attempt to capture an "authentic Hawaiian experience" so we're guessing there won't be any Mickey Mouse stickers on the toiletries.
The resort won't open until 2011 but considering that the Disney resorts in Anaheim, Orland, Tokyo and Paris maintain an average occupancy rate of over 90% year-round, and an average daily rate of about $350, we bet this place will do just fine.
· Disney Resorts stakes claim in Hawaii [LA Times]
[Ed. Note: Alex Salkever who's behind the island blog Hawaiirama returns this week to offer his opinion of the Turtle Bay resort, where Sean Penn is staying much to the dismay of some Oahu natives. Enjoy.]
This might seem an odd choice considering that the owners of land surrounding this hotel are embroiled in a controversial struggle to load up the pristine, rural coastline with thousands more condos and possibly anger Native Hawaiian activists who claim the site as an ancestral sacred spot.
Then again, the hotel recently resolved its union problems and it is the largest single employer on the economically challenged North Shore, so Penn's presence and copious spending are going to support real blue-collar working folks, something that he would be proud of.
And the maligned expansion plan, which I dislike for purely aesthetic reasons, enjoys a broad measure of support in the immediately surrounding community of Kahuku.
So should Sean stay or should he go? Tough call. At the moment, with the ground still unbroken for new construction and Penn supporting local union workers staying in a 30-year old hotel that's no longer an environmental flashpoint, he's got no reason to leave for now.
The New York Times goes to the Beverly Hills of surfing destinations--the North Shore on Oahu.
The article takes on a very in-depth tour of the local surf scene, sprinkled with historical facts and new ones like the fact that the TV show "Lost" films there. (The article smartly glosses over the other TV show, titled "North Shore" that bombed on Fox.)
If you're not a surfer and want to enjoy the action from afar, there's Turtle Bay Resort, which is pretty much your only option for a resort. It has 375 rooms, 26 suites and 42 beach cottages, along with two golf courses, tennis courts and a private beach for beginning surfers. Rooms begin at $229.
Ke-Iki Beach Bungalows is at the other end of the hotel spectrum. It has just 10 bungalows right on the beach and within walking distance from Sunset Beach and Velzyland. Celeb alert: Morgan Freeman and Owen Wilson aka Butterscotch Stallion have stayed here. With amazing rates---$120 for a studio and $210 for a two bedroom, the bungalows are booked very far in advance.
Lastly, for the travelers who don't care where they sleep but rather about what they do, there's the Backpackers Vacation Inn and Plantation Village. It's a "funky surf hostel" but you have to sleep on bunk beds in rooms with other surfers. On the bright side, they do have private rooms, with shared kitchen, bath and living room that start at $67 and full-on studio apartments start at $125.
Need we say, Cowabunga, dude? Hmm..no we don't. Ok then...Surf's Up!
Fox hopes to have found the Melrose Place for the millennium when the networks new drama, North Shore, premieres. This OC clone is set at the fictional Grand Waimea Hotel,on the beautiful North Shore of Hawaii. Oh yeah, and this 17,000-square-foot "fictional" hotel/sound stage was built to the tune of $850,000 real American dollars.
Fake hotel designer, the Emmy-award winning Michael Hanan, tried to clarify his budgetary needs:
"I didn't have another hotel in mind and wanted the set to represent Hawaii's basic elements of water, stone, sky and greens,"
850k gone that is your story? Sounds like Mr. Hanan is going to have a lotta `splainin' to do if this show bombs and the suits start circling.
North Shore didn't go full faux. Fox tried to use some of their surroundings to ground this drama in realism. Some scenes were shot at the only real resort on the North Shore of Hawaii, TurtleBay Resort. While other footage comes from the close by Ko Olina Marriott.
Finally, to make sure the audience bought the shows authenticity, the producers cast Richard Wright as the hotel owner, who as we all know, is a hotelier extraordinaire from the Big Apple.