Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators.
A kitschy, inexpensive condo-style property with Hawaiian flare that's ideal for long stays
Set on a quiet street at the northern edge of Waikiki, next to the Ala Wai Canal, it's hard not to notice the Ilima Hotel, a 40-year-old, cream-colored, pagoda-inspired structure with Barbie-Dreamhouse-pink trim. The 98-room budget condominium-style property boasts the largest rooms in Waikiki -- studios and suites range from 530 to 770 square feet. It's also among the least expensive properties in town (and one of the few truly affordable hotels with a free parking garage).
With full kitchens in every room or suite, the Ilima caters to families and groups looking to make themselves at home in Waikiki for an extended stay. Though the decor looks to be about a decade behind the times -- only the 32-inch, cable-equipped flat-screen TVs appear to be of recent vintage -- industrious cleaning and maintainance makes the hotel a standout among budget digs.
Original lobby by local artist Ralph Kagehiro, depicting Hawaiian gods and goddesses, plus a weekly Hawaiian culture and song session, garnered the hotel a much-coveted local Keep it Hawaii award. Koa wood furnishings and fresh Hawaiian floral arrangements give it a further sense of place.in the well-maintained
Though guests could blink and easily miss the tiny heated pool, the claustrophobic and poorly equipped fitness room, and the one computer kiosk in the lobby that serves as the "business center", the inexpensive 24-hour laundry room and free parking make the Ilima a great value -- a Hawaiian home away from home.Those who don't mind giving up extended-stay facilities and want newer budget rooms a bit closer to the beach, Hotel Renew is a good option, while the Aqua Waikiki Pearl, about the same distance from the beach, offers newly renovated, up-to-date rooms.
Friendly and competent, but largely hands-off
The friendly staff at this budget property doesn't deliver high-level, individualized service, but it does ably smooth the way for its mostly independent-minded guests. Staffers are helpful when asked, and even try to remember guests' names, but they're much more focused on making sure everything runs smoothly than on being at the beck and call of guests.
A quiet street near; 10-minute walk to the
Tucked among condo complexes and budget hotels in the lower-profile -- and lower-decibel -- northern stretches of Ala Wai Canal, the Ilima is in a decidedly more mellow location than similar properties on , just a block away., a good 10-minute walk from the beach and next to the
The Ilima has 72 studio-style rooms, 12 one-bedroom suites, and 12 two-bedroom suites -- all with full kitchens. They range from 530 to 770 square feet, larger than others at this price level. Though the Hawaiian decor looks at least a decade old, the rooms are generally clean and well-maintained.
Three blocks from the heart of the action on one of the world's most famous
The Ilima Hotel is an easy and colorful 10-minute walk, or three blocks, from.
Loosely speaking, the entire 1.5-mile stretch of sand alongsideis known as . In reality, it's more like three separate beaches, the borders of which vary depending on whom you ask. The Ilima is located three blocks from the section called , which is the part you see on postcards of Waikiki: manicured, palm tree-dotted leading to a sunny white-sand beach. Children splash about in the shallow water near the shore, while surfers and (the rad new thing to do) patrol the outer waters.
To summarize Queen's Beach in one word: packed. Packed with energy, packed with activity, packed -- most significantly -- with people. Towels carpet the sand like blankets at a sold-out concert. Families with small children, honeymooning couples, even locals taking lunch breaks -- they all merge here, sunning, swimming, and sandcastle-building, all the while doing their best not to kick sand in each other's faces.
No-frills, but decent for a budget hotel
You'll miss Ilima's pool, fitness room, and business center if you blink your eyes. Yes, they're well maintained, but none of them will keep you on the property very long. The hotel does have free parking in their two level garage, which is not easy to come by in Waikiki. And those looking for a little Hawaiian authenticity will enjoy the "Mohalapua O 'Ilima" Hawaiian culture and music program that meets weekly. The Ilima won the prestigious Keep it Hawaii award in 2007 for the program.
Clean and well-maintained
Though the Ilima looks and feels behind the times aesthetically, it's done a good job keeping its facilities clean and well-maintained. The only sign of wear and tear are some shabby spots on carpets and coverlets in the rooms.
Nothing geared to kids, but large units with kitchens work for families on a budget
There's nothing particularly kid-focused at the Ilima, but families on a budget who want full kitchens and lots of space to spread out -- and don't mind few amenities and a trek to the beach -- could be happy here.
No restaurant, but plenty of nearby options
Tons of eateries -- from casual to upscale -- are within walking distance.
Set beside the Ala Wai Canal in a quiet section of , the Ilima doesn't pretend to be anything fancy. With authentically kitschy decor and huge rooms with full kitchens, this hotel is great for large parties and families -- though kids will be disappointed by the tiny pool.