A team of Oyster reporters have explored over 150 hotels in Hawaii. We slept in the beds, lounged on the beaches, ate in the restaurants, and even danced some hula, all with an eye toward selecting the most distinguished properties. Here’s our list of the best hotel values in Hawaii.
Renovated in 2009, this 356-room, family-oriented resort on Kauai's Kalapaki Beach boasts big flat-screens in every room, a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course, a free fitness center, five affordable restaurants, and the biggest single-level pool in Hawaii. It might not have the fancy frills of the islands' pricier hotels, but it's still the best resort for the buck in Hawaii.
Location, location, location -- the age-old motto certainly holds true in Oahu's Waikiki, where mega-resorts have tried to edge each other out for the choicest beachfront spots. Yet this affordable hotel managed to squeeze its way in; the family-friendly Kuhio section of Waikiki Beach is right across the street. Back in the room, guests will find fun tropical decor, flat-screen TVs, and in most cases an ocean view. A free, daily, hot breakfast is another nice perk.
This 72-room Waikiki boutique offers designer style with sample-sale price tags. Recently renovated rooms fashioned by San Francisco designer Jiun Ho are some of the most stylish on the island, yet you can usually get them for reasonable rates. The hotel is lacking in amenities, but it offers a number of handy discounts for services ranging from rental cars to gym passes to museum tickets.
Located in the Maui town of Kihei, a cluster of budget hotels, shops, and affordable restaurants that's 10 miles from Wailea's pricey resorts, the 265-room Maui Coast is the island's best value. The closest beach is a five-minute walk, and guests will likely want to head into town to dine. But the clean rooms have modern furnishings, flat-screen TVs, mini-fridges, and microwaves. The laundry facilities are free, and a fun poolside bar hosts live music at night.
If all you're looking for is a clean, cheap room, the Aqua Waikiki Pearl can do you one better -- it's clean rooms are among the least expensive in Oahu, but they're also spacious and were renovated in 2009. The catch? No pool or gym, and the beach is a 10-minute walk. All in all, it's still a great value.
A modest Maui property that prides itself on being the "Most Hawaiian Resort," the 430-room Kaanapali Beach Hotel sits right on Kaanapali's four-mile beach. More affordable than many nearby resorts, this low-key hotel has a great tiki bar, free Hawaiian activities, and nightly live entertainment. Room renovations were completed in 2010.
This 108-unit time-share resort in Kapaa has full kitchens in the one- and two-bedroom condos (a mini-fridge and microwave in the studio), free in-room Wi-Fi, a popular seafood restaurant, proximity to good Kauai beaches and dining, and one of the cheapest resort pool bars around. You can't swim off its rocky shore, but all told it's one of the best deals in Hawaii.
A 15-minute walk from Kaanapali's main strip, the family-owned 350-room Royal Lahaina has what the Kaanapali mega-resorts lack -- a quiet, isolated beachfront. Its amenities -- three small pools, a nightly luau, and 11 tennis courts -- don't rival those at Maui mega-resorts, but this is still a great pick for peace and relaxation. The newer Tower Rooms, while more expensive, have stunning ocean views.