Waikiki Beach, Honolulu. Doesn’t the name conjure up visions of sun-kissed beach days, surfing in clear warm waters and luau evenings of hula dancing and ukulele music? It’s all here, but the tropical, skyscraper-bristling Hawaiian capital is way more than that. You can sample local street food in Chinatown, dip into impressive museums and galleries, hike woodland trails in the Honolulu Watershed Forest Reserve, climb the volcanic crater of Leahi (Diamond Head) and shop at Ala Moana. After dark, paint downtown Honolulu red at the city’s best bars and nightclubs. But you needn’t drift into insolvency during your stay – here is our pick of the best cheap hotels in Honolulu, Hawaii, bookable with Culture Trip.
There’s a definite feeling of the tropics in the hibiscus-strewn fabrics on chairs in the lobby and throws on the beds in this affordable hotel in Honolulu. Rooms come with refrigerators, coffeemakers and microwaves, and some have balconies. There’s a sun deck by the pool, and a fitness center. Just two blocks from the boat harbor, the Plaza is just a 10-minute walk to Fort DeRussy Beach where you can partake in the Atlantis Submarine adventure. Don’t miss a romantic sunset on nearby Magic Island.
Right in the center of Waikiki and decorated with island-inspired murals, the friendly Malia offers hotel rooms as well as studios with kitchenettes – ideal for those who don’t wish to eat out every night. Both options have balconies and super comfortable beds. The hotel is just a 10-minute walk to the sugar-white sands of Waikiki Beach, and the surrounding streets are dotted with varied dining options, such as Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ and Sam’s Kitchen (seafood). Stroll the Waikiki Beach Walk and enjoy free live music, hula dance classes, the market and enticing shops and restaurants along the shoreline.
The turquoise cushions and bed throws here are exactly the same color as the Pacific Ocean that you can see from your balcony. In fact, the hotel’s “under the sea” theme and quirky touches are likely to put a smile on your face. But it’s the location that’s the stunner – you’re right across the street from Kuhio Beach, and if you don’t want to dine at the eggshellent Eggs ‘n Things on site, you’re just a couple of minutes’ walk from local favorites Morimoto Asia and Mugen (fine dining) if you’re in the mood to splurge. Kapiolani Park, with its theaters, galleries, bandstand, zoo and aquarium, is less than 10 minutes’ leisurely stroll.
Overlooking the Ala Wai Canal, opposite the namesake golf course, and just a six-minute walk to Waikiki Beach, the welcoming Sand Villa Hotel has run with a “tropical paradise” theme, with jungle-patterned cushions and vases overflowing with fresh flowers. All rooms have balconies, and there are large, corner rooms and suites with full kitchenettes; some overlook the canal, while others look out over the kidney-shaped, palm-fringed pool and hot tub. At the in-house La Vela restaurant, choose a fine Italian white from the owner’s collection to go with the Hawaiian specialty of grilled opah (moonfish).
Accommodation options are versatile at this cheery hotel in the heart of Waikiki Beach: if traveling with family or a group of friends, choose between floral-patterned one-bedroom suites with kitchenettes or studios with full kitchens. Add in a balcony and ocean or mountain views, and you can’t go wrong. The tour de force here is the rooftop pool and hot tub, with expansive sea-and-skyscraper views. Opt for a bento box or rice balls at the Musubi Café Iyasume on the ground floor. The hotel is two blocks from Waikiki Beach, with excellent shopping, bars and restaurants nearby.
If you’re looking for a cheap hotel in Honolulu, the Club Wyndham Royal Garden is an excellent choice. Elegant, well-appointed studios with kitchenettes and one-bedroom units with full kitchens are positioned next to the Ala Wai Canal. The location is walkable to downtown action, but sufficiently far not to suffer from street noise. Take a stroll to Waikiki Beach through the leafy Fort DeRussy Park, and cook up a feast on the barbecue by the picnic tables to enjoy dinner with sunset views.
If shopping is your passion, this downtown Waikiki bolthole makes the perfect base. You’ll also be spoilt for choice when it comes to dining: besides the Japanese steak and seafood at the on-site Tanaka of Tokyo East, TR Fire Grill and Maguro Spot are among the many restaurants dotting the surrounding streets. The white crescent of Waikiki Beach is just four blocks away. Choose from cream-colored rooms with private balconies or one- or two-bedroom suites with full kitchenettes. At the on-site Hawaiian Aroma Caffe, choose between açaí bowls and waffles for breakfast.
It really does feel like an oasis when you arrive here: you’re welcomed by an abundance of orchids and other tropical vegetation around the pool, wood-paneled rooms flooded with plenty of natural light, and hanging egg chairs to lounge around in. Private balconies are among the room features, while the suites come with deep soaking tubs and wet bars. A continental breakfast is included, and facilities include a sun deck and sauna. At the Aloha Steak House, try the rib-eye steak and garlic shrimp special before singing your heart out at the Karaoke GS Studio. The Aqua Oasis is centrally positioned and just a 10-minute walk from Waikiki Beach.
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