Where to Stay on Oahu
Before you reach for the phone to book a place to stay, consider when you’ll be visiting. The high season, when hotels are full and rates are at their peak, is mid-December to March. The secondary high season, when rates are high but rooms are somewhat easier to come by, is June to September. The low seasons—when you can expect fewer tourists and better deals—are April to June and September to mid-December. No matter when you travel, you can often get a good rate at many of Waikiki’s hotels by booking a package.
Remember that hotel and room taxes of 13.962 percent will be added to your bill (Oahu has a .546 percent additional tax that the other islands do not have). And don’t forget about parking charges—at up to $30 a day in Waikiki, they can add up quickly.
Note that more and more hotels charge a mandatory daily “resort fee” or “amenity fee, usually somewhere between $25 and $30, which can increase the room rates by 20 percent. The hotels say these charges cover amenities, some of which you may not need (such as movie rentals, a welcome drink, a color photograph of you on the property—drinking that welcome drink, perhaps?) and some which are awfully handy (such as Internet access and parking). We have listed resort charges next to the room rates in the reviews below; note that Outrigger and Aqua properties do not charge resort fees, something to take into account when comparing prices.
Vacation Rentals--Oahu has few true bed-and-breakfast inns. Instead, if you’re looking for a non-hotel experience, your best bet is a vacation rental. You can rent direct from owners via VRBO.com (Vacation Rentals by Owner) and airbnb.com. On these sites, you’ll find a range of offerings, from $80-a-night studios to unique, off-the-beaten-path lodgings, like a Portlock cottage near Hanauma Bay on the water (listed on vrbo.com) or a North Shore treehouse (listed on airbnb.com). Make sure to read the reviews before booking so you have a general idea of what you’re getting into. Note that for VRBO, unless you purchase VRBO’s “Vacation Protection Services,” most places won’t provide a refund if a rental is not what you expected. Airbnb.com gives renters more peace of mind; it withholds payment until check-in so renters can make sure the listing is as advertised. But I’ve booked places on both sites, basing my picks on reviews, and I’ve found the hosts friendly and listings accurate.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.