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First timers to Hawaii, Honolulu

Which Honolulu hotels are on sale?
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Auckland, Auckland...
posts: 6
First timers to Hawaii, Honolulu

So.. Me and my boyfriend are planning a getaway holiday to Hawaii, Honolulu sometime during Decemeber/Jan? How's the weather at this time? We are planning to stay close to Waikiki beach? What are some good resorts you would recommend? Would we need a car to get around? Because last time we stayed in Sydney, a lot of money went into Taxis and transport. Please help us :) xx

Surrey, Canada
posts: 737
reviews: 16
1. Re: First timers to Hawaii, Honolulu

The weather is good all year round. The thing you will find at that time of year are the prices. They tend to be a little higher for hotels, it's a popular time of year to visit the island.

Without knowing your budget for your rooms, it would be hard to suggest a place to lay your head. If you could give us an idea on what you would be comfortable spending per night (in US dollars) that would be helpful. You will then get a plethora of responses on everyone's favorite hotel choice.

If you stay in the Waikiki area, you will not need a car as everything is within walking distance. However, there is a whole other world on the other side of the island. For this you will need a car, and I suggest you rent one for no less than 2 days, more if you can swing it, as there is so much to see and do.

posts: 2,269
reviews: 4
2. Re: First timers to Hawaii, Honolulu

The weather is good in Hawaii year-round, with the caveat that December and January bring more showers and a slightly elevated chance of actual bad weather. Most people who want to travel to Hawaii in December and January just accept this risk and are glad they did, enjoying lots of sunshine and swimmable water. But unfortunate, trip-ruining weather can happen in the winter.

A car is highly recommended in Oahu. The island is like two places in one -- Waikiki and every place else. Waikiki is developed, the rest of the island has tons of natural beauty and sights to see. I love them both. And the best way to experience them both is by renting a car. The downside of renting a car is that hotels usually charge between $24 and $30 a night to park it! Ouch.

Some people take a taxi to the hotel and just rent a car in Waikiki for a day or two to explore the rest of the island. But this is harder to work out than it sounds. Car rental rates at Waikiki locations are usually higher than airport rentals. Plus you still have to pay $35 plus tip each way for the taxi from the airport. That's why most people just rent a car the whole time.

As for hotels, there are only about seven right on the beach in the heart of Waikiki. They are

Moana Surfrider

Royal Hawaiian

Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach

Outrigger Reef on the Beach

Sheraton Waikiki (not to be confused with Sheraton Princess Kaiulani)


Hilton Hawaiian Village

(That's not counting the Hale Koa, which is military only, and the Hyatt Regency, which is right across the street from the beach.)

All these are a little pricier than resorts not on the beach. And lots of budget accommodations are available, too, if these more than you want to pay.

If you tell us your nightly accommodations budget and your priorities in a hotel, we can help you identify some specific prospects.

Healy, Alaska
Destination Expert
for Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
posts: 28,656
reviews: 35
3. Re: First timers to Hawaii, Honolulu

The only thing not mentioned is that if you are planning this during Christmas break - which tends to be one of the most expensive times to travel to and stay in Hawaii. If that is the case, book early on everything. :)

Destination Expert
for Oahu
posts: 33,169
reviews: 15
4. Re: First timers to Hawaii, Honolulu

So, do you mean that you want to travel over Christmas/New Years? That is super, super high vacation season for families. I would avoid it if at all possible. Costs will be higher and availability tighter.


Here are the average precipitation and temp numbers for each month.

We can't recommend hotels (there is only one real resort) to you on Waikiki without your nightly accomodations budget in U.S. dollars. Otherwise we would just be throwing out names.

You can take public transportation and tours - but having a car for at least a couple days to explore around the Island is best.

posts: 2,565
reviews: 18
5. Re: First timers to Hawaii, Honolulu

I agree with the comments above about the extra expense of visiting at Xmas time.

But, if you can get past that issue, Xmas is a wonderful experience in Honolulu!

Auckland, Auckland...
posts: 6
6. Re: First timers to Hawaii, Honolulu

Thank you all so very much for your helpful responses.

I will consider all your comments! Thanks for taking the time to help us out.

I did realise prices are quite high during the period we are going but we're still willing to go.. If not, what were other dates/months to travel to Hawaii at its best?

And as for accommodation, I wouldn't want to pay more than $2500 for accommodation but as we are staying for 7 days it is highly possible we will be paying more?

Saint Cloud...
Destination Expert
for Oahu
posts: 22,031
7. Re: First timers to Hawaii, Honolulu

You mention "sometime during December/Jan".

If budget is a concern:

If you are flexible, either end your trip before the week before Christmas, December 11-18 or so would be fine.

Or a week or so after New year. January 5,6 to January 12,13 would be fine.

In between, hotel rates will be higher, car rentals will be higher & airfare will be higher.

posts: 2,565
reviews: 18
8. Re: First timers to Hawaii, Honolulu

How flexible can you be with dates?

We try to stay in September (after the US Labor Day weekend) and October. It's low season because all the kids are back in school.

Everyting is cheaper, and the weather is gorgeous!

Corona del Mar, CA
Destination Expert
for San Diego, Orange County, California
posts: 37,455
reviews: 351
9. Re: First timers to Hawaii, Honolulu

If are talking $400 a night for 6 nights (7 days) you are in okay shape, all the spots that beechmee mentioned except Halekulani are probably within your budget. Do remember taxes and fees, so $400 a night total is more like a daily rate of $350-370.

Destination Expert
for Oahu
posts: 33,169
reviews: 15
10. Re: First timers to Hawaii, Honolulu

You have a healthy accomodations budget for 6 nights - but let's organize a bit ...

1) Your dates are your #1 decision at this point. You really can't do anything without them. Six nights is rather short for such a long flight ... so if budget and other factors allow, consider a longer stay. And always count your nights, not your days.

There is no "best" time. It all depends on what you want to see and do ... and what works for you. Loosely speaking - avoid the times around American holidays and summer in the Northern Hemisphere. Even if you move your trip later into January, it's better than Christmas. Although earlier in December is a low season, I generally don't recommend it because everything is decorated for Christmas, Christmas music, etc. I want Hawaii when I am in Hawaii, not Christmas trees. That's my personal opinion.

2) Your Island - you want to stay in Honolulu because ... why? What do you want to do? Have your considered the other Islands? I just want to encourage you to do some reading about Hawaii before finalizing your decision ... because you have some WONDERFUL options that I bet you are not aware of. Pick up a copy of "Hawaii for Dummies," a highly- regarded travel guidebook that covers all the Islands. And get a good map. Take a look at www.gohawaii.com. It's horribly commercial, for helpful for first-timers.

3) Once you have chosen your Island - then focus on accomodations. If you want Honolulu -great!

My opinion on hotels ... there are wonderful options for you ... and you can find some nice places under your budget so you will have more $ for activities, restaurants and such. Hawaii isn't the kind of place where people have to hang around the hotel all day.

Edited: 12:43 pm, April 12, 2013