I have stayed at the Hale Koa several times and I was a guest there this past week. As always, it never disappoints me. I can’t say enough about the beauty of the grounds and common areas and the fact that it is situated on a prime spot on Waikiki Beach. If you are eligible to be a guest – I highly advise it. This property is not just for military members and their families/guests but is also open to Department of Defense (DoD) employees as well. You will not find a nicer property for such reasonable room rates. At one time or another I have stayed in all room categories and all are very nice. The ultimate, of course, is the Deluxe Ocean View room with wrap around views (which, as the highest category you will be amazed at the reasonable rate). You must book early (at times you will need a year in advance to book the Deluxe Ocean View rooms. The rooms are showing their age (e.g., the synthetic bed spreads) but are very well maintained and clean.
The Hale Koa has two towers the “Maile” and the “Llima”. The Llima tower is the original tower but has been renovated more recently (2009) then the Maile tower. I prefer the Llima tower because the furniture in the rooms and the colors are more modern. The furniture in the Maile tower is dated. However, all rooms have flat screen TVs, individual climate control, coffee makers, a small safe, and a small refrigerator (under the sink in the bathroom). The remainder of my review will be framed in terms of Pros, Cons, and Tips.
Pros: Beautiful property right on Waikiki Beach with nice accommodations and too many pluses to name here but to name a few: two pools (one is adults only), decent restaurants, snack bars, gym, spa, wonderful staff, and a decent AAFES store where you can get snacks, gifts, sundries, jewelry, clothes, etc. The Hale Koa is within walking distance of many of the Waikiki attractions including shopping (the amazing Ala Moana mall is about a 15-20 minute walk but you may not want to lug your shopping bags back). I suggest you take the free trolley that will drop you off right at the mall) and a wonderful Army museum with a very cool exhibit dedicated to General Eric Shensiki.
Cons: Internet service is not free in the rooms (Wireless is free in the lobby areas) and is priced per 24-hour use. Suggestion: Sign on late in the evening. That way, the next day you can play outside all day and then you will have at least a few hours of Internet service once in your room that evening). If you stay in one of the Deluxe Ocean Front rooms know that you will hear the noise from the special events and programs that are held in the Luau area. In fact, any party or event in which a microphone is used or speakers are used to broadcast music will be heard in your room and the noise is LOUD. The good news is the Hale Koa has a policy in which all such noise must be turned down or off by 10:00pm. Although each room has a personal coffee maker you may find that the pods will brew very weak coffee. I found that doubling up the pods (putting two pods in the coffee maker instead of one) will make a cup of coffee that is decent (until you can get to a Starbucks, which, by the way has a kiosk in the hotel lobby).
Tip 1 (shopping for snacks): The Exchange store on the property is decent. However, I found that I could save a ton of money on snacks by shopping at the ABC store that is on the property of the Hilton Hawaiian Village (next door). This store has a wonderful and large selection of pre-packaged sandwiches, green salads, pasta salads, boiled eggs, etc. Buy a stash of snacks and place in your refrigerator. You’ll save a ton of money. Food in Honolulu is expensive (note: a bag of Lays potato chips will cost you $5.). Don’t leave food open in your room at the Hale Koa you will get ants. Trust me.
Tip 2 (Room tips): Although you cannot “reserve” a particular room number or tower you can request your preference at the time of reservations and the front desk staff will try their best to accommodate you. If the tower or room that you want is not available at the time of check in, it is possible to move to the more desired room later in your reservation. I have done this before that is, stayed in one room for a few days and then moved to my desired room for the remainder of my stay. Just ask when you check in. This past visit I stayed in room 1438 (pictures attached) and the view was awesome (pictures attached). If you want a front balcony with the Deluxe Ocean Front room you will have to stay in the Maile tower. The Deluxe Ocean Front rooms in the Llima tower also have balconies but are on the side of the building instead of facing the front of the ocean. This really isn’t an issue because these rooms have a large picture window facing the ocean and the side balcony has views of the city as well as the ocean. I found this view nicer than the one in the Maile tower.
A word about checking out late: This isn’t advertised but the Hale Koa does have a 6pm late check out policy but you will pay 1/2 of your room rate. This may be desired if you have a flight after 6pm and you don’t want to wander around for several hours before heading to the airport. I did this and was very appreciative of the fact that I could hang out in my room until I needed to leave for my 8pm flight. The Honolulu airport is small and there isn’t a lot of distraction (i.e., stores). If you arrive too early you could get bored silly. Here is a warning to you shoppers who love Coach Handbags: There is a “Coach” store at the Honolulu airport. Be warned, this is NOT an official Coach store but a store that has authorization to sell Coach merchandise. Why is this important? Because if you make a purchase at this store, get back to the mainland and decide that you want to return or exchange your merchandise, you will not be able to do it at an official Coach store on the mainland. You will have to contact the airport store and then mail the merchandise back and wait for your account to be credited. You will incur shipping costs and the headaches.
I highly recommend the Hale Koa and it is the only property that I will stay in when visiting Honolulu. To conclude this review I would like to respond to another reviewer who gave the Hale Koa a low rating and complained about the fact that she was required to show her hotel ID card when making purchases at the Exchange store. Her review made me think that she is a very young wife (or girlfriend) who is new to military culture. The Hale Koa is for the DoD family and shopping at the Exchange store is a right earned by our Service Members and is a privilege extended to family members/guests of the Service Member (there are no taxes levied on the merchandise). The Hale Koa is not a “closed” property in that the general public has open access to the property. That is, they can pass through to get to the beach and are welcome to dine at the restaurants. However, the general public cannot shop at the store because they have not earned that right or have been given that privilege. Instead of being annoyed that she was asked to show her hotel ID, she should have been thankful and appreciative that the Exchange employees are doing their job and protecting the benefits of our Service Members.
All rooms are nice; however, if it’s in your budget, try to reserve a Deluxe Ocean Front room. This...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.