As earlier reviewers have noted, there are both pros and cons to this property. I think your own travel style/preferences will dictate whether or not you enjoy your stay at this location.
In terms of getting around, it is indeed near the end of a "highway" (I use the term loosely as Farrington Highway has very low speed limits and more than ample traffic lights) and if you drive before 9:30am or after 3:00pm on weekdays, you will find yourself stuck in a snarl of traffic. This traffic means that it will take you approximately 1.5 hours to get into Honolulu or over to the North Shore. Plan accordingly.
Aesthetics-wise, the building itself is reminiscent of a slightly more upscale Motel 6 and constructed of cinder blocks and complete with stippled/popcorn ceilings. I suspect the reputation of Waianea resulted in a gated community and the overuse of the fob. You will need the fob to get in and out of the parking lot, use the BBQ, get in the elevator and stairwell and to get back in from the beach. This can turn into a real production if there are a couple of you and only one fob.
In terms of food, your options are pretty limited. Fast food and hole-in-the-walls are pretty much what you must make do with if you don't feel like cooking. We chose to prepare our own meals though be warned that some staples (meat, dairy) at the local supermarket (Tamura's) can be a bit bleak. Do all your shopping before 8pm too!
The beach is indeed very close to the building and the sound of the waves is amazing, not to mention the views. Turtle sightings are pretty common too. However, the undertow is very noticeable and I personally did not venture too far out due to the angry surf in late November. We did not let him our little one out of our sight and he would have certainly been carried off by the strong current. The sand is also somewhat coarse (made up of lots of small broken shells etc) and seems to be extra-sticky. Weather-wise, we did not notice that being on the leeward side of the island made a difference in terms of sunniness. Also, this side of the island isn't terribly green and almost desert-like.
Part of the building houses permanent residents/owners, lending this property a friendly, neighborhood-y feel. You also will see locals at the beach and it is fun to watch them expertly navigate the waves.
The property manager isn't exactly the friendliest. Bring lots of quarters to do laundry, and don't venture to ask if you can get any change!
As far as other things to do/see in the neighboring areas, there's not much. There are a couple of other beaches nearby, and a couple of small hikes that you can take.
I would recommend staying here if your idea of a vacation is to simply relax on the beach, get pummeled by some waves, make yourself a sandwich for meals, and read lots of books. Personally, we were looking for a bit more and regretted not staying somewhere with more options. As a sidenote, staying at the Cabanas was in line with what we paid elsewhere on Oahu so there was no cost savings.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Fabulous Main Floor Oceanfront Condo! Step from the lanai directly on one of the Best Rated Beaches in Oahu! Watch spectacular sunsets, see the dolphins, sea turtles and even whales during the annual migration--all from the comfort of your beachfront lanai.Swim, snorkel, boogie board, surf or golf nearby at two top-quality courses. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Makaha Beach Cabanas Hotel Waianae
- Makaha Beach Cabanas Hawaii/Waianae, Oahu