We selected this Army Recreation Center because we wanted something right on the ocean but not quite as bustling as Honolulu. We were willing to spend a little but we preferred something more economical. Though only my husband and myself we opted for one of the two bedroom cabins directly facing the ocean rather than a smaller cabin. I had read many of the reviews for Pililaau and felt we would be happy with this choice and we were.
Some folks had mentioned the housecleaning but we did not have any problem. We had clean sheets, clean towels every day and the cabin was clean enough when we arrived. There is a full size refrigerator, microwave and a coffee maker. One evening, my husband called me from the little shoppette and asked me if there was a toaster. I checked and found one in the cabinet! There was also a broom in the little kitchen so I was able to sweep up anything we dropped or tracked inside the house.
Every morning we would have our coffee on the deck and watch the ocean waves. We saw dolphins and sea turtles and enjoyed watching the folks on the paddleboards. They do have equipment rentals (Kayaking, paddleboards) but we didn’t use these. The AAFES Shoppette on site is small but does have the essentials. The café on site has decent enough food but the view is spectacular. They also have live music (I believe Thursday-Saturday). The night we were there I felt very comfortable and it was very family oriented. In fact, a few of the children were dancing to the music.
We drove to Pililaau on a Monday evening after staying with family on Ft. Shafter. We had estimated 35-45 minutes but it took us an hour and a half leaving at 4:00 PM. Timing makes a difference so if you are coming from the Honolulu area I would try to leave before 2:00 PM. One other comment on driving here – it is not well marked. The sign for ‘Pililaau Recreation Center’ is back a bit from the road (some sort of regulation). When you get to the town of Waianae, the left on to Army St is right after the Aloha Gas station. If you get to Waianae High School, you have gone too far.
It was dark on our way in and the town looked a little dicey with a lot of rundown looking buildings and not much in the way of stores. In the day light things looked a little better and definitely I always felt safe on the base itself. Less than a mile away from the recreation center there is a Long’s Drugstore, a City Mill (like a small Home Depot) and a grocery store.
Wireless is only available near the café from 8 AM - 8 PM
We stayed here four days and took a trip out towards the North Shore one of those days. If you want to take day trips just keep the traffic patterns in mind. People are traveling towards Honolulu until about 9 AM and they are returning beginning at about 2 or 3 PM.
Best was the closeness to the ocean and the view, the relaxed atmosphere and the cost. Negatives would be the traffic getting in and out (at least until you learn how to avoid) and what could be a negative is the quiet and lack of activities. It wasn’t a negative for us but it could be for folks looking for a little more excitement.
- Also Known As:
- Pililaau Army Recreation Hotel Waianae
- Pililaau Army Recreation Center Hawaii/Waianae, Oahu