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“We loved the cabins at Bellows!”

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Bellows Air Force Station
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed February 27, 2007

Wow - I thought Bellows was not shown as a location on TripAdvisor, so I never did a review. Then I came across this - sorry it took me so long to find it, I would have posted sooner.

We were there last year, March 2006. After 5 days at Hale Koa, we moved to Bellows for 3 nights. We did get a renovated back row cabin, so I can't speak about the whole "non-renovated" issue. Our cabin was fairly nice, but it is a cabin and not a 5-star resort. Having stayed on military bases and recreation areas around the world, we knew it would not be a 5-star, so maybe we did not have such high expectations. But - we were pleasantly surprised to find a clean and inviting cabin, with a wide-open view of the most FABULOUS beach I have ever seen!

Pros - our cabin had updated kitchen and furniture, tile floors, direct view of ocean (even though it was back row), inexpensive spot to eat at Bellows and just offsite in the quaint little town of Wiamanalo. We rented boogie boards and did the snorkeling class - LOVED all the water activities!! We were there for the beach - the AMAZING beach, but the cabin was really just fine. Price was right, I think $65 a night!

Cons - check out was too early since our flight was that night, and they were not willing to budge on the time. I would have liked more towels since we were in and out of the shower quite a bit after the beach. And - no washer/dryer in the cabin. We had to call way ahead and keep trying to get the 3 nights, but that did not bug me. (Try finding a place to stay on a base when your spouse gets back to the US after a year in Iraq!)

I recommend this place, and we hope to go back!

Stayed: March 2006
21  Thank Reet
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed October 18, 2006

After many years of rave reviews about the military cabins on Bellows, I was so looking forward to our visit. Yes, the location is absolutely excellent and the most wonderful beach you could ask for. But as far as staying there ...what a disappointment! It took me months of calling several times a day before I finally was able to snag a reservation for an unrenovated cabin, which is all they had available. (BTW, their reservation "system" is a disaster and not customer friendly at all. Hale Koa is just as popular if not more so, and they have a good reservations system figured out. Why can't Bellows? )

And when they say unrenovated cabins, they mean it! Don't let the photos on the website fool you. The cabin we got was so run down it should be an embarrassment to the USAF. I am from Florida so I am not squeamish about bugs at all. I fully understand in tropical environments a certain amount of bugs are to be expected. But their notice of "Pests in paradise" needs an adjustment. THE PLACE WE HAD WAS ABSOLUTELY INFESTED! There were so many ants throughout the place, we had to put the cup with our toothbrushes in a bowl with water just to keep the ants out . All food had to be stored in the fridge or it was covered with ants. The ants were even inside our toiletry bags and crawling on the towels in the bathroom. One night, there was a swarm (and I mean hundreds) of termites in the bathroom. Then we had the wonderful 4-inch long Hawaiian centipedes make an appearance. (From what I understand these things can bite and sting. Not good if you have small children crawling around the floors.) As a final insult, we wound up having a lovely, very large roach (tropical kind) hitchhike home in one of our suitcases. Luckily, it met its maker on our basement floor.

The baseboards throughout the cabin were held on with duct tape. The ceiling fan was hanging by the wires in the large bedroom. The jalousy window glass was so dirty you could write your name on it. The sofa was dirty and it should have been disposed of long ago. (I've seen cleaner furniture at DRMO sales!) One night, we came back to find the entire floor (bathroom, kitchen and dining/living area) covered with water which we had to sop up with our bathroom towels. When we went to the office to tell the "customer service" rep there was some sort of water leak, she was pretty unconcerned about it. Her initial reaction was basically, "Oh well." It took quite a bit of convincing to get her to check it out so she could get maintenance to address it. Even when she saw the water all over the floor firsthand, she was pretty unconcerned. So I guess this kind of stuff happens all the time. Be warned!

Speaking of "customer service" this was the worst I've ever received at any miltiary installation lodging or recreation center. The same individual mentioned above was on duty most of our stay. Her attitude was bad when we arrived and it never improved throughout. When we got in, we asked if there were any places to eat nearby as we hadn't had a chance to get any food yet. She handed us a commercial-type magazine with restaurants all over the entire island of Oahu. We asked if she knew of any LOCAL places close by, since we didn't know our way around. She said she knew of none!!! Nor did she have a map of the local area. Nor could she give us directions to the closest food store. Here's the best part -- what she failed to mention is that they have a snack bar IN THE SAME BUILDING AS THE FRONT DESK! It wasn't till the next day we discovered it. That would have been all we needed - a sandwich or something, but she didn't even think to mention it to us!

I know, I know, the beach there is absolutely beautiful. And the price is not bad. But I have to tell you, we stayed at a private-sector place earlier in the vacation that was only $60 per night more than Bellows and was FAR better - and it was right on a beach and had a pool, too. No bugs, clean & well-maintained, full kitchens, room for 4, friendly staff members and free breakfasts.

Bottom line: If you can get a "renovated" cabin, it might be worth giving Bellows a shot for a few nights. But if they offer you an unrenovated cabin, I would SERIOUSLY reconsider. For a bit more money, you can probably find something far better in the private sector and have a wonderful, enjoyable R&R. Without worrying about what's crawling all over you at night!

  • Stayed: October 2006, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
36  Thank TwoTravelersToG... A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Bellows Air Force Station

Address: 220 Tinker Rd, Hotel is for Military personnel ONLY, Waimanalo, Oahu, HI 96795-1903
Location: United States > Hawaii > Oahu > Waimanalo
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 3 Specialty Lodging in Waimanalo
Price Range: $7 - $35 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 188
Also Known As:
Bellows Air Force Station Hotel Waimanalo
Bellows Air Force Station Waimanalo, Hawaii - Oahu

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