Although we had a great time in Honolulu for the Christmas break, we did run into a little hotel situation. Originally, we were all supposed to stay at the Hale Koa Hotel, which is the military only facility in Honolulu. This being a military only facility, they only allow one room for the military and only one extra room for family members. However since we booked the rooms late, they initially only had one room available. So my father and mother would stay at the Hale Koa, and my sister, Courtney and I would stay at the Hale Koa’s spill over hotel. However, when my parents checked into the Hale Koa, they had an extra room available so my sister ended up staying there, and we were left with the Aqua Palms and Spa hotel just a few blocks away.

Hotel One – Aqua Palms and Spa Hotel

When we checked into the Aqua Palms, unfortunately they did not have our reservation. It turns out that the Hale Koa had cancelled our room since originally the Hale Koa only had one room available, but then had two so they had assumed that everyone would share the extra room instead of wanting two separate rooms. While it seemed as though we would be spending Christmas break without a hotel room, we were in luck and they had vacancy. However, they only had vacancy for the next 5 days and not the last 2 days of our stay. While the location was a little farther away from Waikiki Beach than the Hale Koa, it still was within walking distance. The lobby was minimal but we had a roomy and clean hotel room with a good view of across the main drag and could see a little bit of the ocean in the distance. Unfortunately, beside the noise from the main street being a little distracting, and waiting about 10 minutes for the slow elevators, we had a small ant problem. They were around the night stand and were around the bathroom sink (including our toothbrushes). We had called the front desk to get this cleaned up right away. The next day we ended up finding ants again. So instead of waiting three more nights and moving to another hotel, we had decided to look right away due to the ant problem. All in all the place was about a 2-3 star hotel out of 5 stars.

Hotel Two – Waikiki Gateway Hotel

One of the great advantages of having an iPhone while on vacation was immediately looking up hotels on the interwebs and finding one right away. We ended up finding a hotel that got 2 1/2 stars on, and was about the same distance away from the Hale Koa but closer to the main part of the Waikiki strip. While walking around the previous day, we took a look around the hotel lobby and decided this one the place. It was a bit cheaper than the Aqua Palms, so we booked it for the rest of our stay. Courtney and I had planned on having everyone come over to our hotel room and spend Christmas day there to open up presents. We had planned on decorating the room on Christmas Eve while wrapping the remaining gifts as well. While the hotel lobby looked like a boutique hotel with a clean modern look, our room was not clean. The staff was very friendly and helpful and even upgraded our room to one of the beach-side view rooms, the room was in bad shape. The furniture looked like it had floated to Hawaii from the mainland and was disproportionate to the room. The console table which had the television stuck out from the wall blocking part of the entryway into the bathroom. The bathroom looked very warn with water stains in various places. There was only one lamp in the whole room beside the bathroom light so it was dark. I ended up having to wrap gifts on the bathroom floor for lights, while Courtney use the remaining light for hers. The balcony or lanai could have been a completely separate room since it was so large, but was a complete waste of space since it only had two small chairs and wasn’t very private. Our room was constantly hot since there wasn’t any proper ventilation, except a small window in the bathroom and a wall mounted air conditioner unit mounted on the floor. One of the craziest things was that while the room had a safe, it cost $2.60 per day for use and you had to go to the front desk to pay and get access to use it. How they came up with that odd amount we will never know. The room was too small to host Christmas so we ended up having to have it in my sister’s room, which ended being perfect. Besides the Wellington Hotel where we stayed in New York City for a few nights, this was one of the worst hotels we had stayed in. It’s not like we were expecting the Ritz, but for the location and the price, we expected something better than Harold Johnson’s, Howard Johnson’s’s lesser known step brother. We did not want to spend the rest of our holidays in that hotel. I’d rate it about a 1 1/2 star hotel out of 5 stars.

Hotel Three – Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach

Redemption. There is something about staying in Waikiki proper while in Honolulu. While it is not for everyone it is right in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the Honolulu, and right by the beach. For our final nights in Honolulu, we had looked around and decided to take advantage of the situation and splurge a little to go out with a bang. The Outrigger is just what we needed. It had a beautiful lobby, with a concierge, multiple restaurants, large rooms with a sofa and desk area, central air, clean bathroom, no ants, and best of all, right on the beach. We ended up getting the cheapest room available with a city view, which although it is called the city view, you can still see the beach from it. If you are in doubt, the Outrigger had great friendly staff, great rooms, and was well worth the wait. It was probably about a 3 1/2 star hotel out of 5 stars.

Supplemental Hotel – Hale Koa

While we did not stay at the Hale Koa, we did spend some time on the grounds and in the hotel rooms. The grounds are huge with multiple pools, and outdoor luau/stage area, picnic/bbq grounds, a beach, multiple restaurants, gift shop, post exchange, and workout area. It’s amazing how great the military has it in Hawaii. The rooms were spacious and clean, though all in all it seemed like a great deal if you in the military. It is very high class, although not glamourous. I’d rate it at about a 3 star hotel out of 5 stars.