The good news for Hawaii is that tourism is on an upswing.
The bad news for travelers planning to go there is that tourism is on an upswing.
As hotel occupancy rates spiral upwards they are taking prices with them. For example, last January (2012), we got a ‘steal’ of a stay in Waikiki by booking a deal with the online company, Jetsetter.
Four nights in a premium ocean view room at the Aqua Lotus Honolulu near Diamond Head and total cost: $530.
Following our stay on O’ahu’s western coast at our KoOlina timeshare, we returned and paid $169 per night (plus taxes) and stayed a couple more nights at the hotel.
Still a reasonable rate, we thought, for a property that sits in the shadow of Diamond Head across from Kapiolani Park and not on the beach.
Our $169 got us this ‘ocean view’ room:
We’d loved the place and planned to return this year. . . but after being struck by Waikiki (Sticker) Shock Waves, we’ve come up with a different -- affordable -- plan.
A quick check of this hotel’s web site (last Thursday), -- using the equivalent days and dates of last year’s stay for comparison purposes -- found that ocean view room available at $351.50 and premium ocean view at $371.50 for the January dates. It costs more in February.
We turned to our trusty Expedia, the on-line booking company where we've often found great discounts, only to be hit with a sticker after shock: the January dates for the hotel were listed at $527 for ocean view and $556 premium ocean view. February dates: $599 and $627, respectively. (Expedia users rate the hotel as 3.5 out of 5 and TripAdvisor rates it #3 of 81 hotels in Waikiki.)
We are thinking our decision to buy a timeshare at Marriott’s Ko Olina (pictured above) and avoid Honolulu hotels was probably a good one. In fact, we’ll likely skip Honolulu and Waikiki in 2014 and head directly to Ko Olina.
But since we’d booked flights this year to allow three days in Waikiki, we pulled out the stops on the hotel search and landed at Costco. . .yes, you read that correctly. (For those not familiar, it is a customer membership warehouse chain that got its start in the Seattle area). So, now in addition to purchasing large quantities of paper goods and food, we also can lay claim to booking our travel there:
We’ll be across the street from Waikiki Beach at the Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel (one of those on the right in the photo above) on a three-night package that provides a partial ocean view room, lei airport greeting, round-trip transfers, daily continental breakfast on the beach and a variety of half-off coupons. Package price: $614.
This hotel has the same Expedia rating as the Aqua Lotus but doesn’t fare quite as well on TripAdvisor. Will we find our ‘deal’ wasn’t as good as we thought? Stay tuned. We’ll let you know soon!
Have you experienced sticker shock in Hawaii? Or have you found some good hotel deals? If so, where?