Hotwire Hotel: Best area to stay, first time visitor to Honolulu

By valueguy,

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I'm a first time visitor to Honolulu and looking for advice re: where to stay. Waikiki seems to be everyone's favorite, but it seems difficult to get advice and expert opinions of neighboring Waikiki North and Waikiki South. Have you stayed there recently? Do you have experiences to share that would benefit people like me, first timers? I'm confused - while Hotwire prices are 10-20 dollars less for similar star hotels in W North and W South, do they offer the same proximity to restaurants, activities?


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It might help if you gave an indication of your budget, desired star rating, and what you intend to do during your stay... will you be sightseeing everyday and/or willing to drive to other beaches OR are you looking to stay in the heart of Waikiki and want to walk to the beach everyday? As an example (just an example, i don't know if the following is the case or not) the North zone may be fine at the 4 star level based upon the 'known' hotels in that zone... but at a lesser level may not be convenient to the center of the city.

What are the dates of your stay?

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The easiest way I can answer that question is to tell you to go to Mapquest using this link. At the bottom part of the map is the intersection of Kalakua and Kapahulu. Kalakaua Avenue is the main drag down Waikiki Beach. Most of the "South" hotels are in this area. As you can see from the map, Kalakaua pretty much hugs the ocean at the bottom, and starts veering away from the beach as you head north. If you get a hotel (any hotel) in the "South" area, you will be a fairly reasonable walk to Waikiki Beach.

Let me add a pic and see if this helps. I took the pic below while standing near the intersection of Kapahulu/Kalakaua. The pink hotel is the Royal Hawaiian, and the one to the the left of it is the Sheraton Waikiki. If I started walking from where I took the picture to the Sheraton Waikiki, most of the "south" hotels would be along this strip or a block or two over (away from the ocean). In the mapquest map I linked, the spot where Kalakaua veers off to the right away from the ocean is where the Sheraton Waikiki is. Now, you can see by the map that Kalakua Avenue gets farther away from the ocean as it passes the Sheraton. This means the hotels in this area are a little farther walk to the ocean. However, if you turn onto Ala Moana Avenue from Kalakaua and go a few short blocks, you are near the Waikiki Marina where the Waikiki Prince, Ilikai, etc are located (Waikiki North). Also, the Doubletree Alana is right at the intersection of Kalakaua and Ala Moana, and it is a frequent Priceline hit as a 3 star hotel in the Waikiki North area. The hotels near the marina have their own areas of beach, they just aren't as popular as the beach around the Kapahulu area (by the way, the zoo and Waikiki Aquarium are right by where I am standing taking the pic).

The biggest danger I see with Waikiki North is you are risking getting a hotel on the perimeter of Waikiki, so you would be farther from the beach. In Waikiki South, you are guaranteed to not have much more than a few blocks to walk. Personally, I would prefer Waikiki South because most of what you have heard about is right near here (the zoo, the aquarium, the Waikiki Shell, Sunset on the Beach, a huge park area (Kapiolani Park), etc.

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