Thinking ahead — best hotel program for Hawaii

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by LarryInNYC, May 17, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. LarryInNYC

    LarryInNYC Gold Member

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    I'm thinking of taking my family to Hawaii this winter. I have some Carlson points (and hope to have a lot more soon :)), but no points in other programs. Any points I collect between now and then will be largely from credit card bonuses, credit card spending, and other non-stay promotions.

    Right now I don't have any specific plans as to island, etc. We're flexible in terms of staying at one place for a week or switching around. We don't require top-end accommodations (although that's always nice). We're a family of four with daughters aged 11 and 13.

    What is the best hotel program for accrual and redemption in Hawaii?
     
  2. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    I'd look at cash-back options and rent a condo. Unless you really enjoy resort environments hotels in Hawaii are, IMO, generally not nice enough to justify the high rates, either points or cash.

    It will also very much depend on which island you end up on, as different chains have wildly different options on the different islands.
     
  3. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    Remember that many hotels in Hawaii charge resort fees, even on free nights.
     
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  4. LarryInNYC

    LarryInNYC Gold Member

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    AKA "Mugging the Guest". Thanks for the warning.
     
  5. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    As was mentioned, depends on the island. I was at Marriott's Ko Olina in Oahu earlier this year and it's right up there in terms of being family friendly and exceptionally nice, but it's pricey and kind of out of the way.

    But for a family of 4 is not a bad idea... rooms are rather large, they have like 93 pools and private beaches, full kitchens, washers/dryers, etc.
     
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  6. kw335
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    kw335 Silver Member

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    I have had resort fees waived at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki. At the Grand Hyatt Kauai, however, I was charged a "discounted" resort fee ($5 less than other guests), presumably due to being a Hyatt Diamond?
     
  7. deant
    Original Member

    deant Milepoint Guide

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    The Hilton Waikoloa is very family friendly. You could pick up a good chunk of HHonors points with the HHonors cards as well as the Hawaiian Airlines cards (can transfer to HHonors).
     
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  8. tjbrooks

    tjbrooks Silver Member

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    We love Hawaii, and have found a good balance is staying 5-7 days in a condo (with cash, rent a timeshare week) then last 2 days in a nice resort. Do your island exploring/simple meals while in a condo, then do the relax/pool/beach thing your last two days. A standard hotel room with four people is a little rough for more than a few days.

    We used our two free nights from the Chase Hyatt card for the Grand Hyatt Kauai. We weren't resort people (as described by Wandering Aramean above) until we went there on a FFN. No resort fees on award stays at Hyatts.

    Look into the new Fairmont card too, if you and your wife can both sign up, that's four nights at the Kea Lani in Wailea. Its an all-suite hotel, very, very nice. No resort fees period.

    I've stayed away from HHonors because IMO their Hawaii properties are mega-resorts that are very insular and don't blend in well with the area and/or are 80K/nt.
     
  9. miles and smiles
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    miles and smiles Gold Member

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    I always rent condos/cottages in Hawaii. The food that's available in Farmer's Markets there is wonderful, and I love having access to my own kitchen. VRBO.com is my favorite way to find rentals in Hawaii.
     
  10. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    The Hilo farmer's market is exceptional, and it is daily.
     
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  11. miles and smiles
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    miles and smiles Gold Member

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    On Kauai there is a farmer's market every day except Sunday as the markets move around the island. And the farmers are always happy to tell you about the produce you've never seen before, maybe even give samples.
     
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  12. philatravelgirl

    philatravelgirl Silver Member

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    With the new service on Hawaiian out of NY you may do well with a package from them or with Pleasant Holidays to get a hotel/air combo - rather than separate it out -there is alot of supply right now so tons of deals to Hawaii as I've looked to go there too. Also the NYTimes had a good Hawaii travel guide maybe the frugal guy? under $100 a day a mix of B&B's and then you can do a day or two at a resort. Another option is to look at deals from west coast and some cruises too
     
  13. deant
    Original Member

    deant Milepoint Guide

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    Agree that the Waikoloa had HHV are mega-resorts. But they are not 80K per night. They are a maximum, I believe, of 50K per night and go down rapidly with multiple nights (AXON / VIP). My next reservation is a "premium" room for about 160K points for 4 nights. An AXON stay in a standard room would have been about 37.5K per night.
     
  14. tjbrooks

    tjbrooks Silver Member

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    I was referring to the Grand Wailea, which is definitely a mega-resort but is in a great area. I only like to stay at resorts for a night or two, hence no AXON for me (4-night minimum, correct?). But if the Hilton resorts really appeal to you AXON is great.
     
  15. adamlile

    adamlile Silver Member

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  16. farbster

    farbster Silver Member

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    The Marriott Ko Olina is very out of the way. The area has nothing to eat except a Roy's. Other than that, it is Bennigans and the like. Not what I'd want to eat in Hawaii! We stayed at the Disney resort there - nice, but pretty remote.

    Also, check out your hotel's beach before you choose. The beaches can be really mediocre in some very expensive places (eg. 4S Hualalai). Not every beach is great! Pools may be awesome!
     
  17. Sweet Willie
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    Sweet Willie Gold Member

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    could not agree more, spot on post.
     
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  18. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    Yeah and actually depending on what type of vacation you're looking for, being out of the way is not necessarily a bad thing. :)

    There are very few -- if any -- hotels downtown that two adults and two teens would enjoy for a whole week, IMO. Maybe the big Hilton but that's because it's basically a resort. For a family of four for a week, you can't go wrong with a condo or at least a resort with a full kitchen and laundry. Then again, some people don't mind the hotel atmosphere especially on vacation.

    I know the Marriott or JW down by Ko Olina have grilling areas, golf, tennis courts and all kinds of other activities for families. But I agree, it's just like staying in the North Shore... If you don't want to eat at the hotel or roll your own you need to take a good drive to find something decent.

    Again, it depends on what kind of vacation you want to have.
     
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  19. sharris503

    sharris503 Silver Member

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    I go to Hawaii every year. This year I am using a combination of hotel points and staying at a condo. We are going to Kauai in July and will use Marriott points to stay 5 nights at the Courtyard at Coconut Beach and then 4 nights at a condo. Although the hotel is free I'm curious to see how much of a savings we actually see because we will need to eat out for nearly every meal for 5 nights. Before deciding to take the plunge on your family of 4 staying at a hotel you should check out the rates for condos on homeaway or VRBO. Condos are great deals and I think in the end you may spend less because you can eat more meals at the condo. When you eat out 3 times a day, everyday, in Hawaii that bill can get astronomical.

    As an aside, since you are from NYC, I would suggest you skip Oahu. You may not enjoy going from one overly populated place to another and it is impossible to find a beach that is not crowded. Kauai and Maui are much less populated than Oahu (Kauai even more so) and it is very easy to find beaches that are nearly deserted.
     
  20. LarryInNYC

    LarryInNYC Gold Member

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    Thanks to everyone.

    We're not a big resort family. We stayed at one a year ago in Mexico and it was kind of fun for three days. In foreign cities we certainly prefer renting apartments; for some reason that didn't occur to me in Hawaii (also, you can't get apartments on points!)
     
  21. miles and smiles
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    miles and smiles Gold Member

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    Renting condos, cottages, etc. is a widespread business in Hawaii. Housing is very expensive in Hawaii, so many folks make extra income by renting out apartments, houses etc. Do some searches on VRBO.com and similar websites and you will be amazed at what you can find.
     
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  22. Toula
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    Toula Gold Member

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    I would say do the condo option. I've stayed at a lot of the properties in Hawaii and have to say that none of them have blown me away in any aspect except for price.
     
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  23. Silver Springer

    Silver Springer Gold Member

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    Last year we stayed at a B&B, Maui Guest House, and it was sooo much nicer that a huge rambling hotel--good value and lots of bennies for a reasonable cost. I have stayed at lots of large hotels in Hawaii and this was a much more personal experience--not only breakfast but use of washer, cooking facilities/frig, DVDs, beach chairs, snorkel equipment etc. Just an option.
     
  24. cvsara
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    cvsara Gold Member

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    Condos, on Maui are really a bargain, compared to the hotel rates in the Kaanapali and Wailea area. For the money, you can't beat the Kihei area, which butts up against Wailla, a high end resort area. A nice one bedroom condo in Kihei, will usually sleep 2 to 4, and depending on the property, cost anywhere from $80.00 to $160.00 per night, during the high season, also known as Winter. Pricing in the nicer condos is tied very closely to the view. The central Kihei area, near the Kamaole Beaches has quite a few nice condo properties, near beaches, restaurants, shopping, bars, etc. They do book up to 'regulars' rapidly in the high season, so the time to start looking is now.
    I've been to Maui, probably 55 times or more, 2 to 4 times a year, and always in a condo. (Yes I own one) I should give a plug here for it, in one of the nicest locations in Kihei, but maybe that would be frowned upon, but VRBO is an excellent place to look. More info on request. :rolleyes:
     
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  25. sharris503

    sharris503 Silver Member

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    Ditto on staying in Kihei. I have been to Maui a few times and I always stay in Kihei. For a cheap ocean view condo look around North Kihei. The beaches there are not great and the wind picks up early but the reason I love Kihei is because and I get a condo on the beach for less than $200 per night. When I want to play in the ocean I drive my car south 10 minutes to some of the most spectacular beaches in the world. I love Maui. Also if you want to save money on a rental car priceline is the best way to go. I have never paid more than $15 a day for a rental car in Maui. The last two times I was there I had small SUV's too. Priceline is my best friend for rental cars. I go to Hawaii in 6 weeks and I cannot wait!
     
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