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Eat and sleep on the cheap in Waikiki

Here are seven hotels in Waikiki for less than $200 a night and 10 restaurants where a meal will set you back $20 a person or less. Aloha!

October 20, 2013|By Rosemary McClure

HONOLULU — As the afternoon turned to early evening, I glanced out my hotel window, hoping for a glimpse of the legendary Waikiki sunset. I watched as the sun bathed the hills and hotels of the city in liquid gold before slipping into the Pacific in an orange and red explosion of color.

I couldn't have asked for a better welcome to one of the world's most popular vacation destinations. Especially because I was paying only $89 a night for this view.

Waikiki — where $1,200-a-night hotel rooms are commonplace — is considered unaffordable by many people. But you don't have to max out your credit cards to enjoy this tropical paradise.

We unearthed seven hotels with rates of less than $200 a night — some are even chic little boutiques with surprising amenities and top-end technology — and 10 deliciously inexpensive restaurants where you can eat for $20 a person or less.


Maile Sky Court Hotel

If you're on a tight budget and care more about exploring Oahu than hanging out in a hotel room, Maile Sky Court has a lot to offer. Yes, there are TVs; no, they're not flat screen. Yes, it's in a 44-story Waikiki high-rise; no, it's not on the beach (it's a 15-minute walk). But it's clean, has decent beds and very low prices. Doubles from $89 a night.

2058 Kuhio Ave., Honolulu; (866) 536-7974,

Aqua Palms Waikiki

This budget hotel has a winning combination: close to the beach, nice amenities, super-low price. With doubles starting at $109, Aqua Palms gives guests a lot for their money. The hotel, next to the Hilton Hawaiian Village, has flat-screen TVs, a fitness center, a small pool and outdoor patio, lanais, free Wi-Fi, mini-fridges and microwaves. The Hawaiian-print décor and rattan furnishings are a bit worn in some rooms, but are being replaced, I've been told.

1850 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu; (866) 970-4165,

Vive Hotel Waikiki

Waikiki's newest hotel opened in July, meaning guests can count on a fresh look and new furniture. Also, Vive (rhymes with "five") has had time to work out the kinks, but prices are still low because few people realize it's here. Rooms are small, but the style is contemporary, fun and funky, with a coastal, big-city look. Among the amenities are 37-inch flat-screen TVs and free wireless. Double rates from $149 a night.

2426 Kuhio Ave., Honolulu; (866) 758-4062,

Shoreline Hotel

Waikiki's Shoreline Hotel is where 1970s style meets 2013 technology. This boutique hotel opened in April after a major renovation, so everything is new. It has a minimalist look in a '70s tropical-modernist building. In addition, the hotel has mini lanais, free wireless, iPhone docks, flat-screen TVs, microwaves and fridges. The beach is less than two blocks away. $156-a-night opening special.

342 Seaside Ave., Honolulu; (800) 738-7477,

Coconut Waikiki

A spacious, cheerful lobby greets guests at this 10-story building on the banks of the Ala Wai Canal. Coconut-flavored M&Ms, free for the taking, are on the front counter. The rooms are even better at this charmer, with lime-green walls and furniture, 32-inch flat-screen TVs, boutique linens and thoughtful touches such as sterilized remotes, lots of electrical outlets and free wireless. Two small pools and an outdoor patio round out the amenities. Rates start at $159 a night.

450 Lewers St., Honolulu; (800) 738-7477,

Hotel Renew

To many people, Hawaii means blue skies, tropical flowers and surfers riding the perfect wave. They expect Waikiki hotels to reflect this sunny look. Not so at Hotel Renew, which caters to a younger crowd; it has an urban feel with lots of black, white and gray. This 72-room Aston hotel has a small lobby with a bar and rooms that sport 32-inch flat-screen TVs and free wireless. Doubles start at $179 a night.

129 Paoakalani Ave., Honolulu; (877) 997-6667,

Aston Waikiki

This mega-hotel has some great perks: It's beachfront, offers continental breakfast, has a pool and fitness center and sports a modern Hawaiian look. But it's a giant hotel with 645 rooms, so if you hate long hallways and crowded elevators, it might not be for you. Also, it's at the high end of our scale, with doubles starting at $189.

2570 Kalakaua Ave., Honolulu; (877) 997-6667,

(Hotel rates change frequently, so those listed here might be not available for dates you wish to travel. But you can still use these rates for comparison. And when you book, ask whether there are resort fees or other charges. Also, try to avoid renting a car overnight, as parking fees range from $25 to $40 a day.)

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