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Waikiki Hotel On A Shoe String
I know, I know, that title conjures up images of the sport of Extreme Budget - if there is such a sport and it appears that there is - with nights at a youth hostel or some out of the way bug infested on the cheap motel. That is not at all what I mean. The point is, you can choose the lap of luxury with all of the guest services fit for Hollywood Royalty - and you will pay for it - or enjoy a comfortable, clean, convenient lodging which is best described by the expression, "it fits the need."
My wife and I are not exactly frugal travelers, after all, we flew to Honolulu in First Class and we went for mid level rooms (not the cheapest and not the most expensive) on our cruise ship. Likewise, we enjoyed daily shore excursions at all ports visited on the cruise. That said, there is one area on a holiday trip where we will make budget considerations. That is in the area of hotel accommodations. While we will not pay top dollar to see a chocolate mint on our pillow every night, or care about gold plated bathroom fixtures, there is a standard of expectation below which we're not going to cross. When the primary purpose of a hotel room is to serve as a safe, clean, comfortable place to sleep after a full day of sightseeing or whatever other activities the day has brought about, the hotel is not going to be another "tourist attraction."
There is a comfortable mid-range. When we planned our Hawaii cruise trip this year (2010) we added two nights to the itinerary allowing us to see at least a little of the Honolulu area before we embarked on the cruise. We wanted to stay within the Waikiki Beach area. Obviously there are many hotels to choose from ranging from the high end luxury resort class all the way down and no, we did not want to know what the bottom end consisted of. We've been there before - at the bottom end - and won't do that again. I can tell you about a hotel in Vancouver to NOT stay in. Another time.
When you're trying to choose a hotel on line, you're betting on a lot of things to be what they appear to be with the real thing. Without going into all of the criteria we used to make our decision, we decided on the Best Western Coconut Waikiki Hotel on Lewers Street. We would not know until our arrival whether the hotel was what its description, on line pictures, and visitor reviews claimed it to be. As a side note, I learned a long time ago to take visitor reviews more in the context of how the reviewer presents themselves than strictly at face value.
The hotel was exactly what we expected it to be and what we were looking for. Were there some potential shortfalls? Sure, but they did not impact our stay. Others may have different experiences. We were on the sixth floor. Environmental conditions may factor in such as being too close to the ground level with a greater potential for street noise, for example. We did not experience that. Our room was not laid out perhaps as well as it could have been and certainly not as well as many hotels I stay in on my business trips, but as I said earlier, the purpose of the room was to store our luggage while we were out during the day and to provide a comfortable and restful sleep at night. It accomplished those objectives.
Best Western Coconut Waikiki Hotel Honolulu
If you require a set down restaurant or bar services in a hotel, look elsewhere. The hotel has a pool but we did not take advantage of it. No free time to do so. We have found ourselves making less use of hotel pools with the passage of time. We have a swimming pool in our own back garden and we were going to be in or surrounded by water for the next seven days so..... A free basic breakfast was provided each morning. It would not suit the taste of those who prefer haute cuisine but that is not who we are, so it was fine for us. It's comparable to the free breakfasts offered by such mid-range hotel chains as Holiday Inn Express, Hampton Inn, and others.
Of particular interest to me, and a requirement in a hotel, is free Internet access in my room. I don't particularly care if it is wired or wireless. My laptop will work with either one. My experience in my travels (and as I travel frequently for business and have so for many years my experience is extensive) is that the more you pay for a hotel room, the less you get for free. It may be less common now than in the past but whereas the mid-range hotels will almost without exception provide free in-room Internet access to guests, the higher end hotels will always charge extra for it. There may be some marketing logic to that but I have never understood the reasoning. The Best Western Coconut Waikiki Hotel provided free wireless Internet access in our room and it worked fine.
I won't catalog all of the features or the reasons why this hotel served us quite well as you can do a look-up yourself. Our booking was made through Expedia.com so go there and have a look for yourself. We did not pay an exhortation price to stay there, especially compared what other hotels, especially the high end luxury ones in the area would have cost. Less spent on a hotel room means more for other fun experiences on the trip. So if that is a shoe string budgeting consideration, fine. I'll go with it.
Below are a few images shot from the room balcony looking across the channel toward Honolulu. Photographs were shot with my Canon 40D digital SLR camera with either the Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM telephoto lens or the Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 wide angle lens.
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