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Many families vacationing in Hawaii enjoy having apartment style accommodations instead of a hotel room. They like the idea of having the option to prepare some of their meals, having privacy with separate bedrooms, and a more “home away from home” feel. Condominiums which offer this type of accommodation are abundant in Maui, Kauai and on the Big Island of Hawaii but the choices for condominiums in Honolulu are more limited. There are however some quality options.
There are several items to consider before selecting the perfect fit for your family. As the Hawaii Specialist at Totem Travel, I have been helping families choose the appropriate accommodations for more than 18 years, so I would like to talk about how to narrow down your options. One of the best ways to do this is to compile a wish list. Depending upon the age of your children, giving them some input can be helpful, and half the fun of planning.
- Beach—must be on the beach
- Pool—must have a swimming pool
- A two bedroom is essential
- Washer and Dryer
- A car
- Free parking
- No Resort Fees
- Staying within budget
Once you have everything on paper, the fun stuff begins: sorting the “must haves” from the “would be nice to have” amenities. Compromise is the name of the game. What is most important for your family, might not be that important for others. Such as a washer and dryer in the unit. If you have 2 children under 5 years old, I would think that would not be a place to compromise, but if you have teens, a coin operated laundry within the complex would be just fine. Two bedrooms is another area for negotiation. Again, if you have small children, and they go to bed early, you would probably enjoy the option of them having their own room. With older kids, and teens, they are just as happy having a sofa bed, and/or roll-a-way, in the living room.
While having a car on the other islands is essential, Honolulu has very good public transportation, as well as having most restaurants and shopping within walking distance. Many of my clients rent a car for just a couple of days of their vacation so that they can explore, but can avoid 7 nights of parking fees. Parking in Honolulu can be very expensive, in the $25-$35 per night range. So having FREE parking is a huge plus, and while it’s out there, it’s difficult to find. Unfortunately, most properties in Hawaii have Resort Fees. These fees are charged by the individual property and are not payable in advance. Resort Fees will be added to your bill upon check-out. The fees to cover several amenities, though, so they are not just an arbitrary fee added to your bill. Amenities covered by the resort fee can include: WiFi, local phone calls, coffee & tea service, daily newspaper, in room safe, and some even include parking. These fees are mandatory, so even if you use none of the covered amenities, you will still be charged. The good news, Resort Fees are generally less at condo properties than full service hotels and resorts.
Staying within your budget is probably one of the most important items on your wish list, and it is very important to let me know what that predetermined amount is. When I ask this question, I am not trying to be nosy, I am trying to narrow down and offer you the best choices for your family. As I said, I have been doing this for a long time, so I have a good feel for what will work best for your family. Having as much information as you can give me: the “wish list”, activities that are important, and ages of your children are all key in helping me assist you in planning a vacation that you and your children will remember for a long time. If a Hawaiian vacation is in your future plans, please contact me to help you plan a seamless family experience. firstname.lastname@example.org.