Stay at the Hale Koa Hotel in Honolulu, Hawaii
It's a well-known fact that military families stationed on the West Coast (and often beyond) take advantage of the proximity to Hawaii for vacation.
One of the most popular lodging sites is the Hale Koa. The resort is one of several Armed Forces Recreation Centers throughout the world.It’s so well known and loved amongst domestic and visiting international military families that we actually bumped into a classmate of our daughter’s while traveling for spring break. We were lucky enough to stay in Hawaii for 10 days, and 7 of those were spent at the Hale Koa.
The hotel is in a superb location, adjacent to the world famous Waikiki Beach. It wasn't a difficult walk to take our daughter and loads of beach gear to the shore each day. They also have a water toy/beach chair rental shack nearby, with prices very reasonable for military members. Several beachfront bars and snack shacks were available as well.
The two nearby pools were also convenient to access. One of the challenges of a family-friendly resort is the amount of time the pool is closed for cleaning! Kids make messes in the pool. Regularly. After a few unsuccessful attempts to swim, we figured out it was best to send someone down to check out the availability first.
The PX on the hotel property was key to a happy stay. Everyone knows how expensive Hawaii is, so this was perfect for groceries, pool toys, souvenirs, and most everything else. Kudos for the excellent operating hours. The 6 a.m. opening really worked for visitors from the mainland wide awake at that time.
Insider Tip: Outside, Hale Koa’s food outlets always had very long lines during peak lunch times. Pack a picnic for the beach or jump in line early.
For as big as this place is (over 700 rooms), the property was very clean and well kept. The Hale Koa shelters many guests and our housekeeping staff did a great job keeping up. The rooms are average in size and amenities, but vacationers justify this fact by saying they spend such little time in the rooms anyway.
You will be hard pressed to find a place less expensive for the location and amenities the Hale Koa offers. Room rates are adjusted according to military rank. The luau performed on hotel property is not to be missed. It is very inexpensive and impressive compared to others on the island. It was a highlight of our stay.
The travel office onsite was a freebie of which we took advantage. They were skillful in securing difficult tours, such as the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor. I recommend stopping and gleaning some knowledge because there is so much offered on the island, it can be difficult to navigate alone.
On the whole, the place is more than great for a family getaway. It served its budget vacation purpose and we had unforgettable experiences. I can also understand why families would base from the Hale Koa while PCSing to the island.