So, you’re planning your vacation to Oahu – how exciting! You’ve got your plane tickets booked and you’re ready to start researching where to stay. The Hale Koa Hotel, located right on Waikiki Beach, is a great option for DOD members and their families. The Hale Koa, which means House of the Warrior in Hawaiian, offers guests oceanfront rooms, a fitness center, beach bar, private luau, adults-only pool and a parking garage. Like all AFRC properties, reservations can only be made by qualifying individuals. Prices range from $113 to $263 per night, making it one of the most affordable options on Oahu.
Pulling up to the Hale Koa, the first thing you’ll notice is the open-air lobby that wraps around a Banyan tree before opening up to pristine views of the Pacific Ocean. Check-in can sometimes take a few minutes, because it’s such a popular spot for military families, traveling foreign military officials and retirees, but it’s well worth it once you realize you’re truly staying in the heart of Honolulu. Once you check-in and get your bags from the car, be sure to park your vehicle in the secure garage across the street, since there is no valet option.
Rooms are quaint, but comfortable, and there are six different options to choose from with varying prices. All offer complimentary toiletries, a coffeemaker, free wifi, hairdryer, mini refrigerator and in-room safe. Most rooms also come with a balcony, just be sure to shut the door all the way, as the air conditioner turns on and off to conserve energy. We have stayed in the partial ocean view room option multiple times and have enjoyed it. I will say that the beds aren’t the most comfortable, but comparatively speaking — you won’t find a better deal on location.
The property is situated on an expansive (for Hawaii) 72 acres and offers guests everything from serene adult time at the adults-only pool, to refreshing drinks and cocktails at the Barefoot Bar, an authentic luau every Monday and Thursday, watersport rentals and more. My husband and I love the mai- tais at the Barefoot Bar and really enjoyed the patriotic tribute at the luau – it’s worth the spend.
Because of the location downtown, you’re in walking proximity to so much that Waikiki Beach has to offer — Royal Hawaiian Center, the Duke statue, Ala Moana Center and the U.S. Army Museum of Hawaii. There is so much to see and do in Waikiki, but I highly recommend using your car to drive around the island (if possible) or book an excursion. My top island must-dos include: hiking Diamond Head Crater, visiting Haleiwa, touring Pearl Harbor (sadly the USS Arizona has been shut down), walking around in Kailua, getting shave ice at Matsumoto’s and saying ‘hello’ to Mickey over at Aulani in Ko’Olina.