How four can live as cheaply, and comfortably, as two
You'd do best to pass up the treasure hunts, pirate parties, and other children's activities of the top hotels, for they come at a pretty price: the cost of two adjoining rooms. For smart, budget-conscious families traveling to Hawaii, the condo is the key. In Hawaii, one-bedroom condos -- and there are thousands of them -- are usually large, always equipped for cooking, and most often refreshingly priced, sometimes costing considerably less than $80 a night if you stay for a week, far below what you'd pay in a hotel.
Apart from price and space (a cramped hotel room can seem smaller every day with active children), the specific advantages include a full kitchen (saving you dollars on meals), laundry facilities (generally right inside your unit), and extensive free recreational opportunities (swimming pool, tennis courts, picnic tables, barbecue areas) on the property. Most units have a pullout sofa bed in the living room so you won't have to pay for an extra bedroom for the kids.
I've scoured my beloved island-state for large, inexpensive, comfortable condos capable of accommodating an entire family cheaply, and as close to a beach as possible. Here are some island-by-island picks:
Big Island of Hawaii
On that huge sea -- surrounded land harboring Volcanoes National Park, black lava beaches, and actual Hawaiian cowboys, the best selection of affordable one- and two-bedroom condominium units is undoubtedly that of Hawaii Resort Management (P.O. Box 39, Kailua-Kona, HI 96745; 800/622-5348 or 808/329-9393; konahawaii.com). It currently offers more than 200 condominium units in its inventory, with daily, weekly, and monthly rates starting as low as $70 a night for a one-bedroom that sleeps four, just a short walk to the beach and complete with air-conditioning, full kitchen, pool, and ocean views. It also offers two-bedroom/two-bath units right on the beach, starting at $95 a night.
An alternate source? Knutson and Associates (75-6082 Aln Dr., Suite #8, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740; 800/800-6202 or 808/329-6311; konahawaiirentals.com) has several budget condominiums in their rental pool, starting at $525 a week for a one-bedroom in an oceanfront complex with pool, washer and dryer, and ceiling fans (no air-conditioning). Or seek out Sun Quest Vacations (800/367-5168 or 808/329-6488, sunquest-hawai.com) for its budget condos starting at $80 a night or $480 a week for one-bedroom units.
On ever-more-popular Maui, Bello's Maui Beach Homes (P.O. Box 1776, Kihei, HI 96753; 800/541-3060; bellomaui.com) represents seven different condominium complexes in Kihei, most with pools, ocean views, washer/dryers, and air-conditioning, which start as low as $55 in the off-season ($70 in the high season) for a one-bedroom garden unit within walking distance of the beach. In the West Maui area, contact Maui Beach Front Rentals (256 Papalaua St., Lahaina, HI 96761; 888/661-7200 or 808/661-3500; mauibeachfront.com). Although the company represents a broad range of properties, it does have some deals for this pricey area, like one-bedroom units (with full kitchen, swimming pool, washer and dryer, barbecue facilities) starting at $89. Two other small budget complexes on the west side, offering excellent rates for families, are: Hale Maui Apartment Hotel, (P.O. Box 516, Lahaina, HI 96767; 808/669-6312), with one-bedroom units that sleep up to five starting at $100; and Hoyochi Nikko (3901 Lower Honoapnlani Rd., Lahaina, HI 96761; 800/487-6002 or 808/669,-8343; mauilodging.com), with one- and two-bedroom units starting at $85.
Kauai Vacation Rentals (3-3311 Kuhio Hwy., Lihue, HI 96766; 800/367-5025 or 808/245-8841; kauaivacationrentals.com) represents a variety of condos and homes all over the island. They have affordable one-bedroom condominium units in the popular Poipu area starting at $725 a week and two-bedroom, one-bath condominium units in Kapaa, a short walk to the beach, for $700 a week.
Families interested in the Coconut Coast might want to go directly to the Wailua Bay View condominium (320 Papaloa Rd., Kapaa, HI 96746; 800/882-9007; wailuabay.com). Not only is it located right on the beach, but rates for four people are as low as $110 a night. The property has a swimming pool and barbecue facilities, and all the units are one bedroom with a queen bed, queen sofa bed, full kitchen, washer and dryer, and air-conditioning.