Half-price Honeymoons in Hulaland

Using resorts that insiders cherish, you can enjoy that famous nuptial interlude in a better Hawaiian setting, yet for far less than others pay--for as little, in fact, as under $100 a day

The cost of a Hawaiian honeymoon can be something fierce, and the cost of a so-called "honeymoon package" can be even worse. Created by mass volume marketers, people with calculators for hearts, they often include none of the elements for which you've traveled to Hawaii--the dreamy, palm-fringed lagoons, the quiet settings in which an ocean breeze is the only sound, the soft murmur of aloha music in the distance.

Rejecting their cookie-cutter wares in favor of the more intimate and often little-known hotels, you can enjoy the most memorable stay of your life for a lodging cost that starts at well under $100 a day per room.

From many years of viewing and inspecting Hawaiian resorts, I've selected 15 exciting resort properties that fall into three low-price categories: five charging under $100 a night for a double room, five more charging under $125 a night for the same, and a final five charging under $150 a night. (Included in that last grouping is one hotel charging $155 a night, but it includes a car in the deal; moreover, it will reduce the price to $125 a night if one of you is a member of AAA.) My picks, you'll want to know, are not only easy on your wallet, but feature such amenities as sweet smelling, exotic gardens, swimming pools (half are located right on the ocean), panoramic views, and other Hawaiian memories that will linger in your mind long after your tan has faded.

Once you pick the property that suits you, plan to spend at least seven nights there; most of them will grant a ten percent discount if you do, and you will have more time to enjoy the island without the hassle of packing/unpacking and checking-in/checking-out. Don't even think about flying from one island to another unless you are staying in Hawaii for more than seven days; otherwise your honeymoon will be spent in not-so-much-fun airport terminals. Finally, although you obviously won't be scheduling your wedding and honeymoon to match the short Hawaii "low season" (Apr 1 to Memorial Day and again from Labor Day to Dec 15), you'll generally pay even less for both your airfare and room if you travel at that time.

Except in the case of seven resorts where breakfast is included in the price, the rates I quote do not include meals. And now, with limits of either $100, $125 or $150 per room per night, here are Hawaii's "secret bargain resorts" for memorable honeymoons:

Resorts charging less than $100 a night per couple

Kona Tiki Hotel, 75-5968 Aln Dr., Kailua-Kona, Big Island, tel. 808/329-1425, fax 808/327-9402. Oceanside boutique hotel of 15 rooms. Rates $59 double, or $79 double with kitchenette (including continental breakfast).

This is the Hawaii honeymoon spot of your dreams: located right on the water, yet away from the more urban area of downtown Kailua-Kona, and surrounded by landscaped gardens; it serves up a big free breakfast in the sunshine every morning and a pool and lounge area oceanside. The tropically decorated rooms all have queen beds, ceiling fans, mini-fridges, and balconies overlooking the ocean. Although it's called a hotel, this small, family-run operation is more like a large B&B, with lots of aloha and plenty of friendly conversation around the pool at the morning breakfast buffet. There are no TV or phones in the rooms, but there's a pay phone in the lobby. If a kitchenette is available, grab it; you'll save you a bundle in food costs. This is one of Hawaii's best travel bargains-book early.

Hawaiiana Hotel, 260 Beach Walk, Waikiki, tel. 800/367-5122 or 808/923-3811, fax 808/926-5728, hawaiianahotelatwaikiki.com. A small hotel of 93 rooms with kitchenettes. Rates: $95-$105, weekly discounts ($420-$480/week).

For honeymooners seeking the spirit of old Hawaii, this low-rise boutique hotel, just a block from the famous Waikiki Beach and tucked away on a small side street, is a perfect choice. Lush tropical flowers and a carved tiki greet you at the entrance, a welcoming glass of ice-cold pineapple juice is served at check-in, and every morning, complimentary Kona coffee awaits you poolside. The concrete hollow-tiled rooms feature a kitchenette (small refrigerator, microwave, toaster oven, and coffeemaker), two beds (a double and a single or a queen plus sofa bed), TV, phone, and a view of the gardens and two swimming pools. Hawaiian entertainment is featured every week and the hotel is within walking distance of Waikiki shopping, restaurants, and nightlife.

The Breakers, 250 Beach Walk, Waikiki, tel. 800/426-0494 or 808/923-3181, fax 808/923-7174, breakers-hawaii.com. 64 rooms. Rates: $94-$100.

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Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.
 

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