And a vacation rental can cost just $330 per week!
In our May issue, we published a list of 50 Hawaiian B&Bs, making the point that generic hotels are not the only lodging option in the fiftieth state. But why be cooped up in a single room when you can have an entire house?
Island vacation rentals are another low-cost alternative, with fully equipped condominiums from $330 a week, roomy cottages from $350, and complete homes from $525. And we're talking amenities such as Jacuzzis and tennis courts, with settings sometimes yards away from a beach or tropical rain forest. That's what you'll find in the following list of rental bargains on Hawaii's four main islands. You may never stay in a claustrophobic hotel room again.
Beyond the bargain rentals listed below, search such online directories as Unique Hawaiian Experiences, Affordable Paradise, Goin2Travel Vacation Rentals, or A1 Vacation Rentals. Keep in mind that rates tend to require at least a few nights' stay, fluctuate between summer and winter (most low rates listed here are for summer), and don't include taxes or cleaning fees. Costs for extra persons are usually reasonable -- as low as $10 per night.
Aloha Beach Vacation Rentals (888/259-5023, vacationrentalshawaii.com) offer two separate homes, of which our favorite is a simple two-bedroom, two-story structure in Waimanalo on Oahu's eastern coast, with a coconut-tree-filled garden, a 12-person Jacuzzi, and a large kitchen. Rates start at $623 per week.
Aloha Waikiki Vacation Condos (800/655-6055, waikiki-condos.com) also rent out a number of different digs -- studio apartments in high-rises scattered throughout Waikiki, for $330 a week; one-bedrooms (sleeping four) for $623 a week. All accommodations are within walking distance of the beach.
Beachside Bungalows (877/640-0990, beachsidebungalows.com) offer a choice of six rentals, from one-bedroom, one-baths starting at $695 per week to two-bedroom, two-baths starting at $850. Their best feature is location: only one block from gorgeous Kailua Beach on the eastern coast. All rentals include the use of snorkels, fins, Boogie boards, and kayaks.
Nalo Winds Vacation Rental House (866/625-6946, a1vacations.com/nalowinds/1) is a three-bedroom, three-bath home that sleeps up to eight and is just five houses away from wide Waimanalo Beach; it's especially suitable for families, since the house comes chockablock with extras like a crib, toys, bikes, snorkel gear, and Boogie boards. Weekly rates from $525 per couple.
Aloha Maui Cottages (808/572-0298, bbonline.com/hi/alohamaui) are four detached buildings on the edge of a rain forest (ask a neighbor to take you on a hike or horseback ride through it) and also near hidden pools and waterfalls. A wood-burning sauna and a hot tub are on the property; showers flow with soft, collected rainwater; all in all, the experience is like that of Robinson Crusoe in paradise. From $350 per week.
Andrea's Maui Oceanfront Condos (800/289-1522, mauicondos.com) are run by 23-year Maui resident Andrea, who happily rents out (with her daughter Jill) modern, large, and roomy one- and two-bedroom condos in the popular Kihei area starting at $693 a week. A bonus: They can supply you with goodies like free snorkel rentals, two-for-one dinner coupons, drink specials, and discounts for golf and local attractions.
Haiku Getaway (800/680-4946, vacationrentalmaui.com) offers three out-of-the-way rentals (two rooms and a two-bedroom cottage) in verdant Haiku on the north shore. The Tangerine Room starts at $455 a week; you can rent the entire cottage for $700 a week.
Hookipa Hale (808/575-9357, hookipahale.com) sits on two secluded green acres on Maui's north shore and includes three colorful rooms in one house and a modern, island-style two-bedroom rental cottage as well. From $350 per week for two in the main house, $630 for the cottage.
Jack's Maui Vista Condo (800/800-8608, vacationrentalsonline.com/vr/hi/ma/hima02/hima02.htm) is a one-bedroom rental in a spiffy, modern condo complex in Kihei, with tennis courts, a large pool, and cable TV. It starts at $455 per week, but if it's already been booked for the time of your visit, Jack will help you find other vacation rentals in the area.
Aloha Vacation Cottages (877/875-1722, alohacottages.net) are a fine option for staying on the sunny Kohala Coast, home to many large, elegant resorts. The kitchen-equipped rentals -- a one-bedroom, one-bath guesthouse and a studio cottage -- start at $560 per week. There's free wireless Internet access, and, for an extra charge, on-site therapeutic massages.
Kate's Volcano Cottage (877/967-7990, volcanoplaces.com/kates/kates.htm) is a cool, clean studio featuring a lot of wood in the misty Volcano area of the island, complete with kitchen and a 160-square-foot covered deck. Weekly rates start at $570; two other larger rentals in Volcano run a little more.
Rainbow Dreams Cottage (415/824-7062, rainbowdreamscottage.com) is a lovely, secluded, oceanfront two-bedroom house with a wraparound lanai and lots of windows and privacy, right alongside dramatic black-rock cliffs in the lush Puna area. From $600 per week.
Kuaiwi Farm (808/328-8888, kuaiwifarm.com/rental.html) is on an organic coffee farm 2,000 feet up the slopes of Mauna Loa in South Kona. The one-bedroom condo comes with French doors, private deck, tropical fruit, and complimentary coffee -- grown right on the farm. If that doesn't whet your appetite, how do rates starting at $330 a week sound?
Hale Ono (877/924-7464, interpac.net/~waipiohi) is at the edge of the dramatic Waipio Valley, rich in history and greenery, and next to 40 acres of pastureland. The one-bedroom rental has a full kitchen, living room, and lanai, all starting at $510 a week.
Annie's Condos and Studios (800/481-4991, anniescondoskauai.com) are right on the Princeville golf course, a 10-minute walk to Anini Beach and come with fully equipped kitchens and pool access. Rates start at $435 a week.
Aloha Estates at Kalaheo Plantation (808/332-7812, kalaheo-plantation.com) is a renovated, plantation-style house from the 1920s with six suites that can be rented out individually or together (the house sleeps a maximum of 12 adults and 4 children), many with full kitchens. Rooms start at just $299 per week.
Condo Bob's Princeville Vacation Rentals (925/820-3253, condobob.com) consist of 13 condos at the Cliffs Resort and the Sandpiper Village Complex in the beach-rich area of the island's north shore (where South Pacific was filmed), none more than $699 per week. Studios go for as low as $299 a week.
Poipu Plantation Resort (800/634-0263, poipubeach.com) offers cheery cottage apartments with hardwood floors, rattan furniture, lanais, ocean views, full kitchens, and gardens; one-bedroom units start at $698 a week. Spacious Poipu Beach, one of the best on the island, is a quick hop away.