When we think of Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Hawaii, we tend to think of luxury, relaxation, cocktails, sun-tans, and self-care, but not everyone who travels to Waikiki is there to be pampered. Whether you’re backpacking the islands, fishing the Pacific, or taking a solo surf tour, you’re far more concerned with the journey than the destination. If all you need from your room is a bed between adventures, save money (and the headaches of civilization) by crashing at one of these excellent Waikiki hostels.
WAIKIKI HOSTELS. If you need a good hostel in Waikiki, these are your options:
- Polynesian Hostel Beach Club
- Waikiki Beachside Hostel
- The Beach Waikiki Boutique Hotel
- Hostelling International Hostel Waikiki
- Seaside Hawaiian Hostel
- Pacific Ohana Hostel
- Island Hostel
Waikiki isn’t all that big, so if you want to stay right in town, there are only a few hostels available. Fortunately, they’re all excellent establishments with great reputations. We’ll give you the details on each below, and help you decide which is right for you.
Choosing a Hostel in Waikiki
Many hostels are staffed by long-term residents in exchange for their room and board. This helps the hostels operate with such low prices, but the relatively high rate of employee turnover and low number of employees on staff means that the quality of the service at any one hostel can change as often as every couple of months. Combined with the fact that any visitors experience is dependent at least partially on their neighbors, this makes it hard to rely on reviews (which are generally positive for the entire group, ranging from 3.1 to 4.8 on Google Reviews). So how should you choose?
- Price. It’s a hostel, and you’re just there for a bed. Plug the dates you want to stay into each hostel on the list, and pick the one that gives you the best rate.
- Location. For a tie-breaker, pick a hostel that’s the closest to the activities you have planned in Waikiki Beach. If you’re not sure how to do that, click through to learn where you should stay in Waikiki.
- Room size. The more people you’re willing to share a room with, the more you’ll save.
- Roommate preferences. Each of the available hostels offers rooms with different policies. The most common options are co-ed (called “mixed” on some of the booking sites), and female only, though some of the properties do offer male only rooms as well.
- Extras. If you absolutely can’t make up your mind, check out what freebies each of the candidates on the short-list offer. Don’t think too hard about this one.
Now that you know what to do with the information we can dig deeper into the list.
Polynesian Hostel Beach Club
The Polynesian Hostel Beach Club sits at an amazing location, just one block off of Prince Kuhio Beach. They’re the nearest hostel to the Honolulu Zoo, the Aquarium, and the Diamond Head Crater, but still within convenient walking distance of some of the best shopping and night life.
Prices start at a few cents over $30 a night for a bed in their 12-person co-ed room and go up to $120 a night for the private studio. Their website also boasts free pancakes and snorkeling gear.
Waikiki Beachside Hostel
The Waikiki Beachside Hostel is also right near Prince Kuhio Beach, and only very slightly further than the Polynesian Hostel Beach Club from the same set of sites. Their free “Love Meditation” on Thursdays at 6:30 pm is one of the more unique freebies offered by any of the hostels in the group. The service is claimed to increase “FOCUS, RELAXATION, OR QUALITY OF LIFE.”
The current pricing starts at $36.84 per night for a bed in the mixed 8-person unit and goes up to $164.40 per night for a private studio.
The Beach Waikiki Boutique Hostel
The Beach Waikiki Boutique Hostel is located in the same neighborhood as the previous two entries to the list. They offer free continental breakfast, and free pizza nights on their rooftop lounge. Nightly room prices run from $36 in their co-ed 8-person unit to $45 in their two-person co-ed. They also offer private and semi-private suites between $85 and $150.
Hostelling International Hostel Waikiki
Hostelling International Hostel Waikiki is still located off of the Prince Kuhio beach, but it’s a few blocks further northwest. That puts it a little further from the attractions, but in a better location for nightlife and shopping.
Their rooms are all either male or female, with a limited number of private studios. They have a strict no alcohol policy. A bed in one of their 6-person rooms runs $37 a night.
Seaside Hawaiian Hostel
Seaside Hawaiian Hostel is somewhat ironically closer to the canal than the sea. Fortunately, they’re close to the main bus route, so it’s not hard to get anywhere you need to go. Beds cost either $32 or $36 dollars in either 6 or 4 person rooms (co-ed and female only), but be aware that they have a 2-night minimum stay policy.
Pacific Ohana Hostel & Island Hostel
The Pacific Ohana is located off the Prince Kuhio beach, right in the same neighborhood as a few of the others on the list. Beds here run from $37 a night in the bigger dorms up to $120 in the private suite.
The Island Hostel is way up near the canal, in the northwest part of the island. It’s a great location for trips into the rest of Honolulu, or the Ala Moana Shopping Center, but not ideal for the beaches. A bed here runs from $30 a night to $105 in the private apartment.
Both locations offer discounts on longer stays.
What Should I Expect From My First Stay At A Hostel?
In most of the world, the term “hostel” refers to dormitory style accommodations in which several travelers share a room. Hostels often offer both short-term and long-term living arrangements, are much cheaper than hotels, and tend to offer as few additional amenities as possible.
Your hostel should offer a shared kitchen, clean beds and bathrooms, secure storage for personal belongings, laundry facilities (typically paid machines), and a social lounge. Most hostels now offer Wi-Fi. If you’re in the lounge, expect your fellow travelers to talk to you, but you should enjoy relative peace when you’re in the bedroom area.
Some hostels do offer private rooms or suites for a higher charge, but usually you’ll be sleeping in a room with several other people, so ear plugs and sleeping masks are always recommended.
What’s A Great Day Trip in Waikiki?
There are a ton of great activities in the area, but the best of the bunch has to be a visit to the Diamond Head State Monument. There is something unforgettable about standing on the side of a 300,000 year old volcano, and the trip offers an unbeatable combination of views, history, fresh air, and exercise.
If you’re looking for more ideas, we can help. Hit the link for a list of the 20 best day trips in Waikiki.