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Hawaii Vacation Condo vs Hotel: the Pros and Cons

Finding the right place to stay in Hawaii is crucial for a fun vacation. Let’s breakdown the differences in renting a Hawaii vacation condo vs hotel. Scroll down for all the tips!
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Booking a trip to Hawaii is full of big choices.

Which island do you want to go to? Now which part of the island? Finally, do you want to book a hotel or a condo?

This is no easy choice and you definitely need to weigh the pros and cons of each.

Be sure to set a budget ahead of your trip, your choice of a hotel or a condo will impact your transportation costs, your food costs, and even the cost of your activities.

Want to skip all the planning and just access my detailed Hawaii Itineraries complete with daily schedules, kid-friendly activities, and travel hacks? Click the button below.

Hawaii Vacation FAQs

What is the best month to visit Hawaii?

For the best Hawaii travel deals and the mildest weather, plan on visiting Hawaii from mid-April to June or from September to mid-December. This is Hawaii’s shoulder season and it’s usually less crowded.

Which Hawaiian island is best for vacation?

All the islands are pretty amazing for vacation, it just depends on what you’d like to do. Maui has the famous Road to Hana and Haleakala Crater. Oahu has Pearl Harbor, Waikiki Beach, and the Polynesian Cultural Center. Kauai has Waimea Canyon and epic waterfalls. Big Island has Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and black sand beaches.

How many days in Hawaii is enough?

Ideally, you’ll want to spend 7-10 days in Hawaii, especially if you are sticking to one island. If you plan on island hopping, you’ll want at least 5 days on each island.

Hawaii Vacation Condo vs Hotel pros and cons featured by top Hawaii blog, Hawaii Travel with Kids.

Why Book a Hotel in Hawaii?


One of the big pros of booking a hotel is the amenities that a hotel provides.

Many hotels have big pools, restaurants, bars, entertainment, spas, and kids clubs all in one place.

In theory, because of the amenities provided, you can stay in one place for your entire stay.

It is important to remember that while these amenities are provided for guests, not all amenities may be included.

Hawaii has no truly all inclusive resorts on any of the islands so using some amenities may incur an extra charge.


Many, but not all, hotels are located in prime locations around Hawaii.

Hawaii Vacation Condo vs Hotel pros and cons featured by top Hawaii blog, Hawaii Travel with Kids: The Royal Hawaiian Hotel is the trendiest Waikiki hotel
The “Pink Palace” is one of the most beautiful hotels in Hawaii. Photo credit: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson

You will find that hotels often are on prime beachfront property with access to the beach and gorgeous ocean views.

Remember that all beaches in Hawaii are public so that the hotel does not own the beach in front of its property.


A big perk of staying in a hotel is not having to worry about any cleaning!

Often throughout your stay, if not daily, the hotel’s cleaning staff will come in and make your bed and freshen up your towels and/or sheets.

You are able to truly enjoy your vacation without having to worry about the cleanliness of your room!

Why Should You Reconsider Booking a Hawaii Hotel?


In general, hotel rooms do not have a kitchen. This means you will need to budget for all of your meals to be eaten at a restaurant.

Many hotels offer restaurants on site, but they can get quite expensive.

For a large family, eating out in Hawaii can be very costly.

In choosing a hotel, pay attention to both the restaurants offered on site or at neighboring establishments in order to create a food budget that will work for your family.


The price you see for a hotel room may not be the price you end up paying at the end of your stay.

On top of the per night room rate, hotels add on local and state taxes, resort fees, and potentially other fees.

Resort fees are generally per night and per room and can vary greatly by hotel.

These fees pay for you access to the hotel’s amenities, mainly the pool, exercise rooms, and any activities included by the hotel.

Hotels also often charge a daily parking fee, which can add up quickly if you rent a car to see sites around the island.


Room configurations do vary across hotels, but generally are one bedroom and one bath rooms with queens or king beds.

Larger rooms can be available depending on the hotel, but will increase significantly in cost with the addition of each bed.

For a large family, it may be necessary to reserve multiple rooms.

Why Book a Hawaii Vacation Condo?


For the most part, condos include the use of a kitchen and the items that you would need to cook with.

Hawaii Vacation Condo vs Hotel pros and cons featured by top Hawaii blog, Hawaii Travel with Kids: Grilled boneless chicken thighs marinated and basted in a mixture of guava jam, shoyu, oyster sauce and seasonings
Save money by grilling in Hawaii

This allows you to cook the majority, or even all, of your meals rather than eating out. This alone can save a lot of money, especially if you have a larger family.

Many condo complexes also have communal grills outside!

Save money by cooking in Hawaii


Hawaii has a variety of condo configurations that can fit small to large families.

Even a one bedroom condo would include a living space and a kitchen, giving more space than an average one bedroom hotel room.

These extra couches and living spaces can allow for more people to join on a trip (assuming they would be okay sleeping on a couch!)


While the per night rate may be higher for a condo, there are less hidden fees associated with a condo than a hotel.

Many condos do not charge resort or parking fees.

The price you see when booking is more likely to reflect the final price that you pay.

Why Should You Reconsider Booking a Hawaii Vacation Condo?


Condo complexes are less likely to be located beachfront or close by a resort community.

You may need to drive from your condo to a town to take advantage of amenities such as restaurants or a grocery store.

Or, you may need to walk farther from your condo complex to the beach.

When booking your condo, research the location and map out drive times to the areas you would be most likely to visit.


In general, condo complexes provide a pool for the guests to use. Often this pool is a basic pool and not as grand or flashy as many hotel pools.

To some families, a simple pool is just fine. To others, they may want the bigger pool with slides, etc…

Most of the time, you will also not find restaurants, spas, exercise rooms, kids clubs, etc at a condo complex.

If these amenities are an important part of your vacation, you may want to consider booking a hotel.


Once you check into your condo, for the most part you are left on your own during your stay.

This means that you will often not have a cleaning service come in to wash towels or sheets or vacuum.

Many times, you will have a washer and dryer in your unit or complex to do your own laundry.

Some condos do arrange for a cleaner to come and do a short clean in the middle of your stay, but this is rare.

So, Should You Book a Hawaii Vacation Condo or Hotel?

Hotels and condos both have their pros and cons! Find out the cheapest places to stay on Oahu, Maui, Kauai, Lanai, Molokai, and the Big Island.

Research both when making a decision and be sure to decide based on what is most important to you.

Whether you decide to go for a Hawaii vacation condo or hotel, you will be vacationing in one of the most gorgeous locations!