Hawaii Vacation Rental Legislation: Governor Says He'll Sign Ban Approval

Hawaii Hotel Prices Increase Up To 70%, Helping Stifle Over-Tourism

With the nightly cost of Hawaii hotels, the state may not need to worry much longer about over-tourism. Between high prices and the pressure on vacation rentals, the issue could become self-regulating. Regular commenter John W. said today that “Hawaii hotel prices are outlandish.” And we concur. The December numbers speak for themselves.

BOH editors will be in West Maui in February to bring you more on-the-ground coverage. What we found, no matter how hard we tried, or where we looked, was what we deemed to be just too high pricing. In the end, given the cost, we chose not to book yet, waiting until the last minute. In addition to costs, the cancellation notice and penalties were too much to feel comfortable.

We checked the lowest-priced rooms at these Maui hotels.

These were base-rate garden view accommodations across a range of properties and ratings. Prices below include taxes.

  • Montage Kapalua Bay $1,800/night
  • Grand Wailea $1,573/night
  • Courtyard Maui Airport $613/night
  • Aston Maui Hill $600/night
  • Aston Maui Banyan $525/night
  • Aston Kaanapali Shores $470/night
  • Napili Shores Outrigger $432/night

December 2023 Hawaii hotel numbers are in.

December includes both the low-season pre-holiday period as well as peak holiday dates, Relative to pre-Covid December 2019 (still the standard for comparison), statewide rates have clearly risen sharply. A fairly weak holiday season last month, as was expected, plus too high hotel rates, helped contribute to the lower occupancy.

The average daily rate at hotels across Hawaii in December was $428. That is reported to be 21.3% higher than pre-Covid. Occupancy, however, was 8% less. Those hotels deemed luxury class properties had an average daily rate of $1,093, with occupancy down 18%; mid-scale/Economy Class properties averaged just $288, which is quite a discrepancy, if the data is correct. Occupancy was down 9.7%.

Hawaii Hotel Resort Fees

Maui hotels lead the country in sky-high hotel prices.

In spite of the aftermath of the wildfires, Maui had the highest rates in the entire U.S. with an average of $612/nightly before taxes and fees. That while Wailea Maui hotels checked in at an average of $1,140 plus tax, nightly. Occupancy in December was down 29.9% in December, as Maui continued to under-perform following the Lahaina fire.

The West Maui region had a mix of regular and fire-related rentals. It nonetheless still managed an average nightly rate of $476, up 12% compared with 2019. Occupancy was down a modest 2.1%, likely also related to fire victims.

Kauai hotels scored an average rate of $489, up 42.7% compared with pre-Covid, although occupancy slipped 4.8%.

Big Island hotels had an average nightly rate of $560, up a whopping 70.2% compared with 2019, with occupancy down 11.9% compared with the same 2019 period.

Oahu hotels had a rate of just $321, which was up 11.5% compared with 2019. Occupancy was down 7.5%.

Aulani Hawaii Hotel Deals

Hawaii hotels compared with other top U.S. travel destinations throughout 2023.

You won’t be surprised to learn that the Hawaiian Islands earned the highest daily rate for all of 2023, which was then followed by New York City.

Would you bite on any of the hotel prices we passed on?

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110 thoughts on “Hawaii Hotel Prices Increase Up To 70%, Helping Stifle Over-Tourism”

  1. I’m staying in Waikiki right now, you can’t tell there’s been an occupancy drop. The place is Packed…

    Best Regards

    1
      1. Well, if it weren’t for the fact that my favorite nephew lives here in Kailua and works in Honolulu, I wouldn’t visit Hawaii. I was stationed here in 1973 and I love Hawaii itself. But the taxes, the attitudes, the price gouging makes Hawaii low on my list of places to vacation at. You don’t want tourists but you complain that tourism is down. Hotel prices are way up since Covid. And Hawaii scared tourists away with restrictions and fines.
        So Hawaii has no one to blame but themselves when their bread and butter is tourism and they treat us this way

  2. Josh Green’s draconian measures will ensure that the poverty rate increases along with the lodging rates. “Solving” a problem by creating a more complex problem seems to be the stock and trade of his administration.

    2
  3. You’ve got to love all these people declaring their plans never to return. As if the ears of the world await their next decision. Newsflash. Someone will replace you on the beach, in the stores, and in the restaurants. And most likely look exactly like you.

    6
    1. I agree. No one should make threatening ultimatums.

      That said, I bet many of these people are like me.

      They feel like they’ve finally found “home,” and they’ve been supporting that home for a good long time. So there’s a bit of a reactionary response because of that.

      No excuse.

      To me, if everyone stepped in kindness when they’re speaking, the planet would be a much nicer place.

      3
      1. @GloriaS… I’ve been reading the comments on most Beat of Hawaii stories and I agree with your opinion. I read lots of comments that say “i’ve been coming to the Islands for over 30 years, but no more. You’ve priced yourselves out of our budget.”

        The fact is that airfares are cheaper now than ever before. Rental car bargains can still be found and yes, accommodation are increasing, however so are operational costs.

        Go to Mexico if you want to. Hawaii will still be a popular destination. And sorry, if you own a timeshare, you’re really not an owner. You’re a member!

        4
        1. Indeed. The fact that we’re dealing with ever-increasing numbers means that for everyone who stomps their feet and threatens to go elsewhere, there are at least 3 more waiting to take their spot.

          2
  4. It appears Hawaii is pricing my wife and I out of ever coming back. Thank goodness we’ve spent wonderful times on four of the islands. We love Hawaii, but it looks like it’s time to spend our hard earned money on other vacation spots.

    2
  5. I also wish you could earn extra money on your son’s room. To me, it’s insane that we’ve allowed lawmakers to make vacation rentals illegal. It’s as if we’re selling crack, instead of providing an alternative lodging option. To me, wouldn’t it be better to ban hosts who allow a disruptive visitor into the neighborhood, rather than punish good hosts who are off-island half the year, yet are responsible hosts?

    1
  6. Won’t be back , as a senior, there are many or equally beautiful destinations to go to. You think the welfare and lack of work plaguing the islands, well you haven’t seen it peak, welcome to the most beautiful dump you have ever seen!

    3
  7. Without STR the hotel prices only go up. Supply and demand. STR can be owned by locals. Resorts are off island owned. Chain restaurants off island. Local local but government caters to the big not local. Locals vote for the government enticed by ads paid from off island dollars. Locals have the power but are not using it. Vote for less red tape for Locals trying to start and run a business.

    3
  8. Hawaii just isnt the place to go in 2024.
    It is a shame big hotels and hawaii legislators just tax visitors to death The aloha spirit left the islands before covid.
    I have gone over 20 times over the years
    but no more.
    Its only water and sunshine.

    5
  9. Good luck Hawaii, you’re biting the hands that feed you. Without tourists, your hotels and restaurants will go belly up..and there goes the majority of your jobs and you will end up being a liberal welfare state! Good Luck!

  10. Wow! Watch as all small businesses fail! No surprise though, the democrats have been trying to crush them for decades. Soon only super wealthy, State Workers and welfare recipients will prosper in Hawaii.

    1
  11. Thank you for another great article. I love Hawaii, but lodging is too expensive now. I’m shifting my travel dollars from Hawaii to San Diego.

    2
  12. The high vacation prices in the State of hawaii should reflect 24 hours a day , on property professional management . Not a computer template, fill in the blanks reservation system. You are not ordering a cab , you Are spending a $1,000 a day.
    The key doesn’t fit. The unit gets flooded from the room upstairs, or the advertiser does not exist , someone is parked in your parking spot.
    Now vacation rentals are converting to long term rentals for maui fire victims.
    Hawaii had a housing shortage before the Maui fires . And the fires and floods have not stopped.

  13. Sounds like the typical leads are just trying to get elite. Very rich people here and not your average American tourister. The government needs to get out of business. They do not belong, interfering with business. You’re ruining Hawaii tourism and people’s jobs and you’re going to lose more people with this stupidity.

    2
  14. Do these rates also include the incredibly high cost of resort and cleaning fees that varies from each hotel, along with high taxes.

    1
  15. Aloha editors,

    You can get an ocean sunrise view hotel for at least 100$ less on Kauai than the 450$ you show on Maui. Just saying.

  16. I thought you guys were travel experts.

    Maui
    May 2024 Grand Wailea Costco Package 7 night stay Ocean View room includes a rental car, breakfast each morning at iKena, very nice buffet ocean view and no resort fee. $6,626.40 includes all taxes and fees.

    Big Island
    October 2024 Hapuna Beach Resort Costco Package 5 Night stay Deluxe Ocean view room includes rental car, 240 Costco Gift Card, 250 resort credit, waived resort fee and free parking. 3,543.74 includes all fees and taxes.

    At time of booking there were several options at excellent deals for both Maui and Big Island.

    1
    1. My wife and I were in The Philippines for 10 days. We stayed at the Peninsula Hotel in Manila. Including business class air from Chicago our trip was less than $7,500. Our hotel service was 1000 times better than anything we have experienced anywhere in the U.S. The included breakfast buffet was better than any Hawaii hotel. Oh yeah, our room rate included airport transfers, an in room massage for each of us Every day, afternoon tea service and an evening cocktail service. Our room was a huge suite. Skip Hawaii altogether and head to Asia. Better value for the money and a lot nicer atmosphere.

      3
    2. I agree Richard! If you know where to look you can always find deals on where to stay in Hawaii. Especially in Waikiki, there are plenty of great deals to be had at boutique cute smaller properties. Of course Maui is going to be expensive, they are recovering from a massive disaster. Use your common sense. Hawaii is affordable if you know what you are doing. Don’t go during high season. If you have to stay at the Four Seasons, more power to you but the rest of us don’t need five star accommodations every time we travel. This is a nothing burger that is just riling up the readership to express their outrage. I love the info you guys provide but sometimes you get kind of worked up over nothing.

      1
      1. KTW you are correct. You usually can find a deal on travel to any one of the Hawaiian Islands. Waikiki is always the most affordable no matter what time of year compared to the neighbor Islands. Maui and Kauai have always been higher than Oahu and the BI. A Hilton, Marriott or Hyatt in Hawaii is usually not much more than a Hilton, Marriott or Hyatt in Miami Beach, Fort Lauderdale, or even Los Angeles, San Francisco or San Diego. Personally, I’d rather be on any island in Hawaii than these other mainland locations and the same goes for Mexico and the Caribbean too!
        Hawaii will always be an aspirational destination as long as we humans don’t trash its natural beauty!
        Aloha to all!!!

        2
  17. Thanks for this article and No, I would not bite. But then again, We just don’t have this kind of income, even though saved now for 6 years for a return trip, …..If one is brought up in a middle class income, it is extremely difficult to spend even saved money on this type of pricing for vacation Anywhere. I really don’t like to travel with a group of people so dividing up the costs does not help in our situation. I like peace, tranquililty and just the nature of the isle, not the touristy bang out the dollars spending type, so….this is all so sad. And you are right, the pricing will self adjust their issues…..right into more issues!

    6
    1. I believe the lawmakers have been paid off by the Hotel Lobby, and that residents have been turned against vacation rentals because of the uncountable dollars said Lobby has spent perpetuating myths. Soon enough, only billionaires will have the money to visit the islands. Perhaps this is what the billionaires and other special interest groups want? Fewer people who spend more in the resort zones?

      3
  18. Hotels can charge what the market will bear. It’s the constant rising Hawaiian mismanaged governmental fees and taxes that’s a burr in my saddle.

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