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Hawaii Vacations: Which Amenities Hold Keys to Rentals?

Vacation rental bookings are greatly influenced by amenities, suggests today’s study by Expedia’s TripAdvisor.

Here are the highlights of their report:

– 32% of travelers thought access to a full kitchen was the most important vacation rental amenity
– 22% prefer Wi-Fi Internet access
– 10% prioritize an outdoor deck or patio
– 41% believe that vacation rentals typically have better amenities than hotels
– 26% feel that the amenities between hotels and vacation rentals are comparable.
– 23% crave a personal chef as their dream amenity.

That brought to mind the question of exactly what I look for as I travel around the Hawaiian islands. Here’s my list of amenities.

1. Kitchenette with microwave and refrigerator. The longer my stay the more important this becomes. I love to cook and shop at local markets which reduces my restaurant charges. While a full kitchen is great, I usually don’t need an oven and full size refrigerator for most trips. If there isn’t at least a refrigerator, it is going to take a lot of other pluses to outweigh this loss.

2. Lanai/balcony. This actually goes hand in hand with view. Of high importance to me is the privacy of the lanai. There’s nothing worse than seeing/listening to your next door neighbors while trying to enjoy the peace and tranquility of the ocean.

3. View. Who doesn’t like a great ocean view on a Hawaii vacation. It’s also a matter of cost as the best view will have more drain on my wallet. The view isn’t as important to me on Oahu, maybe because I’m usually there on business. When I travel to the other neighbor islands for a short break, the view tops my list.

4. Wi-Fi. It’s not for me if it’s public. A vacation rental home is okay, but when I’m sharing Wi-Fi with strangers, well, it feels a lot like sharing my toothbrush. Have you ever heard of Firesheep? In a nutshell it is extremely easy for someone on a public Wi-Fi network to eavesdrop on your communication, including all of your passwords. I turn off Wi-Fi, and prefer to stay on 3G for data, which is far safer (it’s encrypted) when I’m not sure. Yes, you can use secure browsing at times, but that’s another story.

Your turn: what vacation rental amenities are important to you?

Join the discussion. I’m sure the purveyors want to hear your thoughts as well.

11 thoughts on “Hawaii Vacations: Which Amenities Hold Keys to Rentals?”

  1. May 2012 will be the first time we’ve stayed in a rental, but so far the extras are so much better for us than staying in a hotel. First of all, it’ll be myself, my husband, our 2 small children (ages 4 and almost 2) and my parents. For us to pay for the hotel rooms for all of us would have pretty much killed the rest of the trip with the finances. So being in one place but with a 2 story home gives us all a space to be together in, but also separate spaces when we want. It also has a pool, plenty of beach toys and pool toys for the kids, large kitchen to help us save costs on meals and they include at no charge plenty of extras to help with the kids…carseats, crib, daybed, strollers plenty of things that would otherwise be very costly having to bring it with us on a plane. Plus the laundry room will be great, we won’t have to pack as much and with 2 little ones I’m sure we’ll be washing a lot of clothes. Plus all the towels, beach chairs, ice chests…even laundry soap is included. I doubt we’ll ever do hotels again after this trip.

  2. I want a mini-fridge, 12 cup coffee-maker, utensils/plates, microwave, a clean and comfortable bed. On Kauai I also want a lanai, so I can have my breakfast and cocktail outside. A pool would be lovely, however there are plenty of pools to dip in.

    I travel by myself so I look for small studios or cosy 1 bedrooms. I have been fortunate, on Kauai, to have found two places which suit me.

    Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter how much you pay, you may still not get a comfortable bed.

  3. We stay in vrbo or HomeAway rentals on the North Shore of Oahu. We like having bikes to cruise the bike path and boogie boards to take over to Velzy. Washer is a must. We travel with carry-ons only–even on very extended stays.

  4. I remember 20 years ago when I first visited Hawaii on my Honeymoon. We were staying in Waikiki at the Sharaton Princes Kaiulani…not the most expensive hotel in Waikiki, but from our room, we could see the beach and on the evenings sit out on our lanai and watch the traffic roll up and down the strip in front of the hotel. On the last day of our honeymoon, we were on a booze-cruise and were paired up with another honeymooning couple. We found out that they were staying in the pink Sharaton across the street from us…They regaled us with their amenities and all the high dollar stuff in their hotel…Their hotel room cost 4 times what ours cost us…They told us that this was the first time they had left their room…while we had been on so many excursions, we couldn’t even tell you what color the carpet was in our room…we weren’t in it long enough to care!
    For us, a hotel is a place to sleep and keep our stuff safe. I’ve found that for the most part, amenities are all basically pointless as well as worthless. Sure, WiFi is nice, but I found out long time ago, that hotels charge an exorbitant premium for that…so I bring my own in a USB dongle that uses my cell carrier for wireless connectivity.
    Kitchenette? Hmmm, depends…In Waikiki? Not necessary…many good and affordable restaurants within walking distance…North Shore is another thing…a dinner at a restaurant in Haleiwa will run you about $100/couple…not cheap! Unfortunately, The gorceries aren’t that much cheaper! Lanai. Nice in a high-rise hotel, but if it’s not facing the beach, it’s worthless…we stayed at the Illai on Lewers a few years ago and our lanai faced the alley way where the trash containers were kept…and it seemed that trash pick up was every morning at 6am! And as far as Hawaii goes, yes, the view is paramount…but for someplace like Las Vegas? Not so much…Like I said earlier…I want an affordable place to lay my head after a full day of sight-seeing. That’s it…If it has anything else, that’s just a bonus. I will say though, renting a house this time at the North Shore instead of staying at our usual hotel actually came out cheaper. Normally the hotel charges 179/night. Add to that a $10-$15/day parking charge and you’re already in the $200/day category. We got 8 days at a beach house for $1,700 with our own covered parking and two bedrooms! Not bad if you ask me!

  5. Even though many hotels are absolutely gorgeous, we are spoiled by the beach front condominiums. They have everything and allow us to keep our costs down. BBQ, close to beach, pools, no elevators in bathing suits. Our favorites are on Napili Bay on Maui. Golf, Tennis within a block or so. Walking trails galore. We are sold. This summer marks our 14th trip.

  6. full kitchen , washer and dryer and close proximity to the beach are all musts for our family. we also look for a 2 bathroom property as we have 2 kids aged 11 and 14.

  7. I look for a washer and dryer in the accomodation to avoid carrying extra clothes. In Hawaii a lanai is also a must. At one time I gave no thought to wifi, but it’s becoming increasingly more important for me to stay in contact with my family.

  8. If we stay anywhere longer than 1 or 2 days, we ALWAYS rent a condo or house instead of a hotel. Several reason; privacy, space, kitchen for cooking and the outdoor living area. It’s more “homey” and comfortable to us than staying in a hotel. We usually rent thru VRBO (vacation rentals by owner.) We have NEVER been disappointed!

  9. Primary for us on Oahu is price, because we travel a lot and don’t care about luxury. Next would be a partial kitchen (microwave & small fridge). Then we want it to be nice, and convenient. We’ve found a great rental in a Waikiki high rise and will be staying there in March for the third time since August 2010. It’s a short walk from Waikiki beach but in a quiet neighborhood with a nearby bus stop, from which we can go lots of places without a car. We usually rent a car for part of our trip and we can park on the street. The view is spectacular, we see a bit of the ocean and a bit of the canal. We haven’t spent much time on the other islands yet, but we will probably have different priorities there.

  10. I always stay in a vacation rental in Hawaii (always on Oahu), rather than a hotel. The reason for me is the cost. One thing that is important to me and somewhat difficult to find, and especially to assess in advance, is cleanliness. It really spoils my vacation if I am disgusted with my surroundings. As a matter of fact, when making my reservation for this January, I decided to up the amount I was willing to pay per night to get a nicer place. I hope this idea actually works. I think I made a good choice. Otherwise I agree with Jeff’s priorities above – especially at least a small refrigerator and lanai or balcony. Oh yes – the other big one – cost of parking included!! Vicki

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