Oh Honolulu, so quaint in so many ways. Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) is in desperate need of a proper airport hotel. There must be an opportunity for an enterprising investment firm to construct a lucrative on-site hotel.
I’m on a trip around the world and my first stop was Honolulu. There, I faced a quandary. I arrived late, was departing early, and really had no desire to take the time to go into Waikiki for the night. Instead, I wanted to remain near the airport.
And that’s quite a problem in Honolulu, where you essentially have three poor choices. All three are located near the offsite car rental facilities, a 5-7 minute bus ride from the arrivals level. One is a Best Western, which as the “flagship” airport property charges $250/night for rooms that go for no more than $80 in most US. cities. Yeah, not interested.
The second property is aptly called the Airport Honolulu Hotel. It’s a two-star hotel that runs $200/night plus tax and is just a few doors down from the Best Western. It was sold out.
The third property is called the Pacific Marina Inn, which is an old-school style motel with 1950’s stonework, exterior corridors, and a pool in the middle. It was running about $130/night plus tax.
So I had a choice. Pay the exorbitant Best Western price. Go into Waikiki and pay the same to stay at one of the three Hyatt properties, or just sleep in the Pacific Marina Inn, get up early, and head right back to the airport.
I chose the latter. There was absolutely nothing luxurious about the property at all, but 1.) I knew what I was getting myself into and 2.) it was clean. So had I arrived even a bit earlier or departed a tad later, I would have gone into Waikiki. But this property served its purpose: I was able to sleep. I don’t know about you, but I’m simply not willing to drop money on a mediocre property like the Best Western charging far more than warranted for a clean bed.
A Missed Opportunity
I’m not up on local Honolulu politics. For all I know, perhaps several airport hotel projects have started and failed over the years. But all I know is that if there was a Hilton or Sheraton or something similar attached to the airport, I would have gladly paid a premium for it. An airport as large as HNL deserves a full-service, built-in airport hotel.
As construction continues to modernize HNL, I hope that one day (in my lifetime) we will see a proper onsite airport hotel.
image: KeithH / Wikimedia Commons