Renting a vacation condo in Waikiki. What to look for.

  1. Make sure that whatever you are booking is actually in Waikiki if that is what you are looking for :)
  2. Where in Waikiki?
  3. How to avoid fraud.
  4. Does the person in charge live in Honolulu and are you dealing with that person?
  5. Type of key and lock
  6. No carpet on the floor.

Make sure that whatever you are booking is actually in Waikiki if that is what you are looking for
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This seems to be a straight forward topic, where else could it be?. Unfortunately booking a different location by mistake while actually trying to stay in Waikiki is not uncommon. There are other areas of the island that offer these type of accommodations so make sure that you book Waikiki if that is your intention in the first place. It is also important to know that Waikiki is pretty much the only place that you can rent a privately owned property for less than 30 days legally.
if you are in doubt call the City and County of Honolulu, zoning department (808) 768-8000. (back to top)

Where in Waikiki. (back to top)
The reasons that people have to choose one Waikiki area over another boil down to the following:
Beach: No matter where you stay in Waikiki, the beach is always only a few minutes walking distance. The problem is that not all parts of Waikiki beach are the same, some are very wide with lots of sand and almost no rocks, others have no sand at all and instead you will have an ocean wall. If it is important for you to be close to the nicest part of Waikiki beach, by far the stretch of beach in front of the Hilton Hawaiian Village Hotel, the Hale Koa Hotel and the DeRussy park is the best part of Waikiki beach, that is the area where local residents for Waikiki. Click here to open an aerial picture of the beach from the Hilton Hawaiian Village to the Honolulu zoo and see the difference for yourself.
Noise: Waikiki is a very noisy environment, particularly on any of the main avenues such as Kalakaua, Kuhio, Ala Wai, Ala Moana or Kalia. There is no such a thing a totally quiet here in Waikiki but the quietest buildings are located on the side streets between Kuhio and Ala Wai (click here for a Waikiki map), the area between Kalakaua and Kuhio is several times noisier than the "back" of Waikiki (between Kuhio and Ala Wai).
Proximity to public transportation: Public transportation is very good here and inexpensive, you can actually ride the bus around the island for less than $3. Returning visitors like the bus convenience and want to be close to the bus line that runs on Kuhio Ave. from one end to the other of Waikiki. (back to top)

How to avoid fraud. (back to top)
Unfortunately the whole situation of renting a condo from thousands of miles away can easily be abused and while no procedure is completely foolproof, there are certain precautions that you can take to minimize the possibility of becoming a victim of fraud, here are some "red flags" to look for.
a- Membership.
Make sure that the person or company renting you the condo is a member of an established organization such as the Better Business Bureau and/or the Hawaii Visitors Bureau
Membership in any of these organizations is very inexpensive so anyone can easily afford to be a member, if they are not, that should be a "red flag".
It is also important to use the phone number listed in these organizations to call the individuals involved in the rental, this will ensure that you are actually talking to the BBB member.
b- Able to be reached by phone.
Make sure that the person renting the unit can be easily reached by phone, first because if there is a problem you need to be able to talk to someone but more importantly because phony rentals rarely have someone answering a phone.
If you call during business hours and yet are never able to talk to the person in charge of your unit, it should be a "red flag".
c- Is the phone's area code (808)?
Hawaii has only one area code and it is 808, if you are calling to a phone that has a different area code or the person can only be reached via email without any phone number listing that's a "red flag".
d- Book with a Credit Card, do not send cash, money order or check.
You are the most protected when you pay with a credit card. You can still pay with cash or travelers checks once you arrive to your destination if you wish to do so and in that case the original credit card charge is refunded to your Visa or MasterCard. Now a days is very simple to be able to accept credit cards, If those that want to rent you a condo do not accept them, well, that is another "red flag". (back to top)

Does the person in charge live in charge live in Honolulu and are you dealing with that person. (back to top)
Some times you will deal with the owner and other with a managing agent, either way it is important that the individual that you are dealing with is the person that will be in Honolulu while you are renting the unit, if that is not the case, just walk away, it is not worth the headache. (back to top)

Type of Key and Lock (back to top)
It is important that the unit that you are renting does NOT have a traditional lock and key. Regular keys are great for your home but when you have a different tennant every week they are a liability since traditional keys can be copied by a previous guest and the unit accessed by unauthorized personel during your vacation. It is also important that you find out about the kind of lock the unit has BEFORE you even make the decision to rent the unit.
State of the art electronic locks allow condo managers the highest degree of control and security because the combination codes issued to each guest are unique and ONLY operate during the contracted days the guest is in the unit. (back to top)

No carpet on the floor look for tile, laminate or wood. (back to top)
Carpets are very popular because they are an ecconomical way to finish the floors of a room. There may be great for your home because is "your" carpet, is nice and warm in winter and you keep it clean.
When it comes to renting a condo in a tropical location like Hawaii, carpet is the last thing you want on the floor.
Unlike rooms at a hotel that are cleaned daily, condos are fully cleaned only when guests check out. (back to top)