Honolulu, Hawaii—now that I've been, it's made on the list of places I'll never say no to. I traveled there for what was supposed to be 6 days in February—I ended up staying for 11—during the POW! WOW! Hawaii street art festival in Kaka'ako.
We planned our trip something like two weeks before take-off (oops), so affordable accommodations weren't the easiest thing to find. Just in time, I realized what the perfect place to stay would be in one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world—a friendly, no-frills, beachside hostel.
The last time I stayed in a hostel was in Iceland, abroad and over a year ago, so I was due for a little budget travel experience. The Polynesian Hostel Beach Club was just what we were looking for—$50 a night for a private room, a free pancake breakfast every morning, and half a block from Waikiki Beach.
When you travel as much as I do, you come to set your own personal standards for hospitality. While hotels aim to satisfy your every need, hostels are just a place to lay your head at night and maybe meet a few people, so the perks at the Polynesian were a pleasant surprise. We took advantage of the pancake breakfast every morning, which saved us the money we would have spent on over ten meals. However, if you're a coffee drinker like I am, all they have is instant, so the closest fix is Starbucks around the corner for the real stuff.
My favorite bit about the Polynesian Hostel though? The organized tours. We signed up for a sunrise hike up to Diamond Head Crater with a few other travelers one morning, including one on her way home from a year in Australia and two gals from Stockholm on a three-month trip around the world. While the view from the top was incredibly delightful, the Diamond Head hike itself is overstuffed with tourists and is a bit of a claustrophobic experience, even before the sun comes up. Now that I've done it once, I never have to deal with it again—but I'm glad I went. It was lovely bonding time with the girls from the hostel, and we all stopped for coffee on our way back from the hike before pancakes.
The hostel also offers excursions to the North Shore if you aren't renting a car, or to Kailua and even scuba diving. You can also rent surfboards to test the waters at Waikiki across the street!
I just have to tell you—that last photo is the shadow of the crater on Waikiki Beach. !!!
Of course, all the usual rules that come with staying at hostels apply to all the locations in Honolulu as well. Always check the bed for bugs and wear flip-flops to keep yourself clean and safe while walking the premises. They will provide you with towels, but I brought my own for the beach. Also, the only bedding you're provided with is a clean sheet set and pillowcase as there is no air conditioning, so if you need more layers, bring your own blankets or get creative and layer your towels or coat over your sheets. (Clearly, I didn't have my own blanket. Haha!)
Anywhere I stay for longer than a week starts to feel like a second home, and I'm glad it ended up being the Polynesian Hostel in Hawaii.
If you're headed their way, I recorded a quick little tour for you to get a better idea of your surroundings. Enjoy!
Thank you to the Polynesian Hostel Beach Club for hosting our stay.