January 28 2009 by Chris McGinnis
It's the dead of winter with most of the U.S. under a deep freeze that seems to have no end (meteorologically and economically). So, let's talk about Hawaii.
Have you been earnestly earning your Best Western Rewards points in colder climes and dreaming about redeeming them somewhere warm and tropical? It so, set your sites on the Best Western Coconut Hotel in Waikiki where I cooled my heels last weekend. (Rooms here go for 36,000 Rewards points per night.)
There are, of course, hundreds of hotel choices in Honolulu and as a travel writer for the last 20 years, I've slept and schlepped my way through many of them. But when air fares from California to Hawaii plunged to less than $300 round trip this month, I decided to jump on the plane and try the Coconut. Wow, was I impressed. (I know, I know...I'm jaded due to my affiliation with Best Western, but if you check out user-generated reviews at sites such as tripadvisor.com, you'll see that I'm not alone in my praise for the place.)
- Renovation: A year ago, the Coconut was closed for a full refurbishment and recently re-opened full of spunk and light. Think white terrazzo floors, modern, lime-green furnishings, four bars of free Wi-Fi throughout, flat screen TV's, granite-topped kitchenettes in each room, palm trees and views of verdant mountains from breezy verandas.
- Location: The Coconut is not on the beach, but in this case, that's a good thing. The beachfront hotel scene in Honolulu is mostly noisy, traffic clogged and full of tourists and tour buses. If you're traveling on business or just seeking some peace and quiet, it's a relief to be a three blocks removed from all that.
- Value: To me, new is always good, and with the recent renovation, the Coconut feels like a brand new hotel. Standard rooms currently go for as little as $120 per night. You can score a roomier executive suite for around $200. The presidential suite (see last week's post) with two bedrooms, two baths, full kitchen, dining area and a huge rooftop patio with 360-degree views starts at about $400 per night. (All rates include free Wi-Fi and free breakfast.)