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Although many have since followed in its footsteps, Waikiki’s Ilikai was Hawaii’s very first luxury high-rise hotel. When it opened in 1964, it raised the bar tremendously on the island’s tourism scene, and today it remains an iconic fixture at Waikiki’s western end. If you’ve ever watched the TV show Hawaii 5-0 then you’ve seen the Ilikai during the opening credits. A car rental in Waikiki is ideal for exploring the rest of Oahu since this Hawaiian island is loaded with attractions.
Who to Book With
You really won’t need a car to get around the Waikiki strip since parking is such a hassle. But there is no better way to get out and see the rest, less touristy, side of Oahu than with your own wheels. Demand for car hire around Waikiki Beach is huge all year round, so be sure and book online as early as possible with a reputable firm like Budget or Avis to avoid disappointment upon arrival.
Best Time to Go
There is simply no bad time to visit Oahu. The temperature seems perpetually stuck between 26ºC and 29ºC, and even in the rainy season between November and March the precipitation rarely interferes with the fun. Summer is actually one of the best weather periods in Hawaii, but is very crowded. To avoid the crowds and get good deals on rentals, try the off-season windows of mid-April to mid-June or September to early December.
Need to Know Essentials
In order to collect your car rental, bring these documents to the pick-up office:
- An International Driving Permit or a US driving licence
- Another valid form of photo ID, such as your passport
- The credit card you used to make the online booking
- A printed copy of your rental confirmation
Waikiki has notorious traffic congestion and parking is virtually impossible unless you use your hotel’s lot. The parking police are diligent in enforcing illegal parking so it’s best to leave your car at your hotel when in Waikiki. The Ilikai hotel has excellent parking facilities for guests. Once you drive beyond the core of Honolulu, the traffic thins out considerably and the driving becomes very pleasant.
Our Guide to the United States contains more detailed driving information.
Everything in the 1.5-mile stretch of beach known as Waikiki is within easy walking distance. But if your legs get tied, simply wait for the Waikiki Trolley that runs all around the greater Honolulu area. To travel around the island of Oahu, there is no better choice than TheBus, an affordable and convenient form of transport that covers the whole island. Cars are extremely good value for daytrips and excursions outside of the Waikiki strip.
The preferred mode of transport for visitors to Waikiki is the Waikiki Trolley. It’s open-air and holds just 34 passengers as it loops around downtown Honolulu and Waikiki Beach. The trolley runs three distinct lines that stop at 12 key points, such as Restaurant Row, the State Capitol and the Hawaii Maritime Museum. The pink line covers the dining and shopping spots. The red line goes to cultural and historic sites, while the green line goes to scenic attractions like Diamond Head. Every 40 minutes the trolley hits each stop on its route so you never have to wait long for a ride. Trolley passes can be bought online at a discount and come in various lengths. A seven-day pass costs £38, a four-day pass £35 and a one-day pass is £21. Children from four to 11 years old enjoy cheaper ticket prices.
The most popular way to move around the entire island of Oahu is on TheBus. For just over £1.50 you can take a ride on the bus anywhere on Oahu. With over 4,000 stops, you can be sure to get exactly where you want to go. Bus service at Waikiki starts at 05:00 every day and runs until midnight. Buses typically hit the stops every 15 minutes during the day and every 30 minutes at night. A good deal is the Visitors Pass that allows for four days of unlimited travel for £16.
It is rarely a problem to find a taxi cruising along the streets of Waikiki. They are not cheap by most standards but fortunately, the destinations in this part of Oahu are never far apart. Cabs can be hailed on the streets or called for a pick up. The fare from the airport to Waikiki hotels like the Ilikai is around £15.
If the crowds, traffic and overt tourism of Waikiki get tedious, simply hop in your car and get out of town. The rest of Oahu is noticeably more local and more laid back than bustling Waikiki and Honolulu. Coastal highways provide excellent driving conditions to hot spots like the surfing beaches on the North Shore, the drier Leeward coast or the lush and secluded Windward coast.
North Shore – Famous for its epic surf breaks like Banzai Pipeline and Waimea Bay, this cool side of Oahu has plenty of excitement. Most visitors can’t handle the surf here, but it’s incredible to watch the pros at work on the waves. The central highway cuts right though the heart of Oahu from Waikiki to the town of Pupukea for a superb drive.
Kailua – The sleepy Hawaiian town of Kailua is one of the more popular stops on the wet, lush Windward coast of Oahu. A drive to this side of the island will knock your socks off, and the town is as close to authentic Hawaii as it gets. There is a lovely beach here, and the town has a great selection of eateries, handicraft boutiques and little motels.
Pearl Harbor – This iconic flash point of WWII is far enough from Waikiki that you need to drive. Looking underwater at the USS Arizona Memorial and walking around the USS Missouri battleship are two of the highlights. There is a lot of military history to absorb at Pearl Harbor, and best of all it appeals to all ages.
The following questions and answers are a selection of the most popular questions. If you do not find the answer to your question, have a look at the Frequently Asked Questions page or contact us.
Yes, we offer a guarantee of the lowest price - because we compare various retailers, we can always offer you the best price in town.
To pick up your car, you will need your voucher, passport, driver's license and a credit card. It is very important that your driver's license and credit card are in the same name as the main driver. Keep in mind that the local rental company will reserve a certain amount on your credit card as a deposit. This requires the PIN code for your credit card. If your driver's license is foreign (for example, in Chinese), you must bring a translation with you. Only your original passport and driver's license will be accepted - a copy is not sufficient.
In general, our rates are all-inclusive. Should there be any additional costs, our booking department will get in touch with you before issuing the invoice. Should you object, you can always cancel your reservation with no obligations attached (at least 48 hours in advance).
In general, Liability Insurance, Fire Insurance, All-Risks Insurance and Theft Insurance are included in the cost of your rental car.
This label indicates that a rental car satisfies the following requirements: Unlimited kilometers, no excess liability (and no excess cover available), sustainable energy policy, and that the car rental company has a good reputation. Availability of cars satisfying these four requirements will speed up the selection of a suitable vehicle for you.
You can cancel your reservation through "My Account". We recommend contacting us by phone if your changes to your booking or cancellation takes place at short notice (48 hours or less).
Most reservations will receive confirmation within minutes after payment takes place. We recommend contacting our Booking Department for last minute reservations (pick-up within 48 hours).