The Hale Koa Hawaii is a hotel and Armed Forces Recreation Center in Honolulu. It provides accommodation for military members and their families. It’s one of four hotels of its kind in the world and is operated by the US Army. These hotels are used exclusively by military members, retirees, DoD civilians, and other guests that are authorized to stay on premises.

The most important thing to know about the Hale Koa Hotel is that it provides affordable accommodations for military members, retirees, and their families in a sought-after vacation destination. It’s located on 72 acres and has several swimming pools, three bars, several restaurants, a fitness center, trails for jogging and walking, parking, and an onsite coffee shop. It’s located on a beach and guests have no more than a five-minute walk to get to the water.

Essentially, it’s an inclusive resort, so guests can stay on premises and enjoy the benefits provided to them. Guests of the hotel either have access to the amenities free of charge or can use their military discount, making the cost of a Hawaiian vacation much more affordable than it would be otherwise.

Obviously, since Hale Koa is a military hotel, it is not available to the public. To be eligible to stay at Hale Koa, you must:

  • Be an active duty member of the Armed Forces (or part of a family group that includes an active duty member)
  • Be a Uniformed Services member, such as a Public Health Service or National Oceanic employee
  • Be a military retiree
  • Be a disabled veteran with specific qualifications
  • Be a surviving spouse or family member of a military member
  • Be a Supporter of the DoD

This is just a general overview of who is eligible to stay at the Hale Koa. If you want to know if you qualify, you can contact the hotel. They’ll also give you information about the ID you’ll need to make your reservation and/or check into the hotel.

For more information on who is eligible to stay at Hale Koa, visit the resort’s FAQ page.

What’s so great about the Hale Koa?

The greatest benefit of staying at the Hale Koa is the cost. It’s no secret vacationing in Hawaii is expensive, but the Hale Koa makes it affordable for military members and others who qualify. Room rates vary from about $95 to $300 per night. The cost for a guest of the resort is based on the location of the room in the resort and the guest’s rank.

There are several different room options available, including standard, moderate, garden and ocean views, and deluxe upgrades that offer more space and comfort but, in general, all of the rooms are nice and provide what you’d need for a comfortable stay, though the standard and moderate rooms are not especially fancy.

hale koa standard room image

Room rates based on rank are divided into four different levels, all of which are much lower than you’d find in most other hotels in Honolulu.

Rooms can be booked up to a year in advance and it’s a good idea to plan ahead for at least six months because the hotel books quickly. In many cases, if the hotel is booked, they can offer a referral to another nearby hotel.

What Features and Amenities are Available at the Hale Koa?

The Hale Koa offers more than just lodging. It’s a vacation resort, so you get a room, as well as convenient and affordable access to a number of features and amenities.

The resort is home to several onsite restaurants and bars offering a wide variety of cuisines and cocktails. There is a buffet on site, as well as fast food, a poolside snack bar that serves Hawaiian shaved ice, a bar and grill, and the Barefoot Bar that offers live music every night. The bar is family-friendly and open to the public, and military members enjoy a 20 percent discount on drinks.

restaurant image

In addition to dining and drinking, the resort also offers entertainment. There’s an onsite comedy show and an onsite magic show, the latter of which is great for families traveling with kids.

magic show image

Additionally, guests of the Hale Koa can enjoy an authentic Hawaiian Luau, which is a favorite of tourists visiting the area and many people return from their vacation feeling as if the event was their favorite part of the trip. The luau features reserved seating, so you’ll need to book in advance, especially if you want covered seating close to the action. Food served at the luau includes Hawaiian cuisine, including pork, fish, fried rice, poi, banana fritters, and more. Adults can enjoy rum punch with their meal.

In addition to the onsite entertainment, guest staying at the Hale Koa can enjoy a variety of other one-time-a-week events, including Friday Night fireworks, hula dancing classes, water aerobics, garden tours, and concerts. There is also an onsite spa offering the usual menu of spa services, including massages, facials, and other treatments.

What Should You Know Before You Go To Hale Koa?

Guests who wish to venture offsite can visit the hotel’s Tour and Travel Desk for help planning outings and assistance booking tours of the local area.

If you’re planning a stay at the Hale Koa, you’ll need to make travel arrangement to and from the airport (there’s no hotel shuttle). A taxi ride from the airport is usually about $40 to $45 for the approximately 30-minute drive. You might want to rent a car if you’re considering spending time offsite or exploring Honolulu, but a rental isn’t necessary because the resort offers so many amenities. Car parking is about $7 per day.

You should also come prepared to show your military ID and/or room card everywhere. Businesses want to be sure they aren’t giving military discounts out to just anyone and because the Hale Koa is a well-known military hotel, there are some unscrupulous people who try to take advantage of the situation. You’ll also need your room card to use the elevators and to enter other areas of the hotel—a good thing for security purposes!

Finally, keep in mind that even though you’ll enjoy a moderate price for a Hawaiian vacation by staying at the Hale Koa, Hawaii is still quite expensive. Even a discounted rate in Hawaii can be a lot more than you’d pay for the same services or items elsewhere. To learn more about Honolulu, check out US News and World Report’s guide for visiting.