We stayed @ PARC in a 3-bedroom cottage on the "swim side" for 5 nights over Christmas. We arrived late on Christmas Eve but everything was in order when we arrived at the Guard shack (the Gate Guard had our reservation info and keys in an envelope). Travel time from HNL was maybe 35-40 minutes tops; not bad at all as far as we were concerned.
+ Location: the beach cottage was literally 15 steps from the beach on beautiful and quiet Poka'i Bay.
+ Beach: very well protected with safe swimming and despite being the busy Christmas holiday, the beach was not at all crowded. There was a life guard on duty every day from 10-4 (even Christmas Day) which provided piece of mind. You could rent kayaks, boogie boards, etc. as well...it was a little expensive but we did do that one day. We saw sea turtles and spinner dolphins in the bay every day; in fact, we had spinner dolphins swimming right around our kayak one day…it was awesome. Just to compare: we spent a few hours at the Hale Koa beach on Waikiki before the luau there and it was right then and there that we decided that we made the right choice. The Hale Koa beach wasn’t as nice (rockier!) and way more crowded. We’d take the beaches of Poka'i Bay over Waikiki any day.
+ Security: there is 24/7 security on the property. They were very professional and active. Every time we came through the front gate, the guard checked my ID and our vehicle pass. We felt very safe while we were there.
+ Staff: very friendly and helpful.
+ Inexpensive. Compared to everywhere else; this place was extremely inexpensive. Having a small kitchen with all the essential cooking utensils allowed us to eat one meal in (usually breakfast) which was convenient and a nice cost-savings.
- Ants: like others have mentioned, we did have an ant problem but it was easily remedied - all food stuff, perishable or not, went into the fridge......ant problem - gone.
- Decor: like others have mentioned, its no frills...no pictures on the wall, sparse and not terribly comfortable furnishings, beds were so-so......I'd compare it to a low-budget hotel.
- Housekeeping: non-existent. Other than fresh towels, that was about all we saw of housekeeping. Although disappointing, it wasn't a huge deal for us, we always pick-up after ourselves anyway, with or without housekeeping; but just be prepared for that...if there was one area of improvement that I think they should really focus on; it is the housekeeping.
Summary - you may be surprised I gave PARC a 5 rating based upon the cons but let me explain. We are a budget conscious Family of 6 and not big into the resorts nor do we enjoy vacationing where and with everyone else. PARC provided a very safe/friendly place to stay with an unbelievable value right on a beautiful sandy beach at highly underrated Poka'i Bay (my opinion) without any of the crowds. PARC was exactly what we were looking for making the cons easy to overlook and live with. If you are looking for resort living or any level of pampering, this place is probably not for you and you will likely be disappointed. Our only regret: we weren’t able to stay longer!
- Despite my wife’s iPhone GPS, on our first night we missed our turn…easy enough to do - the road signs are tough to see especially at night. Take the next left turn immediately after you pass the Aloha gas station in Waianae. That gas station was my landmark every day. If you make it to McDonalds, you’ve gone too far.
- Don’t spend your money on the tours to go see dolphins. They spinner dolphins come right into the bay (at least while we were there). It was so cool. Others staying there mentioned the snorkeling is also great but we didn’t try it while we were there.
- Check out the local restaurants. Yes, the area looks a little rough but as John Mellencamp sang “Ain’t that America”? Anyway, our encounters with the locals were always pleasant….we tried 3 local restaurants while we were there and enjoyed them all very much…I posted separate reviews for each if interested. I’m convinced that they’ll appreciate your business more than any big chain restaurants in the touristy areas of Hawaii.
- To save windshield time, I’d recommend planning your days around seeing just one area of the island followed by a relaxing day. Our itinerary:
Day 1 – beach
Day 2 – Pearl Harbor/Hale Koa beach & luau
Day 3 – beach
Day 4 – North Shore
Day 5 – Diamond Head / HNL (to the Big Island)
- Also Known As:
- Pililaau Army Recreation Hotel Waianae
- Pililaau Army Recreation Center Hawaii/Oahu