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“Great beach-- cabins are terrible”

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Bellows Air Force Station
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 1 January 2010

We had been to Bellows three times in the past so we thought we knew what we were getting into. We were expecting it be rustic and small but thought we would go stay there for some of our trip because the beach is so incredible (and it really is in our opinion the best beach). We rented a front row (beach front) renovated cabin. I can not believe that they call this renovated, as it has clearly not been done in many years. It was so bad. The stove was rusted out on front, the main window would not lock (they fixed it but we couldn't open it), we had mice (actually saw them) it was distgusting and we did not eat in the cabin. The family on the other unit (duplex) had mice as well. One day we came back to find the door standing open and housekeeping was across the street cleaning another unit (inside the unit) I had to go find her , she made many excuses and kept apologizing because anyone could have walked in and stole our stuff. It is too bad that they have let these units get to this state. Bellows is a wonderful beach and we will continue to go to Bellows and rent gear from them but we will not stay there again. It looks like there are some new units but you can not request them and I would not risk ruining my vacation and ending up in the "renovated "or the cheaper un-renovated units. We moved to the Hale Koa for the last 5 days of our trip as planned and that was wonderful - we will stay there for the entire time next trip.

  • Stayed: December 2009, travelled with family
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4  Thank sb61990
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviews (164)
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157 - 163 of 164 reviews

Reviewed 6 November 2009

ABSOLUTELY the UNFRIENDLIEST reservation staff on the planet. when you call to inquire about availabilities, the answer is NO, in one second, apparently the are all geniuses and do not even need to look in the computer, HOWEVER, just drive in on ANY night and see the number of empty cabins... incredible. I called to get a cabin, I was told 2 were available for 1 night, I called back 3 minutes later, and was told by a different person that they had NOTHING... sure... 2 people wanted a cabin for 1 night in the previous 3 minutes. I have stayed MANY times over the years, and the front desk people just get worse, called about the ants last visit, was told "we will send someone out" 15 minutes later, someone came and told us "sorry, we can't do anything about it"... too funny, I guess the "staff" at the desk does not know that.... DO NOT waste you time, the most uncomfortable beds ANYWHERE, rude staff, "renovated" what a joke.... nice beach...lol if that is all you care about.

  • Stayed: October 2009, travelled as a couple
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8  Thank pjd3559
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 October 2009

Our family of four stayed 5 nights in a renovated front row cabin in August 2009. Pros: price, price, price! incredibly beautiful beach - one of the best on the island, and daily maid service. Cons: no air conditioning, which was fine for the bedroom facing the ocean but a little stuffy in the other bedroom with the smaller window facing the street side. Our cabin was clean and decently maintained. The photo attached to our review shows the view from our deck and living room. We would stay here again.

  • Stayed: August 2009, travelled with family
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2  Thank netta7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 March 2009

I usually do alot of research prior to staying anywhere on vacation. When I researched Bellows I knew that I had chosen the unrenovated portion of the cabins but I did not realize how archaic (spelling) it really was! We traveled with our married friends and were given a cabin that was singular, not attatched to any other cabins. These cabins are not represented in the photographs on Bellows website. The "room" that our friends were to stay in had an accordian style door to close to give them privacy....when it was closed there was a big tear on one end thus absolutely no privacy. We all just sort of laughed at that.

The electrical set up was ooooold and we couldn't use some outlets for fear of starting an electrical fire! When we plugged things in it would spark...so I started staying away from any plugs that had burnt marks on them.

I did not know...honest to God....how windy this side of the island is! Now this is nothing Bellows could have fixed HOWEVER the windows dont shield you from all this wind so our drapes were constantly blowing out and allowing cool wind in. I do have to say that we never really got cold but there is always this coolness about the cabin that makes it just not comfortable. We arrived in the evening and there is absolutely no way to get any extra blankets or towels if needed.

The staff at Bellows is absolutely wonderful...the shopette has everything you need....the laundry area is clean and has plenty of washing machines....we loved doing our laundry while watching the ocean! The surrounding areas and the beach on Bellows were picture perfect!!! We have lovely photographs of the beach. I had heard that you cannot swim in this beach during the winter as there are man o war out there!

the drive from Bellows to anywhere is not bad...very good location too. Just wish our cabin had been more of what was described on the website.

  • Stayed: February 2009, travelled as a couple
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6  Thank nursebecky2006
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 December 2008

Great military lodging! Very secluded and well kept. This was the first time I had ever stayed there and was immediately impressed. Our initial reservation was for 2 days only, but when we checked in, we inquired about extending and were able extend to 8 days without issue. There is plenty of support there from MWR. They have a ticket office where you can get discounted tickets for all sorts of events around Oahu. We saved about $30 on luau tickets. We were also able to rent kayaks and surfboards. We stayed in a renovated cabin for $80/night. Full kitchen with pots/pans/etc. Cabins have no air conditioning, but we didn't need it. Wonderful breeze coming through was perfect.
The only downside was the maintenance. I reported our phone being dead for 3 days and no one was sent out to fix it. Ultimately, the stay was great and I'll definitely be looking at Bellows next time we head to Oahu.

  • Stayed: November 2008, travelled as a couple
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17  Thank ChadGeorge
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 December 2008

I had been to Oahu 3 times and have always stayed at the Hale Koa on Waikiki. I had heard about Bellows but had never been over there to check it out. What little I did read (reviews here) talked about bugs in paradise...

My husband and I, along with our 5 year old son, had an upcoming trip booked to Oahu as a military retirement trip for my husband. We were scheduled to stay the full week at the Hale Koa.

My mom, who is in Chicago, asked to come along with us..... partly to help babysit our son so we could have some time alone.

I didn't want to increase our budget by having to have 2 rooms at the Hale Koa, so I started to look into alternatives on the bases (such as Navy Inn, Schofield Inn). SInce this was peak PCS time for military, nothing was available.

By sheer luck I was able to grab the last 3 nights at Bellows. I was really worried my mom would not like it there. She is 64 and very picky. She wasn't sure she would enjoy being there. I promised her that if she had a problem, we would move after the first night.

We spent 4 wonderful nights at the Hale Koa, then went over to Bellows for our last 3. We were in a renovated back row cabin. It was nice, but basic. The beach itself was incredibly beautiful. The units have 2 bedrooms (1 queen and 2 twins). There is also a full kitchen. There was one bathroom and a stand up shower.

The only downsides were this:

We were hot during the day! (we were there in July). No air conditioning, but fans. We left the doors open to get a breeze during the day. Once it got dark, we did notice more bugs trying to get it and had to shut our doors! We made sure we kept our food sealed up or in the fridge.

We picked up food at Bellows at the small shoppette and then decided to go to Kaneohi Base to stock up more. We had a great time cooking out and enjoying how peaceful it was there.

Honestly, I can't wait to go back! I probably would not do it in the hotter summer months, but it is so hard to get a cabin there! They book up 6 months in advance..

Being on the windward side is so much nicer that Waikiki. If you are staying on Oahu for a week, I would recommend 4 nights at the Hale Koa, and then at least 3 nights at Bellows...

  • Stayed: July 2008, travelled with family
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15  Thank Lvtolvlife
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 February 2007

Wow - I thought Bellows was not shown as a location on TripAdvisor, so I never did a review. Then I came across this - sorry it took me so long to find it, I would have posted sooner.

We were there last year, March 2006. After 5 days at Hale Koa, we moved to Bellows for 3 nights. We did get a renovated back row cabin, so I can't speak about the whole "non-renovated" issue. Our cabin was fairly nice, but it is a cabin and not a 5-star resort. Having stayed on military bases and recreation areas around the world, we knew it would not be a 5-star, so maybe we did not have such high expectations. But - we were pleasantly surprised to find a clean and inviting cabin, with a wide-open view of the most FABULOUS beach I have ever seen!

Pros - our cabin had updated kitchen and furniture, tile floors, direct view of ocean (even though it was back row), inexpensive spot to eat at Bellows and just offsite in the quaint little town of Wiamanalo. We rented boogie boards and did the snorkeling class - LOVED all the water activities!! We were there for the beach - the AMAZING beach, but the cabin was really just fine. Price was right, I think $65 a night!

Cons - check out was too early since our flight was that night, and they were not willing to budge on the time. I would have liked more towels since we were in and out of the shower quite a bit after the beach. And - no washer/dryer in the cabin. We had to call way ahead and keep trying to get the 3 nights, but that did not bug me. (Try finding a place to stay on a base when your spouse gets back to the US after a year in Iraq!)

I recommend this place, and we hope to go back!

Stayed: March 2006
21  Thank Reet
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Bellows Air Force Station

Address: 220 Tinker Rd, Hotel is for Military personnel ONLY, Waimanalo, Oahu, HI 96795-1903
Region: United States > Hawaii > Oahu > Waimanalo
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 3 Speciality Lodging in Waimanalo
Price Range: $9 - $43 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 188
Also Known As:
Bellows Air Force Station Hotel Waimanalo
Bellows Air Force Station Waimanalo, Hawaii

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