HONOLULU -- The Ilima Hotel in the heart of Waikiki may need a
paint job, but there are good reasons why 80% of its guests are
repeat visitors, according to reservations supervisor Karen Behnke.
"Off-the-beach" rates, 99 spacious rooms and a secluded
placement in the center of Waikiki are some of the elements that
attract a business/corporate market that accounts for 40% of
And that ratio is steadily growing. "Once people find us, they
always come back," Behnke said.
The hotel generally keeps room rates under the allowed
government per diem, which Behnke said helped account for the
recent visits of representatives from NASA and the U.S. Census
There's a full kitchen in every unit, a tour desk in the lobby
and a number of freebies: local phone calls, parking and high-speed
Internet access on the top six floors.
For those who bring their families, free HBO, the Disney Channel
and Nintendo in each room make up for the tiny pool and fitness
The staff is quick to offer tips to guests, such as where to
find the closest beach (Royal Hawaiian beach, about two blocks
away), the nearest grocery (a couple of doors down), inexpensive
places to eat and shop (International Marketplace and the shell and
muumuu-stocked pushcarts along Duke's Lane).
Everything is within walking distance of the hotel's Nohonani
Rates are higher on the upper floors, and only rooms on the
mountain side have a view.
Studios are spacious for one person, but a family of four could
squeeze into the 530 square feet. One- and two-bedroom units also
Behnke calls the property "condo-style living with hotel
services," referring to its fully stocked kitchen with stove, oven
and microwave, complemented by daily maid service and a 24-hour
Opened in 1968, the Ilima was refurbished in 2001 with new
bathrooms, carpeting, bedspreads and drapes.
The hotel plans to renovate its 12-person meetings room. By the
end of the year, one large room will accommodate 50 to 75 people
and will be divisible into three smaller rooms.
Superior (sixth to ninth floors) studios run $129, single, and
$139, double, in low season (April to December). Three-bedroom
penthouse units that sleep six cost $355 during low season.
Travel agent rates are available at $69, single, and $74,
double, through December for a studio. The hotel pays agents 15%
For more information, call (800) 801-9366 or visit www.ilima.com.
To contact reporter Katherine Nichols, send e-mail to [email protected].