10 Most Affordable Hawaii Hotels and Resorts

A Hawaiian vacation doesn't need to break the bank. Here's where to stay around the Hawaiian Islands on the cheap.

At first glance, Hawaii hotels seem expensive. For some, that may be reason enough to find a better budget location — but we say take a closer look. Every Hawaiian island offers hidden gems and great bargains, if you know where to look.

Affordable Hawaii hotels do exist, with deals to be had whether you're willing to travel off-season or stay in a hotel that isn't technically beachfront. And a small sacrifice in geography doesn't mean sacrificing amenities, perks and excellent service.

Often, you can save hundreds just by staying within walking distance of the beach, as opposed to just steps from the sand. With a little compromise, you can save big — enough to make a trip back sooner than later. Here are ten of the most affordable Hawaii hotels in Oahu, Maui, Kauai and the Big Island.

Aqua Kauai Beach Resort, Kauai

Aqua Kauai Beach Resort is set on 25 beachfront acresCourtesy Aqua Kauai Beach Resort

We love so much about Aqua Kauai Beach Resort, an affordable hotel on the island's west coast — from its private 25-acre location oceanfront on a caramel-colored beach to the updated, elegant and minimalist rooms.

Best of all, this resort offers one of the longest lists of free activities that we've seen in Hawaii. Included in your stay are a free scuba lesson, poolside hula show, hula lessons, lei making and a sunset ceremony. Rates start around $200 a night for those willing to forgo the ocean views.

Embassy Suites by Hilton Oahu Kapolei

Choosing to stay a bit south of Waikiki's main strip at the Embassy Suites scores you a better deal — and quieter vacation experience — with room rates averaging $225 in the shoulder months, such as May and October.

Every room is a suite, with a partitioned or separate living room space with a sleeper sofa, making it a great value for families. You can count on free breakfast, which includes made-to-order omelets, plus an evening reception with light snacks and drinks. Although this property is not on the beach, the resort offers a free beach shuttle.

Kohea Kai Oceanfront Resort, Maui

The family-friendly, 26-room Kohea Kai Oceanfront Resort on the southwest side of Maui offers an unbeatable deal: rooms with full kitchens with refrigerators for around $300 a night, with a hot breakfast included.

The resort does have ocean views — just note that guests must cross the street to reach the beach proper. We love that Kohea Kai knows you're here to play, letting guests borrow free-of-charge boogie boards, snorkel gear and sandcastle-making equipment.

Grand Naniloa Hotel Hilo by Doubletree, Hawaii’s Big Island

The Grand Naniloa Hotel Hilo by Doubletree offers an onsite watersports center for kayaking, paddle boarding and snorkeling around Hilo BayCourtesy Grand Naniloa Hotel Hilo by Doubletree

Grand Naniloa Hotel Hilo by Doubletree is a one of the more affordable resorts on the Big Island, with room rates averaging as little as $199 in summer. That rate buys you a sleek, modern room with coffee and a microwave, plus free breakfast.

The hotel's beach is more rock than sand, but the amount you'll save allows you to rent a car to explore several local Big Island beaches. Plus, an on-site golf course, fitness room, bicycle rental center and watersports center sweeten the deal.

Ke Iki Beach Bungalows, Oahu

For those looking for an Oahu beachfront stay on the cheap, check out the Ke Iki Bungalows, located on the North Shore and booking for around $200 a night.

No meals are included, but each unit — more of an apartment than a bungalow — comes with a full kitchen. Plus the property offers grills, hammocks and picnic.

Maui Coast Hotel, Maui

Located in the west coast town of Kihei, the Maui Coast Hotel is a steal at around $200 a night. The 265 rooms are clean but underwhelming, however, they offer mini-fridges and microwaves. The location is decent, with the Kamaole Beach Park I just a five-minute walk away.

We like that the low rates keep the property full enough to keep the pool bar a lively scene with a fun crowd. Plus, beach bikes free of charge are a great perk. Those who don't want to explore on two wheels will appreciate the free shuttle to Wailea and Kihei, operating until 10 p.m.

The Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas, Kauai

One of the four pools at The Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas on KauaiCourtesy The Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas

The Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas, found along the north shore, offers rooms for under $300 a night during select times of year. Every room, even the studios, comes with a full-size fridge, small stove, microwave and dishwater, plus an outdoor balcony or patio. There are also grills located around the property and an onsite market that sells fresh fish and marinated meat.

The property's four pools include a children's pool with a slide and a large grotto-style pool. The hotel is perched on a cliff overlooking the ocean, but does not offer direct beach access. (Catch the complimentary shuttle to Hanalei Bay.) On the upside, the hotel has one of the island's best golf courses directly on property.

Lumeria Maui

Stay in Maui's upcountry and you can stretch your dollars for a charming, retreat experience at Lumeria Maui. A room here costs around $315 per night on average, and comes with classes in yoga, meditation, aromatherapy, sound therapy and a host of other wellness areas — making it a great bargain in our book.

Even if you don't partake of any classes, the Zen vibe of the property plus the impeccably clean rooms with classic plantation-style furniture are a steal, as is. Note that this property only welcomes children who can respect the quiet atmosphere.

For those who want to explore, a rental car is recommended, allowing for day trips down to the nearest beach, 4 miles away. However, those seeking sanctuary can skip a car entirely, knowing that farm-to-table meals are served on site and airport pick-ups are included.

Hilton Waikoloa Village, Hawaii’s Big Island

The Hilton Waikoloa Village in Kona features an onsite lagoon ideal for snorkelingCourtesy Hilton Waikoloa Village

The Hilton Waikoloa Village caters to families and active types, with two oceanfront pools with slides and a lazy river, plus an adults-only pool. We love that this affordable resort has an onsite lagoon with a manmade white-sand beach ideal for snorkeling, paddling and playing, regardless of sea conditions.

All this, and the hotel is oceanfront, on a black-sand beach. As for entertainment, this compound offers tennis, luau shows, bicycle rentals and much more. Free breakfast is included in the rates that average around $225 a night.

Hotel Renew, Oahu

In the heart of Waikiki, Hotel Renew delivers 72 clean, modern rooms less than a block from Waikiki Beach, each for around $150-195, depending on season. Free breakfast is included, with a spread that offers smoothies, pastries and eggs.

Wi-Fi is also free to use, as are beach chairs, bamboo mats and boogie boards. This place is a great fit for travelers who won't miss a pool — the hotel hasn't got one — and who really just want a room near the action.