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Guide to Condotels & Short-term Rental Condos in Waikiki (Honolulu)

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Updated September 2019 — This is THE Ultimate Guide to ‘short-term vacation rental condos’ in Honolulu.

— If you quickly want to check which Waikiki buildings allow short-term renting, then scroll down half the page and see the entire list.

— If you are curious to learn about short-term rental requirements, unit classification, NUCs, taxes, financing, and property management, then read on.

‘Short-term rentals’ are residential dwelling units that allow rental terms shorter than 30-consecutive days per tenant. The City & County of Honolulu refers to short-term rentals as ‘TVUs’ or ‘Transient Vacation Units,’ where the owner is not residing as a host in the same dwelling. This differentiates TVUs from B&Bs where the owner/host resides in the same dwelling. Both TVUs and B&Bs are subject to strict rules and fines.

Renting shorter than 30-consecutive days per tenant is also referred to as ‘Short-Term Renting’ or ‘STR.’

See related article:  Bill 89 Honolulu – New Short-Term Rental Rules Oahu

Our guide focuses on TVUs, (non-hosted) short-term rental condos. Because these condos can rent as frequently as daily, just like a hotel, we refer to them as ‘condo-hotels,’ or short ‘condotels.’

Condotels are hugely popular:

  • Investors buy them because of the maximum rental income potential.
  • 2nd home buyers buy them because of the maximum rental flexibility that allows them to generate rental income and utilize them for personal enjoyment between bookings.

See related article:  Waikiki’s Condotel Reality – Cash flow vs Lifestyle

The vast majority of condotels are in Waikiki, but most Waikiki condos are not condotels.
This guide attempts to clarify what you need to know about short-term renting. If we missed something, let us know by leaving a comment below.

There was no single source to find this information prior to 2015 when we originally published this guide. Since then the guide has become an important resource for thousands of buyers and fellow realtors.

If you are ready to buy, browse Condotels for sale. Or, check all Waikiki condos and all Honolulu condos for sale.

We don’t just write useful articles. We are expert realtors and we are ready to assist. Contact us today. We are here to help, ready when you are.

Requirements For Short-Term Renting

For short-term renting, the property must meet one of the following three requirements:

1)  The underlying zoning must be ‘resort mixed use’ (or ‘resort’ if outside of Waikiki), and the HOA/building house rules do not restrict short-term vacation renting.

 2)  The individual property must have a NUC (Non-confirming Use Certificate). There are only 808 NUCs. The city stopped issuing NUCs in Sept. 1990)

 3)  The condo building is grandfathered as a non-conforming hotel, and is exempt from the NUC requirement.

For a condo building to be grandfathered as a non-conforming hotel today, it will need to have maintained an ongoing 24-hour hotel desk operation and must meet today’s LUO’s (Land Use Ordinance) definition of a hotel, which reads as follows:

“ ’Hotel’ means a building containing lodging and/or dwelling units offering transient accommodations, and a lobby, clerk’s desk or counter with 24-hour clerk service, and facilities for registration and keeping of records relating to hotel guests.”

However, for a condo building to have been grandfathered as a non-confirming hotel and to be exempt from the NUC requirement in 1989, the building must have also met the old LUO’s definition of a hotel. That definition required a building unit mix with at least 50% lodging units without full kitchens.

Note:   This could be changing in the future as some attorneys might try arguing that ‘grandfathered non-conforming hotel use status’ should require meeting merely today’s hotel definition. –  Stay tuned.

Several buildings, e.g. Waikiki Banyan and Waikiki Sunset have been operating as a hotel for decades easily meeting today’s LUO’s hotel definition. But they simply did not meet the old definition at the time Waikiki was rezoned. Now you know why they were not grandfathered as a non-conforming hotel and have not been exempt from the NUC requirement in 1989.

Other buildings, e.g. Palms At Waikiki, Aloha Surf, Hawaiian Monarch, and the Ala Moana Hotel Condo met the old LUO’s definition and still meet today’s definition. These buildings are exempt from the NUC requirement.

Yet other buildings, e.g. Waikiki Lanais and Waikiki Skytower never met neither the old nor the new LUO’s hotel definition. Both buildings never were exempt from the NUC requirement. Several Waikiki Lanais’ units indeed had NUCs, but all have long expired because the unit owners failed to renew their NUCs. Some other Waikiki Lanais’ owners are still trying to comprehend why their unit never was allowed to operate as a legal short-term rental. Hence the Waikiki Lanais’ AOAO hired a high powered attorney in Summer 2019 for an alleged $40K to help them sort it out. – Stay tuned.

See related article:  The Risks of Short-Term Vacation Renting

  • Effective October 2020, there is a 4th path to legal short-term renting without having to meet one of the above mentioned three requirements. NEW limited provisions under Bill 89/CO 19-18 apply only to B&Bs, and not to TVUs. Check the details of the application and approval process with updates in our separate article Bill 89 Honolulu – New Short-Term Rental Rules Oahu – Stay tuned.

Flowchart – Short-Term Renting is allowed if..

Flowchart - Short-Term Renting is allowed if..

The Four Paths to Legal Short-Term Renting

* Dedication For Residential Use

** Bill 89/CO 19-18

Unit Classification (for property tax purposes)

For the purpose of property tax collection, each individual condo is classified either as ‘Residential’ or ‘Hotel & Resort.’

As of 2017, all condos within the ‘resort mixed use’ zone (‘resort’ if not in Waikiki), are automatically classified as ‘Hotel & Resort’ and taxed at the higher ‘Hotel & Resort’ property tax rate, whether you rent your unit as a TVU or not.

Except, you may petition and ‘dedicate your condo for residential use.’ The residential dedication will reduce the ‘Hotel & Resort’ property tax rate to the lower ‘Residential’ or ‘Residential A’ property tax rate. But, a condo with a residential dedication will no longer be allowed to rent as a TVU.

The ‘Petition to Dedicate Property for Residential Use’ must be filed by September 1st of a given year. If granted, the dedication lasts for 5 years. The new property assessment notice is being mailed to owners in mid-December and serves as the approval/disapproval notice of the residential dedication. If approved, the lower ‘Residential’ or ‘Residential A’ property tax rate will take effect on July 1st of the following year, the start of the next fiscal year.

See related article:  Dedicating Your Condotel For Residential Use

The ‘dedication for residential use’ can be broken. However, that will trigger back taxes and penalty. In doubt, check with the Honolulu’s Real Property Assessment Division (808) 768-3799.

Before assuming that all condos within the ‘resort mixed use’ zone (‘resort’ if not in Waikiki) are allowed to rent as a TVU, always confirm both:

  • The individual condo unit has not been ‘dedicated for residential use,’ and
  • The HOA/building house rules don’t restrict short-term renting.

According to the Revised Ordinances of Honolulu Section 8.7.1(h), a unit with a valid NUC still remains classified based on the underlying zoning. In other words, a Waikiki condo on a parcel zoned ‘Apartment’ with a valid NUC maintains the ‘Residential’ classification and is taxed at the lower ‘Residential’ or ‘Residential A’ property tax rate.

That’s why NUC units are selling like hotcakes! NUC units allow legal short-term renting for maximum cash flow potential without being taxed at the significantly higher ‘Hotel & Resort’ property tax rate.

See related article:  Guide To Honolulu Property Taxes

Taxes (Honolulu County)

• Property Taxes

A unit classified as ‘Hotel & Resort’ is taxed at 1.39% of the assessed value, whereas a unit classified as ‘Residential’ is taxed at either:

1) The ‘Residential’ tax rate of 0.35% of the assessed value. This rate only applies to:

  • a) residential properties where the owner claims a homeowner’s exemption for the owner’s primary residence, or
  • b) residential properties where the owner cannot claim the home exemption (the property is not the owner’s primary residence) and the assessed value is less than $1,000,000.

2) The “Residential A” tax rate of 0.45% of the assessed value up to $1,000,000, and 1.05% of the assessed value at $1,000,000 and above. This two-tier rate only applies to residential properties where the owner cannot claim the home exemption (the property is not the owner’s primary residence) and the assessed value is $1,000,000 and above.

On October 1st of a given year, the tax office determines the unit’s classification, which applies to the following fiscal year.

Example:  October 1st, 2019 the classification is determined for the fiscal year 2020, effective July 1st, 2020 – June 30th, 2021.

• Rental Income Taxes

All short-term rental income is subject to the following taxes:

1) GET – General Excise Tax – of 4.5% (Applies to all rental income).
2) TAT – Transient Accommodation Tax – of 10.25% in addition to the GET. (Applies to all rental income from rental terms shorter than 180 days).

There is more to it.  Filing and paying GET & TAT might seem overwhelming at first, but it’s super easy if you follow our tutorial:  GET & TAT In Hawaii – The Easiest Way To File And Pay

Late filing or under-reporting rental income can trigger stiff fines. Don’t take chances. We recommend to always file and pay on time.

NUCs – Non-conforming Use Certificates

A ‘NUC’ is a certificate that allows short-term renting for an individual property located outside the ‘resort mixed use’ or ‘resort’ zone. The DPP – Department of Planning & Permitting in Honolulu issued NUCs up until September 1990. No new NUCs have been issued since.

Existing NUCs stay with the property and are subject to ongoing renewal with the DPP Code Compliance Branch by September 30 of every even-numbered calendar year. The cost to renew is $400 (2018) for a two-year renewal. Once a NUC expires without timely renewal it is lost for good.

As of this writing, there are 808 current NUCs, 770 of them have been issued for TVUs (Transient Vacation Units). 651 of these are scattered throughout a dozen residential Waikiki condo buildings and 119 of them are located outside of Waikiki.

38 NUCs have been issued for hosted B&Bs (Bed & Breakfast homes). All of these are outside of Waikiki, mainly on Oahu’s North Shore, on the Windward side, and a few along the Leeward coast.

Financing

Since the 2009 financial crisis, most banks will not lend on condos that lack a full kitchen (aka lodging units), though there are a few exceptions, e.g. Finance Factors, which requires as much as 50% cash (50% LTV max) and only started lending again on lodging units as of 2017.

The definition of a ‘full kitchen’ varies a bit among mortgage lenders. They typically require a full size refrigerator, a sink, a cooking range, or a 4-burner cooktop with a separate oven instead of the range. Some lenders might lend with just a 2-burner built-in cooktop and others may require a freezer with its own door.

Condotels with full kitchen typically require a ‘condotel portfolio loan’ with 30% minimum cash down payment (70% LTV max), unless you buy as an owner-occupant. ‘Portfolio loan’ means that the lender keeps the loan in house. Conventional Fannie Mae/Freddy Mac financing typically is not available for condotels.

Portfolio loan interest rates might be slightly higher by ~3/8th percent compared to a regular conventional loan.

Just because you have been golfing buddy with the president of your favorite bank for the last 50 years does not mean your bank will finance a condotel, regardless if they claim otherwise. We have seen many lenders over-promise and under-deliver when it comes to financing condotels.

Only a handful of local Hawaii mortgage lenders offer condotel financing. They frequently change their appetite based on their level of exposure in the condotel market in comparison to their total loan volume in any given year.

Most large mainland banks are not willing to lend on condotels although some less traditional lenders have done so on rare occasions, e.g. Guaranteed Rate or First Foundation.

We recommend that you get your financing lined up before your purchase. Contact us when you are ready and we’ll get you connected with the condotel lenders that can finance your purchase at that time.

Property Management

• Hotel Desk Operator

Some, but not all condotel buildings have an established hotel desk operator that is well equipped to manage your condotel unit.

Pros:  Strong marketing presence, brand recognition, and potentially some additional guest services offered through the hotel desk. An effective onsite hotel desk operator could potentially charge a higher daily rental rate and maximize room occupancy. Consistent booking performance can be achieved with strength in numbers. In some buildings, the hotel desk operator exerts great control over other 3rd party property managers, stifling the competition.

A hotel desk operator is often best equipped to address guest concerns quickly and manage onsite emergencies, including moving a guest into another room if needed.

A hotel desk operator might offer the most flexibility with your personal use requirements. This can be an important benefit to consider if your travels/personal use tends to be spontaneous. Imagine you decide on a whim to vacation in your condotel. The hotel operator might be able to block your room for your personal use and possibly move existing future bookings to another comparable room. If moving the existing future booking is not practical, the hotel operator might be able to offer you a comparable room at a customary reduced owner rate.

Cons:  Typically a hotel desk operator charges higher management fees, sometimes ~50% or more of the gross rental income. A hotel front desk operator might require your unit to match a consistent minimum maintenance quality standard, including occasional furniture upgrades or remodeling work at the owner’s expense.

A hotel desk operator’s management contract might also include longer lock-in periods. An owner may not be able to terminate a management contract without giving extended notice.

• 3rd Party Property Management Agency

Pros:  A 3rd party property manager may charge a lower management fee of ~15% – 25% and tends to be more flexible on the unit’s quality standards possibly with fewer requirements.

Cons:  A 3rd party property manager’s marketing efforts may not have the same reach and might result in less gross rental revenue.

A 3rd party property manager may not have the same economy of scale and may not have the critical mass of available inventory to manage as efficiently. Your booking calendar may be less flexible to satisfy your desire for personal use. Your unit might already be booked several months in advance.

Some buildings have restrictions or additional requirements for 3rd party property managers to operate. This could diminish the 3rd party property manager’s effectiveness and possibly limit your net rental return.

Note:   It’s not always a binary black or white decision on whether a hotel operator or a 3rd party property manager offers a superior service with better results for you as the owner. Each unit, building, and property management option should be analyzed and assessed based on your personal needs.

• Owner/Self Managing

You may self-manage your rental property without using a licensed property manager (subject to the condo’s governing documents). However, if you live off-island, Hawaii law requires that you have an on-island agent, a caretaker, or a custodian serving as a ‘local contact’ on your behalf in case of an emergency, natural disaster, or to handle any other property and tenant issues.

Your ‘on-island local contact’ does not have to be a licensed real estate professional, as long as your on-island local contact manages only your real estate activities, e.g. renting and offering to rent, rather than managing for multiple property owners.

Some more information for rental property owners is here. You should also be familiar with Hawaii’s Landlord-Tenant Code. Whatever you do, we recommend following the rules.

Also Good To Know

1) As a rule of thumb, Waikiki’s ‘resort mixed use’ district predominantly runs between oceanside Kuhio Ave and the ocean, as well as along the oceanside of Ala Moana Blvd. You can check a detailed map here.

2) Most condotels do not have a dedicated parking stall. However, typically there will be parking available for rent within the building or nearby.

3) Most condotel buildings do not allow individual washers and dryers. Instead, condotel buildings typically include a community laundry. Some existing washers and dryers within a condotel may have been installed without the AOAO’s approval and or a building permit. Illegally installed washers and dryers could stress the existing plumbing and electrical systems beyond capacity and could be a liability. Verify if the existing washer and dryer are legal and approved.

4) Whenever rental rules contradict between the underlying zoning laws and the condo documents, the more restrictive rules always prevail. – No exception.

  • a) A few condo buildings, e.g. Foster Tower, Crescent Park, and Scandia Towers are on parcels zoned ‘resort mixed use’ but their respective house rules restrict rental terms to 30 days or more.The more restrictive condo rental rules prevail.
  • b) A few condo buildings, e.g. Waikiki Lanais and Waikiki Skytower, as mentioned above, are on parcels zoned ‘apartment’ but the AOAO has been tolerating short-term rental activity for decades in the past. Contrary to popular misinformation, – the more restrictive zoning rules prevail.
  • c) Sometimes buildings change their house rules, e.g. 2465 Kuhio At Waikiki. The building eliminated short-term rental restrictions from their condominium documents in 2019 and is now allowing TVUs consistent with the underlying ‘resort mixed use’ zoning.

5) A few condotel buildings, e.g. the Ala Moana Hotel Condo restrict owners to occupy their condotel as a full-time occupant and impose maximum time limits on long-term residential occupancy. Remember that the vast majority of Ala Moana Hotel Condo units are tiny in size and were designed as lodging units lacking full kitchens. With long-term occupancy limits, owners may not claim a ‘Homeowner Exemption.’

6) Many condotel buildings do not allow pets. – Verify.


The Ultimate List Of Legal Waikiki Condotels

This is what you are looking for. Following is a comprehensive list of all condos in Waikiki that allow short-term vacation rentals.

The data is believed to be reliable but not guaranteed. Use at your own risk. Zoning and building house rules can and do change.
Please let us know if you find any discrepancies we might have missed. We are grateful and will humbly update. With your kind consideration, this guide will stay current and help many more buyers too!  ~ Mahalo for your input.

The list is divided into five categories, with buildings organized alphabetically:

A)  Parcels zoned ‘Resort Mixed Use’ – with hotel operation.  = Short-term renting allowed.

B)  Parcels zoned ‘Resort Mixed Use’ – no hotel operation.  = Short-term renting allowed.

C)  Parcels zoned ‘Apartment’ – with hotel operation.  Grandfathered as a non-conforming hotel and exempt from NUC requirement.  = Short-term renting allowed.

D)  Parcels zoned ‘Apartment’ – with hotel operation. But not grandfathered as a non-conforming hotel.  = The individual unit must have a NUC, otherwise no short-term renting.

E)  Parcels zoned ‘Apartment’ – no hotel operation.  = The individual unit must have a NUC, otherwise no short-term renting.


A)  Parcels zoned ‘Resort Mixed Use’ – with hotel operation.  = Short-term renting allowed.

Bamboo

Bamboo

Bamboo

Size: Studio – 1BR, ~200 to 450 sq ft.  Full kitchen: Only 8 x 1BR.
Hotel Operator: Aqua Bamboo Waikiki Hotel (Phone: 808-922-7777).
Tenure: Fee simple.

Note:  8 x 1BR units with full kitchen. There are 5 other 1BR without full kitchen.

Ilikai Apartments

Ilikai Apartments

Ilikai Apartments

Size: Studio – 2BR, 500 to 1,000 sq ft.  Full Kitchen: Yes.
Hotel Operator: Aqua Ilikai Hotel & Luxury Suites (Phone: 808-954-7417).
Tenure: Fee simple.

Note:  The 500 sq ft units were originally all 1BR, but most owners have removed the shoji doors to create a large studio with improved wider views.

One of only three condos in Waikiki with direct beach access without having to cross a busy street. Several owners are marketing their units for short-term renting at www.waikikibeachrentals.com

Luana Waikiki

Luana Waikiki

Luana Waikiki

Size: Studio – 1BR, ~300 to 680+ sq ft.  Full Kitchen: Only 1BR.
Hotel Operator: Luana Waikiki Hotel (Phone: 808-955-6000).
Tenure: Fee simple.

Note:  2 types of studios – ‘Studio Kitchenette’ with stove burner and microwave and the ‘Hotel Room’ without stove and microwave.

Pacific Monarch

Pacific Monarch

Pacific Monarch

Size: Studio – 1BR, ~350 to 450 sq ft.  Full Kitchen: Only 1BR.
Hotel Operator: Aqua Pacific Monarch Hotel (Phone: 808-923-9805).
Tenure: Fee simple with a few leasehold (expiry: 2044).

Note:  Rooftop pool with spectacular ocean views.

Regency on Beachwalk

Regency on Beachwalk

Regency on Beachwalk

Size: 1BR – 2BR, ~500 to 700 sq ft.  Full Kitchen: Yes.
Hotel Operator: Regency on Beachwalk by Outrigger (Phone: 808-922-3871).
Tenure: Fee simple.

Note:  A stone’s throw away from the Trump Tower.

Ritz-Carlton Waikiki

Ritz-Carlton Waikiki Seen From The Air at Waikiki Beach

Ritz-Carlton Waikiki

Size: Studio – 3BR, ~500sqf to 3,000+ sq ft.  Full Kitchen: Yes.
Tenure: Fee simple.

Note:  Tower 1 completed in 2016 and Tower 2 was completed in 2017. Besides Ritz-Carlton’s hotel operation, only a few select 3rd party rental agencies are allowed to manage TVUs.  No deeded parking stalls, but owners enjoy complimentary parking while staying in their unit.

Trump Tower Waikiki

Trump Tower Waikiki

Trump Tower Waikiki

Size: Studio – 3BR, ~350 to 3,000 sq ft.  Full Kitchen: Yes.
Hotel Operator: Trump International Hotel Waikiki Beach Walk (Phone: 808-683-7777).
Tenure: Fee simple.

Note:  Besides Trump’s hotel operation, only a few select 3rd party rental agencies are allowed to manage TVUs.  No deeded parking stalls, but owners enjoy complimentary parking while staying in their unit.

Waikiki Beach Tower

Waikiki Beach Tower

Waikiki Beach Tower

Size: 2BR, ~1,000 to 1,100 sq ft.  Full Kitchen: Yes.
Hotel Operator: Aston Waikiki Beach Tower (Phone: 808-926-6400).
Tenure: Mixed fee simple and leasehold (expiry year 2039).

Note:  Aston offers 14 days of complimentary cleaning service per year for units in their rental program. Several units – especially ‘-02’ and ‘-03’ units on higher floors – offer outstanding ocean and Diamond Head views.

Waikiki Grand Hotel

Waikiki Grand Hotel

Waikiki Grand Hotel

Size: ~200 to 470 sq ft (studios).  Full Kitchen: Some units.
Hotel Operator: Castle Resorts at the Waikiki Grand Hotel (Phone: 808-923-1814).
Tenure: Fee simple with a few leasehold (expiry year 2043).

Note:  Very few units come with a parking stall. Very few 1BR.

Waikiki Shore

Waikiki Shore

Waikiki Shore

Size: Studio – 2BR, ~350 to 1,200 sq ft.  Full Kitchen: Yes.
Hotel Operators: Castle (808-952-4500), Park (808-954-7426) & Outrigger (808-922-3871).
Tenure: Fee simple.

Note:  One of only three condos in Waikiki with direct beach access without having to cross a busy street. The only condo building right on the white sandy beach in Waikiki. There are three hotel operators in the building.  Pet friendly (verify).

B)  Parcels zoned ‘Resort Mixed Use’ – no hotel operation.  = Short-term renting allowed.

2465 Kuhio At Waikiki

2465 Kuhio At Waikiki

2465 Kuhio At Waikiki

Size: 2BR, 876 to 989 sq ft. plus big lanais.  Full Kitchen: Yes.
Tenure: Fee simple.

Updated August 2019:  Latest addition to the list. The AOAO just changed their condo docs to no longer restrict short-term renting.

Cabana at Waikiki

Cabana at Waikiki

Cabana at Waikiki

Size: 1BR, ~365 sq ft.  Full Kitchen: Yes.
Tenure: Fee simple.

Note:  Pet friendly (verify). Only three of the units come with parking. There is one studio on the 1st floor without a full kitchen.

Ilikai Marina

Ilikai Marina

Ilikai Marina

Size: Studio – 1BR, ~420 to 650 sq ft.  Full Kitchen: Yes.
Tenure: Fee simple.

Note:  One of only three condos in Waikiki with direct beach access without having to cross a busy street.

Imperial Hawaii Resort

Imperial Hawaii Resort

Imperial Hawaii Resort

Size: Studio – 3BR, ~320 to 3,300 sq ft.  Full Kitchen: Yes.
Tenure: Leasehold (expiry: 2052).

Note:  Just 8 units total. All other units in the building are time-share units managed by the Imperial.

Kalakauan

Kalakauan Condo in Waikiki - Aerial Photo

Kalakauan

Size: 1BR, ~430 sq ft.  Full Kitchen: Yes.
Tenure: Fee simple with a few leasehold (expiry: 2035).

Note:  The  house rules reportedly state that renting must be in accordance with the zoning. About 30% of the units come with one parking stall.

Kuhio Village

Kuhio Village

Kuhio Village

Size: Studio – 1BR, ~200 to 500 sq ft.  Full Kitchen: No.
Tenure: Mixed fee simple and leasehold (expiry year 2033).

Note:  Two buildings. ‘Tower 1’ (2463 Kuhio Ave) is fee simple and ‘Tower 2’ (2450 Prince Edward St) is leasehold.  Pet friendly (verify).

Marine Surf Waikiki

Marine Surf Waikiki

Marine Surf Waikiki

Size: Studio, ~392 sq ft.  Full Kitchen: Yes.
Tenure: Fee simple.

Note:  All units come with one parking stall.

Royal Aloha

Royal Aloha Waikiki Condo - Aerial Photo

Royal Aloha

Size: 1BR – 2BR, ~500 to ~670 sq ft.  Full Kitchen: Yes.
Tenure: Leasehold (expiry year 2041).
Note:  About 30% of the units come with one parking stall. Community laundry on every floor.

Seashore

Seashore

Seashore

Size: Studio, ~392 sq ft.  Full Kitchen: Most units.
Tenure: Fee simple with a few leasehold (expiry: 2034).

Tradewinds Plaza

Tradewinds Plaza

Tradewinds Plaza

Size: Studio, ~392 sq ft.  Full Kitchen: Yes.
Tenure: Fee simple with a few leasehold (expiry: 2032).

Note:  Many units come with one parking stall.

C)  Parcels zoned ‘Apartment’ – with hotel operation. Grandfathered as a non-conforming hotel and exempt from NUC requirement.  = Short-term renting allowed.

Aloha Surf Hotel

Aloha Surf Hotel

Aloha Surf Hotel

Size: Studios, ~180 to 390 sq ft.  Full Kitchen: No.
Hotel Operator: Aqua Aloha Surf Waikiki Hotel (Phone: 808-954-7410).
Tenure: Fee simple.

Note:  Fun open-air lobby.

Hawaiian Monarch

Hawaiian Monarch

Hawaiian Monarch

Size: Studio – 1BR, ~200 to 570+ sq ft.  Full Kitchen: Only 1BR.
Tenure: Mix of fee simple and leasehold (expiry year 2054).

Note:  The ‘Hawaiian Monarch Hotel’ has 50 hotel rooms, all owned by Roberts Hawaii with an office on the 2nd floor. They do not manage individually owned units. Despite the hotel operation’s self-imposed restrictions – not offering the hotel services to individual owners – the building is exempt from the NUC requirement, and owners are allowed to rent their units as TVUs.

Island Colony

Island Colony

Island Colony

Size: Studio – 1BR, ~280 – 570 sq ft.  Full Kitchen: Some studios, all 1BR.
Hotel Operator: Aqua Skyline at Island Colony (Phone: 808-954-7411).
Tenure: Fee simple with a few leasehold (expiry: 2044).

Note:  The building Bylaws only allow units managed by the Aqua Skyline hotel operator to be rented as TVUs. Otherwise, 30-day minimum rental terms apply.
There are two types of studios: 1) ‘Studio units’ which allow full kitchens, and 2) ‘Lodging units’ which do not allow full kitchens.

Palms at Waikiki

Palms at Waikiki

Palms at Waikiki

Size: Studio – 1BR, ~220 to 750+ sq ft.  Full Kitchen: Only 1BR.
Hotel Operator: Aqua Palms Waikiki (Phone: 808-954-7424).
Tenure: Fee simple.

Note:  Some units come with a parking stall. The building’s governing documents prohibit owners to claim a Homeowner’s Exemption. An owner may live in their unit full-time but the property will be taxed at the higher ‘Hotel & Resort’ property tax rate.

Royal Garden at Waikiki

Royal Garden at Waikiki

Royal Garden at Waikiki

Size: Studio – 3BR, ~310 to 1,780 sq ft.  Full Kitchen: Only 1 -3BR.
Hotel Operator: Wyndham Vacation Resorts Royal Garden (Phone: (808) 943-0202), only managing the time-share units.
Tenure: Fee simple.

Note:  Mostly studios, with just a few select 1, 2 and 3BR units. 140 units are time-share units managed by Wyndham Vacation Resorts Royal Garden and about 68 units are individually owned condo units.

D)  Parcels zoned ‘Apartment’ – with hotel operation. But not grandfathered as a non-confirming hotel.  = The individual unit must have a NUC, otherwise no short-term renting.

Waikiki Banyan

Waikiki Banyan

Waikiki Banyan

Size: 1BR, ~530 to 600 sq ft.  Full Kitchen: Yes.
Hotel Operator: Aston at Waikiki Banyan (Phone: 808-922-0555).
Tenure: Fee simple with a few leasehold (expiry year 2035).

Update 10.22.2019: The Waikiki Banyan AOAO has obtained a ‘Stipulation to Stay Proceedings’ with the DPP. That means that Waikiki Banyan non-NUC units can continue renting on a short-term basis until the conclusion of the Waikiki Banyan AOAO case that was filed on 8.1.2019. The administrative process including any appeals might take a couple of years to resolve.

Note:  All units come with one unassigned parking stall. Two towers with shared amenities.

Waikiki Sunset

Waikiki Sunset

Waikiki Sunset

Size: 1-2BR, ~530 to 600 sq ft.  Full Kitchen: Yes.
Hotel Operator: Aston Waikiki Sunset (Phone: 808-922-0511).
Tenure: Mixed fee simple and leasehold (expiry year 2036).

Note:  All units come with one unassigned parking stall.

E)  Parcels zoned ‘Apartment’ – no hotel operation.  = The individual unit must have a NUC, otherwise no short-term renting. 

444 Nahua

444 Nahua

444 Nahua

Size: Studio – 1BR, ~430 to 720 sq ft.  Full Kitchen: Yes.
Tenure: Fee simple with a few leasehold (expiry: 2051).
Note:  Every unit comes with 1 parking stall. Some units come with 2 parking stalls! Less than 30 units have a NUC.

Four Paddle

Four Paddle

Four Paddle

Size: Studio – 1BR, 460 to 630 sq ft.  Full Kitchen: Yes.
Tenure: Fee simple.
Comments: All units come with at least 1 parking stall.  Less than 20 units have a NUC.

Royal Kuhio

Royal Kuhio

Royal Kuhio

Size: 1BR – 3BR, ~400 to 2,400 sq ft.  Full Kitchen: Yes.
Tenure: Mainly leasehold (expiry year 2041) with some fee simple.
Note:  All units come with at least 1 parking stall. Some units are time share units and there are a total of 3 time share management companies in the building. Less than 65 units have a NUC.

Waikiki Marina Condominium

Waikiki Marina

Waikiki Marina

Size: Studio, ~360 to 390 sq ft.  Full Kitchen: Yes.
Hotel Operator: The Equus (Phone: 808-949-0061).
Tenure: Mostly fee simple with a few leasehold (expiry 2048).
Note:  Almost every unit has a parking stall.  Less than 60 units have a NUC. There is a hotel operator in the neighboring building, which will manager rentals in the building, but will only do short-term renting if the unit has a NUC.


Other Condos Worth Noting:
Here are a few buildings with only a very small number of NUC units allowed to do short-term renting. Otherwise no short-term renting.

2121 Ala Waionly unit #2406 has a NUC.

Aloha Towersonly unit #601 has a NUC.

Monte Vistaonly unit #1005, #1704 & #1705 has a NUC.

250 Ohuaonly unit #12A has a NUC.

Canal Houseonly unit #2405 has a NUC.

Fairway Villa – only unit #1516 and #2502 have a NUC.


Other condos people are asking about:

Waikiki Lanaisno NUC units (see reference above and here).  = No short-term renting.

Waikiki Skytowerno NUC units.  = No short-term renting.

Waikiki Park Heightsno NUC units.  = No short-term renting.

Inn On the Parkno NUC units.  = No short-term renting.

Diamond Head Beach Hotelno NUC units.  = No short-term renting.

Hawaiian Kingno NUC units.  = No short-term renting.

Niihau Apartments – zoned ‘Resort Mixed Use,’ however, the March 2018 House Rules state: “The minimum rental period is three months for persons occupying under the terms of a rental contract.”  = No short-term renting.

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2 Honolulu “Outsiders”
In Honolulu, outside of Waikiki, there are just 2 condo buildings that allow short-term vacation renting:

Ala Moana Hotel Condo

Ala Moana Hotel Condo

Ala Moana Hotel Condo

Size: Studio -2BR, ~250 to 1,900 sq ft.  Full Kitchen: Only 1 & 2BR.
Hotel Operator: Mantra runs the operation, though the name of the operation is listed as Ala Moana Hotel (808-955-4811), without the Mantra name.
Tenure: Fee simple.
Zoning: “Business Mixed Use” and all units are classified as “Hotel & Resort”.  Grandfathered non-conforming hotel use status and exempt from the NUC requirement.
Note:  Great building. Owners are not allowed to occupy full-time. High maintenance fees.

Executive Centre

Executive Centre

Executive Centre

Size: Studio – 2BR, ~370 to 1,200 sq ft.  Full Kitchen: Most units.
Hotel Operator: Aston at the Executive Centre Hotel Hawaii (Phone: 808-539-3000).
Tenure: Mainly leasehold (expiry: 2053) with some fee simple. Fee is offered on all units.
Zoning: “BMX-4” which is a type of business mixed use zoning that allows for commercial, residential and short-term vacation rentals.
Note:  Predominantly 1BR units. Great rooftop amenities deck. Some units are townhouse style. Located in Honolulu’s Downtown business district.

Update August 2019:  The AOAO is currently rectifying a lack of the required ‘change of use permit’ to be legally operating as a hotel, as it was pointed out to them recently by the DPP.  – Oops. Stay tuned.


Disclaimer:  The information is deemed reliable, but not guaranteed, and should not be relied upon in deciding to purchase or sell. Always verify any and all information before making a decision to purchase or sell. Rules, regulations, tax rates, tax laws, zoning laws, condo governing documents, etc. are subject to change.

We love to hear your suggestions and additions we might have missed. We are grateful and will humbly update. With your kind consideration, this guide will stay current and help many more buyers too! We are here to help and committed to your success.  ~ Mahalo for your input and comments below.

Guide to Condotels & Short-term Rental Condos in Waikiki (Honolulu) was last modified: October 22nd, 2019 by Hawaii Living
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