Hawaii Hotels: free advice from those in the know

A few tips to save money on high-end accommodations:
1. Book well in advance—or at the last minute.
2. Stay as long as you can. You can get 25 to 50 percent discounts on condos if you stay a month or more.
3. Opt for garden view, instead of beachfront. You’ll still hear the ocean, and many garden rooms will have flowers and birdsong out the window.
4. If you have friends or relatives you can stand, go in together on a larger condo. Half of a 2 bedroom will be much less than a 1 bedroom.
5. Don’t be afraid to negotiate price and ask about special rates.
6. You can find condos through VRBO, TripAdvisor, Home Away, etc., that are close to luxury resorts, but less expensive. Remember: You can always tour the big resorts, even though you are not a guest (though they frown on outsiders using pool facilities). All beaches are public.
7. Get a place with a kitchen and save money on restaurants, which you can spend on a better room.
The Grand Hyatt near Poipu Beach on the south side of Kauai offers several fine dining choices, including a romantic dinner beside a lagoon.
If you’re spending for high-end luxury, and bringing kids, make sure to check out the resort’s pool set up. Many of the top hotels have water-park-like pools.
The Grand Wailea on Maui has a sprawling pool and gardens, with sculptures and fountains. Many newer hotels, however, don’t spend the dough on grounds.  Some on the north end of Maui, at the backshore of resorts on South Kohala, and at Kapakai Bay on Kauai are like luxury barracks—nicely appointed rooms, but no grounds or common areas. Most resorts on Waikiki are high-rises, with not much in the way of grounds (exceptions include the Hyatt and the venerable Royal Hawaiian, a.k.a., the Pink Lady).
The Grand Hyatt’s pool is Disney-esque, and sits beside a large manmade saltwater lagoon.
More ideas to match your budget to your hotel in the No Worries Hawaii guidebook. Overflowing with traveler tips for each Hawaiian island. Take it with you on your Kindle.