By Michael Madrid
Imagine a place specifically designed for military members to experience an affordable, fun, and family-centric vacation in paradise. We know you might be thinking it sounds too good to be true, but the reality is that there are many military resorts. Hawaii, home of the Hale Koa Hotel, is an Armed Forces Recreation Center (AFRC) resort hotel based in Waikiki Beach and owned by the United States Department of Defense. The Hale Koa Hotel is the military resort Hawaii service members deserve. It is the perfect place for military members and their families to create memories they will cherish for the rest of their lives at an affordable price. Not only that, but it also has an exciting story and rich history of helping members of the Defense Community.

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What Makes This Military Resort in Hawaii So Special?

Being stationed in Hawaii is already cool enough, but if you are lucky enough to stay at the Hale Koa Hotel in Hawaii, there is no doubt you will experience an outstanding time. It is the only AFRC to be based on Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Hawaii, and gives you a perfect location to access Oahu's awe-inspiring beaches, shops, and restaurants. In fact, Hale Koa is so close to the beach that you can walk from your private room to the sand within minutes. The Hale Koa Hotel is a full-service resort that readily competes with nearby civilian hotels. The beautiful pool complex consists of two big pools, which were recently renovated in 2019. The main pool includes a water slide, a toy pirate ship, fountains, and other kid-friendly amenities. The adults-only pool is encompassed by palm trees and placed in a tranquil garden setting. If you plan on hitting the beach and need supplies, the beachfront rental shop makes it easy to buy umbrellas, chairs, kayaks, and longboards. And, if you need to decompress after a long but extremely fun and worthwhile vacation day, you can visit the spa to get a massage or facial. There are also plenty of restaurants and bars you can visit nearby. For example, the popularly visited Barefoot Bar located next to the beach and pool is a great spot for a refreshment or two. There, you can listen to live music at night, look at the incredible view, and have a cold drink. If you ask us, there is no better way to enjoy a vacation than that. Another awesome perk about the Barefoot Bar is that they offer a 20% military discount on drinks, so don't forget to bring your military ID with you. The entertainment doesn't stop there! The Hale Koa Hotel keeps the party going by offering fun activities for members to connect with the island. You can go to engaging events such as hula dance lessons, a luau with fire dancing, and magic and comedy shows.

Is Hale Koa Only for Military?

Like all Armed Forces Recreation Centers (AFRCs), resorts serve members of the U.S. Armed Forces, their families, and other authorized users. So the answer is yes, Hale Koa is only for military personnel, but family members and other sponsored guests are allowed. Furthermore, if you want to make a reservation for any amenities, you need to be an eligible member. Here is an in-depth list of eligible members directly from their website:
  • Members on Active Duty, Reserve and National Guard, Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Space Force, Coast Guard, and Cadets of Armed Forces Academies.
    • ID is Common Access Card.
  • Commissioned Corps, Public Health Service, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Corps.
    • ID is DD Form 2, PHS 1866-1, or 1866-3.
  • Retired members from Active Duty, Reserves, and National Guard with or without pay (gray area).
    • ID is DD Form 2, 1173, or 1173-1.
  • Honorably discharged Veterans with 100% service-connected disability.
    • ID is DD Form 1173 or DD Form 2765.
  • Involuntarily separated service members under the Transition Assistance Management Program.
    • ID is DD Form 2.
  • Personnel separated under the Voluntary Separation Incentive (VSI) and Special Separation Benefit (SSB) programs for two years after separation.
    • ID is DD Form 2.
  • Unremarried surviving spouses of personnel who died while on active duty or while in retired status.
    • ID is DD Form 1173 or 1173-1.
  • Un-remarried former spouses who were married to military members for at least 20 years while the military member was on active duty.
    • ID is DD Form 1173.
  • Other personnel on official business with the Department of Defense as authorized by the General Manager.
    • ID is DD Form 1173 or 2765.
  • Current and retired (APF and NAF) Department of Defense (DOD) and Coast Guard (CG) civilian employees.
    • DOD or CG ID card, Retired ID card, or current Leave and Earnings Statement with photo ID required for check-in.
The Hale Koa Hotel also offers the Survivors’ Family Program for families who have lost a loved one while serving, regardless of the cause. Eligible families are provided with a 50% off discount from normal room rates and three guest rooms.

Does the Military Have a Hotel in Hawaii?

The Hale Koa military resort Hawaii was opened on October 25, 1975. Over one million military personnel visit the resort every year. In 1906, the U.S. War Department purchased the 72-acre resort and turned it into Fort DeRussy. Fort DeRussy, during World War I, was remembered by many as an area for leisure and recreation for service members. That's when it was designated as an Armed Forces Recreation Area in 1950. Since then, millions of dollars have been poured into the resort, turning it into one of the best resorts for service members all across the country. The Hale Koa Hotel serves military members and families with an affordable first-class hotel and recreation facility. So, yes, the military does have a hotel in Hawaii. It’s entirely self-supporting and taxpayer free, so expenses including salaries, operating expenses, and capital improvement projects are paid with the revenue generated by the hotel.

Why You Should Visit the Hale Koa Military Resort Hawaii

We’re sure it wouldn’t take a lot of convincing to get you to visit this fantastic military resort in Hawaii. Regardless, there are many reasons to visit. There is no better resort for military personnel than Hale Koa, which translates to “House of the Warrior.” It provides military personnel and their families a great way to vacation without breaking the bank. It’s family-friendly, so there are plenty of fun and exciting activities to get involved in. Plus, there is a great night scene for adults to stop for a romantic dinner or listen to live music while enjoying the scenery. So, if you’re ever thinking about taking your family on a trip, keep the Hale Koa Hotel and Military Resort Hawaii in mind.



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