Hawaii Bungalow and Villa Reality: Unveiling the Truth

Hawaii Aloha Travel > Podcast > Hawaii Bungalow and Villa Reality: Unveiling the Truth

Today, we’re going to discuss Hawaii Bungalows and Villas. This question arises frequently, and today, I will clarify what these terms truly mean in the context of accommodations here in the Hawaiian Islands. Recently, a client called me and attempted to compare Hawaii to Bora Bora, which is like comparing apples and oranges.

When you hear the terms Villa or Bungalow, certain images come to mind for most people. It typically denotes a detached, separate accommodation with some privacy and possibly two floors. Villas are typically larger than even a standard house and generally are more luxurious.  A bungalow is usually a single-story home with one level or a variation of a raised structure, sometimes over the water. It’s usually a bit more rustic and, in terms of vacations, part of all-inclusive resorts in places like Bora Bora, New Zealand, or Maldives.

Hawaii’s Bungalows and Villas: Myth vs. Reality

The truth is, in Hawaii, the terms “Villas” and “Bungalows” don’t quite align with their conventional definitions. While these words may conjure images of luxurious, detached properties with sprawling gardens and serene verandas, the reality is often different. In this tropical paradise, these terms are often associated with condominiums, vacation rentals, or resort-style accommodations that provide a taste of the Hawaiian experience but not necessarily the detached opulence you might envision.

Let’s give you some examples of Hawaii bungalows or villas you may be hearing about. I think the terms are a bit overused and, in some cases, misleading.

For example, let’s discuss the Royal Lahaina Beach Hotel and Bungalows. I adore the Royal Lahaina for its excellent value and cost-effectiveness when we’re trying to stay within our budget on Maui. However, it’s important to note that the “bungalows” here aren’t precisely what you’d typically envision as bungalows. I can see why they’re referred to as such, but the reality differs. These “bungalows” consist of four separate studio rooms (some of which can be connected) within a single building designed to resemble a cottage.

Another example of properties labeled as “Villas” but don’t quite fit the traditional villa definition are condo-like accommodations. An example is the Kaanapali Villas on Maui. These properties are essentially condos, with some units featuring lofts, which might be where the concept of calling them “villas” comes from. Similarly, places like The Island Colony Villas on the Big Island are more accurately described as condo complexes situated on a golf course on the Big Island.

Here are a few more instances where the “villa” label may be a bit of a stretch:

Koloa Landing
– Kalanipuu Villas
– The Villas at Poipu Kai Wyndham Bali Hai & Kauai Beach Villas
Westin Princeville Resort Villas

– Ko O‘lina Beach Club and Villas
Disney Aulani Villas

Kaanapali Villas
– Wailea Beach Villas
– Kapalua Villas
– Maui Bay villas
– Big Island Island Colony
– Waikaloa Beach Villas
Fairway Villas

The True Face of Hawaiian Bungalows and Villas

That being said, there are indeed some remarkable accommodations in Hawaii that come close to providing a true villa experience. However, be prepared to splurge on these options. Here are a few examples of actual villas.

– Turtle Bay Villas
– Tiki Moon Villas
– Ke Iki Beach Bungalows

– Fairmont Kea Lani
– Andaz Maui
– Montage Maui
– Luana Maui
Ho‘olei at Grand Wailea

Big Island
– Various individually owned villa-like properties
Mauna Lani Villas
Hualalai Villas at Four Seasons

In conclusion, while Hawaii offers a wide range of accommodations, the labels “bungalow” and “villa” are sometimes used liberally and may not always align with their traditional definitions. It’s important to research and understand the specifics of your chosen accommodation to ensure it meets your expectations.