Hawaii hotel prices are anything but relaxing

Claudine Zap

Heading to Hawaii? Then say "aloha" to the highest hotel prices in the United States.

That's right: That relaxing vacation may raise your blood pressure once the bill comes at checkout. Room rates for Hawaii were record setting over the winter month of February, a new study from Smith Travel Research and Hospitality Advisors reports.

The average price for a room will set you back an average of $230 a night, a 13 percent increase, according to the research.

The reason is good for the tourism industry, if not so good for tourists' bank accounts: Lots of visitors from around the globe are flocking to the islands for a taste of paradise.

"We're seeing a boom in the travel industry nationally and in fact globally," said Joseph Toy, president of Hospitality Advisors, in a statement.

"Coming out of the global recession, there's been a lot of pent-up demand for travel overall. Throughout the country and most of these destinations, we're seeing a bump," he added.

Hawaii stepped over Miami ($223 a night on average), knocked out New York (averaging $210 a night), and bested New Orleans ($160 a night average) for the honor of having the priciest hotel rooms. Even San Francisco looks like a bargain at $165 a night, on average.

Hawaii also had the second-highest hotel occupancy rate, at 81.6 percent, second only to Miami, which came in at 86 percent.

And good luck getting a room in Waikiki, where occupancy is the highest in the state, at 91 percent.

For those travelers determined to have a tropical trip, hotel rates vary by island. The daily room rate for Maui comes in at a budget-busting $296 a night, Kauai averages $224 for its daily rate, daily room rates for the Big Island are up to $223, and Oahu is a relatively reasonable $208.

There may be relief in sight. Toy noted that the demand will begin to cool as summer heats up.

"While the start of 2013 has been spectacular, we will likely see some moderation in the market as the strong pent-up demand for Hawaii travel begins to tail off," he said.

Meanwhile, New York, with its relatively bargain-basement hotel prices, awaits.

See also: Click the photo below for a slideshow of expensive hotels worth the splurge.