*** Waikele Premium Outlets Updated February 2020 ***
Finding a bargain in Hawaii is not as easy as it used to be. The decreased buying power of the AUD is largely to blame, but that doesn’t mean all is lost. If you are savvy you can still fill your suitcase for a fraction of the cost that you could at home. One of my favourite places to bag a bargain is Waikele Premium Outlets. Filled with brand name stores, it’s worth leaving Waikiki for a few hours of retail therapy. Read on for all the details …
Waikele Premium Outlets Overview
Up until about a decade ago I had written off outlet shopping as a complete waste of time after visiting a few in Sydney. I was greeted by haphazard racks and bargain bins that meant finding a gem among everyone else’s left overs was akin to finding a needle in a haystack. Soured by the whole experience, I didn’t venture back until I visited Woodbury Common Premium Outlets in NY which changed my view on outlet shopping forever. I am still not a fan of Aussie outlets, but outlets in the USA are a whole different ball game and definitely worth a look. Waikele Premium Outlets (pronounced why-kel-ee) are owned by the same group as Woodbury Common and while no where near as big are certainly worth a visit while you are in the Aloha state. I’ve been to Hawaii more than a dozen times and made at least five visits to Waikele so I have my shopping game down pat.
Getting To Waikele Premium Outlets
We hired a car through Airport Rentals on our last visit and drove ourselves to Waikele. It takes about 30 minutes and free parking is plentiful so you can keep heading back to deposit your purchases throughout the day which is handy if you are buying big. If you are not so lucky, the easiest and most economical way is the Waikele Outlet Shopping Shuttle. At only $18 per adult for the return journey it really is great value. Buses leave Waikiki at either 9am and 10am and the only downside is the last bus leaves Waikele at 4.30pm so you might not get everything done. We’ve took the bus the last time we stayed at the Sheraton Waikiki which was a stop on the pick up route. Every passenger on the shuttle and Waikele members get a VIP Shopping Booklet (pick it up from the kiosk on arrival) with a tonne of discount coupons. I’ve saved heaps using these, but if you don’t qualify, don’t worry, there are lots of electronic discount coupons you can use. A cab will set you back about $50 each way, but you may get a better rate through Uber. You can get the local bus (actually called The Bus), but it will take over and hour and involve multiple changes.
Waikele Premium Outlet Map
A simple layout means getting around is a breeze. Try to resist the urge to keep ducking across to certain stores and instead do the loop all the way around. The bus drops off in the middle near Coach and picks up at the rear of Nine West. Insider Tips: 1) The toilets in the middle always have a queue, head to the ones around the back of Godiva and you should have better luck. 2) The food court in the centre is limited. Exit Waikele near Armani and go across the road where you will have a number of fast food options to choose from.
My Picks & Purchases
True Religion was my absolute favourite store in Waikele. I used to buy up big every visit. It was always the first store I headed to and it set the tone for the rest of my day. So imagine my absolute horror when I headed to the place where True Religion always was this visit only to find the windows covered in brown paper and no sign of life. I headed to the directory and my fears were confirmed. It hadn’t just moved. It was closed. I tried to make the most of the rest of my day, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t devastated. The closing of True Religion will make me seriously rethink future visits to Waikele Premium Outlets.
Michael Kors – The last MK bag I bought in Sydney cost me AUD$650. I picked up 3 bags here for just under USD$400 a few years ago; a cute grey everyday cross body, a funky tasseled black beauty and a pale blue studded number. If you ask for dust bags at checkout they will usually give them to you even if they are not normally included. I also picked up this grey snakeskin tote on a previous visit.
Saks Off 5Th – This one is a bit more hit and miss. I usually look here for shorts and have been lucky in the past, but have come out empty handed on my last two visits. The store smells a bit funny, but don’t let it put you off. A little more rummaging through bargain bins and random racks than I like, but serious shoppers will come up with the goods.
Kate Spade – There is always a queue out the front, but it moves quickly so don’t be deterred. Unfortunately for me most Kate Spade bags come with gold hardware which I hate. I keep looking for that elusive silver hardware, but I have only been successful once with this black tote. I continue to live in hope. If you are not as offended by gold as I am you will find lots to love. RIP Kate Spade.
Converse – I have visited every time we have been to Waikele Premium Outlets, but have never purchased anything for myself until recently. I always thought they looked kinda weird on my feet so despite trying on a million pairs I always left empty handed. I got over my phobia of weird looking feet and grabbed these tie dye grey chucks (worn here) for $30 and the sparkly purple cuties below (worn here) were $7. Yep $7! The Hubs always stocks up on plenty of bargain T-Shirts.
Clarins – Another one where you savings will depend on the day you visit. The standard prices are not that much under retail, but it’s the bundle deals where you can score some real bargains. This trip I bagged some eye cream and serum and got a couple of freebies thrown in.
Calvin Klein – Great for work basics and this is where I picked up my famous Wednesday Pants a few years ago. I liked them so much I wore them everyday for a year on the blog. Also great for work shirts, T-Shirts and underwear. Another one to use you coupon book in.
Vans – My youngest son is a fan of the shoes and I always manage to get him a few pairs and stock up on the great value men’s T-shirts and socks.
Levis – The Hubs likes Levi’s for great value work jeans. Last visit we scored a pair each. It didn’t completely make up for my lack of True Religion, but it did help a little. The Hubs grabbed a couple of T-Shirts for good measure.
Coach – Always worth a look, but be aware that a lot of the stock is ‘made for outlet’. You will find a few hidden gems from the regular Coach line, but you’ll have to hunt for them. Coach is a favourite of Japanese tourists so don’t be alarmed when they buy 10 bags at a time. I picked up a black cross body a few years ago (worn here, here, here and here) that has been my everyday bag ever since.
Guess – I always have instructions to pick up some T-shirts for the mini-enablers. This visit I managed to grab them two each for under USD$40. That’s not bad at all.
Asics – Stock up on shoes. My sneakers were only USD$99 as opposed to about AUD$280 at home. And they are purple 🙂
Adidas – The Hubs usually manages to find some tracksuits pants he likes but not this time. When we were here last year The Co-Conspirator boys went nuts in here!
Banana Republic – Only if you have time. Rummaging is required. May the force be with you 🙂
Lacoste – I always check here because my son’s like the T-Shirts (not the polos!). Sometimes I’m lucky, sometimes I’m not. Last trip I got two for USD$70.
Tommy Hilfiger Another one for my boys. We got four T-shirts from here last visit for USD$90 after using the coupon.
Polo Ralph Lauren We grabbed a T-shirt and a hoodie last visit for USD$100 after the 20% off coupon. Not bad at all.
I have wandered into the other stores on the odd occasion, but have never had any luck so I tend to given them a wide berth these days particularly because we are always struggling to get everything done. Have you been to Waikele Premium Outlets? Tell me about your bargain buys in the comments below.
Until Next Time …
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Disclosure Statement: This article is not sponsored and I paid for all my purchases in full. The information in this article is based on my own personal experiences and has not been influenced in any way by the brands featured. This post may contain affiliate links which if clicked may earn me a small commission on purchases at no extra cost to you.