Just to pick on my young co-author, Andy, for a minute.  I asked Andy about AFRC and he just said “what’s that”?  I was shocked as I thought every Service Member knew about the Armed Forces Recreation Centers (AFRC) and what a great deal they were.  Shows what happens when you assume.  My family and I have stayed at three of the four AFRC locations and we use it often.  Just like the PX/BX and the Commissary, these are a great benefit for military members and while earning hotel points is nice, staying at half-price is even better!

The AFRC was technically started in 1945 when the Allies captured Hitler’s Eagle Nest and surrounding vacation facilities in the Bavarian Alps.  It wasn’t long before GIs started taking R&R in such a beautiful mountain retreat.  Similarly, in Hawaii the Army had been given a bunch of swampland in a place called Waikiki.  They had a coastal artillery battery there called Ft. DeRussy and the Army built some bungalows on the beach so Soldiers from inland locations like Schofield Barracks could enjoy a weekend in the surf.  With the building of the Alawai Canal which drained the swamp, the Army found it had some pretty valuable property on its hands.

Finally in the Sixties, the military decided they needed to develop a formal system to run these two resorts as well as the many camps and bungalows that were set up in many locations and thus the AFRC was established.  Since then they have developed two other major properties:  Shades of Green at Disneyworld and the Dragon Hill Lodge in Seoul, Korea.  I am just going to cover the four main resorts here.  For the lesser known camps, check out my old post about them.  They are great for staying in Seward, Alaska or Volcanos National Park and many, many beach locations.

Here is a chart summarizing the main four resorts.  Note the price range!  You can beat that for stays in Waikiki or Disneyworld.

AFRC

 

Here is the AFRC main page for reservations.  Note that the price of the rooms is based upon you rank so these are affordable by even an E-1.  Let’s take a quick look at each one:

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Located about an hour from Munich and less than that to Austria and even a reasonable drive to Italy, this just seems like the perfect Alpine location.  We stayed here on my first R&R from Iraq and enjoyed white Christmas.  Great any time of the year whether you want to ski in the winter, visit Munich for Ocktoberfest, or hike the mountains in summer.  Lot’s of tours from here also, including the Eagles Nest.

Edelweiss Lodge and Resort offers an array of guest amenities, entertainment, and recreation activities. Enjoy a sightseeing tour or a day on the slopes; reap the benefits of a therapeutic massage; workout in our wellness club; take a dip in our indoor pool; or simply unwind in our outdoor hot tub. Relax in our restaurants featuring foods from around the world, including regional cuisine and all-American favorites.

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Shades of Green at Disneyworld.  This is the only one the we have never stayed at, but if you have kids this is a no-brainer.  Note the discounted tickets they have to all the attractions also and you will be able to keep this family vacation down to a reasonable cost.

Go ahead. Pinch yourself. You’re not dreaming. Experience the warm Florida sun, cascading waterfalls, lush tropical gardens, spectacular views, or a dip in the pool. Doesn’t this sound like the total vacation to you?

Not quite there yet? How about a visit to the enchanting MAGIC KINGDOM® on Walt Disney World® Resort? This hot spot and other area attractions are just minutes away. Our guest services staff can assist you with discounted tickets for all area attractions and vacation planning.
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Hawaii has to be the most sought after of all these resorts.  The ability to stay right on the beach at Waikiki for less than $150/night is unbelievable.  All of Waikiki is within walking distance as is Hawaii’s largest mall, the Ala Moana.  We have stayed here quite often, whether I was attending a conference or we were just on our own it is a good experience.  OK, so the rooms are a little dated, but if you are spending your vacation in your hotel room – you are doing it wrong!

Your tropical Hawaiian dream vacation awaits you at the Hale Koa Hotel. Diamond Head, the sparkling blue Pacific, lush and colorful tropical gardens, Polynesian entertainment, hospitality and more, for your vacation enjoyment. Whether you’re strolling barefoot on the sand, sunbathing lazily on Waikiki Beach, or simply relaxing comfortably, you’ll simply be dazzled by this Polynesian paradise.
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So I know most people don’t think of taking a vacation in Korea unless they happen to have a Service Member stationed there, but Korea has a lot to offer.  I have stayed here more times than I can count and always enjoy Seoul.  The touristy Itaewon shopping district is within walking distance, but many other attraction are available by subway (the station is a block away from the Main Gate) or taxi (the Korean word for taxi is taxi)!  Check out the Namdaemun market (best seen in the middle of the night), Seoul Tower (ditto for night being better than day), and LotteWorld a huge department store equipped with a major totally enclosed amusement park.  You got to see this last one to believe it!  Seoul has a lot of English speakers so you really won’t have a problem getting around and the food is great.  You may just go to a restaurant and point to the picture to order, but chances are it will be spicy and good.  Seoul is also a great first stop on a longer trip through Asia.

Nestled in the heart of Seoul, Korea, Dragon Hill Lodge is the gateway to Asia’s mystical culture. Visit internationally acclaimed museums and art galleries, attend a lively sporting event, or simply enjoy world class shopping!

Our exceptional four-star services comfort the most discriminating traveler. Guests can relax in a number of restaurants and lounges, or unwind in our state-of-the-art health club and pool. Additional amenities include a number of services such as our gift store, flower shop, tourism desk and beauty salon. Premier conference rooms and gardens offer elegance and variety for business meetings or special events.

 

 

Posted by glenn | 6 Comments

6 Responses to “AFRC – The Best Resort Deal You Can Get”

  1. Tom says:

    I know you mentioned in your linked post, I have to rave about Kilauea Military Camp. My family of 10 stayed there just a couple months ago and we absolutely loved it! We had two beautiful units (2 and 3 bedroom). It is a great central location for exploring Volcano National Park and even further afar around the big island. You can’t beat the cool weather that is a nice break from the steamy temps down at sea level. I think this is a real gem if you are going to Hawaii.

  2. Scott M. says:

    I stayed at AFRC hotels in Garmisch and Berchtesgaden back in the late 1980s, and thoroughly enjoyed them. Didn’t get to Chiemsee, though. Stayed at KMC for part of my honeymoon; fortunately my bride was perfectly content-with the spectacular location more than compensating for the modest accomodations.

    We plan to stay at Shades of Green in a couple of years, when our child is old enough to appreciate Disney World.

  3. TK says:

    can you stay there if you are a federal employee

  4. Jerry says:

    For a downtown experience, you can also enjoy discounted rates military supporting spots like the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marine club in New York City or the Marine Club in San Francisco.

  5. Charles says:

    I took my wife and daughter to Shades of Green and we all enjoyed it. The resort itself was great, but add in the easy access to the Disney Parks and it became a fantastic vacation.

    Living on O’ahu, I’ve never stayed at the Hale Koa, but I have actually been there quite a few times for entertainment and dining options, some of which are quite good for the price. Of course, the location right on the beach in Waikiki is a huge plus for visitors from out-of-town.

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