We recently returned from our third trip to Hawaii, and as always, had the most wonderful time. Not only was this our third trip out to the Hawaiian Islands, it was also our third trip to Kona – and our third time staying at the Hilton Waikoloa Village. Hawaii has it’s fair share of stunning resorts, and yet we have found ourselves going back to the same location over and over; this resort is truly a magnificent experience. I thought I’d write a Hilton Waikoloa Village review to give you an idea of what makes this resort so incredibly special, and why we keep on returning.
Hotel Review: Hilton Waikoloa Village in Kona, HI
About the Hilton Waikoloa Village Resort
The Hilton Waikoloa Village is an incredible 62-acre oceanfront property set right on the Pacific Ocean, approximately 20 minutes from Kona International Airport, and approximately 45 minutes from downtown Kailua-Kona. Surrounding the property are a number of Hilton Grand Vacation Club Resorts, as well as shops, restaurants, and bars. A shuttle bus departs the resort frequently to visit the local shops and take guests to and from the Hilton Grand Vacation Club Resorts, although it is possible to walk around the property. We took the shuttle bus to the local grocery store, the Waikoloa Village Market, to pick up drinks, snacks, and some souvenirs, with no problems. Thanks to the numerous shops, bars, and dining locations within the resort, however, you could easily stay there and never venture off property.
The resort has incredible details, and as you walk around, you will notice a huge amount of statues, sculptures, and art work depicting the Hawaiian culture. Due to the size of the resort, there are trams and water taxis to transport you around, but we always preferred to walk to our destination in order to look at everything on display.
Rooms at the Hilton Waikoloa Village Resort
The more than 1,200 guest rooms at the Hilton Waikoloa Village are spread over three towers; Lagoon Tower, Palace Tower, and Ocean Tower. Rooms are bright, modern, and clean, with everything you might need for a comfortable stay. Suites and concierge-level rooms are also available, and an optional amenities menu allows you to order additional treats such as freshly baked cookies, tropical fruit bowls, and bottles of wine and champagne. We indulged in fresh flowers and chocolate-dipped strawberries delivered to the room, and also ordered adorable goodnight cupcakes for our boys.
As well, as the rooms available at the Hilton Waikoloa Village, studios and villas are available at the Hilton Grand Vacation Club properties, and guests staying at these resorts have access to all of the activities at the main resort. Our 2-bedroom villa at Kings Land was incredibly spacious; having all of that extra space, as well as a full kitchen, was something we really enjoyed since we were traveling with young children. I would really recommend looking into these properties if you are traveling as a family. Being able to enjoy breakfast in the room, as well as having a living room to relax in once the boys were in bed, made the trip that much more relaxing. We were able to jump on a shuttle bus to the main resort to enjoy the incredible pools and beaches, and then come back to a beautiful big villa with plenty of space for us all.
Dining at the Hilton Waikoloa Village Resort
With 14 different restaurants and bars, we never had problems finding places to eat! Local ingredients and Hawaiian specialties are used, making the dining experiences particularly memorable.
Several mornings I picked up breakfast from the Waikoloa Coffee Co., where I was able to get coffee, fresh fruit smoothies, and pastries, all of which were fantastic. For lunch, we often grabbed burgers and cocktails at the Lagoon Grill, or picked up freshly made sandwiches and fruit at the Orchid Marketplace. For dinner, we tried the family friendly Dona & Toni’s Pizza, featuring pizza, pasta, and salads, as well as the Japanese restaurant, Imari, which had the most amazing sushi! We travel with a very picky 3-year old, and I’m happy to say he always managed to find something on the menu to keep his tummy full.
On a rare date night, we left the kids with their grandparents for an oceanfront dinner at the Kamuela Provision Company, where we dined on fresh fish and steak while watching the sunset over the Pacific Ocean. This was probably one of the best dining experiences of my whole life; not only was the food delicious, but I can honestly say that I don’t think I’ve ever eaten in such an incredible location. A reservation here is strongly recommended, and I would suggest making your dining reservation for about 30 to 60 minutes prior to sunset.
Activities at the Hilton Waikoloa Village Resort
Traveling with young children, naturally the majority of our time was spent in the water. Our favorite place at the whole resort is the incredible four-acre ocean-fed lagoon, where you can snorkel, rent paddle boards and pedal boats, or just sit and make sandcastle on the beach (as my 3-year old did!) The fact that this lagoon is ocean-fed means all kinds of tropical fish can be spotted in here and more importantly, Green Sea Turtles often swim in to escape the rough surf. It is important to note that the turtles should never be disturbed or harassed, and life guards were always on hand to ensure no one was getting too close to them – the best way to see them is actually as you walk around the lagoon and look down into the water. It is incredible to see these magnificent creatures as you make your way around the lagoon, and an experience I will never forget.
As well as the lagoon, there are three other large pools featuring waterfalls and slides, as well as kiddie pools and an adult-only pool. We never had a problem finding lounge chairs around the pools, and the kiddie pools were perfect for little ones. There are also beautiful black rock and white sandy beaches to lounge on.
Other resort activities include a World Class spa, two championship golf courses, and numerous shopping experiences.
If you venture off property and are looking for other things to do on the Big Island of Hawaii, there are a number of options, including all of the snorkeling, swimming, and scuba diving you could ever want! On the other side of the island, about a two hour drive away, you’ll find the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, and you can read more on visiting Hawaii Volcanoes National Park with kids here. It is an absolute must-do for any trip to the Big Island!
Why we love the Hilton Waikoloa Village
What this resort does really, really well is family friendly luxury. When we travel with the kids, if the resort isn’t family friendly, there’s just no chance we’re going to stay there; it won’t be fun for us, and it won’t be fun for the other guests. However we still enjoy luxury travel, and want to stay somewhere with first class amenities and excellent attention to detail. Hilton Waikoloa Village manages to tick both of these boxes, and then some. This resort has everything that a family might need to enjoy a relaxing, comfortable stay, and there were plenty of families like ours traveling with young kids having a marvelous time. Touches of luxury were everywhere though; from the opulence of the marble lobby with towering columns leading down to the incredible lagoon, to the mahogany water taxis to transport you to your room, to the breathtaking views over the calm waters of the Pacific Ocean while enjoying an elegant supper, the resort just feels somewhere special. We are planning to return to Hawaii in a few years, and there is no doubt that we will stay at the resort again.
Tips for staying at this resort:
– This resort is BIG! On your first day, take some time to look at the maps and walk around to find all of the various pools and dining locations. Some pools are adult only, some have better water slides, some have more sun lounger availability, etc. You need to get your bearings as early on as possible.
– The hotel features some amazing art work and traditional Hawaiian and Japanese sculptures. Take some time to read the plaques next to the pieces, the history is often fascinating.
– As previously mentioned, there is a shuttle bus that goes back and forth between the Hilton Waikoloa Village and the Hilton Grand Vacation Club properties, as well as stopping at the nearby shopping center. You could walk from property to property, it would just be a bit of a trek, and I wouldn’t recommend it with children. We found the shuttle service to be very reliable, and had no issues with it at all.
– Being able to access the local shopping center via the shuttle bus is really useful. You can stop at the grocery store for supplies and souvenirs, and there are restaurants to get dinner as well. There’s even a Starbucks!
To learn more about this resort, visit the Hilton Waikoloa Village website.