A short summary of the Hilton Waikoloa Village review: a fantastic hotel, as long as you stay in the right tower.
The reviews for this Hilton on the internet are quite mixed. They gave us doubts about staying there, but from our experience it is definitely the place to stay if visiting the Big Island. The Hilton Waikoloa has everything you could want when coming back to rest from a long day of snorkeling or hiking:
- It is nicely located
- The complex is big with lots of rooms
- The hotel has all the amenities
- There are great activities on site
Located on the dry and sunny part of the island
The Hilton Waikoloa is located on the western coast of the Big Island. The climate there is dry and hot; so, unless you are unlucky, you won’t have to deal with rain at the Hilton Waikoloa. It’s not too far from the Kona airport (about a 25 minute taxi ride), and also close enough to the excursions you may want to do around the island (you may still need to rent a car though because the island is quite big). There are also two shopping complexes very close to the hotel (there’s actually a tram that regularly shuttles you back and forth).
A huge resort
During our taxi ride to the hotel, the driver referred to the Hilton as ‘Disney’ and we quickly saw why when we arrived: the resort is huge. So many different room towers, pools, restaurants, a beautiful spa, and even a man-made lagoon that opens into the ocean. It is significantly bigger than the neighboring Marriott Hotel at Waikoloa. First, let’s start with the most important decision you will make there: which tower to stay in. The hotel recently renovated the Lagoon Tower, which costs more, but is an absolute must. The rooms in that tower are great, and you even get VIP bracelets for preferred seating at the pool. The rooms are also equipped with Sony Playstations and you can rent movies and video games (for free) near the spa facilities. In case you are thinking of saving some money, just remember that most of the negative reviews about this hotel are from guests who did not stay in this tower.
Lots of activities
Behind the Lagoon tower, there is a small animal pen with birds and turtles along your short walk leading to a huge swimming pool and several hot tubs. There’s even a hidden hot tub that you can get to by going through a big waterfall in the pool. Next, there’s a dolphin lagoon (we didn’t feel comfortable with the dolphins in captivity, especially because the lagoon was not very big). Next to that, there’s a big man-made lagoon that connects to the ocean. Since the lagoon is connected to the ocean, you can find all sorts of fish in there. There are a lot of different areas to snorkel in and it’s worth doing if you have a free day. Most people seemed to stick to the shallow parts, but you definitely should make your way to the deeper section near the waterfall. We saw lots of colorful fish and a very big turtle near the waterfall.
All the extras you need
The hotel has a lot of amenities. As I mentioned earlier, one of the nice touches in the room was the Sony Playstation. They have an automated rental box near the spa with lots of new release Blu-rays, and video games for when you just want to relax. All the rentals are free as long as you return them within 24 hours. On one side of the Lagoon tower, there is a large pond with lots of big fish and a water shuttle, as well as a tram that takes you to other parts of the resort. A short walk will take you to a beautiful spa. In addition to paid services, the spa includes complimentary steam rooms, saunas, etc.
There’s a concierge desk, a car rental office, and several activities desks (two at the resort, and one at the nearby shopping center). The car rental service is very convenient and we got a nice convertible Camaro. We were also able to book most of our excursions through the activities desk. Finally, the resort has several restaurants. If you are a late eater, be wary as most restaurants there close at 10pm. We were forced into having Chinese food several nights because all the other restaurants were closed (furthermore, that particular restaurant was unable to deliver food to the room because even though it is located in the Hilton resort, it is independently operated). They do have one restaurant at the back of the resort that has an amazing view of the sunset, so make sure you make your way there at least once.
I definitely hope to stay at the Hilton Waikoloa Village again. It’s a fantastic resort as long as you book a room in the newly renovated Lagoon Tower.