• Danik Bates

Hilton Waikoloa Village: a mini-Disneyland in Hawaii

Ok, so I may have gone a bit too far with the title comparing this Hilton resort to Disneyland but in all fairness, out of all the Hilton resorts and hotels I have stayed in so far across the world, this one for me has to be the best. Come on, it even has its own transportation system to get guests across from different parts of the resort. With its prime location, gorgeous surroundings and a heck of a lot of things to do here, I could say that this was a mini-Disneyland for me. Let me explain and I will start from the beginning.

The resort is located on the northwestern side of the island known as Big Island or Big Hawaii near Waikoloa Village. On the coastline there is a long road, Waikōloa Beach Drive which has many resorts and hotels as well as shops, restaurants and a cinema. The Hilton Waikoloa Village is located halfway along the road right next to the ocean, certainly in a prime location. I flew in from Seattle on the mainland to Kona airport via Honolulu, hired a car and took the short drive (of about twenty miles and takes twenty-five minutes) to the resort.

Now for the first part of the Disneyland adventure, the car park. Oh my, I have never seen a car park so big for a hotel or a resort before. I was here at the end of June and the car park was full. I am assuming that the schools have closed for the summer on the mainland and a lot of American tourists just jump on a plane and hop over to the Hawaiian Islands for a vacation. I managed to find a space right at the back of the car park which meant I had to lug my luggage for several minutes in the heat to the main entrance of the resort.


The check in with the front of house staff was very swift, very informative and very clear communication. The whole experience took about five to eight minutes and I also remembered to pay for the car parking (yes, you do have to pay for parking here). Before I knew it, I was heading to the part of the resort where I was staying for three nights.

Celebrating finishing the marathon at the Hilton Waikola resort

Now the resort is huge and is split into sections. All the buildings surround a unique saltwater lagoon which is in the heart of the resort with nearby swimming pools, eateries and activities. The main three buildings which guests can stay in are the Makai, the Palace Tower and part of Hilton’s Grand Vacations brand. I was fortunate to stay in the Ocean Tower which is at the northernmost end of the resort and the furthest from the main entrance. However (and this Disneyland moment part two), there is a transit system which takes guests to other parts of the resort. There are four stops in total and I would be getting off at the last stop. It is not a fast transit system however it is really ideal with guests having young children or a lot of baggage. Most of the time however I was walking all over the place as I found it quicker (I am a fast walker by the way), but also wanted to take in the breeze from the ocean and check out the plants around the resort. One of the routes I was taking across the resort was through a building before reaching the main entrance and it was a long corridor. And I mean long. Along the way I was seeing paintings and sculptors which have been brought here from across the world. At one point I felt like I was in the British Museum back home. However it was very nice to see and kept my mind off the long walk which I was taking part in.

Back to the Ocean Tower (which is shaped as the number ‘eight’ when looking from above) and the room I had was the Ocean Front View with one king size bed and a sofa bed which can sleep four people. The room is quite spacious at 530 square feet but for me it was having the sun rays filtering into the room (especially in the afternoon as I was facing west, however the room does have black out curtains if you don’t want the sun on your face when you are taking an afternoon nap), and walking out onto the balcony and taking in those beautiful ocean views.

The room also features a television (which I never used because, come on, I was in Hawaii and there is so much outdoorsy stuff to do right!), Playstation 3 (come on, who would come all this way just to play a games console, I know children need to be entertained but again, so much outdoorsy stuff to do right!), mini-refrigerator, hairdryer, ironing board and a coffee maker. The room comes with air conditioning as well as a private bathroom which features a bathtub and all the necessary amenities.

Outside the room and down below, in the centre of the building (but it's outside), is an outdoor swimming pool which also provides beach towels for those who just want to chill out.

Now for the rest of the resort. At the heart as mentioned is the beautiful tropical salt-water lagoon and it has a white-sand beach. Here visitors can see the colourful reef fish as well as green sea turtles. This means (as it is a protected oasis), this area is perfect for those who love swimming and snorkelling and be close to nature. Also located here is one of the eateries I checked out, the Lagoon Grill. Here they serve the best hot dogs, burgers, salads and sandwiches in the resort as well as tropical concoctions and smoothies and is open for lunch and dinner. It was great sitting outside and overlooking the lagoon. Quality service also so this eatery is the place to go to have a great but quick lunch if wanting to get back to the lagoon or nearby pool for some more wet fun in the sun.

There are plenty of pools to have fun or relax (or both!) in and with plenty of sunbeds around them. As I was using the pool near my room I didn’t go into these pools but I did have a walk around and by god, I wish I did now. There is a 175 foot twisting water slide to go down at the Kona Pool or swim along a winding waterway at the Kohala Pool. There are cascading waterfalls and for those who want to get away from the children, then there is the secluded adults-only pool.


For those who want to unwind and relax, then check out the Kohala Spa. I did this after a marathon nearby and god I needed a massage. So I got one here. Afterwards I relaxed in the private pool and jacuzzi and drifted away. Definitely would recommend a treatment or massage here.

The other things which the Hilton Waikoloa Village offers is a Luau show (I didn’t do this one as I had to be elsewhere most evenings, however I been told this is one of the best ones on the island), getting up close with dolphins (and been told this is the only place in the Hawaiian islands visitors can do this), sunset cruises, a lot of shopping for those gifts to take back home, Hawaiian cultural classes, a fitness centre and playing golf.

Going to be frank with you. I am a traveller who loves exploring places and that's what I came to the Hawaiian islands for. To explore the island. This resort is designed for visitors to never leave the resort as everything is here. Don’t get me wrong, I loved it and on my week's stay on Big Hawaii, I did go exploring but I tried to cram so much into the day with the resort's facilities and what they had to offer. It is ideal for those families who just want to unwind, relax and not do too much. The next time I come to this island, for sure I would love to return here and I can say now, I would allow time to show them the island (as they never have been) but I will definitely spend a lot more time in the resort. When you have young children, you know what I mean. Everything is here for them to have fun, chill, eat, and go crazy. Basically what I am staying is, I love a bit of both worlds.

Now my pros and cons. I have also stayed in Kona which is to the south of the airport here on Big Hawaii. Whilst in the resort, I felt the air quality was much better and there was an even slower pace of life. If visitors need something like from the shops or needing gas for their car rental, then Waikoloa has it all and it's very close to the resort where in Kona there is a bit of a drive to get the things you need. I love the landscape around the resort and plenty of flora and fauna to see. There is a lot of housekeeping service in the hotel buildings which I loved and if I needed something or they forgot something (which only happened once but it was ok, I am a chilled laid out person), the problem was solved very quickly. The con is that there is no beach in the resort but there is a man-made one. This wasn’t a big problem for me as I always say, when in a resort, most of the time I would spend that in the pool. The only other problem I had was getting a bottle of water to take back to the hotel room. I found this pretty difficult as there weren't many places offering this service in the evening and spent about ten-fifteen minutes looking for a place (I managed to find one in the end).

So there you have it guys, the resort is definitely worth going to if you have children, want to chill out and only want to do the odd day excursion on the island. It has everything here and compared to other Hilton resorts and hotels I have stayed in, it is the best one I have been to. It's not too crowded either. I keep seeing busloads of tourists coming into the hotels but they are never to be seen again. Sucked away I guess. I can’t wait to bring the family back here just to unwind and let them go wild.


If visitors are looking for something to do and see on the island, then check out my post here.


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