Hilton Waikaloa Village in Hawaii – REVIEW
Hilton Waikaloa Village in Hawaii
The Hilton Waikaloa Village is an oasis on the BIG island of Hawaii. It is an all inclusive resort and a fabulous place to stay for couples wanting a romantic get away or families of all sizes.
Hilton Waikaloa Village: Rooms
There are several hotel buildings on the property and we stayed in Lagoon Tower. Our rooms were large and had a spectacular view of the property and ocean which made sitting on the balcony, relaxing and feeling the breeze, a real treat.
The kids were really surprised that the lobby was open air. The natural question is, “What happens when it rains?” LOL.
There are so many gorgeous flowers that I just put them all in a Hawaiian flower photo essay.
Hilton Waikaloa Village: Food
The food options run the gamut here at this lovely place by the ocean.
Start your day off with the breakfast buffet at the Big Island’s Breakfast at Water’s Edge. The wall of windows overlooks the lagoon area. We watched the waterfall and a yoga class on paddle boards outside the window while sipping hot coffee and hot tea.
Buffets are always fun with kids. They can try new things and expand palates and get full by eating their favorites. We enjoyed custom omelet station and fresh fruit. My personal favorite though was miso soup! Waikaloa Village has a lot of Japanese visitors and so there is Japanese food on the buffet. When you are served miso soup there is usually one piece of seaweed in the bowl. Since this was build your own I could splurge and have a lot of seaweed in the soup! Yum! Feel free to splurge in your own way! There is also plenty of sweet treats like nutella and savory treats like biscuits, gravy and bacon! Try purple sweet potatoes in your custom made omelet.
For a quick breakfast try Waikaloa Village’s version of Starbucks called Kona Coffee Shop. There are several on property but our favorite was the one at the very end of the tram line that has a boat dock for two reasons: 1) It serves waffles! and 2) It has very brave birds that will come and eat a crumb out of your hand.
Needless to say the kids LOVED this spot. One morning while waiting on the waffles, we looked into the nearby water where the boat docks and saw a barracuda. Yes, a real honest to goodness barracuda. He was not interested in the little fish swimming all around him (was he full?) or the bread we tossed to him. Instead…..he seemed creepily interested in us!! Fun birds, cool water critters, and waffles? This places gets an A+!
For lunch our choice was the Lagoon Grill. We had a super friendly waitress and it is a perfect spot to enjoy watching Dolphin Quest (read about our awesome experience here) the lagoon where kiddos can build sand castles while they wait for the food to come, and the lovely ocean. The food was really good! We had colorful fruit juice drinks, vegetarian burgers, fried calamari burgers (They were fabulous!) and kid fare of burgers and fries. Easy to get full with delicious food at a reasonable price with a fabulous setting. It just doesn’t get any better than that!
There are several dinner choices: Pizza! Sushi! Fine Dining! Off property nearby (close enough to walk or take the shuttle from the hotel) is the Queen’s Marketplace. We enjoyed snacks from the nearby Queen’s Marketplace grocery store which is also a fun place to visit. Check out cool things that are familiar or choose new Hawaiian versions! This is a great place to get snacks for little ones. We stocked up on Cheerios for snacks here.
Swimming and relaxing by the water can make a person hungry! Get your snacks at the Orchid Marketplace which is perfectly located right next to one of the fabulous pools or have ice-cream from Shaka cones. Don’t worry about the calories…they don’t count while you are on vacation, right? Right?? 😉
Hilton Waikaloa Village: Stay healthy.
If you like to stay on a more structure exercise routine than just swimming and walking (Don’t worry, we won’t judge you either way! It is vacation!) you can visit the on property gym where you can enjoy a cardio or weight workout. We like to wear pedometers that count how many steps/miles we get in a day and you can sure rack up the miles here!
Paddleboard yoga is available in the lagoon. Since I have enough trouble staying upright in yoga class on dry land I figured I’d spend the majority of my time in the water after falling off the board so I didn’t try it. Watching a class though is very impressive. They make it look easy!
Tennis anyone? Yes, they have tennis courts! Hidden in the back behind the gym and lovely trees and flowers you’ll find tennis courts 5 Plexi-Pave courts and 1 stadium court. Take lessons and improve your game! Rental equipment available.
Golf! Enjoy the putting green during the day or “Glow Golf” in the evening.
Hilton Waikaloa Village: Relax
If sitting on the beach with a colorful drink that has a little umbrella in it isn’t relaxing enough, try a massage at the spa! Several choices are available – just ask at the front desk.
Take one night to sit on the beach and soak in the sunset. Lovely warm breezes and a sinking ball of oranges, reds, and yellows sinking into the water is guaranteed to melt the stress off of anyone! Buddha point is the perfect spot for sunset viewing.
Hilton Waikaloa Village: Water fun
What would Hawaii be without water fun? The beaches at the property are young and therefore very rocky, but the lagoon has sand! Sit with your feet in the water while little ones build sandcastles. Rent equipment for paddle boarding, snorkeling, and paddle boating.
Snorkeling was such a cool experience. We rented snorkeling gear (flippers, masks, and life jackets) and headed out in the lagoon. My son and I headed near the waterfall which made the water murky. Imagine my surprise when I moved my arm while swimming and felt something very big and slimy!! I pulled my head back and there was a very large sea turtle. He seemed to be enjoying the water splashing from the water fall and took no notice of us as we admired him.
In another part of the lagoon where the water was more shallow and still we had our all time favorite fish sighting. Guess where a lot of the fine beach sand comes from? You heard it here first – parrot fish poop. Tell your kid that tidbit. I guarantee that will be a surprise! We had the interesting opportunity to actually see a parrot fish eat coral and poop out sand. Crazy, I know – but memorable!! See the parrot fish pooping sand on youtube.
For adrenaline junkies of all sizes, water slides are great fun. One is 175 feet long! Just under the waterside you’ll find a place to get towels and the ‘color of the day’ wrist bands. Then take off for sliding fun! Find a spot near the pool for watching and sunning, too.
Hilton Waikaloa Village: Animals
Kids love animals and this is a great place to get to enjoy them. In addition to seeing a sea turtle and parrot fish while snorkeling, there are lots of fun animals to check out at the lovely Hilton Waikaloa Village.
Macaws in the lobby – Those noisy and very colorful birds are on display in the main lobby. We had the pleasure of happening upon a trainer who was taking two birds for their rest time and we got to see them up close. They look painted because their feathers are so colorful. Be careful….the sign in the lobby says some are known jewelry thieves. I guess they like shiny things just like we do!
Dolphins and black tip sharks – Watch from the beach or Lagoon Grill or sign up for your own up close and personal experience with a dolphin. These fantastic creatures, mammals just like us, are interesting and look like they are always smiling. Read about our Dolphin Quest experience here. It was crazy amazing.
Watch the black tip sharks who swim in their own separate area near the dolphins. I know sharks get a bad name (Some of us grew up with the movie Jaws!) but they aren’t all monsters. Take a minute to learn about these cool swimmers from the trainers who come out to discuss them.
Colorful Koi – The giant goldfish type critters are huge and really colorful. We saw them everyday in the pond outside the sushi restaurant as we passed by to our hotel room and even named them.
The real fun with koi is down in the Ocean View building lobby. We stumbled upon them one day and as I got closer to look at them they all gathered round – clearly used to being fed. I walked a few feet and they followed me. The kids got a big kick out of walking back and forth with more than 100 fish clamoring behind them! We pretended to cast a magical spell which put all the koi in our power before feeding them the crumbs they were after. We are Harry Potter nerds, I know it!
The koi have a black swan as a neighbor. **Warning** The black swan is very comfortable around people and comes quite close. My kids (ages 10 and 12) thought he was ‘creepy’. I imagine little ones might think the same.
Asian mongoose – Keep your eyes open for what looks like a tiny brown squirrel without a fluffy tail – the small Asian mongoose. These small animals were introduced to Hawaii to control the rat population causing trouble on pineapple farms. It didn’t really work as the mongoose prefers birds and bird eggs to rats. Now, the small mongoose is considered an invasive species. He sure is cute though and always gets the kids’ attention.
Hilton Waikaloa Village: Entertainment
You can’t got to Hawaii and not see a luau. We were so lucky to receive free tickets to check it out in exchange for a post on the event. I think there is some sort of rule that says you have to! The Legends of Hawaii luau was so much fun! The buffet meal was full of delicious and interesting Hawaiian food. Kudos to the menu planner for including a separate kids’ buffet just for the keikis! It had all the yummy and familiar, foods kids love like chicken fingers and mac and cheese.
Drinks are included and come in all colors with wonderfully Hawaiian sounding names. Try several. Order the virgin, non alcoholic versions for kids to enjoy them, too. The kid versions come in a fun Tiki shaped class.
We especially enjoyed the colorful bread. Pink, anyone?
Besides the lovely costumes and energetic dancing that was so much fun to watch, what really had everyone mesmerized was the fire dancing! I mean….fire…dancing….strong music…it was thrilling!
Go to Kamehameha Court one morning at 8 am (I know it is early but worth it!) to see them getting the imu (pit) ready for cooking a pig for the night’s luau.
Mahalo Lounge –
The Mahalo Lounge, behind the main lobby has live musial entertainment each evening. Enjoy pool tables and watching sports events on the big screen TV while you have a drink from the bar and snacks and relax!
Movies and Games –
Relax in the evening while the kids watch movies and use playstation games. Each hotel tower has a box in the lobby where you can access lots of movies and games. Each room has a DVD/Playstation player. This was a great way for us all to relax in the evening. Tweens and teens can hang out in the room while mom and dad go outside for an evening stroll.
Unplugging as much as you can is always wonderful on a vacation, but sometimes wifi is great, too! Hubby had to get up in the middle of the night to participate in a work meeting. Thank goodness for computers and wifi!
FREE wifi hot spots:
- BoatLandingCantina(servingBoatLanding and Palm Terrace areas)
- KohalaPoolBar(serving most of Kohala Pool area)
- MaloloLounge(serving Main Lobby area)
- OrchidMarketPlace(serving Kona Pool area)
- Waikoloa Coffee atLagoonTower
Play on a HUGE checker board near the pool. My youngest is a shark and has never lost a game. So, is he really good…..or am I really bad at checkers??
Hilton Waikaloa Village: Culture
Learning about the rich Hawaiian culture can make the trip even more fun! There is so much available!
Choose from the list and make your reservations:
Hawaiian Plant Tour
Flower lei making
Nut lei making
Feather lei making demo
Hilton Waikaloa Village: Art
The hallways are lined with fantastic art. Appreciate it on any level whether you are an art major or an arm chair art lover. Does it remind you of something? Can you strike a pose like the statue? Do you love the colors? How about posing with this guy wearing your version of his ‘extreme smile’.
Some kids put rocks under the animal statues like it was poop. We giggled every time we walked by. Sometimes the rocks were gone and I wondered aloud if there was a person who had to move them each day.
Hilton Waikaloa Village: Kids
Club Keiki – a place for kids only
I know you came to Hawaii to spend time together as a family, but check out the kids club for at least a few hours. The counselors have planned really fun activities for the kids like hula dancing, lei making, and fishing! They’ll search for olivine (a green mineral) in lava and go swimming, too. Each day has a theme. The hotel gave us a few free hours for the kids so we could check it out and then write about it.
Keiki (kid) visitors will be fed, supervised and have a blast while mom and dad do mom and dad stuff. Has it been a long time since you guys were alone together? In a romantic place like Hawaii? I think you’ll find something kid free to do with your time. 😉
Hilton Waikaloa Village: Shop
Vacations always include a little shopping – whether you are looking for souvenirs or purchasing something you forgot to pack! From souvenirs to snacks, clothing and jewelry you’ll find all the things you need at the resort shops. Forgot sunscreen or water shoes? They’ve got you covered, too!
The ladies here wear pretty flowers in their hair and I found couldn’t resist one of my own. This one is not real (which is awesome so it won’t die!) and makes a fun souvenir.
Hilton Waikaloa Village: Rent a Car
There is so much to do here at the resort, but the rest of the island beckons, too! Reserve your car choice early as they do sell out. Alamo and Nationwide are both represented here. It is super easy to reserve, pick up, and drop off all right here on the resort. I noticed they do have some car seats, but I’m sure there aren’t many. Reserve early!
We had opportunity to rent a jeep one day and the kids loved it! What an adventure!
Where will you go once you rent a car?
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park – Hike lava tubes.
Original Chocolate Farm – See the process from plant to yummy chocolate candy! (and chocolate loving geckos)
Southpoint – Visit the southernmost point in the United States.
Mauna Kea – Check out the world’s tallest mountain. (Yes, even taller than Mt. Everest if you measure from the sea floor.)
Beaches – Green, Black, Soft sand beaches are all over the island!
Waipio Valley Lookout – This spectacular outlook screams Hawaii!
Hilton Waikaloa Village: Catch the Shuttle
Ride the shuttle to King’s Shops.
Only about a mile from the resort is an outdoor mall of shops. Take the shuttle or walk off some of your vacation calories.
You’ll find some swanky shops here like Coach, Micheal Kors, Kohala Coast Fine Art, and Tiffany & Co. Go here for the full directory of King’s Shops stores.
Have some experiences here at the King’s Shops, too! Feed the koi fish and go on a Petroglyph tour. See the calendar of events to make your plans.
Ride the shuttle to the Queen’s Marketplace.The Queen’s Marketplace is a great all around place to visit for shopping. We bought embroidered hats at Lids and snacks at the Island Gourmet Market, which is also a great place for inexpensive souvenirs. Our evening snacks of blizzards from Dairy Queen and honest to goodness Hawaiian shaved ice from Paradise Pizza and Grill hit the spot after a long day in paradise. Click here for the full directory of Queen’s Marketplace shops.
Enjoy a Hawaiian Quilting class, yoga or check out the calendar of events for choices to make your vacation special. They even have movies under the stars.
There is something for everyone at the Hilton Waikaloa Village on the BIG island of Hawaii! This fall it will be even easier to get to as American Airlines is considering a flight from Dallas non-stop to Kona on the big island.
The Educational Tourist is a resource for all your family travel needs: planning, advice, tips, and now The Educational Tourist is a REAL travel agent, too. Let me know how I can help!
Happy Hawaiian Travels!
Natalie, The Educational Tourist