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Expert advice

Trip Report: Hilton Waikoloa Village

Read this Hilton Grand Vacations Owner review before planning your trip to Hawaii

Casey R.
People swimming in the lagoon at Hilton Waikoloa Village on the Big Island.

Located on the West side of the Island of Hawaii (most commonly known as the ‘Big Island’), Hilton Waikoloa Village is perfectly positioned to take advantage of all Hawaii has to offer.

The resort, which is on the sunny side of the island, is close to Kailua-Kona for shopping and restaurants, less than a two-hour drive to Volcano National Park, and has an abundance of activities and cultural sights right on its doorstep.

Accommodations

We stayed at Makai at Lagoon Tower by Hilton Grand Vacations, an upgraded experience featuring newly renovated rooms, personalized service and a dedicated lounge area at the Kona Pool, and other exclusive extras.

You can also stay at Hilton Grand Vacations' newest Big Island property Ocean Tower by Hilton Grand Vacations. The resort has a mix of 72 studios, 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom condo-like suites that you can book directly with your ClubPoints, and boasts ocean front views, renovated rooms, kitchens and laundry facilities — a new feature for the Hilton Waikoloa Village resort. 

Activities and Experiences

The resort itself is a sprawling 62-acres along the Kona coast. It’s absolutely massive but in the best way. Each tower has a pool area and restaurants nearby. It’s three large resorts on one property, and you get to use the facilities at all of them.

We spent a lot of time at the Kona Pool as it was closest to our resort tower, but we also used all of the pools and the lagoon throughout the week.

There are three pools, some with water slides, spread throughout the report, plus an adult’s only pool for those wanting some quiet relaxation. 

Waikoloa Lagoon

Due to the island's volcanic nature, there isn’t a swimmable beach on site, but there is a beautiful sandy 4-acre lagoon teeming with turtles and tropical fish for you to discover. The ocean naturally feeds the lagoon, so it's sparklingly clear and warm.

You can snorkel in the lagoon or rent paddleboards and boats. It’s a great place to spend the day, and with full beach chair service and cabana rental, it's easy to enjoy a cocktail between swimming.

There's also a dolphin lagoon where you can learn about dolphin conservation and swim with the resident dolphins. If you prefer to keep your feet dry, you can golf, play tennis and rent bikes to explore the local area. Check out the trams and canal boats to get you around and for a fun way to explore the resort.

The property also has a massive enclosed walkway from one end of the resort to the other and along the way are heaps of museum-worthy art pieces from Hawaii and other Polynesian islands.

We found that there was so much to do at the actual resort, we were able to have a few days where we didn’t go exploring elsewhere and didn’t get bored or feel like we were wasting time sitting around the hotel pool all day. We felt like we got the best of both worlds.

Kamuela Provision Company

Beyond the resort's nine restaurants and bars, including pool bars and poolside service, there's also in-room dining available.

We had breakfast at Big Island, a massive traditional hotel buffet with lots of different options, a few times. We enjoyed Waikoloa Coffee for breakfast for a few of the other mornings, just getting great Kona coffee and a pastry to start the day.

KPC (Kamuela Provision Company) is set right on the oceanfront, and you get an amazing sunset view while you eat. The food was really good with lots of choices and focused on local Hawaiian produce without being too over the top.

However, our favorite was the Lagoon Grill. You can enjoy views of swimming dolphins or the larger swimming lagoon while you fill your belly with tasty (and economical) burgers and sandwiches. It was just a great little spot to sit and watch the world.

Another place we used a lot was Orchids Marketplace. There you can pick-up grab and go options, which were good for taking along with us when we ventured outside of the resort or if we just fancied a snack or smaller lunch poolside.

Mt. Kilauea

Hilton Waikoloa Village is a great place to use as a home base to see everything the Big Island offers. You can park your rental car in the large parking lot or valet if that’s easier for you.

Close by is King’s Shops and the Queens Marketplace, both with plenty of restaurants and shopping choices.

The town of Kailua-Kona is about 40 minutes with lots to see in-between. Kailua-Kona is the main town in Hawaii with lots of shopping, restaurants and cultural activities.

About an hour and 40 minutes away, via Saddle Road, you'll find Volcano National Park, which is home to Hawaii’s famous Mt Kilauea. You can also take the longer route around the island, along the front of Mauna Loa and along the ocean to reach the town of Volcano in about two hours and 40 minutes. Both routes have some spectacular scenery, and I recommend driving one way there and the other way back.

Mauna Kea Summit

About two hours away is Mauna Kea, the tallest mountain in the world (when measured from its base, on the seafloor).

Mauna Kea offers a visitor’s station you can drive to, but by far, the best way to see it is to book the tour that takes you to the summit at sunset. You'll experience spectacular, once in a lifetime views from the top of the world.

There are telescopes that universities and space agencies use on top of Mauna Kea, and as the sun sets, they all open to the night sky.

On the other side of the island, Hilo has the unfortunate distinction of being the wettest part of Hawaii with over 270 rainy days a year, but this makes for fantastic waterfalls and lush green jungle-like forests to explore.

If you're driving to Hilo, you should consider going over the top of the island, via Waimea and Hawi. You'll see some of the best scenery Hawaii has to offer, rolling green mountains, ocean vistas and quaint little towns.

Read Can’t Miss Outdoor Tours To Book on the Big Island for more fun things to do in Hawaii. 

 

 

Casey

Casey R.

A Member since 2016, Casey’s home resort is Hilton Grand Vacations Club on Paradise in Las Vegas. Casey is from Australia, and when traveling the globe, she loves to embrace different cultures. She does this by exploring off the beaten path, eating unique foods, and lounging around the pool or beach. Casey loves to travel with her husband and appreciates all the brilliant places they have visited together. She enjoys having breakfast in her HGV kitchen, and values this money-saving hack while traveling. Casey is a night owl who loves reading books and sipping cherry limeade cocktails by the pool.

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