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Traveler Saves Family Vacation with Trip To Hawaii, Embracing New Travel Safety Protocols

One Owner shares what it's really like to stay at Hilton Grand Vacations' Hawaii resorts right now

The Vacationeer
Aerial shot of travelers swimming, kayaking and enjoying Hilton Waikoloa Village's lagoon in Hawaii.

When your family has a standing tradition, it can be frustrating to cancel, which is what happened to Bob I.'s family. Bob, a Hilton Grand Vacations Owner at The Bay Club at Waikoloa Beach Resort, always looks forward to their annual trip to the Hawaiian Islands. 

However, after they canceled their original stay earlier this year due to the pandemic, they tried to reschedule three or four times before successfully finalizing their October travel. "Our motivation was vacation," says Bob, mirroring the sentiments of so many homebound travelers. 

Bob traveled with his family to The Bay Club just over nine days after the island first reopened to travelers in mid-October. 

Barbeques and picnic tables surrounded by lush landscaping at The Bay Club Waikoloa Beach Resort.    

Understanding that current travel to Hawaii involves COVID-testing, Bob was ready to meet all the requirements. To prepare for the trip and all arrival protocols, Bob found the best resource to be the state of Hawaii's official Safe Travels website

"The website explained all the steps you need to take. It even provided names of testing companies. And it was absolutely accurate."

The most daunting of those steps was obtaining a negative COVID-19 test within 72-hours of his trip.

For the Bob and his family, their test with recognized testing partner Kaiser took about 18 hours to return results. Meanwhile, his daughter and her spouse used a different provider, and it took them a little longer to get their results back.

"That is the most stressful time," says Bob. "You take the test, and you're stewing until you have it in your hands and whether you're going to get it in time."

"I would tell everybody to get your test done as close as you can to the 72-hour departure window to allow for the maximum amount of time for your results to come back," adds Bob.

As for the flight and travel experience itself, Bob said the combination of the cleaning protocols conducted by airlines, the requirement that all travelers wear a face covering and published studies on the safety of air circulation on airplanes made him feel safe about his flight over to the island. 

The arrival process at the airport also ran smoothly for the family. "The first step is to confirm you have had your COVID-19 test done within the 72-hour window. The county of Hawaii then cycles you off for a second, quick response test. We waited maybe 15 minutes to take the test. And then, after the test, you must wait until the test is verified. It can take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour. It took us about 45 minutes. With what they were accomplishing, it wasn't bad."

Once Bob and his family arrived at The Bay Club, they were pleased with the elevated cleaning protocols as part of Hilton Grand Vacations' Enhanced Care Guidelines with Hilton CleanStay™.

"When you first arrive, there is plexiglass at the check-in counters. You find plexiglass everywhere nowadays. So that was expected, and it was there," says Bob. Additional protocols Bob witnessed around the property included required face coverings for Owners, Guests and Team Members.

"They were careful with face coverings, making sure everyone had one on," says Bob, adding that the use of face coverings was evident throughout their excursions on the island.

He found additional cleaning steps throughout the property. "When we arrived at the room, it had the same seal on it as we've seen at the Hilton hotels worldwide, indicating the room was clean. Inside the room, there were reminders about the enhanced cleaning steps that housekeeping followed, like removing the paper materials. And the TV remote controls were wrapped and covered, letting us know housekeeping sanitized them."

Cleaned and Sanitized Room Diagram   

The attention to detail carried over throughout the resort. "I was particularly aware of the personnel who were constantly coming by and cleaning things," says Bob. "I felt perfectly comfortable thanks to the protocols.

Those elevated protocols extended to The Bay Club's on-site health club, which Bob visited several times during his stay. "The room had limited hours and allowed for closure time during the day so it could be freshly cleaned, even during the day. People were encouraged to clean after use with plenty of cleaning supplies there."

Bob shares that someone was already in the facility working out on one visit, and he chose to return at a different time to access the facility alone. "My recommendation: Be the first one there in the morning, be a good citizen about it. And if you see something that makes you uncomfortable, just leave. Which I think kind of goes through all of what we do everywhere."

Bob suggests researching your options before travel and emphasizes the need to be flexible since not all local businesses have regular hours yet. 

"You just have to roll with the punches and realize that first of all, the people that are there, the people of Hawaii, are trying hard to make you feel welcome. And they need our business. They need us to be there," says Bob. "A responsible opening up – where people are staying safe, and Hawaii continues to stay open – is important for the people we depend upon when we are there."

"If you mind the protocols, the travel experience will be different but safe. And once you're there, you're home again in paradise. It's wonderful."

— Bob I., Hilton Grand Vacations Owner at The Bay Club Waikoloa Resort 

Read Hawaii Says Aloha, Again: Here's What You Need To Know About Planning a Trip to Hawaii in Today’s World.


The Vacationeer

The Vacationeer is a collective of Hilton Grand Vacations storytellers whose goal is to inspire travelers to go further. We're always on the lookout for new destinations to explore, useful travel tips, and unique ideas to help you plan the most memorable vacations possible.

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