Review: Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort - Honolulu, Hawaii
April 23rd, 2018
If you’ve never been to Hawaii or anywhere tropical for that matter, one thing that you’ll immediately notice and a feature that sets itself apart from other places around the world is the fact that they take advantage of the beautiful weather they are given. From airport terminals to hotel lobbies, most of these public attractions will often be open air. The Hilton Hawaiian Village was no exception.
We landed on Oahu just after five o’clock and shortly thereafter we were dropped off at the Hilton Hawaiian Village which is located in Waikiki, a vibrant, beach-front neighbourhood of Honolulu. As mentioned above, the first thing that catches your attention on the resort is the lush and tropical landscaping as well as the openness of the resort. Due to traffic conditions as a result of a festival, we were dropped off curbside just outside the resort instead of the lobby.
Normally this wouldn’t be of much concern, but when you’ve been traveling for over 10 hours with an infant, not to mention hungry and tired, you kind of wished you didn’t have to walk a few hundred meters with an infant and all your luggage in tow.
Then again, we were on Island Time now and for the next 12 days, and that’s all that mattered. As an added bonus, we were upgraded upon check-in to a Junior Suite in the Tapa Tower which was a nice gesture and we definitely appreciated the extra space. (Apologies in advance I totally forgot to take pictures of the room! I know I know…)
As we predicted, we crashed pretty hard the first night and because of that we were all up really early the next day.
We decided to check out the resorts breakfast buffet, Rainbow Lanai, and for anyone who is a fan of buffets (we actually aren’t for the most part), this one surely did not disappoint. The buffet consisted of multiple food stations ranging from your typical American-style hot breakfast items to Asian-inspired dishes like local fried-rice and Dim Sum, fresh fruit and pastries galore as well as a cooked-to-order omelette station.
To top it all off, they even had a hot sauce shelf displaying some of the Islands gourmet sauces as well of some more typical varieties. The great thing about the buffet was that it was the first to open compared to the either breakfast options so we made use of it on more than one occasion when we knew we were going to have an early start to our day.
Now, the buffet’s price tag wasn’t for the faint of heart at a whopping $40USD per person. Mind you, our little one was free and did eat to her hearts content so that was a win-win. Needless to say, she crushed the buffet and impressed onlookers with her appetite.
Besides the buffet, the only other breakfast options within the resort are all a-la-cart and they were Tropics Bar and Grill and Wiki Wiki Market. We made use of the latter options when we didn’t have anything planned in the morning and also when we wanted to give our wallets a break. Tropics was more of a sit down restaurant and Wiki Wiki Market was exactly that, a market with a hot table and quick grab and go items. We didn’t take advantage of Wiki Wiki until our last day and had we known the food offerings were not only substantial but relatively inexpensive as well, we would have frequented it more throughout our stay!
The Hilton Hawaiian Village 22-acre grounds were truly exceptional and welcoming. Tons of tropical foliage, loads of shops and no shortage of pools, restaurants or sandy oceanfront. The resort had 5 pools and 20 restaurants/bars plus a huge lagoon and to my disappointed (I mean my daughters disappointment) no penguins were spotted. They did however have ample koi, macaw, ducks and other birds out and about so that was a nice consolation.
Being in the heart of Waikiki, you have access to pretty much everything in the event you want to venture off the resort grounds. You’re within walking distance of shopping, bars and restaurants and naturally loads of other resorts.
For the adventurous types, you also have Diamond Head within “reach” (approximately 4 miles away). We opted to take the bus for obvious reasons but if you were so inclined, it would definitely be a doable, albeit lengthy, walk.
The hike up and down Diamond Head took approximately 45 minutes. That included some stoppages along the way to take pictures all the while competing for space up the narrow steps/trails as well as heaving a toddler up and down on your back. Fun times!
Overall, our time in Honolulu was quite enjoyable. Considering the fact that almost 75% of the total Hawaiian population lives in Oahu, it’s no surprise when they say that Honolulu offers more of a big city vibe than a relaxed one (which is not very characteristic of Hawaii).
The Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort was an outstanding property with loads to do. The room was more than spacious, but it was a little dated and could eventually use a refresher. Nevertheless, it was clean and suited our needs just fine. I found the food offerings, more specifically breakfast, to be quite limited on the resort but being right in the heart of Waikiki, you’d be hard-pressed not to find something in the event you wanted to venture off the resort.
Free nights at the Hilton Hawaiian Village start at 60,000/night plus a $40USD/night resort charge. The resort charge includes: Guest internet access; cultural activities; exercise classes; outdoor movies; 20% off adventure sail; 2-day rental car discount or upgrade; 10% off beach activities/services; Waikiki Aquarium BOGO; DVD/game use; local/toll-free calls.
This had been my first time on Oahu and it wouldn’t be fair to say that it’s all “big city feel”. When you’re limited to Waikiki with no vehicle, it’s difficult to truly explore the whole island and all it has to offer. You unfortunately end up missing out on some truly remarkable landmarks and areas such as the North Shore with it’s epic surfing, Pearl Harbor, Waimea Valley and Koko Head, to name a few.