Here’s the inside scoop on our stay at the Big Island of Hawaii Hilton Waikoloa Village Hotel Review with Video and Photos. I know if I’m about to fork over cash for a giant family vacation I love to see other people’s videos, photos, and get input from families on their experiences at a resort. So we’ll try to give you the skinny! Overall the setting and location of this gigantic resort is stunning with absolutely beautiful ocean views and very spacious rooms. Rooms were large and fabulous for a long stay too. We had a wonderful vacation! The hotel is 20 mins from Kona airport and located in the resort area on the Big Island north of Kona.To explore the island, we were about 2 hours from Volcanoes National Park.
Read on to see lots of our photos, a video room tour, and my quick list of the pros and cons about booking a stay at the Hilton Waikoloa Village on the Big Island. We stayed on site from 7 nights/8 days from a Saturday to a Saturday in May of 2017 in the MAKI lagoon tower, which is the newest modern tower.
Big Island of Hawaii Hilton Waikoloa Village Hotel Review with Video and Photos
Check out our video room tour from the Makai Lagoon tower at the Hilton Waikoloa Village Resort on the Big Island of Hawaii below along with lots of photos of this gorgeous resort.
When you arrive, you’ll be welcomed with beautiful REAL floral leis. They smell beautiful and we loved this Aloha touch to welcome us to Hawaii.
Overall Impression of the Hotel
Warning: We loved the room and the spectacular views but the hotel adds lots of extra resort fees to access amenities you generally expect to be included at more luxurious resort travel destinations. This can be frustrating for visitors vacationing with families! Also, the ocean view is stunning here but the resort is not located on a beach where you will swim or snorkel, so plan for a rental car to drive to a nearby beach. This is not a huge deal, but if you are planning on beaching it every day as your #1 priority, I think you’ll probably prefer to stay at a hotel with onsite swimmable beach access. Note, that there is a small saltwater lagoon that you can swim or snorkel in at the hotel and we did indeed enjoy this option. You can even take out paddleboards or kayaks (for a fee) in the little lagoon. We just snorkeled here, but we saw sea turtles and all kinds of fish here so had a great time taking advantage of the lagoon.
If you are planning to explore the island by rental car, golf, take a helicopter ride, visit Volcanoes National Park, go hiking on the various lava fields or trails, and explore or hike to various beaches, this location is very central on the Big Island and not having a beach steps from the hotel door to “swim or snorkel” at daily is totally fine. So ultimately, we loved staying here, but depending on your itinerary and families travel plans it’s something to think about!
Photos of the Gorgeous Hilton Waikoloa Village Resort
As you an tell from our photos the property is stunning. The location as it juts out into the ocean makes for spectacular sunsets and gorgeous views everywhere on the property. Rooms have amazing ocean views too!
This sidewalk meanders around the entire oceanfront resort – that has over 1000 rooms. Since the resort is GIANT, this oceanfront sidewalk is a gorgeous way to get around and my kiddos got lots of bonding time strolling around exploring the views and pools as you can tell below! Nothing like vacation for sibling bonding!!!!
Kenzie snapping photos from the rocky points at the waters edge when we first arrived at the hotel. It was an unusually windy day so there was lots of white water!
The view from our guest bedroom at the hotel in the MAKAI at Lagoon Tower.
Large Size of the Resort
The resort is VERY large – they even have a sweet water taxi and monorail system to get you from place to place. 3 Towers to accommodate over 1000 guest rooms!!!!!!!
If your an active energetic family, you’ll likely rarely use these but it’s great to have available. We used the water taxi once and monorail each one time as the kids were begging to try it and we had to literally go from the farthest point of the resort to a completely different area which can indeed take 10+minutes to walk! I even went on a run along the ocean trail within the resort and it was almost 1 mile in one direction!
The nice thing is the landscaping and views are so spectacular that walking on these paths is super beautiful and enjoyable. Extra waterfalls, rocks, ocean views, plus all the floral and fauna to enjoy make the walks to breakfast, the pool, or the lobby to exit the resort to our rental car seem to go by quicker.
Pros and Cons Quicklist at the Hilton Waikoloa
PROS about staying at the Hilton Waikoloa
There are probably many more…. but these were some of our favorite things about this hotel
- Stunning setting with ocean views everywhere as hotel sticks out on a point
- The resort has a cool lagoon where you can snorkel with sea turtles, fish, eels, and more.
- Several pools and some have waterfalls too. The view looking out the rocky coastline to the ocean at the pool is beautiful.
- On location Rental Car Options from National and Enterprise. So easy !!!!!!!!! We loved this and used itmultiple times during our stay to rent the car just when we needed it for 1 day trips.
- Central Location on the Big Island
- 20 Minutes from the Kona Airport
- Beautiful views from the room
- On site Swim with Dolphin experience available with the Dolphin Quest. Even if you don’t pay to do this you will love watching the dolphins swim and do their tricks!
- Public Gorgeous beaches located nearby within 10-15 minute drives
- Shopping center located walking distance or a quick free shuttle or uber ride away (about 3/4 of a mile to mini grocery store, luxury shops and even a Roy’s Restaurant. We ate at the Roy’s 2 x during our visit as it’s one of my favorite restaurants of all time!
- Golf courses nearby
- Beautiful location to watch the sunset!!!!
Cons of staying at the Hilton Waikoloa
- Extremely large resort so it doesn’t feel intimate like a 5 star luxury hotel tends to feel
- No beach access for swimming or snorkeling in the ocean directly at the resort
- Very large resort means it’s always a hike to breakfast, dinner, or the pool
- Lots of extra resort fees to utilize things at the pool like Kayaks, Paddleboards, etc. Kids were paying $15 each for 1 turn to go inside and spin around and play on this giant inflatable wheel. $15!!!!!
- Very expensive buffet breakfast. $37 for Adults and $19 for kids 6-12. (5 & under is free with paying adults) You can check out the pricing for breakfast on their menu here to get a feel for the expense. This adds up big time on a vacation!
- Extra resort fees daily for use of pools etc, although this fee is built into the Makai building rooms somehow. It was all a little confusing, but ultimately, extra fees for resort usage!
- No special lounges or restrooms with showers for guests to utilize after they check out of the hotel. With flights that typically leave at 9-11 pm from Hawaii to the USA, this is a bit frustrating. At more luxurious resorts I would expect some type of FREE facility to shower and change. Typically, when we travel and stay at fancy resorts, I’ve never had to pay extra for a place to change or relax after we checkout. For a hotel this large, I anticipated some kind of FREE lounge or locker rooms for showering or relaxing. Even our basic inexpensive $150 motels at the Jersey shore often little bathrooms and showers for changing after you checkout.
Legends of Hawaii Luau at the Hilton Waikoloa Village
It’s pricey but definitely super entertaining and a rite of passage while in Hawaii to attend a luau. It’s very convenient to book the Luau located at your hotel so it’s great that there is a Luau here – and it’s a good one! The Legends of Hawaii Luau tells the story of the Big Island of Hawaii so we loved it! My kids and along with my husband and I loved the entertainment – from traditional Hawaiian dance, music to the heart stopping dances with fire and knives! The fire performers were AMAZING! Food is a buffet and the lines seemed manageable – you can also go back and forth again and again to get more if you realize you prefer one dish over another!
Also, we had VIP reserved seats so were seated very close to the stage which I definitely recommend. You can read more about how often the Luau is offered on the Hilton website here.