- the most resort-like hotel on Waikiki Beach
- 22 acres of lush grounds, shopping "village", pools
- quieter beach than at most Waikiki hotels
- just a short walk from central Waikiki Beach
- major new lagoon area
Hilton Hawaiian Village - Background
The Hilton Hawaiian Village is on the west end of Waikiki Beach, a legendary tourist zone on the island of Oahu: a 2-mile sweep of surf and shore below Diamond Head, with perfect surf for beginners, and a loveliness that persists even with concrete and high-rises.
Hilton is of course a world-wide company, and this property has been part of the Hilton chain for decades.
The original hotel opened in 1928; the fifties saw thatched-roof cottages, then a Tower; in 1961, Conrad Hilton bought in, and soon after, "Hawaii Five-0" told the tv world that Waikiki -- with its high-rises and surfing-- was possibly the coolest place on earth.
More years brought more Towers, and an entire shopping village. New in 2007 is a major restoration of the adjacent (state-owned) Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon, with boardwalk; still to come is a seventh Tower, the Grand Waikikian, a 39-story timeshare property.
Features of the Hilton Hawaiian Village:
- hundreds of rooms, suites, timeshares in various Towers; some -- Ali'i Tower, for ex.-- have extra amenities, exclusive pool, etc.
- Rainbow Bazaar shopping village, with some interesting architecture -such as a replica of a 50-foot-high Japanese pagoda, disassembled and shipped from Japan
- numerous restaurants, from casual outdoor eateries to fine dining.
- Super Pool - largest pool on the island
- Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon -just steps away
- Mandara Spa- with its own pool
- complimentary activities such as aquacize, aerobics, hula fitness (!), and a Property Tour that covers history, wildlife and works of art.
- Hawaiian Chant Procession, at dusk most weeknights*; special Procession and Flag Ceremony, followed by Torch-lighting Ceremony at the Super Pool, Sat. and Sunday
- King's Jubilee Celebration and Fireworks, Fridays: Flag Ceremony, Polynesian Revue, followed by beachfront fireworks
- Sunday church services (Catholic and Protestant), and interdenominational service on the beach
Features for Families
- kids 17 and under stay free: in parents' room (using the original bedding)
- Keiki Pool (Children's Pool), by the Super Pool and the beach
- toy lending room with toys and games
- complimentary family activities such as hula dancing, and lei-making, coconut front weaving, ukulele lessons...
- wildlife: ibis and duck feeding, koi fish feeding, turtle feeding; Penguin and Turtle Encounters, too. (Penguins are not the cold-weather type!)
- King's Jubilee Keiki Parade: kids join the Procession with the King, Village Guards and dancers, coloring flags to the Super Pool, where kids sit in a reserved section for the Revue
- Camp Penguin Kids' Club: named for the resort's African penguins; full and half-day programs for ages 5 to 12. Activities include Hawaiian crafts, "Hawaiian Word of the Day", storytelling, music, swimming in the kids' pool, and outings such as Waikiki Aquarium and Honolulu Zoo.
- surfing: surfing is integral to Waikiki Beach, and Waikiki is a terrific beach for beginners. Lessons are readily available, and even kids young as seven can "get up".
Keep in Mind
- for some complimentary activities, guests need to sign up in advance; ditto for kids' club
- daily fee required for fitness center
- main pools close early
- construction is taking place on one side of the resort
See the local side of Hawaii: take advantage of the Hilton Hawaiian Village's convenient location, and explore small restaurants and local legends such as Leonard's pastries.
- surf lessons: join the many beginners at lessons you can walk to in five minutes, along the beach
- Atlantis Adventures submarine tours depart from a pier at Hilton Hawaiian Village
- Segway of Hawaii guided tours depart right from the property; for ages 16 and up (with an adult.) Training provided before the tour.
- Diamond Head - you'll need a couple of hours for this hike
- Pearl Harbor - a National Park; 20 minutes from Waikiki
- north side of Oahu: Polynesian Cultural Center- visit several islands, in one day! Seven "villages" in the lush, huge grounds showcase Polynesian cultures, with live shows and kids' activities; lavish luau and night show, too.
- Glider Rides: try "soaring", with birds-eye view of stunning scenery
See lots more about Outings on Oahu.
And for an inter-island outing: combine a stay at the Hilton Hawaiian Village with a stay at the Hilton Waikoloa Village on the Big Island. Intra-island flights are cheap thanks to price wars!
* Always check resort sites for updates!
As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with complimentary accommodation for the purpose of review. While it has not influenced this review, About.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see our ethics policy.