Author: Kyle McCarthy
Tags : Beach, Big Island, Couples, Family-Friendly Hotels, Golf, Hawaii, Kids, Kids Club, Multigen, North America, Resort, Teens, USA, Watersports
When it comes to multigenerational family vacations, size does matter and, at the classic Hilton Waikoloa Village bigger means better. And more choice.
Isolated, yet comprising almost every conceivable creature comfort, the 35,000-acre Hilton development is on the northwest coast of Hawaii Island, north of Kona. Like a theme park in scope and style, it includes the Hilton Waikoloa hotel with three towers – Lagoon, Palace and Ocean; three Hilton Grand Vacations Club condo complexes – Kings Land, Kohala Suites and The Bay Club; several restaurants; and the Queen’s Marketplace shopping mall with super market, multiplex cinema, and more. Overall, it’s a joyful piece of paradise, especially for multigenerational travelers.
The Hilton Waikoloa hotel, which began construction in 1986, is still lauded for its many restaurants, bars, pools, beach and generally playful ambiance. Each example of Asian art, from silk tapestries to ceramics decorating the resort, is worthy of close inspection, easy to do if you take the free monorail train or canal boat to get around. The day we spent hanging out at the main hotel, coddled by lifeguards, dining in full view of the dolphin lagoon, was a highlight of our visit.
A Condo Works Best for Large Families
However, we chose to stay at Kings Land, the newest of the Hilton Grand Vacations Club rental complexes. The whole place is well laid out, so the condos feel just as glamorous -- but much more intimate -- than the 1,113-room main hotel.
Our large two-bedroom unit overlooked black, brown and red lava fields artfully bordering the resort’s golf course. Hibiscus, calladium, pineapple plants and coconut palms outlined the walking paths. As condominium guests, we had the advantage of full apartment-style units with comfortable separate bedrooms, full kitchen and washer/dryer -- actually more comforts than in most homes. Having that two-bedroom unit gave our family the opportunity to buy coconut bread and Kona coffee for breakfast, keep macadamia nut snacks and refreshments at hand, have space and privacy to work, and easily get ourselves ready each evening.
Hilton Vacation Clubs are like independent resorts
Kings Land also feels like its own resort. There are multiple pools, several swim areas with chaise lounges and waterslides, a recreation center where the Keiki Club for ages 5-12 meets daily from 8am-10pm, a fitness center, games room, bistro and bars. During the busy holiday weeks, there are several supervised activities daily, ranging from Coconut Palm Frond Weaving to aquarobics, lei making to yoga and hula lessons. A free shuttle provides access to the main hotel, the mall, the sand beach and all facilities that condo guests can use, plus it’s a fun way to get an overview of the property with kids.
Planning your Hilton Waikoloa Visit
If you're a Hilton Honors member, you are in luck because this is one of loyalty program’s most-redeemed resort stays. If not, check the Hilton Hawaii website which features all the hotel rooms and condo options available. You'll find that, depending on season, the condo prices are usually better value for larger families.
Additionally, Hilton Grand Vacation Club guests get special rates at the Waikoloa Beach and Kings’ golf courses, discounts on gear, rentals and dining, and free use of the practice facilities and clubs if you want to introduce your family to the sport.
Although you can cook in your condo or try one of the many hotel or mall restaurants, the Waikoloa Village complex boasts the very popular Lava Lava Beach Club about a 10-minute drive away on the shore of Anaeho’omalu Bay. It’s a wonderful place to enjoy fresh seafood at night, out on the sand, and listen to some live music, so book ahead.
Hawai’i is not called the Big Island for nothing. While Waikoloa is not central to everything, it is a routine pickup spot for tours to Mauna Kea to see the observatories (run by Hawaii Forest Trail), guided walks to an active lava flow (see Kapoho Kine Adventures), and even excursions to snorkel with manta rays, which we did on the Kona coast, about an hour’s drive away.