Fantastic Facility, Staff and Beach, Average Food Posted Jul 17, 2013
This trip was my family's very first to Hawaii and we could not have been happier to have stayed that the Hilton Hawaiian Village. We loved our room in the Tapa Tower which had a stunning view of the beach. Every member of staff that helped us was magnificent and wonderfully friendly and always there to assist however they could! Every pool was terrific and we had a lot of fun at the Lagoon (but USE SUN SCREEN HERE as there is NO SHADE)! We chose this location with our young daughters in mind given that they LOVE gift shops and the amazing shopping opportunities present at the Village gave us many fun shops to explore! If we had any complaints, the most significant one would be the lack of solid family dining option that provided value and diversity. We tried CJ's Deli, Pronto Pickle, Round Table Pizza, but none really provided a good meal (and we expected expensive food akin to Disney Theme Park eating, so I'm not knocking these places due to price - although $50 for two medium Round Table pizzas is a joke). As a result, we never really found a nice eating alternative that could provide something that didn't feel like a generic chain restaurant. Our best meal came at Haleiwa Joe's on the north shore, but if you're a foodie, you might want to do some research in order to find better eating options. But outside of that, the location was magnificent with easy access to Waikiki Beach. In fact, one of our goals for our trip was to choose a location that would provide this kind of easy beach access and the hotel did not disappoint in this regard at all. Also, as a Dad with younger kids not all that accustomed ocean swimming, the calm surf and low waves made it perfect for our kids to snorkel and swim all they wanted. Also, if you want to rent gear to use in the water, there is a FANTASTIC location just across the street! The hotel wanted to charge us $59 for use of a stand up paddle board for two hours, but this great shop with a wonderfully nice owner called Quality Surfboard Hawaii charged only $30 for the DAY. While it was a bit of a pain to walk the board and the paddle from the shop to the shore, it was more than worth it given the savings and the fun (and prices are equally great for snorkels, boards - $20 a day - and other gear). Lastly, we enjoy a terrific breakfast each morning by visiting one of the two ABC Stores each morning in order to collect cereal, pastries, and even sushi! While I was told by a lot of people to find the nearest Costco upon arriving, I found that it wasn't needed given how good the ABC items were along with reasonable prices. Lastly, it's worth mentioning that my family have been long time Disney Theme Park fans, so on our last day, we visited the Aulani on our last day since we had considered staying there instead of at the Hilton. After visiting both, I was OVERJOYED that we went with the Hilton given that the Aulani only has two restaurants, two gift shops and nothing close by aside from nearby golf courses. While the Aulani can boast its own Lazy River and minor water park, I simply couldn't see staying there a week in the same way that we did at the Hilton since we would have had to drive EVERYWHERE and would have quickly run out of eating options (and while my wife's Aulani meal was excellent, mine was WOEFULLY AVERAGE)! From the Hilton, we took cabs to local Honolulu spots like the Ioloni Palace - where we saw Hawaii 5-0 being filmed - and the art museum in order to avoid parking hassles and car break-ins, so that was great! Given how far the Aulani is from Honolulu, it was nice that the Hilton could offer us so much more to do on those days where we didn't want to drive.