I told myself I would not post any reviews older than 6 months. I visited the Hilton Hawaiian Village at Waikiki Beach back in December 2017 so this one is cutting it close. Even though we’re all adults now, my parents take the entire family on a family vacation every year; 2016’s destination was Oahu, HI for 5 nights. During our time there, we stayed at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. Mahalo to my parents for another wonderful vacation!!
Family-Friendly Waikiki Resort
Sitting on 22 oceanfront acres in Waikiki, the Hilton Hawaiian Village is hard to miss. Depending on which direction you’re flying into Oahu from, you might even see the resort from the air because their Rainbow tower is visible from over 10,000 feet.
The resort it what it claims to be – an entire village in the heart of Waikiki that provides everything you need on-site. High-end to low-end, they have everyone & everything covered. There are multiple guest towers, 20 restaurants & bars, 5 pools, private lagoon, and over 90 shops for some retail therapy.
I personally believe the Hilton Hawaiian Village has the best real estate in Oahu. It’s located on Waikiki’s longest stretch of beach. Approximately 20 minutes (more with traffic), the resort is very easy to locate.
Pearl Harbor is 25 miles away. With traffic you’ll need to allocate at least an hour to get there. The North shore is over an hours drive but if you the time and a rental car, it’s definitely worth it.
Iconic Hotel with History
It starts with Elvis. At least for me it does. In 1928, the Niumalu Hotel opened where the Hilton Hawaiian Village now stands. Fast forward to 1961 when two things happened: Conrad Hilton purchased half of the Niumalu Hotel and Elvis Pressley ﬁlmed Blue Hawaii at the resort. Blue Hawaii by the way was the first of three Elvis films to be shot in Hawaii, followed by Girls! Girls! Girls! in 1962 and Paradise, Hawaiian Style in 1965.
Visible from the sky, the iconic Rainbow Tower is more than just beautiful. Spanning 286 feet high by 26 feet wide, the front displays the world’s largest ceramic-tile mosaic with over 16,000 colorful tiles.
Making new history, the CBS show Hawaii Five-O films at the resort! They were shooting every day that we were there. I don’t watch the show but my Mother does so she was ecstatic. Unfortunately we didn’t see any cast members. The filming wasn’t intrusive at all. All the crew members I encountered were super friendly.
There are over 6 guest towers at the Hilton Hawaiian Village for you to choose from. Beachfront, ocean view, city view, there is literally a tower that suits everyone. If you’re in the mood for a little bit of luxury, they offer the exclusive Ali’i Tower. Guests of the Ali’i Tower enjoy unique benefits like a private check-in, a private pool, private Fitness Center and access to a terrace for the best views of the fireworks show. I didn’t have the pleasure of staying in the Ali’i Tower this time. We booked the most affordable room for our party; we were given a room in the Tapa Tower at check-in.
The room was standard. There was nothing wrong with the room but it was just that – a hotel room. Clean but basic. Every room in the Tapa Tower has a balcony with a small table, two chairs and drying rack. A drying rack!
The drying rack was a small touch made a big difference when it came to drying all our bathing suits and clothes every day. Our room overlooked the Tapa pool and had partial ocean views. I was expecting no view so this was a pleasant surprise.
The Hilton Hawaiian Village is situated adjacent to Duke Kahanamoku Beach. Duke Kahanamoku is the widest beach in Waikiki and just off shore is a protective reef.
It’s so spectacular it was named 2014’s best beach in America! It’s that beautiful. Let’s forget about the impressive, pristine beach. At the end of the day, there are a lot of beautiful beaches in Waikiki. It doesn’t end there.
The Hilton Hawaiian Village also boosts 5 pools, including Waikiki’s largest super pool. What is a super pool exactly? At the Hilton, it’s a 10,000 square foot beachfront pool. If that’s too large don’t worry they have a smaller, 5,000 square foot that features Waikiki’s longest water slide. Yes folks there is a water slide. It gets better…the lagoon.
The village has a 5-acre salt-water lagoon. For a small fee you can rent water sport activities like paddle boards, water cycles, kayaks.
As FSCQ, food is a huge part of my daily life. That doesn’t change when I travel. To me, one of the best parts of traveling is getting to try different cuisines. I try to eat away from the hotel as much as possible to taste local cuisine. As a touristy resort, I didn’t have too high of hopes for the restaurants at the Hilton Hawaiian Village and they ended up being just as expected – hotel restaurants.
While I didn’t have a bad meal at the Village, I didn’t have a necessarily great one either. Most restaurants had either a long wait or weren’t open when we were ready to eat. We ended up eating breakfast at Tropics Waikiki Bar & Grill every morning before heading out to our excursions for the day. The breakfast was good but it’s kind of hard to mess up eggs and waffles.
The plus side is that there’s an on-site Benihana!
I know that Benihaha is a chain. I know I can visit one in Los Angeles. But it’s my all-time favorite restaurant so the fact that there was one on-site in the Village meant everything to me. I had to restrain myself from going more than once. Our Chef was fantastic. He did all the parlor tricks but with flare. And frankly he’s the first Japanese Chef I’ve had at a Benihana since the last time I was at the village, almost a decade ago.
Fireworks! Every Friday night, rain or shine, the Hilton Hawaiian Village lights up their beach with a spectacular 10 minute fireworks show. Rain or shine. I know that because it rained when we were there. That did not stop the crowds, hundreds of us still packed the beach for the show.
I can honestly say I’ve never stayed at a hotel that put on their own weekly fireworks show. When the concierge mentioned the free show at check-in, I was skeptical. I mean how good it be? It was good…on par with most 4th of July spectaculars I’ve seen. There’s also a luau and tons of shopping.
I repeat tons of shopping. Everything from Louis Vuitton to not one but two ABC shops.
Too Kid-Friendly For Me
Kids running around everywhere. Being a group of 5 adults with no children, I very quickly realized we were not the target audience for this resort. There were children running around screaming everywhere. As beautiful as this resort is, I would not purposely return. I prefer more adult-friendly lodging; this resort did not suit my needs. Having said that, if you have a family, especially young children 12 and under, this is a fantastic place and I highly recommend it.