Hilton Waikoloa Village: Bottom Line Review


Hawai’i Disneyland. That’s the nickname that family, friends and local work colleagues bestowed upon the Hilton Waikoloa Village since it first opened in the late 80’s. The property is massive with over 62 acres and 1100 rooms (about 1/3 of which are now timeshares). It has both a tram and ferry to get around, three pools, a saltwater lagoon and a controversial dolphin “quest”. Although we’ve been visiting the Big Island for work and play for almost 25 years, I’d only darkened the door once on a dinner invitation years ago. Last December, my wife and I had two expiring Hilton free night certificates and a stay planned at the Westin Hapuna Beach, 15-20 minutes north of Waikoloa Village. We decided to spend a couple of nights here and finally check it out.

a building with a pond and a large building

Hilton Waikoloa Village Bottom Line Review

Although one of the three original towers is now composed completely of timeshares, the Hilton Waikoloa Village is still a behemoth with almost 700 rooms available for nightly rental. Walking from one side of the property to the other takes 15-20 minutes. That said, the grounds were very well-tended and there’s a massive amount of pool and (manmade) beach space. Water play areas for kids are especially well-provided for. There’s a ton of activities and strolling around the extensive grounds during sunrise or sunset is lovely. The restaurant options are surprisingly sparse for a resort of this size and there’s a lot of nickel-and-diming for a $500/night property with a $45 resort fee. Still, my wife and I found ourselves surprised with how pleasant our stay was and there’s certainly much worse options for Hilton points in the Hawaiian Islands. Rating: One thumb up, one thumb down

  • Price: Standard rooms are usually available for 75,000 Hilton Honors points per night. Cash prices vary quite a bit based on season. They can be as low as $350-400, but when we were there in December 2022 it was ~$800/night+tax.
  • Value: Our Reasonable Redemption Values pegs Hilton points at .48 cents each. The points price at this property rarely dives below this when compared to the cash price (and is usually higher). Our two night stay would have been almost $2,000 after taxes and fees, making it an excellent award value.
  • Location: I’ve never been a huge fan of Waikoloa Village, effectively a huge shopping mall/condo/golf complex about 25-30 minutes north of Kona. While it’s short on genuine Hawaiian flavor, it has a ton of restaurants, shops and even a decent (if expensive) grocery store. It also is a good location for trips around the north half of the island and has excellent sunsets.
  • Room: I was upgraded to a 650 sq ft Ocean View room in the Maka’i Tower. I had to ask for the upgrade (which was happily given). It was spacious, had a large ocean and dolphin-view balcony, his and hers sinks and in-room coffee service. It was close enough to the black rocks that we were able to fall asleep to the sound of waves. Given its location, close to the lagoon, Kona Pool and self-parking, I’d highly recommend asking for a room in the Maka’i Tower versus the far more inconveniently-located Palace Tower.
  • Parking: Self-parking is $44+tax/night.
  • Resort/Destination Fee: $45+tax (waived on award stays). Includes internet, 2 DVD rentals per day, 20% off beach toys, $10 off catamaran sailings and fitness classes at Kohala Spa (which weren’t running while we were there).
  • Internet: Good, able to stream throughout the hotel.
  • Service: Adequate for such a huge property. Nothing was done proactively, restaurant service was slow, housekeeping did a great job and everyone seemed pleasant enough.
  • Turndown service: None.
  • Dining:
    • Kamuela Provision Company: “Fine Dining” with the best restaurant location in the resort. Open for dinner only from 5:30-8:30 Thurs-Mon. Sunset lanai seating requires purchasing a special tasting menu at $120pp.
    • Nui Italian (and breakfast): Only restaurant open for breakfast from 7am-10am daily. It’s closed for lunch and then turns into a dine-in and takeout Italian restaurant that serves dinner from 5pm-9pm daily.
    • Lagoon Grill: Patio restaurant serving lunch only from 11am-5pm daily. Located directly over the dolphin lagoon.
    • Kona Tap Room: In-hotel outlet of Kona Brewing Company. Open 4:30-11pm daily for drinks and appetizers. Also opens early for breakfast on Sunday during football season.
    • Waikoloa Coffee Company: Serves coffee, pastries, breakfast sandwiches and acai bowls daily from 6am-12pm (varies seasonally).
    • Shaka Cones: Ice cream stand in Orchid Marketplace open daily from 11am-4pm.
    • Kona Pool Bar: Pool bar at the Kona Pool. Open 11am-5pm daily for drinks and food from Lagoon Grill.
    • Orchid Marketplace: Grab and go market with food, drinks and snacks open daily 11am-4pm.
  • Spa: Kohala Spa is full-service and open daily. There is a full-service salon on-property as well.
  • Fitness Room: Ridiculously small and poorly-equipped, give the size and scope of the resort.
  • Hilton Diamond Benefits: 
    • Room Upgrade: I booked a standard Palace Tower room and was upgraded to a Makai Ocean View upon request at check-in.
    • Daily Food and Beverage Credit: $18 per-person, per day. It seemed to reset at random times and we had to have it manually applied at check-out (which they happily did). There are a smattering of items that are $17-19 (including a modestly-sized, but very tasty acai bowl) and most breakfast options are under $25.
    • Late Checkout: Asked for 3pm, given 1pm.
  • Would I stay again?  While I wouldn’t rush back, I was pleasantly surprised with the property. It’s not my speed, but I could see why it would be an attractive location for some folks, especially families.

Pros and Cons


  • Usually good-excellent value on points versus the cash price
  • Lots of activities and pool areas for kids.
  • Protected snorkeling area.
  • Good-sized standard rooms.
  • Extensive walking paths that go quite a ways along the shoreline.
  • The opportunity to get around by tram and ferry was delightful for the kids we saw.


  • It’s a massive property. There’s nothing intimate or personal about this place.
  • Weird lack of on-property restaurant options. Two nights a week, there’s only one option for dinner…and it’s an Italian restaurant. Only one breakfast location, only open for three hours. You can imagine how busy it gets. It’s almost as though they want you to go off-property to eat.
  • Parking + resort fee is over $100/night after taxes on a cash stay.
  • Both the view and the location of the Palace Tower leaves much to be desired.
  • Terrible fitness area for the size of the resort.
  • No natural beach.

Image Gallery

Hilton Waikoloa Village Makai Ocean View King

a room with a bed and a television
Ocean View King
a bed with a couple of heart shaped beads on it
Ocean View King (with arrival leis)
a bedroom with a bed and a television
Ocean View King
a balcony with chairs and a view of the ocean
Ocean View King balcony view
a balcony with palm trees and a beach
Ocean View King balcony view
a coffee machine and other items on a table
In-room coffee service with ice (refilled daily)
a bathroom with a large mirror
Ocean View King Bathroom
a plastic bottles with a label
Complimentary water bottles
people swimming in the water with a dolphin
Dolphin Quest Experience (photo from room balcony)

Hilton Waikoloa Village Pool and Beach Areas

Kona Pool

a sign on a bridge
Kona Pool suspension bridge
a pool with palm trees and people in the background
Kona Pool (cabanas in the rear)

a pool with palm trees and people sitting around it

a swimming pool with palm trees and buildings
Kona Pool construction
a pool with palm trees and a building in the background
Kona Pool suspension bridge
a pool with palm trees and people sitting on chairs
Kona Pool
a pool with lounge chairs and palm trees
Kona Pool (Makai Tower in background)
a pool with palm trees and a turtle on it
Kona Children’s Sand Pool

Saltwater Lagoon

a body of water with people and boats on it
Lagoon beach from lobby
a building with palm trees and a body of water
Snorkelers in saltwater lagoon
a body of water with a building and rocks
Saltwater lagoon
a group of people on a beach with boats and paddles
Saltwater lagoon beach
a building with a waterfall and palm trees
Main lobby area across salt water lagoon
a body of water with palm trees and a waterfall
Saltwater lagoon beach
a bridge over water with palm trees and a building
Bridge across entrance to Saltwater Lagoon

Kohala Pool

a pool with a slide in it
Kohala Pool (located in front of Ocean Tower Residences)
a water slide in a pool
Water Slide at Kohala Pool
a pool with a stone walkway and palm trees
Kohala Pool

Hilton Waikoloa Village Restaurants

a menu on a table
Football Sunday menu at Kona Tap Room (think they know how much the breakfast credit is?)


a bowl of fruit and a flower on a table
Acai bowl at Nui Restaurant
a room with tables and chairs and a christmas tree
Nui restaurant
a group of people sitting at tables in a restaurant
Nui Restaurant
a group of people sitting at tables and chairs in a yard
Nui restaurant patio
a group of people sitting at tables under a pergola
Nui Restaurant patio

Kamuela Provision Company

a restaurant with tables and chairs and a view of the ocean
Kamuela Provision Company indoors (image courtesy of Hilton)
tables outside a restaurant with palm trees and a blue sky
Kamuela Provision Company Lanai (image courtesy of Hilton)

Hilton Waikoloa Village Common Areas

a boat on a river in a hotel
Makai Tower ferry canal
a boat on a river
Hotel ferry
a river with a statue in it
Ferry canal in Makai Tower
a water way with a building and palm trees
Tram stop

a stream with rocks and palm trees

a waterfall over a rock
Walkway past saltwater lagoon underneath waterfall
a long hallway with statues and vases
Hallway in between towers with Asian/South Pacific art
a large decorated tree in a lobby
Hilton Waikoloa Village Lobby

a stone path with bushes and trees on the side of the water

a beach with plants and water
Ocean Tower Residences across bay
a body of water with a building and palm trees
Lagoon Grill (above dolphin enclosure)
a swimming pool in front of a building
Dolphin Quest Dolphin Enclosure

a body of water with trees and rocks

a body of water with a beach and buildings
Makai Tower from across bay

a palm trees on a grassy hill by the water a rocky shore with a body of water and trees in the background a path with palm trees and grass a dirt field with palm trees a rocky shore with trees and water in the background a building with a pond and a large building

Hilton Waikoloa Village Fitness Area

a group of treadmills in a gym
Cardio area
a room with exercise equipment
Fitness area
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Wish I read this review earlier, so I would have time to change hotel -:(. I am visiting next week. So did you spend $18 breakfast money in Nui restaurant ? Can it be used in orchid marketplace? Thanks!


My family and I were there just 2 weeks ago on the rewards program. We did get an upgrade to the Makai tower/ dolphin area. Was disappointed in not alot of selection of restaurants for such a big place. We also did the Luau and thought was ridiculously overpriced. The native workers were very kind and helpful and reason why I’m saying this is because when I went to do the tour the lady who was not “native Hawaiin ” was EXTREMELY rude to me and accused me of things that I had no control of. Because of that, I will never stay at another Hilton hotel.

Matt Wright

Yes I agree I thought this was going to be an all-inclusive resort and it turned out not to be. Although the rooms are awesome The pool is great and the lagoons pretty cool. It still leaves a lot to be desired because nothing is close by. Everything requires car rental and is at least 50 mi away. I would not return to this resort I will try somewhere else as even though my week in Hawaii was awesome It was not due to this place.

Mike Acuna

We stayed at the Kings Land Hilton nearby. We had full access to all Hiltons, free parking at all Hilton too! FYI if you have a handicap placard, bring it, you get free valet parking at Hilton Waikoloa!


Hilton Waikoloa is run down these days. Way better places to stay on the coast. If you must use Hilton stay at their hgv properties nearby.


Pre pandemic, when the resort was firing on all cylinders, it was a great resort to stay and enjoy, but now it seems like they are running on less than 50%. Trams are broken down, short staff means short restaurant hours etc. it was very pricey but was able to enjoy your stay.

Last year when i stayed for a week, due to the lack of food options on site, I hoofed it over to the ABC market almost everyday. I didnt want to pay the $10 round trip for the shuttle and i didnt have a rental car since we were planning on staying in at the resort the entire time. It was a big mistake. I wish this place will be back to full capacity soon so i can go back and enjoy it again.

Btw, i drive by your winery everyday going to and from work. Lol

Edd Vinci

Once was enough.Went for the overall experience and 14 year old daughter and us to take the Dolphin swim..Agree with your over all review.the lack of a beach and the over non flow of the resort was just not relaxing.
Now you said the right word with the Westin.Sitting on one of the top beaches in the World was Heaven.Shuttles to the next door sister hotel for Breakfast @ the Manta was icing on the cake.You get what you pay for. BIG Island has yet to all be see even after going there 5 times.Our only go to any longer in Hawaii and we have been over 30 times and stayed on 5 islands.

Barb Spitler

Stayed Hilton Waikoloa last November. We have visited the Big Island for years mostly near black sand beach. My husband and I were in an old dilapidated room. No restaurants and the prices were outrageous! Took us 15 minutes to walk to parking lot. Overall I would give it 5 thumbs down!!!

chris d

This was very spot on. I stay here every year with my family & this year we were disappointed.

You touched on very important things, like the food and extra expenses. However, the spa also being closed and not sharing that on their website is shady. We were not happy about that as their spa used to be nice.

In addition to it being so expensive for very very mediocre food. Also, the rooms are living in 2005. They need to be renovated. However, the actual grounds of the resort are beautiful. That’s why we come every year. It’s very pleasant to walk around the resort.

Bryan Gunn

Ok if you want an authentic Big Island experience then you won’t go anywhere near Waikoloa… For those desiring a somewhat touristy and very convenient stay I would suggest Kona Bali Kai just south of “downtown” Kona where numerous restaurants are close-by, Magic Sands Beach is minutes away and Pahoehoe Beach Park is even closer for snorkeling. The new Safeway is also close for groceries and adult beverages of all kinds. Even better, venture just a little more south to Captain Cook/Kaleakakua for a friendly “real” Hawaiian town and the best snorkeling on the island in Kaleakakua Bay as well as great restaurants without the tourist prices. Aloha!

Bryan Gunn

Oh and I forgot to mention you likely will have the wonderful experience of snorkeling/kayaking with native Hawaiian Spinner Dolphins in Kaleakakua Bay (especially before noon).

Charles Serafini

You’re going to be better off staying at one of the King’s Landing buildings. Free parking, neatby pool, free parking near the Towers area, couple other pub/restsurants nearby.


You want a better fitness room but you don’t want to walk to the Palace tower. I think you are just looking for a reason to not exercise Tim.


I watched a documentary called Deep Blue Sea this weekend and I am concerned those dolphins are getting smarter.


There are other HGV timeshare properties within the compound. We typically stay at Kingsland which is a wonderful property and allows access to the hotel amenities. The Queens market is just down the road and has excellent food and beverage choices and we bring them back to the room.


Thanks for the review information, looks like a no for us starting there based on the review