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.

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

Ocean View King
Ocean View King (with arrival leis)
Ocean View King
Ocean View King balcony view
Ocean View King balcony view
In-room coffee service with ice (refilled daily)
Ocean View King Bathroom
Complimentary water bottles
Dolphin Quest Experience (photo from room balcony)

Hilton Waikoloa Village Pool and Beach Areas

Kona Pool

Kona Pool suspension bridge
Kona Pool (cabanas in the rear)

Kona Pool construction
Kona Pool suspension bridge
Kona Pool
Kona Pool (Makai Tower in background)
Kona Children’s Sand Pool

Saltwater Lagoon

Lagoon beach from lobby
Snorkelers in saltwater lagoon
Saltwater lagoon
Saltwater lagoon beach
Main lobby area across salt water lagoon
Saltwater lagoon beach
Bridge across entrance to Saltwater Lagoon

Kohala Pool

Kohala Pool (located in front of Ocean Tower Residences)
Water Slide at Kohala Pool
Kohala Pool

Hilton Waikoloa Village Restaurants

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


Acai bowl at Nui Restaurant
Nui restaurant
Nui Restaurant
Nui restaurant patio
Nui Restaurant patio

Kamuela Provision Company

Kamuela Provision Company indoors (image courtesy of Hilton)
Kamuela Provision Company Lanai (image courtesy of Hilton)

Hilton Waikoloa Village Common Areas

Makai Tower ferry canal
Hotel ferry
Ferry canal in Makai Tower
Tram stop

Walkway past saltwater lagoon underneath waterfall
Hallway in between towers with Asian/South Pacific art
Hilton Waikoloa Village Lobby

Ocean Tower Residences across bay
Lagoon Grill (above dolphin enclosure)
Dolphin Quest Dolphin Enclosure

Makai Tower from across bay

Hilton Waikoloa Village Fitness Area

Cardio area
Fitness area
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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

Kim C

I just returned from the Hilton Waikoloa. I have stayed there several times. In the past I really enjoyed access to the beautiful spa area – which included a steam room, hot tub, relaxation area, showers etc. They have closed this area. I was told it will not be returning soon.

chris d

Wow, we just got back too and were so disappointed in that. We go every year, partially because the spa and it was closed. Also didn’t tell us before.


No thanks


I will not stay there after seeing the tiny dolphin pens where they keep them 90% of the time


Wife and I did our honeymoon there back in grad school in Ocean Tower. Glad ti see they turned it into timeshares. It was painfully far from all the activities. I likely would not go back again given the small gym and lack of restaurants.

John L

My biggest gripe was that the dining credit can’t be used at the waikaloa coffee shop. And their beach towel return policy/machine that seems to never work properly. Decent value – especially on the big island where there is little else comparable. Felt very sleepy compared to what I experienced about 8-10 years ago. I also don’t think I’ll be going back anytime soon.

chris d

Yeah, years ago it was great. They need to step it up.