Thoughts on The Hilton Hawaiian Village – Waikiki Beach

The fountain view from 35 stories up

The family and I recently spent a cup of coffee at the Hilton Hawaiian Village on Waikiki Beach on the island of Oahu. Unfortunately I didn’t get a single picture of our 1 Bedroom Suite in the Diamond Head tower. I usually try to do this but with five of us staying here and with so much excitement to get to the beach as soon as we walked into the room our bags exploded and the room was a mess. That being said I can at least provide you with some insight into the property and my thoughts about staying here.

First off let me tell you that this property is HUGE. It’s the largest Hilton property with almost 4000 rooms on 22 acres of beachfront property. I’m not sure how many high-rise buildings are on the property, but I’d say it’s close to 10. Additionally there are over 22 restaurants on site, tons of stores to shop in, two ABC Stores, Three Starbucks and a pear tree.

The lobby is quite spacious and open to the ocean, it’s pretty impressive from that standpoint and reminds me a little of the lobby at the Caribe Hilton in Puerto Rico, just a lot larger. Because the property is so large they actually have a few separate check in areas depending on what tower you are staying in, besides the main lobby location the Grand Waikikian and Ali’I Tower have separate check in. From the main lobby you can see the super pool and also within in a few minutes’ walk be on the sandy white beaches on property.

As a Hilton Honors Diamond member we got a few perks. First off we got an upgraded room (this is not a guarantee but we lucked out). Since there were five of us traveling in one room, there are really only a few room options for us to choose from, and for our size group the cheapest was a Junior Suite. Apparently 540 sf with 1 or 2 beds and a fold out couch plus a small dining room table and one bathroom. My understanding is they are located in the older towers and can have city/HHV views or ocean view. When we got to the property the Diamond lane was empty of guests the main line was long some 20 people at 1 PM  on a Friday trying to check in. Thankfully we were helped very quickly and the agent told us we had a one bedroom suite. Score!! They were running close to $700 online just the day before check in. Beyond that it was an ocean view room too. I asked if we could get a room that was bigger and again thanked the agent for the already provided upgrade, I didn’t want to sound ungrateful. He said that he could give us a two bed junior suite, but lower than the 15th floor and not as nice of a view. I said we’d take what he gave us and happily checked in. We were also provided $20 per day food and beverage credit, thanks to Diamond status in lieu of breakfast. Typically at Hiltons you get a free breakfast for two, but here they do the credit. $20 bucks is nothing to whine about, but at this property it’s not much. For example two medium mochas, two breakfast sandwiches and one oatmeal was $30 at Starbucks. We were also given five beach towel cards to exchange for towels when we needed them.

The entire village form across the street
Rainbow tower

Our room was on the 15th floor of the Diamond Tower which is to the left of the lobby and is actually connected to the Ali’I Tower although they have separate entrances. To the right of the main elevators they also have a Starbucks, can you see a theme here. They do have rooms in this tower that face either the beach or the property, and as I said our faced the beach and ocean and if you were on property facing the ocean it was to the left of the jetty  with the Rainbow Tower to our right (although you could not see it).  The best thing about this room type was that it had a separate bedroom and a door that separated it from the living space, which had a small 2 person table, fold out queen bed, love seat, work desk and min bar area including small fridge and sink. This is also where the entrance to the balcony was too. Just inside the door that separated the two spaces was a smallish bathroom. There were TV’s in each room as well as separate thermostats too, that was a plus since we all liked out temps differently. For our situation this room type worked out great. We had a pack in play in our room and still had plenty of space and the other room had enough room to chill out when the bed was out, and accommodate two people. Most importantly when you took the elevator back down to the lobby maybe 30 feet from the elevator was the Tapa Tower swimming pool. Of the tree pool spaces we hung out at this was by far the nicest. They had nice faux wicker loungers, a salt water pool and a zero entry bubble pool walk in area. Even though this pool was close to a main walking area, it seemed to always have loungers and was never crowded. Plus it had shade, a must when you’re old and like to hide out of the sun.

Sunrise from our room in the Diamond Head tower
Rainbow Tower Pool water slide. This was the middle sized one.


Tapa Tower salt water pool

Bubble entry at the Tapa pool

A few other tips:

  • Pool towels are supplied from 9-9 every day, and you trade in your orange card or wet towels to get new ones. We found it best to get fresh ones each night so in the AM we had them before the towel exchange was open. Or if oyu wanted a midnight swim in the ocean. Also each pool had an exchange and you could change them in at any one.
  • Some pools appear to be open 24 hours and the beach is always open even if the loungers are put away
  • They have the largest water slide on the Islands at the Rainbow pool, BTW it is fun and fast and dark. For the little kiddos, there are two much tamer ones as well. Apparently there is a height minimum to ride the slides, but I saw tons of little kekki riding them w/out the lifeguards having issues (not sure this is good or bad).
  • You can’t take alcohol on the beach, although throughout the rest of the property it’s ok to have and walk with it
  • The ABC stores on property are very nice and are cheaper than the ones just across Ala Moana Blvd
  • Wi-Fi in our tower sucked
  • On the beach if you want a lounger or umbrella you have to bring or rent them, they are NOT free, nor do they offer any food/drink service
  • The other pools seem to offer drink service
  • The penguins have been moved to a zoo on the mainland. The viewing are is still there but full of turtles and ducks. Apparently they were loved sometime in June.
  • Get Lapperts Ice Cream at least once, it is amazing

Overall this was a pretty decent hotel. It’s just big so if you want a smaller place this may not be for you. We found that every employee we ran into was excellent and friendly, this is a huge plus. In a hotel like this, I’m amazed by that. We had an issue with the AC when we checked in and within two hours it was fixed (it may have been faster but we were at the beach).Would I stay here again? Yes, but I might look for a smaller property first just to have more space. But if you’re looking for a beachfront hotel, with good pools and good drinks this is a good choice. In our three nights there we didn’t eat one meal on property so I have no idea how good/bad it is or even how expensive it is either. Just do what we did and visit Leonard’s for Malasadas, Rainbow Drive-In for Loco Moco or walk down to Eggs ‘n Things for a fabulous breakfast.



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