On a whim, we decided to take a little staycation here on the lovely Big Island of Hawaii. We heard about an amazing resort on the other side of the island and after being offered a nights stay we decided to check it out!
The Hilton Waikoloa resort is so large and full of so many things to do that you may wonder where to even start. When we arrived we were blown away at the sheer scale of it. We do not stay in resorts very often and honestly we were a little apprehensive. After spending 30 minutes exploring the lobby, that's right just the lobby, we decided to check out the room before hitting the pool.
Wait, actually, I think I need to explain the 30 minutes in the lobby don't I? It happened to be Christmas time so for starters we were busy looking at the beautiful tree, taking pictures, and looking over the map. After that we discovered one of my sons' favorite things....birds! There are parrots, macaws, and our favorite the cockatoo Butterscotch! You can have your picture taken with the birds on your shoulders, but we favored just hanging out with butterscotch. She is sweet, harmless and seemed to really like us. I bet everyone thinks that, the little charmer!
OK back to heading over to our room. The room itself was great, big comfy beds, nice balcony with a view and a clean and well equipped bathroom. The boys particularly liked the bathrobes and I was fond of anti slamming doors to all the cabinets and dressers. To be honest we didn't spend that much time in there, the resort itself was so much fun that we immediately changed into our bathing suits and headed out.
|Look at those pillows!|
Our first stop was to check out the pools. There is a vast network of them running through the resort. Shallow areas, caves, sand bottomed kiddie areas, waterfalls, slides, hot tubs, and gorgeous landscaping made it hard to decide what spot to explore first.
After checking out the different pools we decided to hang around the Kona pool, mostly for the slide. We spent the first afternoon sliding for 15 minutes then heading over to the hot tub to relax a few minutes. It was great fun and my kids still ask about heading back just to play there!
After playing at the pools for a while we decided to explore the lagoon. This is a large salt water lagoon complete with a beach, waterfall, and loads of water activities you can enjoy. There are paddle boards, kayaks, and a huge assortment of underwater wildlife. We saw eels, sea turtles, and loads of fish! The water is nice and warm and protected so its safe for keiki as well as fun for everyone.
We quickly realized we had little time left before the luau so we went back to the room and changed. The kids relaxed with some TV for a bit, so I could get a little fancied up, and then we were off. On our way to the luau we passed by an area with flamingos, nenes, and the sporadic mongoose. Between that and the various cool sculptures I was surprised we got there in time. Only a 5 minute walk that turned into 20 minutes due to all the cool spots to explore along the way. Not complaining but be sure to set aside enough time!
For the evening we enjoyed a wonderful Luau. The boys had a blast, the food was yummy, we learned a little hula and history, and of course the lava flows, both virgin and not, were excellent! It was such a fun evening capped off by watching a movie together cuddled in bed. The Hilton has a sort of Redbox video rental, free of charge, so we took advantage!
We woke up quite early as we didn't want to waste any time at all. After gathering everyone we took the tram down to the breakfast buffet. We were blown away!! I mean when I say they had everything, I am really serious. There was an omelet station, cereal area, breads section, Asian breakfast selections, pancakes, a variety of meats, malasadas and various pastries not to mention all the coffee and fresh tropical juices you could cram in.
|Practicing our trick photography|
After thoroughly filling ourselves we decided to go on a walk to explore and work off some of that food. Had we not I fear we may have just fell into a food coma for the rest of the day! We chatted, took silly pictures, and ended up at the far end of the resort where we decided on the canal boat ride to get back to the room.
Now I am not usually very pleased when I see dolphins in captivity so I wasn't sure what to expect when I realized that there is a swim with dolphins program at the Hilton. We went over to check it out before our last jaunt in the pool and were really surprised at how nice it was. It did not feel like dolphins in a tank, it was more of a lagoon, sand bottomed and very large. When we inquired we were told all about the breed of dolphin and it was explained that they are not open water dolphins but rather maintain most of their lives in lagoons.
Still not sure how I feel about it completely but we enjoyed the information and the ability to watch them play without even needing to pay a dime.
At the end of the day we checked out, played with the cockatoo some more, rode the canal boat and were finally on our way to the airport. It is just so hard to leave!
So do we plan to go back? No doubt about it! 2 days is not really enough although we had an amazing time anyway. Next time we'll bring our tennis rackets to play on one of the many courts and spend as much time as we can enjoying that pool slide. There is also a huge golf course, kids club to try out, a bunch of great restaurants, and loads of options for shopping within the complex. We truly did not have a single bad moment!
If you're thinking of heading to Hawaii from across the pond we appreciate it can be a pretty expensive holiday, your planning needs to be spot on. We definitely recommend the Hilton as a wonderful spot to experience.