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Site Advice: Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki

Discussion in 'Hilton Grand Vacations Club / HGVC' started by mapsd, Apr 14, 2018.

  1. mapsd

    mapsd Guest

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    Staying 3rd week of June with 2 daughters, 19 & 17 y.o.
    Oceanfront 2 BR Lagoon Tower.
    Seeking all pearls of wisdom for our stay: Dining, best pool, water, activities.
    No car, so what's best transport from/to airport?

    1st time on Ohau, so we'd like to see Pearl Harbor. Tour? Uber?
    Climb Diamond Head?

    Local grocery to stock our room?
    Favorite dining within walking distance? Sushi spot?
     
  2. jestme

    jestme Guest

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    We used to take Roberts or Speedi shuttle to the HHV, but now, we take Charlie's Taxi. Especially with more than 2 people. Tell them you want to go to the Waikikian, it shares a check in with the Lagoon tower, otherwise they will drop you off at the other end of the HHV, or the main check-in for the hotel part.
    Rule 1. Hilton Hawaiian Village restaurants are expensive, except possibly Benihana's, depending on what you call expensive. There are plenty of restaurants within walking distance, heading towards Diamond Head, then up to Lewers and Kalakawa.
    Rule #2. You have chosen one of the best beaches in Waikiki, make sure you enjoy it. Drinks at the oceanfront bars are expensive, but worth it when there is live music, and super ocean views.
    The Lagoon oceanfront rooms are also awesome, when you first walk out on the lanai, you will go WOW!
    You can take a tour to Pearl Harbour, or go by yourself. Charlie's taxi might be able to give you advice on that too. (no, I don't work for Charlie's....) They can also drive you to Diamond head, or you can take "The Bus", but they let you off further down the mountain than a cab will. My son and girlfriend have walked from the HHV to the top of Diamond Head and back, that's a long walk.
    For 'adults', the best pool is the 'Super Pool', fewer kids running around, bar service at your lounge chair, lots of sun. If you want very quiet, the Kalia pool on the 4'th floor of the Kalia building is the quietest. One tip, the pools at the HHV are 'non-revenue area', meaning if you are in the water, they aren't making any money off of you. The water is kept cold on purpose, especially at the Kalia.
    Drive around the island, see the other parts of the island as well. If you rent at the HHV, you can drop the car off anytime you want that night. If you rent from outside the village, they want the car dropped off by 6PM, or you will have to park it somewhere and parking is expensive.
    Grocery store, depends on what you are planning to get in the way of groceries. Full groceries, cooking in the room, then north side of the Ala Moana Shopping center has a grocery store. For general beer/wine /liquor, chips, etc. there are "ABC Stores" within the village.
    I'm sure others will give you more input as well.
     
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  3. DeniseM

    DeniseM Moderator

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    The climb to the top of Diamond Head is only about a mile, but it's very aerobic - it's a steep climb. When we did it we saw lots of people collapsed along the way. The toughest part is the 99 steps at the end. It can be hot - go early.

    Hilton Hawaiian Village Pools: http://www.hiltonhawaiianvillage.com/resort-experiences/pools

    Screen Shot 2018-04-14 at 1.50.12 PM.png
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2018
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  4. crf450x

    crf450x TUG Member

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    For sushi, Mitches is considered one of the best sushi on Oahu. Mitches is located in an industrial area next to the airport. It's good but of all the different sushi places I have been to on the islands I love Izakaya Torae Torae the best. Get the omakase with a side of hamachi or salmon collar. Not to be missed.

    https://yelp.to/qTKq/ap7qE6Zr7L

    Also for the best "Hawaiian " food we love
    Helena's Hawaiian Food

    https://yelp.to/qTKq/4sIQh3os7L
     
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  5. Seagila

    Seagila TUG Member

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    Small but good grocery store 10 minutes by foot from Hilton Hawaiian Village.

    https://www.yelp.com/biz/food-pantry-honolulu-2

    Food Pantry Ltd
    438 Hobron Ln
    Suite 110
    Honolulu, HI 96815
    (808) 947-3763

    You can grab most things you need to prepare meals in your room. If you'll end up with more than a couple bags of groceries, might as well Uber/Lyft to a bigger (and cheaper) grocery store nearby.
     
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  6. letsgobobby

    letsgobobby TUG Member

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    We love the restaurant variety in Honolulu. Asian of all kind. The Advertiser has reviews. Waikiki food can be pricey but good. Get out of that area for less expensive and more local options.

    Costco is a good place to get essentials and they also have very cheap Mac nut chocolates which I bring home as gifts.

    Foodland farms in Ala Moana is a little more expensive of a grocery but great place to get bento lunches and local snacks.

    Also in Ala Moana is the shirokiya food court modeled after a Japanese village. Fun, cheap food and beer.

    We always rent a car but we like to body surf and boogie board at other beaches. Try to get to Kailua if ypu can, beautiful beach. Otherwise not worth the parking fee, just rent for the day when you need.

    Definitely should do Pearl Harbor.

    Helenas is good, so is Young's fish market by airport.
     
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  7. frank808

    frank808 TUG Member

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    There is now another way up instead of those stairs. You just walk to the left of those stairs and it is a trail that goes up to the top.

    Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk
     
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  8. jehb2

    jehb2 TUG Member

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    Spend a day where you circle the island and see the north shore. And also stopping at any place that looks pretty.
     
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  9. ljmiii

    ljmiii TUG Member

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    First off congratulations on getting a GREAT room - you will love it.

    Honolulu is one of our favorite vacation destinations. Because its a real city with strong Asian, European, and Polynesian influences it is possible to eat or shop extraordinarily well for almost no money...or do so even better for rather a lot of money. And there is a lot to see and do within Honolulu - Iolani palace, Pearl and Punchbowl, Spalding House, Diamond Head, Chinatown, the Bishop, Manoa Valley, Queen Emma, etc. etc. Not to mention all the swimming, snorkeling, and hiking opportunities.

    I strongly recommend climbing Diamond Head the first day you are there. You want to start around dawnish and the time zone difference will help. My and my wife's not so athletic parents were over 70 years old when they made the climb on our last trip...but they took the more gentle trail that frank808 mentioned.

    Reservations to Pearl Harbor are recommended and I suggest you do go. Though at this point I find the stillness and serenity of Punchbowl more moving.

    We usually drive out of Honolulu at least two days in our week. East/north there is Koko Head, Hanaumu Bay, Makapu'u, Waimanalo (Plate Lunch w/beach), Lanikai, and back on the Pali (even if you don't make the full trip you should go to Nu'uanu Pali Lookout) - bring/wear swimsuits. Or west/north - Dole Plantation (get there at 9:30AM before the buses start rolling in), Haleiwa, Waimea Valley, more North Shore and around to Laie (shrimp lunch if you haven't eaten already), Kualoa/Mokoli'i (aka Chinaman's Hat), Kanaohe, and once again back on the Pali. In summer we've worn swimwear and hit a number of the beaches...but in winter it's a world class surf destination. Or straight west out to Kapolei, Wet 'n' Wild, and Germaine's Luau.

    We found the Go Oahu card to be useful (Costco offers a discounted 4 day version).

    I don't know if I would recommend the Polynesian Cultural Center - it is in some sense worth seeing once but it does take a whole day. My one recommendation would be to choose the cheap (wander by yourself) or expensive (private tour) options. The medium one where you get a group guide and have to move at his/her pace is the worst of all possible worlds.

    I find luaus to be a unique and wonderful piece of Hawaiiana/Americana - YMMV. I've been to around a dozen different ones on the 4 major islands and at this point my favorites on Oahu are Germaine's - on the beach, inexpensive, good entertainment, but eh food and a long trip - and the Royal Hawaiian's - on the beach, ridiculously expensive, good entertainment, great food and very convenient. But if you are going to the PCC you might as well see their luau.

    In short, I'm sure you will enjoy your first time to Oahu.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2018
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  10. mapsd

    mapsd Guest

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    We'll be on Oahu after spending a week on the Big Island (King's Land).
    Anything that would be a repeat of what we'll see there?

    For a luau, I think my family will prefer something that isn't as drawn out (shorter show with a good meal).

    For Pearl Harbor: better to sign up for a tour that picks us up OR get ourselves there by driving ourselves/Uber? Reservation necessary?
     
  11. ljmiii

    ljmiii TUG Member

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    Answering in reverse order...

    If you go by yourself you should definitely make a reservation. I don't know if any of the tour groups 'come with' a reservation...but can't imagine wanting to be led around Pearl by someone else.

    Hilton Waikoloa has a luau which would certainly be convenient...but I've never been to it. I have been to the one at King Kamehameha's Kona Beach Hotel...but would recommend giving it a pass in favor of one of the Oahu Luaus. I actually just looked to see about the Go Oahu card for my family (we're going this summer) and noticed that Germaine's has been dropped and the 'free' luaus are now the ones at the Polynesian Cultural Center and Sea Life Park. If you intend to go to either of these places anyway the luaus are perfectly fine. I would avoid the 'garage top' luau at HHV. All that said, if you can stomach the price the luau at the Royal Hawaiian is best.

    Lastly, snorkeling, swimming, sunbathing, and tropical drinks are in ample supply on both islands. Oahu offers more in the way of history and culture...while Waikoloa is more relaxed. Though honestly, I can't stand more than two or three days in Waikoloa...it's great for R&R but crushingly dull and the dining options are limited. Hawi to the north is cute, small, and reasonably close. You might consider going east - taking a tour down into Waipi'o Valley, or just taking in the lookout then continuing down to Akaka's waterfalls and Hilo's lush gardens and 'local' cuisine. Or south to the 'city' of Kailua-Kona with lot of stuff to do including Yelp's #1 restaurant in the world a couple of years back (Da Poke Shack), the coffee and chocolate plantations of Honalo, or a snorkeling trip to Captain Cook memorial. Or the big trip down to Volcano National Park and perhaps Punalu'u Black Sand Beach, Papakolea Green Sand Beach, and the bake shop in Naalehu. But the Big Island IS big...that's a lot of driving if you try all of them.
     
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  12. mapsd

    mapsd Guest

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    Thanks.
    We'll have a car on the Big Island, & don't plan to just hang out at the resort for more than a day or 2.
    Any other good day trip suggestions?
    We love short hikes that end at a waterfall
    Would love suggestions on dinner recommendations at both HGVC locations: We're not big foodies, but love seafood and local cuisine that's not too "exotic"

    Love Kona coffee (and chocolate)! Is the coffee plantation something that who interest our whole family?
     
  13. ljmiii

    ljmiii TUG Member

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    The coffee plantations are usually a 5-30 minute time commitment (not counting tasting/buying) so holding everyone's interest isn't really an issue. The chocolate plantation was more like an hour but was really quite interesting - we last went when our kids were somewhere around 12 and 10 and everyone loved it.

    As for Big Island day trips I've kind of hit the highlights but it's hard to make recommendations without knowing what you like and how you like to vacation. For example the tour down into Waipi'o Valley could be a mind numbing, bone rattling borefest to one person...and the most amazing experience in the world to someone else. And you can have fun spending as much or as little money as you like - taking an excursion out to Captain Cook's monument was great...but so was playing in the tide pools alongside the turtles and fishes at Kahalu'u. There are surprises everywhere once you get out Waikoloa - some of the best manapua (buns filled with BBQ pork and/or other tasty things) we've ever had were found at a little gas station/grocery south of Captain Cook on our way to Volcano.

    Oahu is kind of similar but different. There are way more people but they all brought their own culture. Once you head out of Waikiki it gets a lot more interesting. But even in and around Waikiki taking a few steps off the beaten path can lead you to an amazing noodle shop that handmakes their soba noodles and broth each morning or a bakery with Portuguese bread fresh out of the oven or a hidden garden oasis Polynesian restaurant. Yelp and tripadvisor are definitely your friend (keeping in mind that Yelp reviews can tend to care more about price than value).
     
  14. SmithOp

    SmithOp TUG Member

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    The best luau on BI is at Mauna Kea.

    We don’t do luaus now, we prefer to have a nice dinner and catch the free shows. Thursdays at Kingsland is a free show, and there is one at Mauna Lani Shops (Wednesday?).

    Heading there for two weeks this thursday, I can only do about three days at Waikiki, I could very easily live at Waikoloa.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro
     
  15. mapsd

    mapsd Guest

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    Good info.
    Dinner suggestions that are a short drive from King's Land?
    We prefer casual dining. Any spot with good food & a view is good for us.
    Will our teens prefer to stay by the pool @ King's Land or go over to the Hilton?
    We like doing our own breakfast/lunch & going out for dinner.

    Our travel style:
    We like short hikes over day-long treks.
    Tame snorkeling near shore over big excursions.
    Activity over sitting at the pool/beach all day.
    Love discovering waterfalls/a great view!

    I'm a road-warrior, so don't mind driving a couple hours to get to the cool stuff while the family sleeps/takes in the scenery.
    Volcano park a doable day trip for us?
     
  16. Et025

    Et025 Guest

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    A lot of great info on where to dine on oahu. I would second mitches for great sushi.

    I apologize for not reading every post so forgive me. I have used Johnny’s taxi and have had great service with them. I travel with two kids. We got picked up in a van and it had enough room for a stroller and car seats. The driver was helpful and friendly.

    Dining next door at the Hale Koa can be friendly on the wallet, if your military or DOD.

    The big island will be a blast. Stop at Costco before heading to waikaloa.

    Flummin Kohala was a great experience for my 7 year old. It’s a kayak ride through an old irrigation ditch. It’s not to far from the waikaloa area.

    There is much more going on at the main Hilton waikaloa hotel pool then at kings land. The salt water lagoon has stand up paddle board rentals.

    The volcano national park can be done in a day. You man not be able to go down every trail but you could see majority of the park.

    If you have Groupon, there are a lot of discount activities.




    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  17. Luanne

    Luanne TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    Here is my list of Big Island restaurant favorites. It includes the entire island, but it's organized by area so you can see which ones are close to you.

    Big Island restaurants, these are all places we’ve been and would recommend:

    Starting at the “North” end and working south:

    Havi:

    Bamboo Restaurant – we’ve only been for lunch, be sure they are open (I think they’re closed on Mondays)

    Waimea:

    Merrimans

    Lilikoi Café – this is a tiny little kind of take out place, some friends of ours who lived in Kona recommended it. Really good for lunch. Kind of hard to find, it’s hidden on the back side of a shopping center.

    Village Burger – order at the counter and pick up at the counter. There is seating in the center where it’s located, the seating is for all of the food court type restaurants there. It is highly rated and does have a decent burger.

    Waikoloa Resort area:

    Sensai Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar - in the Queen’s Shopping Center. Had the best sushi roll I’ve ever had there. They have a pretty extensive menu, not just sushi.

    Lava Lava Beach House – right on the beach, in fact you can sit in a table in the sand.

    Waikoloa Village:

    Pueo’s Osteria - very good Italian

    Island Lava Java – a coffee place, but they have a nice menu. Ate dinner there our first night on the island. Not a fancy setting at all. The outdoor tables have a view of the parking lot.

    Kohala coast resorts (these are all pricey, the food is good but we go for the atmosphere):

    Four Seasons Hualailai – Ulu Ocean Grill, there is also the Beach Tree Bar (I’ve been there for lunch, not dinner)

    Fairmont Orchid - Brown’s Beach House

    Mana Lani - Canoe House

    Kona:

    Huggo’s (this is not the same as Huggo’s on the Rocks. We’ve been to the On the Rocks one and it’s good, very casual, but we really like Huggo’s

    Kona Brewing Company & Pub – good pizza, nice local beer selection

    Fish Hopper Seafood & Steaks

    Kona Inn Restaurant – mostly for the atmosphere. We’ve only eaten lunch here.

    South of Kona:

    Keei Café

    Coffee Shack – for breakfast

    Volcano Village:

    Kilauea Lodge – make a reservation if you’re going for dinner

    Ohelo Café – Open for lunch and dinner, we’ve only been there for lunch.

    Café Ono – part of a complex that has a one unit B&B and a gallery. Only open for lunch, vegetarian menu…..but very good.

    Hilo:

    Café Pesto
     
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  18. CalGalTraveler

    CalGalTraveler TUG Member

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    On Oahu try poke bowls if you like fish. There is a market on the main street in Waikiki that has great poke but also many markets offer it too (YMMV on freshness). Try the different flavors and fish.

    For a bit of adventure, Ahi Assasins is a hole in the wall poke shop above a strip mall by U of HI (if you have a car) - people wait in line for the poke - no seating. Fresh fish great prices (approx $7.99 for a bowl brimming with fish and rice). Recommended by NYT. The bubble tea/ ice cream shop downstairs is also interesting.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/08/dining/poke-hawaii-review.html

    Try Marukame Udon in Waikiki
    https://www.yelp.com/map/marukame-udon-honolulu

    Lastly, the food stalls in front Don Quiote market are also an adventure and offer fresh fish options at a low price.

    +1 on hiking Diamond Head but do it early before it gets too hot.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2018
  19. ljmiii

    ljmiii TUG Member

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    The one Big Island day trip I would suggest above all others is Volcano National Park. The caldera and lava tubes are awesome during the day but walking out over the lava fields and seeing the red/orange lava flows at dusk into evening is one of those 'bucket list' lifetime moments.

    The downside is the 2 1/2 hour drive (either east or west coast...the saddle road is a 2 hr drive but the rental cars consider it verboten and heaven forbid you have a breakdown or get in an accident). As silly as it sounds you might consider renting one of the park's 'camper cabins' or a cheap place in the town of Volcano (or Hilo) so you don't have to get back to Waikoloa late at night.
     
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  20. 1Kflyerguy

    1Kflyerguy TUG Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    They rebuilt the saddle road a few years back, its nice and smooth now. I believe most if not all of the rental companies have removed their restrictions. However it is still remote and at least for me intermittent cell coverage. I still would not want to break down or run out of gas up there.
     
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  21. bobbi_1217

    bobbi_1217 Guest

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    The Mai Grille is very good and is a short walk from Kings' Land. It is located at the golf course
     

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