Tropical gardens, salt water lagoons, exotic wildlife, two championship golf courses, a full service health spa, eight tennis courts, racquetball, ocean activities and a lagoon where dolphins play. All on the Big Island of Hawaii. The drive from Kona International Airport to Hilton Waikoloa was virtually one road on one straight line, north. The distance is about 18 miles. Hire cars are readily available on the terminal land, a little away from the arrival hall, just a few minutes by shuttle. 17 miles from the airport I turned off to Waikoloa Beach Resort, a huge expanse of an estate on which the Hilton lies, along with other hotels, including a Marriott, a substantial waterfront shopping center, and residential and vacation apartments and condos. The Hilton entrance, with a security check-point allows you to self-park, or drive on up to the reception/lobby where you can arrange valet parking ($10.50 a time). At check-in, a huge atrium lobby with specialty shops nearby, I completed the formalities and was allocated room 5073 on the 5th floor of one of three Ocean Towers. The hotel has a number of accommodation towers in various parts of the resort. I think the total number of rooms is 1,200, so you can imagine the size. Aside from the regular features aforementioned, there's a beach which adjoins the lagoons, waterfalls, and dolphins home. There's a huge ballroom, a chapel, a convention center, shops, restaurants, bars, and a lot more. To traverse the resort there are three forms of transport. One is by tram, or monorail, another is by boat, and the third simply walking. It can be quite a distance from one point to the other so it's easy to get used to jumping on the tram or catching a boat. The boats were in frequent use with as many as four on the water at one time. Normally there are two trams, however one was out for service during my stay. It took about 5 minutes on the tram to get from the lobby to Ocean Towers. There I took a lift to the fifth floor, and there I embarked on a 250 yard walk to room 5073. Into the room, and it was quite plush with a patterned parch wallpaper, and a lime green carpet. The bathroom/dressing/wardrobe area was quite large, three separate rooms in fact. There was a dressing room with basin, large mirror, plenty of bench space, and a large timber cabinet which houses tea and coffee making facilities on top. There was plenty of lighting, and space. Adjoining this was a bathroom with full bath/shower, and a toilet. Nothing more. Not overly large, but sufficient. Next to that was a large walk-in wardrobe, with plenty of hanging space, and a safe ($4 a day) on the floor). Into the room proper, it was not overly expansive, but large enough. A king bed came out from a corner at a 45 degree angle. There was a bedhead table behind it with a pot plant, and two lamp shades, one for each side of the bed. There was one bedside table, with a digital clock radio and alarm, and a phone.
There was a 3-seater sofa facing a timber cabinet, with included a TV and mini-bar. A coffee table was in front of the sofa. Then there was a work desk which had a marble top. There was high speed Internet access ($9.95 a day), which required the IT attendant at the hotel to come by and install a booster as it wasn't working. Then there was the balcony, with two chairs and a small table, and an expansive outlook over the ocean and the grounds of the resort, including palm trees, hammocks, and a golf putting course. A really nice view of the ocean, full-on, and the gardens looked magnificent.
And now a detailed look at the facilities. The Kohala Spa is a comprehensive center, with cardiovascular and free-weight rooms, and a beauty salon, and also offers rejuvenating body therapies and integrated treatments. The 8 tennis courts are plexi-cushion, and there's a 432 seat stadium court. Workout lessons, private or group lessons, match play, a ball machine, and fully stocked pro shop are all on offer. The putting course is an hole course for beginners and pros. Waikoloa's Beach Golf Course was designed by Robert Trento Jones, Jr., the King's Course was designed by Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morris. There's a complimentary shuttle available too.
There's Camp Menhune for kids from 5 to 12, the Internet Cafe and Canon Creative Computer Room , where you can play computer games, surf the net, send and receive email, and more.
As far as dining is concerned, I tried Donatoni's, an Italian fine dining restaurant on the water. Food presentation, quality, and the service of the restaurant, I couldn't recommend more strongly. It was excellent. The Palm Terrace appeared to be the main restaurant, but it closes at 9pm. It features a buffet, which looked quite good, but I only sampled the a la carte menu, which was fine. At the Boat Landing Pavilion each night there's a soloist singer/guitarist singing country and/or Hawaiian songs. There's a bar of course, with drink waiters. There's sushis and a separate burger grill type take-away where you order your meals and then take them to a table. Like a food court. There's lots of other eateries, Japanese and Italian fare appeared popular, and island dishes on many of the menus. There's also the Kirin Chinese Restaurant with lunch served dim-sum style, and dinner featuring popular Cantonese, Mandarin and Szechwan dishes.
For a family particularly, but really for anybody, the Hilton Waikoloa Village is a terrifc, all-embracing resort with a tremendous amount of activities, restaurants, and light-fare eateries, bars, and entertainment. The transport system is a highlight, and the scenery, the gardens, waterfalls, and lagoons, with the back-drop of the ocean are truly magnificent.
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