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Choosing between Hawaiian resorts?

skier4

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We're planning our first-ever trip to Hawaii and are hoping to stay at HGVC for most or all of our time. While we may have to take whatever's available for when we want to go, any advice on significant differences? It looks like all the resorts in Honolulu are on top of each other so I'm looking at room sizes (we're a family of 4 with kids 12 & 14) and proximity to the beach but are there other differences to consider? Do some have better pools or are less crowded? Same for the Big Island resorts. The website doesn't give a whole lot to go off of. Any advice is appreciated!
 

brp

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Welcome. Many discussions on this same topic, as you might imagine. Look around (with the search) and you will find a lot. For Big Island, look both for that and "Waikoloa." Here's one example that talks about a particular room type, but covers resort differences:


Cheers.
 

Luanne

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I have limited experience, but I'm happy to share what I have.

First of all I have a definite preference and bias for the Big Island over Oahu. We stayed for a few nights at the Hilton property on Waikiki, but in one of their hotel rooms, not a timeshare unit. I found the property to be very crowded, especially the pool area. I don't know if the timeshare share the same pool as the hotel, or if they have their own. We visited Honolulu specifically because we wanted to visit Pearl Harbor.

We love the Big Island. We've stayed at timeshare properties in Kona and in the Waikoloa Resort area. We have stayed at the Bay Club several times and also at Kohala Suites. Never have stayed at Kingsland. Of the ones we have stayed at I prefer the Bay Club because the units are larger. You don't get free access to the pools at the Hilton Hotel, but that was never important to us. If resort pools are important to you I understand Kingsland has the best. Kingsland is also the development farther away from the beach and closer to the main road. There are also units now on the Hilton hotel property that have been converted to timeshare units. I haven't seen them and don't know much. My assumption would be they are smaller, and also there is a daily parking fee involved (and possibly a resort fee?) that the other properties don't have.

This map may help:

1588108711135.png
 

giowop

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For 12yo and 14yo, I’d strongly recommend Kingsland for the pool facilities alone. We had a 16yo and 20yo girls with my wife and I and we all spent hours at the Kingsland big pool. Slides, adult pool, polar plunge, a couple waterfalls, lots of tanning lounges, and a more-than adequate bar and grill-type area. By staying at Kingsland you have free access to the Hilton Waikoloa Village pool facilities. Our girls went there one day for a couple hours and that was it. They spent the rest of the time back at Kingsland.

The secondary pool area in phase III was also convenient (between building #24 and 25.

Rent a car, park for free at Kingsland, and basically ignore the Waikoloa Village big resort, often called the Hilton version of Disneyland out there. Yes there is a sort of beach but it’s on a lagoon. No direct beach access to the ocean for swimming other than walking around a rocky Peninsula. Instead drive 10 minutes to nearby Kapuna beach for sunsets every night. Also free!


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Luanne

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Just one more comment. Is your family more of a pool family or a beach family? Ours is a beach family. Only when our girls were really little did they prefer the pool. Or maybe not prefer it as they loved the beach as well. We had a pool at home so maybe that's why access to a pool wasn't as great a thrill. But the beach! Sand, waves, sea life. That's why for us having access to "great" pools wasn't that much of a pull.
 

geist1223

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¿Have you looked at Kaua'i and/or Mau'i?
 

Tamaradarann

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We're planning our first-ever trip to Hawaii and are hoping to stay at HGVC for most or all of our time. While we may have to take whatever's available for when we want to go, any advice on significant differences? It looks like all the resorts in Honolulu are on top of each other so I'm looking at room sizes (we're a family of 4 with kids 12 & 14) and proximity to the beach but are there other differences to consider? Do some have better pools or are less crowded? Same for the Big Island resorts. The website doesn't give a whole lot to go off of. Any advice is appreciated!

I agre with Luanne that Honolulu and Waikoloa are totally different experiences. The resorts in Honolulu is in the middle of the city but also right on the Ocean. They are very crowded and hard to get into. We love the location because you don't need a car to enjoy the city and can rent one for the day or two to go to other very desireable places on the island of Oahu like Pearl Harbor and the North Shore which is famous for some of the largest waves in the world. Waikoloa which is on. the Island of Hawaii is a much more lay back location. It is not a city, however, it is also NOT on the Ocean even though the Ocean is near by. You definitely need a car to enjoy your stay even though they do have a free shuttle to get around most areas in Waikoloa. The availabiltiy is usually much easier than Honolulu. If you feel this will be the only trip you will ever make to Hawaii you may want to go for 2 weeks and spend a week on each island. We thought our first trip in 2007 would be the only trip we would ever make to Hawaii. However we were wrong and have been back every year since 2009 when we for at least 3 months after we retired. I would get a 2 BR unit whereever you stay with children the ages you have.
 

giowop

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No Hiltons on Maui. Are there any on Kauai?

No HGVC on Kauai. There is a Hilton Garden Inn near Lihue but that’s it


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elaine

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Sometimes, we fly in/out HNL and take island flight to another island. We usually just stay in a hotel (we like the Hilton's location-on the beach, but at the end of the crowded area) for a few days in HNL and then in HGVC at Waikaloa. We rent a car and explore Oahu. I agree with others, if you can get a week at each, that would make a good trip. There's tons to do outside of Waikiki to stay for 3 days-1 week.
The beach at Hapuna, up the road from Waikolao, is beautiful and has great shore snorkeling by the cove. The Westin (or whatever hotel it is now) is above it and has food/drink, etc., but quite $$$$. There is public parking for Hapuna, but you need to go somewhat early or late in the day. A Bay right at Waikolao is a fine beach to chill and watch windsurfers and get a drink from the Marriott. We took the HGVC shuttle to A bay, so no need to bother with parking. You could walk, in theory. We've also been to Maui and Kauai. We prefer the HNL/Big I combo.
 

ljmiii

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Honolulu/Waikiki - HHV is definitely an urban setting but it is a great location for visiting the 'must see' attractions of Honolulu - Iolani Palace, Pearl, Bishop, Diamond Head, Punchbowl, etc., etc. And Honolulu has some of the best cuisine in the world at all price points. HHV's pools are overcrowded and best avoided but Waikiki beach is nice and the ocean is a pleasant bathtub if that is how you like your ocean. I own and love my Oceanfront Lagoon Tower week but the experiences at all the buildings are more or less similar.

Waikoloa - Suburban resort setting. The Big Island is *big* so anything beyond Hawi, Waimea, and Kailua-Kona will be a trek. A worthwhile trek to see Volcanos, Orchids, Captain Cook monument (aka snorkeling), Coffee, Green and black sand beaches, etc. etc....but major driving. Waikoloa's dining is kind of 'resort monoculture' but some of it is tasty and there is good food to be found in Hawi, Waimea, and Kailua-Kona. Hapuna beach (about 15 min north) is *beautiful* and well worth the drive. Unlike in Honolulu the properties and their pools vary wildly. We loved the Bay Club with its enormous villas...but the pools are basically just places to dip in and cool off. King's Land is newer and has smaller villas and nicer pools. But you should consider paying to visit the almost water park at the Hilton hotel if pools are your family's thing.
 

Luanne

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Sometimes, we fly in/out HNL and take island flight to another island. We usually just stay in a hotel (we like the Hilton's location-on the beach, but at the end of the crowded area) for a few days in HNL and then in HGVC at Waikaloa. We rent a car and explore Oahu. I agree with others, if you can get a week at each, that would make a good trip. There's tons to do outside of Waikiki to stay for 3 days-1 week.
The beach at Hapuna, up the road from Waikolao, is beautiful and has great shore snorkeling by the cove. The Westin (or whatever hotel it is now) is above it and has food/drink, etc., but quite $$$$. There is public parking for Hapuna, but you need to go somewhat early or late in the day. A Bay right at Waikolao is a fine beach to chill and watch windsurfers and get a drink from the Marriott. We took the HGVC shuttle to A bay, so no need to bother with parking. You could walk, in theory. We've also been to Maui and Kauai. We prefer the HNL/Big I combo.
The hotel above Hapuna Beach is the Hapuna Beach Hotel. I didn't realize that it was a Westin. Just noticed that happened in 2017, last time we were on the Big Island was before then. There is also the Mauna Kea, the beaches for Hapuna and Mauna Kea are right next to each other. I also just read, and realized that the Hapuna Beach Hotel was kind of the second phase of the Mauna Kea. So maybe the Mauna Kea is also under the Westin umbrella?

Also, beach parking at Hapuna is now $5.00, and has been for awhile. We always go early morning so have no issues. You can also park at the Mauna Kea, but to get those spots you do have to get there early as their beach lot is small and usually fills up fast.
 

1Kflyerguy

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I also just read, and realized that the Hapuna Beach Hotel was kind of the second phase of the Mauna Kea. So maybe the Mauna Kea is also under the Westin umbrella?


The Mauna Kea is an independent hotel, but is part of the Autograph Collection which means is bookable under the Marriott program...

Last time we did a presentation at the then new MVC timeshare in Waikaloa we received dining dollars good at various restaurants, including all of the Marriott properties on the Big Island. That was our first time visiting each of those hotels.
 

Luanne

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One of the great Hiltons in the the Hilton World Brand is on Maui......Grand Wailea Maui, part of their Waldorf Collection.....
I was thinking timeshares.
 

Luanne

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The Mauna Kea is an independent hotel, but is part of the Autograph Collection which means is bookable under the Marriott program...

Last time we did a presentation at the then new MVC timeshare in Waikaloa we received dining dollars good at various restaurants, including all of the Marriott properties on the Big Island. That was our first time visiting each of those hotels.
I stayed at the Mauna Kea back in 1968, which I don't think was long after it was built. Back then it was known as a "Rockefeller Hotel". It was the only thing on that area of the island. And it was wonderful!
 

Emi

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Definitely recommend Kingsland for teenagers. The lagoon and pools at the Hilton Waikoloa Resort is worth a visit. If you want beach, A Bay is nearby and Ocean Sports has a reasonable price one day of the week to do all the watersports. As for Hawaiian Hawaiian Village on Oahu, Grand Waikikian and Lagoon have the largest units. Lagoon is closer to the beach while Grand Waikikian is more upscale but higher points. Hawaii tend to be pricey to have 3 meals a day in restaurants. Timeshare really helps to not only control costs but the convenience of eating in and snacking for those energetic teenagers and a beer or glass of wine for adults. Make a stop at Costco (near the airports on both islands) and pick up everything you need.
 

DEROS

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It all depends on your kids and you. Waikoloa and Honolulu are both touristy, meaning the prices of goods is targeted to tourist. Waikoloa, you are stuck at the resort unless you rent a car and travel around the Big Island. However, it is more quiet and relaxing than Honolulu. Honolulu property is crowded but has more things to do within walking distance. Long stretches of beaches right outside HHV, the property has multiple pools that you can go to, and more places to eat if you are not incline to cook food.

If I was staying in HHV I would select the Lagoon Tower. The rooms are dated but the points are the cheapest. Right now, during 4th of July holiday week, you can get a 2 bdrm plus (OV) suite. Friday nights they have Fireworks. Of course it has been suspended because of Covid. If everything get lifted, there will be fireworks on 3rd of July (Friday), and firework on 4th of July (Saturday).

If I was staying in Waikoloa, I would select the Ocean Tower. The conversion from hotel to timeshare is pretty much done. The Ocean Tower is on the main property of Hilton Waikoloa where you can catch the shuttle bus to King and Queen Market. Also the pools and the man made lagoon is located there. There is a food market in King and Queen Market if you want to buy food to cook.

Hope you do decide to come to Hawaii eventually. They are really hurting for tourist money.
 

Tamaradarann

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It all depends on your kids and you. Waikoloa and Honolulu are both touristy, meaning the prices of goods is targeted to tourist. Waikoloa, you are stuck at the resort unless you rent a car and travel around the Big Island. However, it is more quiet and relaxing than Honolulu. Honolulu property is crowded but has more things to do within walking distance. Long stretches of beaches right outside HHV, the property has multiple pools that you can go to, and more places to eat if you are not incline to cook food.

If I was staying in HHV I would select the Lagoon Tower. The rooms are dated but the points are the cheapest. Right now, during 4th of July holiday week, you can get a 2 bdrm plus (OV) suite. Friday nights they have Fireworks. Of course it has been suspended because of Covid. If everything get lifted, there will be fireworks on 3rd of July (Friday), and firework on 4th of July (Saturday).

If I was staying in Waikoloa, I would select the Ocean Tower. The conversion from hotel to timeshare is pretty much done. The Ocean Tower is on the main property of Hilton Waikoloa where you can catch the shuttle bus to King and Queen Market. Also the pools and the man made lagoon is located there. There is a food market in King and Queen Market if you want to buy food to cook.

Hope you do decide to come to Hawaii eventually. They are really hurting for tourist money.

I agree with everyting in this post, including the last sentence. I have spent over 1000 nights in Hawaii and long to return soon. However, while I understand why and concur with Governor Ige's 14 day quarantine requirement for arrivals it IS THE CAUSE of the hurt for tourist money. So while my understanding of the quarantine is great, my sympathy for Hawaii's hurt for tourist money is low.
 

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I agree with post #5. Are you beach or pool folks? If pools are not important to you, then Bay Club (BC) is a great option. The units are large with the bedrooms separated from one another by the common living spaces. They have large lanai which are a favorite part of our Hawaii experience. All of our meals at the condo are eaten outside enjoying the views (all the two bedroom units face the golf course and most have good sunset views) and tropical breezes. So if a pool is a place to cool off and lay in the sun for a short time (our limit is usually an hour) then you might find the size of the BC and the large lanai to be worth the trade off of having fancy pools. I will choose a sunset view on a lanai over a pool any day of the week.

If fancy pools are more important, then I would choose Kingsland. As previously mentioned, their pool area is a true resort type experience. And as an added bonus there is free access to the Hilton Hotel pools as well. I will say that neither Kingsland nor the hotel heat their pools. So depending on the time of year and the temperature, it could make a difference for adults. I’ve never met a kid that minded colder water in a pool so it’s probably not an issue for your teens. I can’t recall if BC heats their pools or not, but then again they are smaller with less cubic feet for the sun to try and warm and I don’t recall an issue with cold water there.
 

csodjd

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The Mauna Kea is an independent hotel, but is part of the Autograph Collection which means is bookable under the Marriott program...

Last time we did a presentation at the then new MVC timeshare in Waikaloa we received dining dollars good at various restaurants, including all of the Marriott properties on the Big Island. That was our first time visiting each of those hotels.
Mauna Kea golf course is a superb golf course. Highly recommended (though forget playing #3 from the tips unless you can comfortably carry it 250 yards in the air, but an amazing par 3 for a picture). The hotel, on the other hand, is quite dated and kind of eh. I stayed there for a few days a couple years ago and was underwhelmed, and that was staying in one of their highest end oceanfront 1-bedroom suites (they gave us a crazy nice room because it was our honeymoon). If you're a golfer, buy the Mauna Kea multi-round deal and play there two or three times, but stay in Waikaloa or the Four Seasons or somewhere else.
 

skier4

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Thank you all for your thoughts! The kids love the east coast oceans we've been to but they still always like swimming in the pools (I think because they can actually swim/go deep in the pools). None of us play golf which I think makes us a minority at these resorts. We'll do some lazy days and some touristy stuff- hikes/bikes/snorkeling etc. Our hope is to do about a week on each island if we can get the dates to line up.... and the quarantine to go away.... extension on use deadline is definitely helping!
 

Luanne

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Thank you all for your thoughts! The kids love the east coast oceans we've been to but they still always like swimming in the pools (I think because they can actually swim/go deep in the pools). None of us play golf which I think makes us a minority at these resorts. We'll do some lazy days and some touristy stuff- hikes/bikes/snorkeling etc. Our hope is to do about a week on each island if we can get the dates to line up.... and the quarantine to go away.... extension on use deadline is definitely helping!
We don't play golf anymore either, so the golf courses aren't a huge draw. But they are pretty.
 

csodjd

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We don't play golf anymore either, so the golf courses aren't a huge draw. But they are pretty.
Sometimes the convenience of the golf course can alone be a good reason to stay "on site" somewhere. If you don't play golf, that's obviously not a factor and you just look at the remainder. In the case of Mauna Kea, I'm not sure there's a good reason to stay there if you're not a golfer.
 
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