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Info on Hilton Waikaloa

moonlightgraham

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After studying my kindergartner-to-be's school schedule, I'm putting together an April 09 visit to the Big Island during her spring break. We'll be spending a week at the Kona Hawaiian Village via Wyndham points but plan to get to the Island a few days early and perhaps stay at the Hilton Waikaloa. I've been to the property in the past but never as a guest. I was checking their website and like the Lagoon Tower but was wondering if anyone has tips/suggestions on what to request as accommodations. I would even be willing to endure a timeshare presentation if it meant a cheaper rate, etc..:)
 

ricoba

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oops...didn't read the OP question correctly.
 
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tompalm

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We love the Hilton Waikaloa and stayed there several times when my son was younger. It has been voted as the best family vacation resort hotel in several magazines over the years. Because of the swimming pools, lagoon and dolphins, it is an excellent hotel for children and also has a lot of art work and nice restaurants for adults. I don't think it matters too much which building you stay in. I think they are all very nice, but some are on the ocean and some on the pool and some with garden views, so it depends if you are interested in spending more for a better view. April 9th will be the peak of Spring Break and the busiest time of the year in the islands for families. You can expect to pay a premium to stay there. All the rooms are hotel rooms and if you have more than three people, it can be crowded. You might consider staying at the Hilton Grand Vacations Club at Waikoloa Beach Resort and they allow use of the pool at the hotel. However, I just checked the HGVC web site and there is not much availability for that TS. You might be able to stay there if you do Waikaloa after the Wyndham, or something might open up prior to April 9th.

If you are interested in the Bay Club, there is a lot of availability for that time period. However, the hotel does not allow use of the pool for guest of the Bay Club. If you are interested in renting one of the units at the Hilton TSs, you can check the TUG rental page and probably find something. The link at the bottom is my listing. I will not be able to use my unit during 2009 and can change the dates to any Hilton available in the next nine months.

http://tug2.com/timesharemarketplac...roomsMin=&BathroomsMax=&SleepsMin=&SleepsMax=

http://tug2.com/TimeshareMarketplac...tingGUID=09f29a56-78d7-4e7a-8343-e0b3525bf91f
 

tompalm

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Regarding TS tours - Two years ago they had a program to take a tour and they would give you a room to stay in at one of the Hilton TSs and you still had to pay for that room. You received a nice discount on the room, but I don't think it save more than $200 off the regular price and the few people I told about it never took them up on the offer. They might still have that, call the Hilton Marketing Department if interested.
 
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Sandy VDH

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even if you owned HGVC points which it doesn't look like you do, availability will be hard

I suspect it to be impossible via an RCI exchange

Now if you want to just get something via Hilton directly be prepared for sticker shock, rooms in HI are very costly

Check TUG marketplace for rental opportunities
 

jlr10

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After studying my kindergartner-to-be's school schedule, I'm putting together an April 09 visit to the Big Island during her spring break.

I know this might start a debate: When my son was in kindergarten we planned a trip to Hawaii. Due to concerns with him missing time from school we left him with the grandparents. His teacher was supportive of that decision but also stated if she had been in our position she would have just taken him out of school. Yes he would have missed a week of school, but since they weren't studying rocket science it was not anything that was going to destroy his entire educational experience. She felt that that the time spent creativing memories with the family far exceeded anything he could have been taught in school. Of course what did she know, since she had only been teaching since the 1960's and was the most requested teacher in the school. If we had it to do over again we would have taken him out of kindergarten (not the higher grades) and just enjoyed our time with him. Trust me, as a mom getting ready to send our son off to college, it goes to fast to worry about the little things. If spring break is the best time to go then go. But if not find a time that works best for the family and just go, IMHO.
 

tompalm

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There is such a major difference in the crowds during Spring Break, summer, Christmas, compared to off season that I concur it is worth doing what jlr10 said. Once the kids get older, taking them out of school is not the smart thing to do. If you can travel during off season, the vacation is so much nicer by avoiding crowds on the plane, airports and hotels. Also, there are a lot better deals on travel during off season.
 

moonlightgraham

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Compromise

Traveling as we are from near the East Coast I will be taking her out of school a few days before her spring break begins. I've made the trip enough times to know given the time (and now cost) of getting there, it's just not worth a one week visit. I ask her teacher and principal about taking her out for a full week (to make it a two week trip) and met with some resistence to the idea. So, the 10 or so days is my compromise to the situation.

I started my family a little late in life and am just now feeling the pinch of having to coordinate travel plans around school. I used to love traveling when others couldn't to get the best deals, availability, etc.. I guess those days are over for awhile!
 

DeniseM

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I ask her teacher and principal about taking her out for a full week (to make it a two week trip) and met with some resistence to the idea. So, the 10 or so days is my compromise to the situation.
I understand why you would want to take your child out or school, but there is a good reason why the school doesn't support it. In California if a student is absent, for any reason, the school district does not get funded for that student for that day. Funding is totally based on student attendance - and schools are hurting these days.

The only way around it is if you put your child on short-term independent study for the days they will miss, that way:

1) The school gets funded for your child for those days.
2) You child will get make-up work in advance (and can't be penalized for missing class.) Note, however that the make up work must be done and turned in upon return to school.
3) Your child will not get an unexcused absence - he will be considered "present" for those days.

I don't know if your child's school will go for it, but it's worth asking. If they say no, be sure you ask what the independent study policy is so you know for next time.

Good luck!
 

guitarlars

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Hilton Waikaloa is good choice

I have taken my son to the Hilton Waikaloa 6 times, beginning when he was in Kindergarten. I cannot recommend this hotel highly enough if you have young (or not so young) children. Next year we are staying at the Hilton timeshare, but all other times we stayed at the hotel.

There are suites available, but these are usually booked well in advance and are rather pricey. The hotel rooms are all essentially the same inside, no real difference which tower you stay in. We most enjoyed the Sea Tower (think that's correct) and the Palace Tower second. Overall no big differences, but there is a nice large lawn next to the Sea Tower and is seemed a bit quieter.

The childrens club is a bit pricey, but for young kids it is a great experience. The Dolphin experience is also pricey, but it is one my sons greatest memories. The lagoon is excellent for kids and is a great place to introduce them to snorkelling. Sea turtles were a big hit with my son.

My only real gripe is that the restaurants can be extremely pricey (including the luau, which I do not recommend). Eat off-premise, the club house at the golf course across the street is probably our favorite place nearby. There is also a Roy's nearby.

Have fun,

Lars
 

ciscogizmo1

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I understand why you would want to take your child out or school, but there is a good reason why the school doesn't support it. In California if a student is absent, for any reason, the school district does not get funded for that student for that day. Funding is totally based on student attendance - and schools are hurting these days.

The only way around it is if you put your child on short-term independent study for the days they will miss, that way:

1) The school gets funded for your child for those days.
2) You child will get make-up work in advance (and can't be penalized for missing class.) Note, however that the make up work must be done and turned in upon return to school.
3) Your child will not get an unexcused absence - he will be considered "present" for those days.

I don't know if your child's school will go for it, but it's worth asking. If they say no, be sure you ask what the independent study policy is so you know for next time.

Good luck!

Interesting because all schools/districts must operate differently even in California where my girls go to school. Our old principal at our school would allow independent study which I used one year. The process was very painful for everyone involved. The teacher had to submit a packet to the district to approve of the work to completed over vacation. We were in 2nd grade at the time so, we were required to do 6 hours of work. This wasn't write in a journal everyday and do couple of math problems. Anyways.. it was too much work for us to complete. We only finished about 3 days worth of work so, we only got credit for 3 days. It was very time consuming and not worth it to do on vacation. I felt it was additional work for the teacher, student and parent. Who wants to be doing homework in the room every day. Plus, in addition to the daily classroom work we still had our nightly homework of reading 1/2 hour per day, etc..

Anyways... fast forward to now... our principal does not allow independent study for vacations. She has even showed me in the district handbook how independent study is not to be used for vacations. It is not an option. Our principal is right too... I've read the thing and it shows independent study is for deaths in the family, family celebrations like a wedding, court issues like testifying for trial, etc.. Vacation isn't listed.
 

DeniseM

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Interesting because all schools/districts must operate differently even in California where my girls go to school.

That is interesting. One reason that our district allows it is because our student body is more than 50% Latino and from Thanksgiving to New Years we have a large number of students who go to Mexico for the holidays and go on short-term independent study. Otherwise, at the high school level anyway, they would simply be dropped from school for excessive absences after 20 consecutive days and basically lose the whole semester. And of course that means that the Dist. would lose their ADA funding as well.
 
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dive-in

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The school district in our area, Raleigh, NC - Wake County, went to magnet year round schools years ago. They get out of school the same amount of time, but instead of taking a 12 week break in the summer, we get four 3 week "track-out" breaks. Basically, there are 4 tracks and only 3 tracks are in school at any one time. The other track is tracked out so essentially we're in school for 9 weeks and out for 3 weeks. The last day of a grade is the end of June, everyone gets the week of 4th of July off, and the new grade starts after the week off. Here's the calendar.

Some advantages of the year round school are:
  • Don't have to spend the first few weeks of the school year reviewing the previous year's material
  • The kids are bored and ready to go back by the time break is over. Our kids anyway. :)
  • Fully implemented you get 25% more students in the same facility

The track-out camp infrastructure has built up to support the market demand so there are still things to do during the track out periods if mom and dad have to work.

My 7th and 4th graders have been in year round school since kindergarten and we love it. We get a break each season and can take vacations when things are a little slower and less expensive. Disney in early November before Thanksgiving is much nicer than taking the break in July and we've been to Kauai twice in February to see the whales.

Unfortunately, we only have 2 more years of this calendar before we start taking vacations with the rest of the masses. The high schools don't use a year round schedule. :(
 

wmmmmm

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I was checking their website and like the Lagoon Tower but was wondering if anyone has tips/suggestions on what to request as accommodations. I would even be willing to endure a timeshare presentation if it meant a cheaper rate, etc..:)
My personal view is that missing a week even every year of school is not a big deal. Chicken pox, broken bones etc are all part of growing up and you can't make kids not get sick! But we are in the same situation and have been going to Hawaii only during Spring and Summer breaks for the last eight years. Anyway, to answer your question, if you have a Kindergartner, I'd recommend the Lagoon tower. You said you've been at the complex before so you know how far it is to walk from the swim lagoon to the buildings. We stayed at the Ocean tower before and it's a good walk to the lagoon. If you're paying big bucks to stay there, why not be closer. If you can get a Lagoon tower room with views of the Dolphin experience, it'd be even better.

If you go to the TS presentation, they will give you $150 Hilton Dollars to use at the hotel but you can't use it against the room so you'll have to decide whether it's worth it.

Last, we stayed at Hilton Waikoloa twice during Spring Break and it wasn't too crowded. After all, it's not Waikiki! And with the high air fare, I'm thinking that next year, it'll be even less crowded. For reference, even though it's not the hotel itself, I'm looking at the HGVC site now and although there's limited availabilities for the HGVC suites at Waikoloa (strange that there are almost no availabilties for much of March until Easter), I've never seen so many Bay Club units for Spring Break this late (August).
 

hotmike98

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You shouldn't have a problem finding somewhere cheaper

Our friends just came back from Kona and said it's deserted. tourism is really hurting due to airfare increases. I see prices coming down a little for next year. Hilton property is certainly beautiful, but Kona has many wonderful beaches that are free. We stayed at the Seaside last year when we arrived before our TS week started at Kona Coast. It's barely a 2 star, but was clean, and in an ok location. Perhaps you want to try Priceline for Waikaloa area. After spending so much $$ for airfare, I'd be tempted to go more budget, since you have a nice TS stay afterwards. Aloha!
 

tfalk

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When we first went to Kona several years ago, we really wanted to stay at Waikoloa due to all the family stuff you see. Unfortunately, the entire resort was booked for a convention the couple of days we had available. We ended up staying at Mauna Lani instead and have never regretted it - in fact I just booked another stay at Mauna Lani for next year.

Every time we've gone over to Waikoloa, it just felt like a mob scene. The lobby is always crowded, the pool looks crowded, the shops are crowded, we just felt like we were back on Kalakaua Ave in Waikiki...

At Mauna Lani, I asked at the desk how many people were there and they told me they were at 98% capacity at the time. I then asked them where was everyone? The resort has a much quieter and relaxing feel to us than Waikoloa did. The beach was almost empty, no problem getting lounges by the pool and never a problem getting a dinner reservation, even for a party of 8.

Just wanted to give you another view....
 

Zac495

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I know this might start a debate: When my son was in kindergarten we planned a trip to Hawaii. Due to concerns with him missing time from school we left him with the grandparents. His teacher was supportive of that decision but also stated if she had been in our position she would have just taken him out of school. Yes he would have missed a week of school, but since they weren't studying rocket science it was not anything that was going to destroy his entire educational experience. She felt that that the time spent creativing memories with the family far exceeded anything he could have been taught in school. Of course what did she know, since she had only been teaching since the 1960's and was the most requested teacher in the school. If we had it to do over again we would have taken him out of kindergarten (not the higher grades) and just enjoyed our time with him. Trust me, as a mom getting ready to send our son off to college, it goes to fast to worry about the little things. If spring break is the best time to go then go. But if not find a time that works best for the family and just go, IMHO.

For sure! I'm a teacher and a mom. I can't pull my kids since I can't pull me out of school, but I support parents (and I teach 2nd grade) taking their kids away. Yes, they miss something. And kindergarten is important!! All grades are important. BUT - family memories - hands down. I wouldn't take my kids out for a week now - 5th and 8th grade. Too hard to catch up.
 
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