So it’s a milestone anniversary in your life and you want to celebrate it big?! I have a great idea for you!
If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you probably caught a glimpse of Audley and I recently celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary in Hawaii. This was a dream trip for us and I want to share some of it with you, beginning with the fabulous Hilton Waikoloa Village on the Big Island of Hawaii.
We spent five nights of our trip on the Big Island. As I share my little review with you I must tell you that stays on both the Big Island and Oahu were covered with Hilton Honors points. It pays to stay brand loyal when traveling (which Audley does a lot for work). Hilton has one of the best loyalty programs on the market right now and we have enjoyed its benefits for nearly six years.
Since our stay at the resort was a points stay it really could have gone two ways; poorly (because it was free and they weren’t making anything off of us), or exceptionally well (and our stay was definitely exceptional)!
I could write for days on the wonderful time we experienced at the Hilton, but I’m going to be reasonable and share some of the finer points, beginning with our arrival.
We arrived late in day for our stay on the Big Island. We were tired after a day of sightseeing on Oahu and then flying Hawaiian Air over to the Island. Walking into the open lobby was so lovely. Fresh flower arrangements brimming with native flowers were a delight for the eyes.
The young lady checking us in was a peach. She was so friendly and immediately made us feel welcome. We expected to pay the $25 a day resort fee as well as the parking fee, but were surprised when we were informed that our resort fee was waived (since we were on Hilton Honors points) and we were free to enjoy all of the resort perks on them. To say we were stunned was an understatement! We were also gifted with vouchers to apply to meals we enjoyed while at the resort as well as a gift certificate for special drinks on our anniversary.
After a fifteen minute walk to our room (we chose to stroll the hotel instead of taking the tram), Audley and I excitedly unpacked for our Hawaiian adventure!
I will be honest with you, we didn’t spend all of our time at the resort, although it is very possible to do so. In fact if you are traveling with younger children, they can have a wonderful Hawaiian experience without having to drive all over the island and exhausting them in order to have one. Audley and I drove over to Volcanos National Park to hike, visited the Volcanos Winery, checked out Greenwell Farms coffee plantation, hiked some more at Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park, toured the Painted Church, and did a little antique shopping……
BUT, the resort has so many neat activities, from hula lessons to a dolphin experience and some fabulous restaurants that you don’t even have to leave the Waikoloa Village to enjoy a Hawaiian experience.
Here are some of the highlights of our experience at the Hilton:
The art. From the moment you walk into the Hilton Waikoloa you are surrounded by artwork of the many cultures that have influenced the Hawaiian Islands over the last couple of centuries. Audley and I thoroughly enjoyed walking the flag-stone paved walkways taking in the many statues, paintings and treasures. The artwork is original and plenty of antiques to satisfy the historian inside.
Audley had a little too much fun; apparently being in Hawaii and away from work brought out the kid in him.
We appreciated the transportation through the resort, although we only utilized it a couple of times. There is a air-conditioned tram that runs 24 hours a day around the resort dropping off guests at various locations. The Hilton Waikoloa also boasts a canal with a sweet boat ride. We enjoyed just puttering around in the boat at the end of the day. We only used the train once and that was the evening we were dressed up for our Anniversary dinner. Otherwise we preferred to walk everywhere. It’s healthier and you could see and enjoy so much more!
The dolphins were beautiful to watch. We didn’t pay for the experience, but you still have access to watching these majestic creatures play.
We ate a several local places away from the resort, but we also checked out a couple of restaurants located inside.
Kamuela Provision Company was by far the best dining experience we had on the trip. With a sunset anniversary dinner on the lanai we could not have ordered a more perfect evening.
The food was fabulous and our waiter was outstanding! He offered to take pictures for us (no dinner selfies; a very exciting prospect) and completely exceeded our expectations for service.
I also appreciated the fact the Kamuela uses local ingredients from seafood to vegetables whenever possible. It makes a huge difference in the quality of the food!
Imari Japanese and Sushi restaurant was another wonderful supper choice for us. My sushi was so delicious and I’m ashamed to say that I might have eaten myself into a wee bit of a sushi coma.
We enjoyed the Big Island breakfast buffet one morning, but I didn’t feel like I ate $40 of breakfast (an omelet and fresh fruit) since I’m trying to stay healthy, so we didn’t make that a daily option. I carried protein bars which served their purpose for morning fuel. Iced coffee from Waikoloa Coffee Company was an everyday treat. I only hated they closed in the afternoons and at night as an evening coffee would have been divine.
We did not enjoy dining at the Boat Landing Cantina (which may have been due to the people seated near us; please make your kids behave public parents and if you’ve had too much to drink, don’t be so loud…. we don’t care!) nor did we particularly care for the Chinese restaurant (we found the food to be rather unflavorful). Although, I did hear other’s saying they thought their Chinese meal was delicious. But then again, is not my favorite cuisine.
Having photographers throughout the resort was nice. They aren’t professionals by any means, but it was nice to have a few pictures of us that weren’t selfies since we were traveling without the kiddos.
Shopping in the Hilton Waikoloa was lovely as well. We had access to traditional souvenirs, but also the ability to shop for something a wee bit more of a keepsake…
I do want to point out, the Big Island was formed from Volcanos. If you are looking for the white sandy beaches of Waikiki or the North Shore of Oahu you really won’t find that here. There are some man-made areas available in the resort, and around the island, but the Big Island is more about history and the rugged beauty than beaches.
To me the Big Island is so much more laid back than Oahu and Maui which is perfect when you are wanting the perfect get-away to reconnect with your love.
From start to finish, our stay at the Hilton Waikoloa was a wonderful experience. Honestly I cannot think of one negative event that made any impression on us. We were even upgraded to a full ocean view 24 hours into our stay.
I know that if we make a return trip to Hawaii, this will be our destination without a doubt! Check them out. You won’t be sorry at all!
**ALL opinions are totally mine and I was not compensated in any way for this post.**