Just came back from our stay at the Shores. I'd rate it a full five stars, if it wasn't for the terrible late check-in experience. Checking in after 9PM means that you must use the entrance buzzer to have someone let you in the gates, and then drive to the lockbox to retrieve your keys using the codes they give you. Sounds simple enough, or so we thought. The first woman through the intercom was rude and not at all helpful, especially since she seemed to think the lockbox was outside the gates (it is not). We got disconnected and were reconnected to another woman who was far more friendly and got us through the gates. However, upon reaching the lockbox, the provided codes did not work. We were able to open the lockbox after several frustrating tries. After a long flight, this is truly unacceptable and we were quite exhausted.
However, this was our only negative experience at the Shores, and I'd like to state that we would gladly return, though never after-hours again.
Accommodations were lovely, quite clean and spacious, with lots of living space, a small but quite adequate kitchen and laundry facilities. All electronics were brand new, appliances were in working condition, some new some old but clean. The condos are privately owned, so some have newer features than others. All condos seemed to run on a timed A/C unit, by which the ticker would last 6 hours and then you'd have to reset. Not ideal for when you leave your unit and come back hours later to it hot from a steaming day in Waikoloa, but the A/C worked at the very least, and there were ceiling fans in the living and bedroom areas. Lanai was huge and gorgeous, and the grounds were kept tidy.
Cleaning crew and front desk reception were exceptional in service and demeanor. All fixable concerns were dealt with swiftly and professionally. We were greeted warmly upon official check-in the next morning of our arrival and sincere apologies were offered for our poor experience with the late check-in.
There is resort fee of $10/day, which seemed like a cashgrab, but you really do get good amenities out of it (in-room wifi which worked perfectly, Playstation and games, DVD rentals with very recent movies - which we would've loved to watch if Hawai'i wasn't so scenic already ;) among a few other things.) We would have ideally, liked to have this cost included in our vacation price instead of paid locally, and usually wifi at destinations we've been to is free, but seeing as we enjoyed what we paid for, we can't complain too much really.
Waikoloa, is a great location to start off as a first time trip to the BI. It's not overly far from Kona and the weather seemed to be quite good while we were there. There are some overpriced shops, some decent eateries right in the complex that houses the Shores and other properties such as the Marriott, but a quick drive to Kona can get your more affordable eats. Fresh fish @ Costco - Opah is delicious and affordable, and groceries can be purchased at Safeway and Wal-Mart in Kona. All are off the 19. Costco had the cheapest gas - take Gas Buddy with you when you're out of range of the Costco for comparable gas rates.
You're very close to A-Bay beach (green, white and black sand, turtles and nice swimming and sunset views) and right off the 19, which can take you all around the island as your main highway. After visiting Kona and Hilo, we found that we loved Hilo side, with all the sights and especially the drive, but we enjoyed having Waikoloa as our base. Go to all the markets. Laupahoehoe has a tiny market, but we got the best lychees there and delicious baked goods (even gluten free!).
The entire island itself has lots of character and lots to see, so be prepared to drive a good distance to experience it. Avoid driving at night (other than the drive between the airport and Waikoloa or Kona and Waikoloa)- it can be done if you've got the experience with elevation, windy roads and terrain, but even experience can't always help in flash floods, rock slides, heavy fog and rain or other dangerous drivers (all of which we experienced at some point or another in our short stay). Just because you can do it, doesn't necessarily mean you should!
All in all, we were quite satisfied with our experience at the Aston Shores and our first trip to the Big Island. We are familiar with traveling through the Hawaiian Islands, and really, each island has it's own vibe. We'd come back to the BI and the Shores. Just not after 9PM.
Suggestions to the proprietor: Late check-in has to be a better experience for your already tired guests, especially those of us who have never been to the BI before. Would it be so impossible to have someone physically present to greet late arrivals?
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Thank you for your business. Thank you for your review - your input is the only way we can improve the product and the service.
WOW! We really appreciate the great review. I would say that you have assessed The BIg Island accurately. This is the greatest place on the face of the Earth. And Waikoloa has better weather than anywhere else in Hawaii - allowing you to experience all we have to offer. And you have been so kind as to point out the outstanding product we have and the great service we delivered.
I would like to address one issue and apologize. We do have reduced hours and do ask our guests to follow a simple procedure to check in after 9PM. Your experience was unusual. We do thousands of late check-in's a year and have no problem with 99% of them. Sometimes a confluence of events (a long trip and a tired guest, a live "call center" person who had a bad sandwich that day, a weather anomaly) makes the process testy. I am so sorry about your experience with the late check in service we offer. I talk with these people almost every night and they do their best. We'll use your experience as a lesson in diligence - making sure something works 100% of the time.
We appreciate your recommendation and hope you will return.
Mahalo Nui Loa,
Aston Shores at Waikoloa
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.