My husband and I are HGVC owners and frequently stay at the HHV whenever we are in Waikiki. We haven't been for many years and our last stay was actually in the Lagoon Tower (I have a previous review) which was nearly 7 years ago. This was long before the Waikikian was built.
A few weeks ago we decided to do a mileage run to get me up to the next level of status on my preferred airline. We chose Waikiki as our destination and decided to stay at the HHV. This was a short trip for us (4 nights) so we took advantage of "Open Season" and paid ridiculously low rates for our suite, vs. using our points. A tip to other HGVC owners: the points redemption at the GW are somewhat higher than in the Lagoon Tower or Kalia Tower. If you are visiting for less than a week, I strongly recommend looking into the Open Season option vs. points if this is your preferred tower. That said, the Lagoon and Kalia offer perfectly nice accommodations at a much better value, so if points are your thing, I would look there first.
As always, the service was impeccable. Everyone was friendly and accommodating from check in to check out. The room was also immaculate. We rented a two bedroom, partial ocean view and were placed on the 14th floor. Our view was of the marina and the lagoon. We could also see the rooftop luau. (Free show!)
Beds were comfortable and everything was spotless. My only gripe about the room would be the showers. The shower heads were a bit of a challenge to get just right. They use handheld shower heads that can be adjusted to your height, which is nice. However the challenge is getting the angle right without having the handle crash to the floor. Not a deal breaker or anything to really complain about, but would be nice if the shower heads were more traditional and not the handheld type.
Where I do have a moderate gripe is with regard to the wi-fi. For all owners and guests of HGVC wi-fi connectivity is free, however the connection strength is poor. In fact, poor doesn't do it justice. It was terrible. It was impossible to stay connected for longer than 30 seconds at a time before having to log-in again. If you want to stream video (watch a netflix video on your iPad for example) forget about it. At the most I think we had 2 bars of strength, which wasn't consistent. I ended up using my 3G for internet connectivity instead.
My other gripe (and this is a big one) is the pool. I totally get that it's Hawaii and with this resort in particular, it is very kid friendly. I don't have children and I fully expected to see lots of kids at the resort. However, the GW pool is the only one on the property with a water slide and water slide = lots of kids. There were so many in the pool/around the pool it was impossible for me to enjoy myself and relax. In the past there used to be an adults only pool in the Kalia Tower. I was actually looking forward to spending my time there but learned that it was no longer available as an option. We ended up at the beach, which was totally fine (it is Hawaii afterall) but it would have been nice if the HHV dedicated a pool just for adults. Hopefully the absence of an adults only pool is only temporary.
The other issue with the pool is with respect to the reserving of lounge chairs. We also own at Starwood and their policy is that if you leave your belongings unattended on the pool chairs for longer than an hour, they are taken away. Hilton has no such policy, at least that we could see was being enforced. People were arriving at early hours to 'claim their spot' and not returning until later in the day. This is incredibly obnoxious and inconsiderate behavior and a huge pet peeve of mine. I get that people can be/will be rude, but it's the job of the resort to ensure some sort of regulation around this. From what we could tell, this wasn't happening.
Finally, something should be said about the hours of their restaurants and bars. We arrived really late on a Friday evening. By the time we checked into our room it was after 11 pm. We were shocked to find that not a single bar or restaurant on the HHV property was open except for the Round Table Pizza. What bar closes at 11 pm on a Friday night? Especially if your goal is to keep people on property and the majority of Waikiki stays open until the wee hours, you would think they would want to compete. Apparently not. Granted we could have walked into Waikiki, but after a 5 hour flight (and two hour time difference) we weren't exactly up for a stroll into town.
We did really enjoy Tropics, though we never ate in the restaurant itself. We enjoyed live music in the lounge and snacked on pupus. Drinks were expensive, but strong and the pupus tasty.
Overall, this is a great place to stay. The GW is a great facility, but to be honest, any of the other HGVC towers will do. We will be back!