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Reviewed August 8, 2009

Our first experience at the hotel was poor...we came in 2 hours after official check-in time to wait over 20 minutes to check in, to find that our two rooms were not together (10 rooms apart), that only one room was ready, and that although we had asked for 2 rooms with 2 double beds we had been given 1 room with double beds and one room with a king and a sleeper sofa. Good thing my daughter does not mind sleeping on a sofa bed. They were not at all apologetic.

My father, who has difficulty walking long distances, needed to take the tram or the boat to our rooms from the lobby since it was quite a distance. It actually took longer to take the tram or boat then walk; and walking through the corridors did provide some wonderful art pieces. My daughter enjoyed the boat and the tram; I think she learned more Japanese from traveling in the trams then she did Hawaiian.

The pools, artificial lagoon, waterfall, and slides were great. The setting was picturesque and the sunsets magnificent. there was enough to do that you did not need to leave the hotel for a fun week vacation, although we spent most of our time exploring the island.

The food was super expensive. It cost over $6 for a medium cup of regular coffee and a dinner there for a family of five could cost $300 without trying. That said, they were very accommodating about food allergies. My daughter is allergic to soy and nuts and they were able to find or make accomadaion without any problems. they also had gluten free food available on request, including gluten free pancakes for breakfast.

At checkout the machines for checking into your airline online at the lobby was not working, so we were told to go to the business desk. the business desk said they were not able to help so back to main lobby where we were told to go to the concierge at the ocean towers who then sent us back to the main lobby; all this took quite an effort considering the distance and no one was apologetic. In fact they actually were more then a little rude.

Overall great amenities if you don't mind the only poor service that we received on the island of Hawaii.

  • Stayed: August 2009, traveled with family
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4  Thank sweetnessandlight
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 7, 2009

I stayed here with my 18 year old son for 4 days at the start of our Big Island adventure. He picked the place based on reviews he had read and he wanted to stay at one of the "big" resorts. The hotel is nice and the breakfast buffet was delicious, but the price ended up costing almost three times the price of a lovely bed and breakfast we stayed in at the end of our trip. Pluses: If you like a big resort, this is it. However, be prepared to walk and walk or wait for the monorail to take you to your room. That's not so back except at check out and check in when getting things to and from your car is a bit of a challenge. The valet parking was a must because it only cost a few dollars more than the on site parking which was pretty expensive to begin with. The self-park was a brisk 5+ minute walk from the entrance and when you are going all day, that's a little far to schlep all your beach stuff when you consider it can be another 10+ minutes journey to your room. The view from our room was wonderful. The beds were very comfortable. However, there was a BIG concert the Saturday night we were there and the noise was crazy -- not to mention the hordes of people. Occasionally valet parking was crazy hectic, but that was probably due to the fact that the hotel was overbooked and they did not anticipate the crowds. The salt water lagoon was also not a great place to swim. Too many kids that didn't know who to paddle a kayak around swimmers -- and the water was murky. After paying a small fortune for a bed, breakfast and parking the car, they still hit you up for internet. If I come back to the Big Island, I'll definitely stay somewhere smaller and quieter and more enjoyable.

  • Stayed: July 2009, traveled with family
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5  Thank GoKathyMcE
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 7, 2009

We stayed at the Hilton for our honeymoon and it was wonderful. The rooms were large and it was very quiet. We were placed in the Ocean Tower, which was great for watching the sunsets - right outside our room was Buddha point (the resort's recommended sunset viewing location). We had a great time exploring the different pools and trying out various restaurants. The lagoon area was nice, but we never rented any of the water toys, because it always seemed like there were already too many in the lagoon. We usually ended up at the pool by the Lagoon towers where there was a waterslide, hot tubs, waterfalls, and other fun features.
The largest downside to us was how reliant we had to be on the tram and the boat. My husband is handicap so walking the long trek to the room was not an option. The tram shuts down at 11 pm and the boat at 10:30 pm. These times are plenty late once you adjust to the time change, but this was the first stop on our honeymoon and so we had been sleeping on planes on and off and wanted to do a late dinner at 9:30 pm.
One more small thing that was crazy was that mini golf was $15/person. Its just a flat course with a lot of par 2s. At night they turn it into glow golf which kids seemed to love. Just a heads up.
As I said, once you adjust and get yourself on schedule the boat and tram are great. The bell hop will take your luggage so you don't have to haul it, and then you can start the relaxation by floating down a river and taking in everything the resort has to offer.

  • Stayed: August 2009, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank sunbum010
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 4, 2009

Let's start with the good points. I really enjoyed the lagoon. There were a lot of items you could rent (at a fee) to entertain yourself and kids. NOTE -- there are some chairs at the lagoon that are placed in the sandy area. The tide comes in at that area, and our flip flops would have washed away had not a good samaritan put them on top of the chair for me (many thanks to that person!). We enjoyed our stand up surfboard lesson. I had promised my niece a surf lesson, and she enjoyed it. The lagoon is sheltered, so no waves or big fish. We did swim with the wild sea turtles in the lagoon, but it would have been nice if there were larger signs letting people know that it's illegal to approach, touch, or feed the turtles.

I liked my breakfast at the Lagoon Spoon. Note that it was $10 for a large bowl of cereal and a coffee, and that that's about the cheapest meal you can get there. I had house-made granola with dried mango and crushed macadamia nuts. Excellent. We stayed 4 nights and I went there 3 times. After ordering at the counter, you go outside and sit at an umbrella table looking at the Pacific. Possibly one of the better views.

We did go to the luau. We paid the extra $25/person to sit in "ali'i" seating. I recommend that. That gives you free drinks and table service, plus you get to sit right near the stage. With the price of drinks, if you had 2 drinks, that paid for itself. The luau was nice, but ended at 8:15, not 9:00 as advertised. I didn't feel shortchanged at all, however, as there was a good mix of entertainment.

There is a group that takes care of the feral cats on the property. Some of them will play with you or come for petting. We were in a first floor room, and at one point, I was able to get 5 of them to come over and play, to my niece's delight.

The buffet breakfast was good, but not great. DO try the things that look like giant donut holes. I forget the name.

Here are the downsides. There has been a downturn in the tourism in Hawaii, and they've downsized the staff. What that means is: (1) not all the restaurants are open, (2) the restaurant staffs they do have are smaller, (3) smaller housekeeping staff. We stayed in the largest tower (Ocean), but it's primary breakfast restaurant was closed the entire time. That means that all the guests from that tower are going to the other restaurants. The same is true for dinner places. So the restaurants they do have a super crowded and understaffed. And when the hotels are closer to capacity, they can't get the rooms cleaned as early. So when you come in, even after the designated check in time, you can end up SITTING AROUND FOR TWO HOURS WAITING FOR YOUR ROOM TO BE READY. Totally unacceptable.

If you're in good shape, and you walk at a reasonable pace, it will take 15 minutes to walk from one side of the hotel to the other. We were in the farthest tower, and it was about 15 minutes to walk to the car. They have a boat and tram system, but they do not speed your trip much (sometimes they slow it down). If you want to take your own luggage to your room, be prepared for that walk or to lift your 40 pound suitcase down into a boat.

All the drinks were $12, plus tax and tip. No, really!

The restaurants we at in were not bad, but not super either. We ate at the KPC (fish and steak), the teppanyaki style Japanese place, the dockside restaurant in Ocean Tower, the lagoonside restaurant, and the breakfast buffet. We had a heck of a time getting staff at the dockside and lagoonside restaurants. The food was good, not great. I can't actually remember anything I ate at any of these restaurants, but I know we paid top dollar for it.

We used the laundry while we were there. 4 washers and 6 dryers. Be prepared to stand in line to get one. And bring quarters with you, as the machine was empty. The dryers are vented into the room through 5 gallon buckets. If they added some lava rocks and a ladle, it would make a nice steam room.

Nothing is near this hotel. Nothing (except the expensive shopping mall). So if you want to do something besides sit at the hotel, be prepared for at least a 30 minute drive each way, plus the 15 minute walk each way.

The Ocean pool was super crowded with very rowdy kids. The slide was ok, and well supervised. My niece and I were able to find a quieter area of a pool to play in, but it was not as easy to find. Make sure you have a wrist band if you want to use the slide. Get it from the towel desk.

Internet was something like $14 a day. I decided to wait until the next hotel.

I don't think I would stay there again. I felt nickel and dimed every time I wanted something other than to stay in my room or sit by a pool. I felt like everything was a far walk. It was probably my least favorite hotel of the trip.

  • Stayed: July 2009, traveled with family
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4  Thank christens02
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 3, 2009

It was a very nice resort. If you are looking to go to a really nice resort this is it. You could put this resort anywhere and it would be a nice resort. If you are looking for a true Hawaii experience than this isn't really the resort for you.

This resort will remind you of something you would find at Disney World. Don't get me wrong this was a really nice resort and very well upkept.

The only complaint I could have about it was the bathroom was very small.

  • Stayed: July 2009, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank returnpost
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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