Last Updated on February 5, 2024 by Kelly
The Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort is one of the most popular hotels in Waikiki. The property is massive, with 8 different towers that total over 2,500 rooms. It’s actually the largest Hilton resort in the world!
The property is right on the beach and has a number of amenities. We recently traveled to Hawaii, and we chose to stay at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort for our family vacation. In this post, we’ll share our full review of the Hilton Hawaiian Village. The resort is huge with many different towers to choose from. We’ll share our review of what it was like staying in the Ali’i Tower… the property’s luxury tower!
For a quick overview, we found the Hilton Hawaiian Village to be a wonderful family-friendly hotel. With lots of swimming pools and a prime location on Waikiki Beach, we were able to spend lots of time swimming. The resort is huge and has lots of restaurants on-site. One drawback to this is that we thought the resort was a bit touristy. If you’re looking for more of a boutique experience, you’ll want to stay in the Ali’i Tower.
About the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort
The Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort has a prime location on Waikiki Beach. The two-mile stretch of beach has golden sand, turquoise water, and an impressive view of Diamond Head.
There are multiple towers at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. These include the Ali’i Tower, the Rainbow Tower, and the Tapa Collection. We stayed at the Ali’i Tower of the resort and it was within walking distance to the beach. It took us only one minute to walk from the hotel entrance to the sandy beach of Waikiki. The location was so convenient!
|Don’t miss our free guide to Honolulu. We share over 50 things to do during your visit!
Our Video Footage of the Resort
We made a YouTube shorts video that highlights the resort. Click on the video below and you’ll get to see a room tour!
Things to Do at the Hilton Hawaiian Village
1. The Kahanamoku Beach Portion of Waikiki Beach
One of the major advantages of staying at the Hilton Hawaiian Village is the fact that the hotel is directly on Waikiki Beach. (There’s only a few hotels that are right on Waikiki Beach.) We recommend staying at the Ali’i Tower or the Rainbow Tower specifically if you want to have ocean front rooms and the quickest access to the beach. We stayed at the Ali’i Tower and we only had to walk one minute to reach the beach.
If you’re planning to spend a lot of time at the beach, we think it’s worth the cost to rent an umbrella and lounge chair for the day from the hotel. These were not included for hotel guests and they were kind of expensive. However, if you’re going to be spending multiple hours at the beach, it’s a good idea to make sure you have some shade. Of course, you can also bring a couple of towels and enjoy the beach for free!
The Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort is located directly in front of Kahanamoku Beach. We really enjoyed this beach because it’s protected by an outer reef, which made the swimming area much more shallow. It’s the perfect beach for families with small children. (Our toddler loved it!) The turquoise water was tranquil every day of our trip.
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Tip: Make sure you pack Reef-Safe Sunscreen in advance of your trip! You need to use this type of sunscreen while in Hawaii.
2. Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon
Another advantage of the Hilton Hawaiian Village’s location is that it is located next to the Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon. Hilton manages the lagoon, but it’s free to the public. The lagoon has crystal-clear waters and gentle water. We also took our toddler to the lagoon several times to swim and play. We liked that there were no big waves, which made it perfect for spending hours playing in the sand and trampling through the water. There’s also a number of rentals located by the lagoon, including standup paddle boards and aqua bikes. You can read our full review of the lagoon (plus see more photos!) by checking out our full article on the lagoon.
Tip: One of the best ways to experience Waikiki is by booking a tour to see Turtle Canyon! The tour departs from Waikiki, and you’ll get a chance to snorkel and see wildlife.
3. Swimming Pools at the Hilton Hawaiian Village
The Hilton Hawaiian Village has 6 separate swimming pools to choose from!
- Super Pool: This is the resort’s largest pool and it’s over 10,000 square feet. There are plenty of lounge chairs at this pool, and you can reserve private cabanas. We took our toddler to this pool and we really liked it because there was a ton of space to spread out.
- Keiki Pool: The word Keiki in Hawaiian means child, so the Keiki Pool is the kid’s pool at the resort. The Keiki Pool is located right next to the Super Pool. The pool is a bit more shallow and is perfect for younger kids.
- Tapa Pool: This is a rectangular pool located between the Tapa Tower and the Diamond Head Tower.
- Paradise Pool: This pool is 5,000 square feet and is perfect for families because it has a water slide. The Paradise Pool is right next to the Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon.
- Kalia Tower Pool: This is an adults-only pool (18+ years old). If you want a more relaxed pool experience, this is the pool to visit.
- Ali’i Tower: If you’re a guest at the Ali’i Tower, you can access the tower’s private pool. We stayed at the Ali’i Tower and we really liked having our own pool. We found this pool to be less crowded and it had a beautiful view of Waikiki Beach.
4. Resort Activities
The resort had an activities schedule and each day there was something fun to do. We tried out most of the activities during our week-long stay!
To access the activities, you just need to show a special card that you are provided when you check-in at the hotel. There’s no additional cost to participate in the resort’s scheduled activities. (The activities are already covered under your daily resort fee.)
Because of the time change, our daughter woke up super early on our first day. One silver-lining to a 4am wake-up was the fact that I was able to try the sunrise yoga class! The class started at 6:30am and took place on the Village Green. The resort provided yoga mats and towels for each guest. It felt really nice to stretch my muscles after a day of travel on the plane. I had limited yoga experience, so I was definitely a beginner, and I really enjoyed the class. The instructor was supportive and I felt like it was challenging but do-able. It also helped that there was a beautiful rainbow in the sky for most of the class!
6. Lei Making
We headed over to the Rainbow Tower one afternoon to try our hands at lei-making. The instructor had kits prepared for each person. Our toddler was too young to use the needle and thread, but we really enjoyed making our leis.
Tip: After you make your leis, be sure to take some photos around the resort. We took some beautiful family photos right across from the Rainbow Tower with the water feature in the background.
7. Hula Lessons
One of my favorite memories from this vacation was watching my toddler hula dance! Guests of all ages lined up and learned how to hula dance at the hotel. The instructor was very kind and it was really interesting to learn about the cultural significance of the dance moves.
8. Outdoor Movie Night
One evening during our stay, the resort had an outdoor movie night. They blew up a big screen and set up folding chairs. We got some dinner to-go from a nearby restaurant on the property and we watched a movie under the stars. Our daughter loved it… she still talks about it!
9. Fish Feeding
Our toddler really enjoyed seeing the koi ponds throughout the property, and she was delighted when she got to feed the koi fish herself! A staff member gave her a cone of fish food and she had a blast feeding the fish.
10. Keiki Games
Our daughter also loved the structured children’s games. The teacher divided the children into two groups and taught them two traditional Hawaiian games. In one game, the kids tried to throw a disc between two cones. In another, they threw a wooden object that looked kind of like a bowling pin between two cones. After the games, the second half of the class was arts and crafts. Our daughter made a flower crown and it was adorable. The teacher ended the class by giving her crayons and some coloring pages.
11. Intro to Surf Lessons
Guests that want to learn how to surf can try the free surf lessons. This is an excellent value! It looked like the students received a lot of one-on-one attention as they learned to surf.
12. Aerobics Classes
The resort also offers a morning aerobics class. If you want to exercise during your trip, it’s the perfect activity to warm up and get moving.
13. Tai Chi
Finally, the resort offers a Tai Chi class. This is another great opportunity to relax and get your body moving.
14. Fireworks at the Hilton Hawaiian Village
The Hilton Hawaiian Village hosts a fireworks display every Friday night at 7:45pm. Folks from all over the island come to watch the show. If you’re going to be at the Hilton on a Friday night, make sure that you’re available at 7:45pm to watch the show. (You can even ask which rooms have views of the fireworks display.)
Restaurants Near the Resort
There are at least 15 restaurants and food counters at the Hilton Hawaiian Village! We’ll describe the ones that we personally visited during our stay below.
Tropics Bar & Grill
Our absolute favorite place to eat at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort was Tropics Bar & Grill. We ate there at least once every single day during our trip. Every meal we had there was delicious, whether it was for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. We also really enjoyed their location, because many of the tables have direct views of the beach.
We also thought they served up some of the best cocktails at the resort! We especially enjoyed the Baked Dulce de Leche French Toast (breakfast), the Pupu Sampler (lunch and dinner), and the Poke Bowl (lunch).
We had one meal at the Bali Oceanfront. This is probably the most fancy restaurant at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. Many of the tables also have direct views of the beach or the lagoon. I really enjoyed their avocado toast for breakfast! We think it would be the perfect place for a romantic dinner or a fine dining experience at the resort.
Hau Tree Bar
The Hau Tree Bar is located right next to the Super Pool and the beach. We found it to be the perfect place to eat if you plan on spending the day at the pool. The tables are all located outside, so there’s no need to go back to your room and clean up before eating. We ordered cocktails and lunch during our visit. (I really liked the pina colada with a lava flow!)
Wiki Wiki Market
We frequently visited the Wiki Wiki Market because it was right next to the Ali’i Tower. We got the best shave ice from this market. We also ordered snacks like malasadas (Portuguese-inspired fried donuts) as well as meals like pizza. The market also had some groceries you can buy. (But, like most things in Waikiki, the groceries were expensive! A bowl of cereal was priced at $7. I was glad we had brought our own oatmeal and cereal from home.)
Tip: Buy individual servings of oatmeal in advance of your trip and pack it in your luggage. We used the hot water in our Ali’i Tower room to make oatmeal a few times during our visit. It saved us money, and it was also a quick breakfast for when we were in a hurry to get somewhere.
The property has a Starbucks if you prefer a fancy coffee in the morning. The lines were kind of long, so we recommend waking up early to beat the rush.
Aloha Bowls & Tea
We really liked Aloha Bowls & Tea for a quick breakfast or beverage. We ordered one of their Acai Bowls and it was so delicious. We also got a Thai Iced Tea and we really liked it because it had good flavoring and it wasn’t too sweet. Our daughter really enjoyed their fruit smoothies! It was a nice option for some healthy fruit during our trip.
Blue Water Shrimp & Seafood
One of the things I wanted to do during this vacation was drink out of a coconut. (It’s one of my favorite things to do at tropical destinations.) We found the perfect spot: Blue Water Shrimp & Seafood! Not only did I get my coconut drink, but also a pineapple one! The pineapple smoothie was delicious and it was nicely decorated with a beach umbrella and flowers. It’s perfect for some Instagram-worthy drinks! We had lunch at the restaurant, and we really liked their fish tacos and coconut shrimp.
Tapas Bar and Grill
This outdoor bar often features live music at night. We grabbed dinner here a couple of times. We really liked the OG Burger and the Blanco Pizza.
Dairy Queen/Orange Julius
You know what’s better than Dairy Queen? Dairy Queen on the beach! The Dairy Queen counter is located right next to the lagoon and beach. I ordered an Oreo Blizzard and enjoyed the views!
I love visiting Hawaii because the sushi is just on another level. We went to Hatsuhana for dinner one night and I was in heaven.
After dinner, we walked to Lappert’s Hawaii to get our fill of delicious ice cream. Their ice cream was super creamy. We enjoyed eating our ice cream while walking around the resort.
Gilligan’s Beach Shack
Right next to the lagoon we saw a food truck and decided to check it out for lunch one day. We ordered coconut shrimp and garlic shrimp and both were absolutely amazing. We definitely recommend this food truck!
Hilton Hawaiian Village Luau
The Hilton Hawaiian Village has their own luau, so you don’t even need to leave the property to attend it. Here’s a few pieces of information about the Hilton’s luau:
- The Waikiki Starlight Luau takes place on the Great Lawn (weather permitting).
- At the time of this writing, the luau occurs every Sunday through Thursday.
- The doors open at 5:00pm and the dinner is served at 5:45pm.
- The Waikiki Starlight Show starts at 6:30pm.
Hilton Hawaiian Village Map
The Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort is a huge property! We took a photo of the map and it was helpful to reference during our stay. See below for a full map of the property:
The Ali’i Tower at the Hilton Hawaiian Village
With lots of different options, we were a bit overwhelmed at first about where to stay at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort. Once I did a bit of research, though, the Ali’i Tower was the clear winner of the best place to stay on the property. The Ali’i Tower is a bit more expensive than the other towers, but in my opinion, it was 100% worth the additional cost.
The Ali’i Tower is the Hilton Hawaiian Village’s luxury tower. The Ali’i Tower has 15 floors, and we stayed on the 10th floor. We stayed in an Ali’i Ocean View room, and we had beautiful views of Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head. I originally wanted to stay in an Ali’i Ocean Front room, which faced the beach directly, but they were sold out since we planned our trip last-minute. However, I’m really glad we stayed in the partial Ocean View room, because I really liked seeing Diamond Head and Waikiki Beach. (And we still got to see the ocean from our room!)
Advantages of Staying at the Ali’i Tower
One of the best things about the Ali’i Tower is that there is a private check-in desk for guests staying at that tower. We saw extremely long lines at the check-in desk for the resort’s main lobby when we arrived, so we were so grateful we could skip that line! I’ve read from other travelers that they spent up to 45 minutes just to check-in to their room when they arrived at the main lobby. We were able to walk right past the line pictured below when we checked in!
The Ali’i Tower is the only tower with its own separate check-in desk. When we arrived to the resort, we walked to the Ali’i Tower and there was literally no one in line at the front desk when we arrived. We were able to check-in to our rooms in under 5 minutes. After a full day of travel with a toddler, we were grateful we could just go straight to our rooms to unpack and relax.
The Hilton Hawaiian Village has 6 pools to choose from, and one of those is the Ali’i Tower’s private pool. The pool is reserved for guests of the Ali’i Tower only. It has a sundeck and lounge where you can order beverages, cocktails, and even meals. When the other pools were crowded over the weekend, we were grateful we had the Ali’i Tower’s pool.
The pool is located on the second floor of the Ali’i Tower. To access the pool, you’ll need your room key and you’ll need to wear a special bracelet they provide for you. There are plenty of lounge chairs and umbrellas at the pool. There’s also a lot of towels and larger covers that you can place over the lounge chairs.
The pool was a great place to go for a snack, meal, or cocktail when the rest of the restaurants at the resort were crowded. If we ever felt like it was too crowded at the main resort, we could always retreat to the second floor pool.
Another advantage of the Ali’i Tower is that it has its own private fitness center. I walked frequently by the fitness center and it was never too crowded. If you plan on working out on vacation, it’s really nice that the Ali’i Tower has its own fitness center.
What to Pack for a Trip to the Hilton Hawaiian Village
When you visit Hawaii, expect to spend a lot of time at the beach! Here’s a few things I recommend bringing:
- Portable Charger: We like this cell phone charger because the cord is embedded. (That’s one less thing to search for in your bag!) This charger will let you charge your phone when you’re out exploring. You don’t want to run out of battery while you’re on the go, because you don’t want to miss a photo opportunity.
- Waterproof Phone Case: Protect your belongings with a waterproof phone case.
- Quick Dry Towel: This is perfect for hikes where you wouldn’t want to pack a bulky towel from the hotel. It’s easy to throw into a beach bag.
- Flotation Strap: If you’re going to be snorkeling or surfing, and you want to bring a camera or GoPro, you should make sure you have a flotation strap. That way, if you drop your equipment, it won’t sink to the bottom of the ocean.
- GoPro: A GoPro will let you take amazing underwater footage. We highly recommend getting one if you want excellent underwater photos and videos!
History of the Hilton Hawaiian Village
The first hotel located on this stretch of property was built in 1928. The Hilton Hawaiian Village was first built in 1957 with the opening of the Ocean Tower (now known as the Ali’i Tower).
In 1961, Elvis Presley filmed scenes from Blue Hawaii at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. (You can stream the Blue Hawaii movie if you want to watch it before your trip!)
In 1968, the Rainbow Tower was added to the property. At the time, it contained the world’s largest ceramic-tile mosaic. (You can still see the mosaic today. It’s 286 feet high on both sides of the tower. Over 16,000 tiles were used to create it!)
Since then, the property has continued to expand with more towers and amenities. Today, the Hilton Hawaiian Village is the largest Hilton property in the world!
Should you stay at the Hilton Hawaiian Village or the Royal Hawaiian?
When we were planning our trip to Oahu, we considered both the Hilton Hawaiian Village (Ali’i Tower) and the Royal Hawaiian. After a lot of research, we ultimately chose to book our trip at the Hilton. However, we attended the luau at the Royal Hawaiian and we got to see that property up close. Because we were with our toddler, we thought that the Hilton Hawaiian Village had more child-friendly amenities (e.g., kids’ classes, lei-making, a calm lagoon, and lots of pools). However, if you’re traveling as a couple, the Royal Hawaiian would be a phenomenal place to stay.
We had a fantastic visit at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort, and we would recommend it to other travelers as well! The resort is huge and there are several different towers you can choose to stay in. We recommend that you stay in the Ali’i Tower, if possible, which is the resort’s luxury tower. By staying at the Ali’i Tower, you’ll get all the advantages of staying at a large property (access to restaurants, pools, and cultural activities), without any of the hassles (long lines to check-in). The Ali’i Tower has an exclusive check-in desk, pool, and fitness center. We felt that it was worth the higher price. It felt more like a boutique hotel experience.
We think that the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort is the perfect resort for families traveling to Hawaii. We traveled with our toddler, and we really enjoyed the convenience of staying on Waikiki Beach. We could easily play in the water and return to our hotel room to clean up before nap time each day.
We also really enjoyed the many restaurants and bars on the property. Because we never needed to leave the property, planning for meals was never a hassle. We were able to fully relax each day and not stress about anything.
We hope this article helps you plan your own trip to Hawaii!
Disclaimer: We always strive for content accuracy. Since the time of publishing, travel-related information regarding pricing, schedules, and hours may have changed. Please look up such information directly from each vendor or institution for the most current information.