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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Visit Hilton Waikoloa Village Hotel

Dear Best Hawaii vacation blog visitors,
Remember our last post about the whales still hanging out around the Hawaiian Islands? We had such a wonderful time watching their playful games in the Pacific Ocean. This was a Humpback whale extravaganza during the later part of the 2009 whale season. Well, maybe that was really their last hooray, before leaving for Alaska because ever since Sunday we have not spotted the whales anymore. It's really odd to look at the peaceful ocean waters without seeing blowing spouts and swimming whales. We already miss the whales!

Hilton Waikoloa Village Waterfall at Pool
When the whales had left, Keoki and I decided it's time for our annual visit to the Hilton Waikoloa Village at Waikoloa Beach Resort on the South Kohala Coast. We got a big surprise when trying to park our car for our visit to the Hilton Waikoloa, normally one of our favorite hotels to visit with family and friends for a fun day on the coast. If you want to spend your entire Kohala Coast vacation at the Hilton Waikoloa Village, make sure that you don't mind crowds and a disneyland atmosphere.

Hilton Waterfall at Snorkel Lagoon
When you love a peaceful stay in Hawaii, away from other tourists and resort living, then the Hilton is probably not for you but if you spend a family vacation near the Hilton Waikoloa, this Hawaii resort is a great place to visit and hang out for a day. A slow boat trip (choose a boat with a roof for protection from strong sun) or slow walk through the exquisite tropical setting and a nice lunch right at the dolphin lagoon, are among our favorites.

Dolphins at Dolphin Lagoon Hilton Waikoloa Village
We wrote about how much fun a visit at the Hilton Waikoloa can be, adults and children. When we did that, we also told you about the Hilton resort fee. You can't imagine our disappointment when we noticed with our visit to the Hilton Waikoloa Village that extra resort fees had nearly doubled from 2 years ago. Scroll down in this post for 2009 Hilton Waikoloa Village Resort fees.

Well, we swallowed hard, paid the $15 self-parking fee and did our walk through the lobby to just have a good time. Here is what we noticed was different to the past years. Normally, the lobby hustled and bustled with visitors, not only with hotel guests but lots of Big Island visitors. A visit to the Hilton Waikoloa was always a special attraction for Big island visitors. We always assumed that the Hilton appreciated the extra business from all the outside visitors: visitors to Waikoloa Hilton Spa, shops for Hawaiian clothes, galleries and restaurants.

Looks like the new Hilton resort fees are not a big incentive for guests or Big Island visitors to visit this wonderful Hawaii resort. On the opposite, those new fees must turn off quite a number of visitors. We noticed that the hotel was extremely quiet, resort boats and trains for transporting people between towers were empty, despite personnel assuring us that the hotel 'was' booked 92% due to a huge convention taking place.

When talking to the front desk, we heard some good news that visitors can still book a day-room at the Hilton for $160/nt., from 11am - 7pm, which is a nice thing to do, when two or even three families can share the costs and the kids can use all the different water slides. Believe me. They love it and it's worthwhile the day room money + the parking fee!

We were hanging out at the dolphin lagoon for quite some time. It's so much fun to watch those playful, friendly creatures. It's hard though to snap a nice photo of the dolphins. I was always a little too late. Anyways, one family, couple with two children, must have signed up for the dolphin quest program. We watched their entire program and asked one of the attendants what the cheapest program runs these days: 20min. with the dolphins is $205/per person. Yes, 1 minute $10! I was wondering whether these parents had to pay the full price for their kids.

If you want to spend a vacation at the Hilton Waikoloa on the Big Island, you may expect the following fees and deposits are charged by the property upon service, check-in, or check-out:Valet parking: $21 per 24-hour period, Self parking: $15 per 24-hour period, Aloha Fun Pass: $26 per day.

Now let's see what you get for your Aloha Fun Pass: In-room coffee Daily use of fitness center for two guests One hour daily use of tennis court Daily use of seaside putting course for two guests Self-parking Remember the good old days when parking at a hotel in Hawaii where you stayed as a guest was free? The hotel appreciated that you decided to spend your vacation there. And they even had free coffee at your room available. Nice gesture!

The Aloha Fun Pass for $26 per day sounds like a good deal from the Hawaii Hilton Waikoloa Village for guests who love to work out daily at the fitness center or want to play frequently tennis. I don't know about the majority of guests who don't do either but definitely need the parking! Don't assume there is alternative parking nearby. There is none! There are only gated vacation rental condo resorts closeby. It looks like when Hawaii Hilton guests want to save money, they are better off not to buy the Aloha Fun Pass, when they look closer at this resort deal fee, as they save daily $11 when they pay for their car parking individually the $15/day.

To tell you the truth I don't even know whether guests can turn down the Aloha Fun Pass at check-in. When I called guest service and asked what I need to spend at the resort to validate my parking fee, it was $50/per person at a restaurant! Well, the Waikoloa Marriott at least acknowledges any restaurant, banquet and luau visits and reduces their parking to $5! Good idea to keep your guests happy!

Bottom line of our post: We still love to visit the Hawaii Hilton but would like to see the hotel opening up again to outside visitors and residents by a policy which considers the budget of regular Big Island visitor and asking feasible fees. If hotels like the Hilton ignore customers needs and wishes, Hawaii tourism will be challenged. What's your recent experience with the Hawaii resort fees in 2009. Wouldn't it be nice to hear that hotels will waive those, at least for 2009. Mahalo for your comments. Aloha, Pua Hawaii Vacations

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