After our trip to Kauai, we flew into Kona for our final three nights of our Hawaiian vacation. Kona is a very small airport with limited roofing and sides to the building. We know this because when we landed, it was a torrential wind driven rain storm. The pilot had us wait inside the plane for a bit since there are no jetways. After wading through 3 inches of water and getting our rain drenched luggage, we went to Alamo to pick up our rental car.
We were shortly we were on our way up Rt. 19 to the Hilton. As we pulled into the Hilton property all we could see were lots of cars. In fact, they were hosting an event. We pulled up and we unloaded our luggage while my husband found out that we had to pay $17 per day for self parking or $22 for valet service. We chose the valet service since the property was so large.
The lobby was extremely busy for after 9 PM. We checked in, given a room in the Ocean Terrace and told we needed to take the monorail to our complex which would be the end of the line (3rd stop). There was a boat we could take but they don’t allow luggage. Since there is one track, we needed to wait about 30 minutes for the train. Blogger Hubby wasn’t pleased about that! Looking at the photo below, he Ocean Terraces are the three circles that are interlocking. There is only one stop at this location and it is at the far right. We felt like we ended up walking quite a bit to get to our room.
This hotel looked dated, no microwave, single sink and for me a big disappointment was no lei greeting like we had at the Hyatt. The balcony was very small with two chairs and a small, short round end table. There was a coffee machine like the Hyatt had but unlike the Hyatt, they did not offer tea and I am a tea drinker.
We were woken up very early in the morning and multiple times due to about a million birds screeching. They did it many times and it lasted a long time. We met several people who changed their rooms/complexes because of the loudness of these birds. If I was staying longer or had children with me, we would have changed as well. The other side of the complex had the dolphins which I’m sure a lot of children would like to be near to see the interaction or to swim with them.
Rather than waiting for the monorail, we walked to the lobby, about a 10 minute museum. The boat only ran from 2 PM till 10 PM. It was, in our opinion, very inconvenient to have to wait a long time to go to your room.
The pools here didn’t seem as inviting as the one at the Grand Hyatt Kauai – there was no lazy river and a small water slide. The “lagoon” where you could rent kayaks, paddleboards did have a natural environment where we saw green turtles swimming with paddleboarders a few inches, or so it seemed, right above them. There was water around the complex that you could not go into – such as the waterway for the boat.
We did attend the Luau that they had and it was quite good. There really is no need to pay for the higher end seats as there is no bad seat at this luau. When you enter you get your choice of two drinks and are escorted to your seat. The higher end seats did receive appetizers (nachos and chips among them). The food was very good for being mass produced: short ribs, pulled pork, salads, fruit and desserts. The show began a little hokey but that was okay. The entire affair probably took about 2 hours.
We enjoyed our time but would not consider returning to this location. It really was just too large for us and we felt like we spent quite a bit of our time waiting for the monorail, waiting for our car from valet (everyone on the monorails went to the car valet for their cars). The hotel, just to give you an idea of how large it is, covered 63 acres! Too big for us.
We were able to do this because we have the Hilton Honors American Express card where you get 5 times points at grocery stores (buy VISA gift cards there and use for other spending) as well as opening a Bank of Hawaii and Hawaiian Air credit cards. With a minimum spend of $1000 we earned 35,000 and they each transferred over to Hilton at a 1:2 ration – those two cards gave us 140,000. Rooms went for 50,000 points per night so the points from the Hilton AmEx topped off what we had already earned.