Hilton Waikoloa Village's renovated lobby // (c) 2012 Hilton Waikoloa Village
Hilton Waikoloa Village has something for everyone. Its 62 acres encompass multiple swimming pools, an ocean-fed snorkeling lagoon, trams, boats, restaurants, dolphin encounters, shopping, art, wildlife, tennis, a putting course, a chapel, a convention center, children's program, a spa and a luau.
But even though it's clearly the total package, the 1,240-room Hawaii Island mega-resort has been systematically evolving and sprucing itself up to make sure it maintains widespread appeal.
I recently revisited the property to check out the results of a $15 million renovation - completed in August - of its lobby and 245-room Lagoon Tower, and I'm happy to report that the hotel continues to look and feel great.
Hilton Waikoloa Village spokesperson Leanne Pletcher told me that resort occupancies in 2012 are on pace to match 2011 results.
"The first half of 2013 is looking stronger than the same period in 2012," Pletcher said. "To help boost our business we are looking at increasing our banner ads with online sites such as TripAdvisor.com, along with exploring new ideas with our wholesale partners and stepping up specials for our group customers."
Fresh Look for Lobby and Lagoon Tower
The renovated lobby sports a chic scheme of tan, purple and gold, with culturally inspired touches. The design of its new chandelier is based on the Hawaiian concept of piko waena (a place of gathering), and its hanging lights represent past, present and future generations of resort visitors.
The transformation of the Lagoon Tower rooms focused on upgrades to the bathrooms, linens and furnishings. The carpet features handsome images of naupaka - a Hawaiian beach plant - and a blend of lavender, white and beige highlights. The bathroom now boasts a crystalline stone countertop with dual sinks and a spacious walk-in shower.
Half of the Lagoon Tower units offer prime views of the dolphin lagoon and ocean, while the remaining rooms provide vistas of either the Mauna Kea and Hualalai mountains or Waiulua Bay.
Pletcher said that the Lagoon Tower is particularly favored by families because it offers the closest accommodations to the dolphin lagoon and the Kona Pool, which is home to water slides, waterfalls, an interactive fountain and a sand-bottom kiddie pool.
"Couples prefer the Ocean Tower because it's more remote and quiet, while groups gravitate toward the Palace Tower which is located near the convention facilities," said Pletcher.
The transformation of the lobby and guestrooms comes on the heels of the $1 million renovation in 2011 of the Naupaka and Naia suites, the most luxurious accommodations available at the resort.
New Options for Dining and Water Sports
In late May 2012, Hilton Waikoloa introduced Dona and Toni's Pizza to its range of dining outlets. Another new addition to the resort's eateries is Boat Landing Cantina, offering Pacific-Mexican cuisine.
In July, the hotel debuted a unique food and beverage service called Evening on the Water, allowing clients to cruise around the property in one of its mahogany boats while sipping and supping at sunset.
The Nanea Kai (play at the ocean) Beach Boys program is yet another relatively new addition to the Hilton Waikoloa Village experience. Fourteen friendly, knowledgeable watermen assist guests at the hotel's saltwater lagoon, doing things like launching and landing beach toys, demonstrating stand-up paddling and preparing clients for snorkeling.
Lest anyone assume that the hotel's upgrades have ended, Pletcher promised some minor upgrades around the property in 2013, followed by renovations in 2014 to the conference center and Big Island Breakfast at Water's Edge restaurant.
In other words, any time is a good time to visit Hilton Waikoloa Village.