The Hilton Hawaiian Village is a great place for locals to have a “staycation” with out ever having to spend a penny. With a lagoon, a beach, a pool, and even a nearby playground, there is something for everyone in the family to enjoy.
Hilton Hawaiian Village
IN A NUTSHELL:
Duke Kahanamoku LAGOON:
- Calm Shallow Water for younger kids
- Fun boating activities
- Shade under trees
- Uncomfortable sand
- Nearby showers but no bathrooms
- Deep ideal sand for playing
- Fun but safe waves
- No shade
The Super Pool and Keiki Pool:
- Shady spaces available
- Lounge Chairs
- Showers and bathrooms
- Lounge chairs occasionally full
- While the Hilton allows guest from other hotels to use the pools, it is questionable whether that policy extends to locals so use discretion.
Be Sure to Check Out…
While strolling along the grounds from the beach to the pool there are ponds with waterfalls and fish swimming around that are fun for the little ones to watch. Additionally, if you venture further inside the hotel, they actually have a penguin habitat! Grab an ice cream cone and watch a penguin feeding while you take a minute out of the sun.
***Make a Day Out of It!***
Go later in the day on a Friday and pack a picnic dinner. Stay to watch the impressive fireworks they set off every week on Fridays starting between 7:45 pm – 8:45 pm for a memorable experience.
Parking is available by turning makai on Hobron from Ala Moana Boulevard. Continue to the intersection and go left. If you continue all the way to the beach area, there is free parking available on the left, however, the parking lot is usually used by surfers and body boarders to access the Kaiser and Bowls surf breaks. If you have enough patience, a spot usually opens up within ten or fifteen minutes, but if you have a car full of impatient kids there is always plenty of paid parking available for $6.
Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon
The first thing you will see when entering the Hilton Hawaiian Village from the beach side parking lot is the Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon. The lagoon is a favorite for parents whose toddlers are uncomfortable with the constant motion of the real ocean, and it is a gorgeous area to take family photographs. Additionally, the trees lining the lagoon can offer shade for families with young children at risk for sunburns. The sand however, leaves a bit to be desired. It feels like concrete covered by a thin layer of rocky sand. It is rather uncomfortable to kneel down on for long periods of time, and feels a little artificial for my tastes.
However, the Lagoon has a lot of other things going for it than the sand. There are huts set up around the lagoon for paddle boards and kayak rentals, for keiki to practice in the calm safe water. The rentals are available to everyone, not just hotel guests.
Duke Kahanamoku Beach
If you look towards diamond head from the Lagoon, you will see a beautiful stretch of Waikiki Beach known as Duke Kahanamoku Beach, right in front of Hilton Hawaiian Village. Unlike the lagoon, you will not find a lot of places for shade, but the sand is perfect for sinking your feet into and the waves on shore are just enough to be fun but not dangerous.
It’s important to note that the stretch of beach immediately following the parking lot (next to the lagoon) is actually pretty rocky once you get more than a few feet into the water. For the longest time I thought the entire beach was all reef, until I had a cousin stay at the hotel. For a softer sandy beach floor, continue further down towards the Hilton Pier where the ocean floor stays soft much further out. The public restrooms and Hale Koa playground are also in that direction (there were no public restrooms at the lagoon, but there is a shower next to the parking lot for rinsing off any sand).
The pool is another great option at Hilton Hawaiian Village. The pool with the slide (known as Paradise Pool, closest to the lagoon) is for hotel guest only and requires a wristband, but there are two additional pools, known as The Super Pool and Keiki Pool, located behind the beach. There are pool loungers available, some of which are in the shade, so I usually bring my daughter here to have her lunch or snack out of the direct sun.
Reports regarding whether the pool is open to the public have been “technically” mixed. I never had an issue using the pool, and friends of mine who have stayed in Waikiki but not at the Hilton have also visited their pool and enjoyed their services. It seems the Hilton might have a lax policy when it comes to Super Pool and the Keiki Pool. While the Paradise Pool is under lock, the Super Pool and Keiki Pool are certainly accessible. I go all the time, but use common sense and don’t invite your entire extended family, or bring everything and the kitchen sink with you. Just your suit, towel, beach/diaper bag to avoid drawing attention to yourself.
For adults who might be interested, there is also a bar, The Hau Tree to order drinks from while you lounge pool side for the ultimate “staycation” experience. The Hilton surely won’t be questioning your pool usage if you buy a drink or snack from the bar. In fact, I think that is probably why they are so relaxed about it – it makes good business sense not to limit these services to hotel guest only. But be cool about it, and if you run into any problems, don’t tell them Miss Mary the Honolulu Mommy sent you.
The most shallow part of the pool is three feet, so younger kids might need to be held or wear floaties. My daughter has an inexpensive swim vest from Long’s and is thrilled to “swim” with out mommy’s help. There are showers and bathrooms at the pool, and with the chairs, shade, and absence of sand it a convenient place to wrap up our visit and put on clean dry clothes before heading home.