Cozy is the word my son used to describe our room at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. Not the first word that usually comes to mind when you describe a 22-acre property with 3,500 rooms. It’s a testament to Hilton’s commitment to creating a family friendly environment at their enormous property. Camp Penguin engages the 5-12 year olds and snorkeling, stand up paddle boarding, an onsite submarine, and so much more keeps everyone busy.
The original developer built a lagoon about 4’ deep on property for his wife who wanted to tool around unbothered by the waves. It’s the perfe
ct place for little kids to splash around and to learn how to balance on the stand-up paddleboard. But don’t expect the attendants to give you any tips unless you sign up for a lesson.Do expect to hang out with the locals. All beaches in Hawai‘i are public and the Hilton embraces the community, offering a huge fireworks show on Friday nights and opening the lagoon to locals as well.
The room service menu for kids includes teriyaki chicken with rice and salmon in addition to the standard kid fare (burger, grilled cheese) all for the reasonable price of $11. However, the delivery fee is not reasonable. It’s $12 – more than the price of the meal. And no, that does not include gratuity.
The brunch at Rainbow Lanai at Hilton Village needs improvement. None of the three food areas (omelet station, cold foods, waffles) looked that al
luring (sparse even) so we opted for waiting in line at the Starbucks on property instead. There are lots of clothing, ice cream and chocolate shops on property, an IHOP across the street and a mall nearby which you can get to via trolley.
Bali Steak & Seafood at Hilton Hawaiian Village
Chef Matt Alleshouse at Bali Steak & Seafood is intent on offering local and sustainable ingredients and is in the process of reinventing the menu. There was no kids’ menu instead the chef asked the kids what they liked to eat. My 12-year-old polished off an entire 12-ounce NY Strip after tasting the kona abalone from the Ocean Catch appetizer. The menu is pricey but the ocean view, inventive menu and delicious food is worth it.
North Shore: Turtle Bay Resort
Run around! That’s what the PR guy told my son. Turtle Bay is 840 acres of open space and clean air where kids can safely run the grounds. Or they can ride horses, play golf, take surf lessons or kayak. There are a lot of activities for families who want to hang out together and talk story or have some alone time.
Relaxation is guaranteed. The feeling begins
on the 55 minute ride from Honolulu to the North Shore. On the way to Turtle Bay Resort you can stop at a roadside fruit stand for fried banana lumpia, fresh coconut water and pineapple. Join the locals for a swim at the beach at Turtle Bay (the resort is open to the public). Better yet, stay at the resort.
All of the cottages and rooms have a water view. The room we stayed in was comfortable but not luxurious. We didn’t spend much time in it anyway; there were too many things to do, like learn to surf. The instructors at Hans Hedemann had us all standing on our boards within 30 minutes. The lessons start on a board on the grass and we learn the technique of jumping to stand properly. Once in the water, they timed the waves so that we could easily catch one. This was a highlight of our trip. My 12 year old surfed to shore over and over and was rewarded with a Hans Hedemann t-shirt.