Hilton Waikiki and what to do there before Aulani......

Discussion in 'Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa' started by PrincessDuck, Jul 14, 2018.

  1. PrincessDuck

    PrincessDuck DIS Veteran

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    I am starting to plan out trip to Aulani and want to stay in Waikiki for 3 or 4 nights before going to Aulani for a week or so. I would love some advice on this hotel. My husband travels a lot for work and might be able to cover the stay in points. How would it work if we wanted a villa with a kitchen?

    What should we make sure to do while staying in Waikiki vs when we move out to Aulani?

    We will have a rental car while at Aulani. Should we have one while in Waikiki also?
     
  2. alohamom

    alohamom DIS Veteran

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    Are you looking at the Hilton Hawaiian Village or the Hilton Waikiki? These are two very different hotels in different areas of Waikiki.

    The HHV is a huge sprawling resort and the Hilton Waikiki is set back a city block from Waikiki beach

    Having a rental car in Waikiki has its pros and cons.
    Pros are being able to get out to other places of the island like Hanauma Bay and Diamond Head. They are much closer from Waikiki than from Aulani.

    Cons are the majority of the hotels in Waikiki have high parking fees with out a lot of private use lots for self parking. It can be almost as much for the parking fee per night as it is for the car rental itself!
     
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  4. PrincessDuck

    PrincessDuck DIS Veteran

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    Oh, I am thinking the Hilton Hawaiian Village.

    Yeah, I figured that there are parking fees, but it sounds like they are pretty steep.

    We plan on enjoying Aulani and doing some sightseeing trips and eating out from there. We are hoping to have a 3 bedroom grand villa or 2 2-bedrooms. We have another family joining us and plan to use the kitchen to help with food costs.

    We would like to stay in Waikiki for a few days and enjoy it there and do any sightseeing from there that would make sense vs from Aulani.

    I am thinking 4 nights or so in Waikiki and 8-10 nights at Aulani. Kinda of a once in a lifetime trip because I am not sure that we will get back.
     
  5. southerngirl528

    southerngirl528 Dreamin' of Maui

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    AlohaMom makes some excellent points. While I have not stayed at HHV, I have repeatedly read TR's of folks saying just how HUGE the place is. But hey, if you can stay for free on points.....

    I would suggest seeing Iolani Palace and the Bishop Museum while staying in Waikiki. And perhaps Pearl Harbor while there as well. I find getting to North Shore from Aulani very easy. Not sure what time of year you are planning, but if it's winter and there are big waves, traffic can be awful getting to North Shore (which is beautiful, btw!), unless you leave very early. :cutie:

    IMHO, (I go to Hawaii yearly), that sounds like a wonderful plan! :love:
     
  6. nkereina

    nkereina Last chance to lose your keys.

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    We stayed 3 nights in Waikiki before staying at Aulani for 6 nights later in our trip. We did some island hopping in between. My trip report is in my signature.

    Since we were coming from the east coast, we did our 3 nights in Waikiki first thing because we knew we'd be up early due to the time change. We took advantage of that by booking organized tours to Diamond Head and another to Pearl Harbor. Both of these are best done early in the morning, so this worked out well. I'd recommend both tours. We also opted to go with organized tours because we didn't want a car in Waikiki to avoid parking fees and hassles. It can also be a hassle to park at Diamond Head, but the tour brings you right to the very start of the path.

    Aside from these, we walked the strip and visited all the stores and restaurants in the immediate Waikiki area. Hanauma Bay also makes sense to do during your Waikiki stay also, if interested. Later in our trip when we stayed at Aulani, we focused on the windward side of the island and the North Shore so we didn't have to drive down back into the craziness of Honolulu and Waikiki.
     
  7. pjacobi

    pjacobi DIS Veteran

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    I hiked Diamond Head in June and witnessed 4 helicopter rescues. I'm sure they all survived after food, water and a doctor checkup, but I bet the $10,000 - $20,000 bill for services probably killed them!

    Eat well before your hike, bring snacks and lots of water.


    -Paul
     
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  8. cgattis

    cgattis DIS Veteran

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    Good grief!! We did it last June and yes, it was tougher than I expected. I thought if that many people did it, it was more like a nature trail kind of stroll than a real hike, so I was surprised. I have a couple of crummy knees so I expected I'd struggle, but DH tried to quit halfway (which I shut down LOL). Definitely be hydrated and wear good shoes. But fortunately we didn't see anyone in trouble.
     
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  9. southerngirl528

    southerngirl528 Dreamin' of Maui

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    Was that later than mid-morning (when it gets a lot hotter??)? Mercy!
     
  10. pjacobi

    pjacobi DIS Veteran

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    The 4 helicopter evacuation that I witnessed on June 17 were around 10:00 AM. There were three that flew off in a wire litter dangling below the helicopter. A grade-school girl went down strapped to rescuer's chest on a cable below the helicopter.

    I think there was even one more evacuation later in the day after I left. I saw it later on the local TV news.


    -Paul
     
  11. nkereina

    nkereina Last chance to lose your keys.

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    Wow, those evacuations sound crazy! I agree with PP that I underestimated Diamond Head, but unless you get injured while hiking and can't bear weight, I wouldn't say its evacuation worthy. You can see what you're getting into when you arrive.
     
  12. PrincessDuck

    PrincessDuck DIS Veteran

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    If you can't hike Diamond Head, is it still worth driving to it to look around? I just don't think that it will be physically possible for me to go up all that.
     
  13. nkereina

    nkereina Last chance to lose your keys.

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    IMO, no. There's not much to see at the base of the mountain where the trail starts. The parking lot is also tiny and parking can be hard to come by if you get there mid-day or later. There also may be a fee to pay - I can't confirm because we went as part of an organized tour.

    The first portion of the path is paved with a minimal incline, so I guess you could opt to hike as far as you're comfortable and then turn around and go back. There are places to stop and look out over the valley and the land on the trail, but the ocean and Waikiki views are from the top.
     
  14. cgattis

    cgattis DIS Veteran

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    Agree with PP—there’s nothing much to see at the parking area. You either need to get on top OR get someplace where you can see the top instead, which is what I think the Tantalus lookout provides? I’ve never done it, but several DISers have; maybe someone will jump in, or you can google it.
     
  15. CateinPhoenix

    CateinPhoenix Mouseketeer

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    We absolutely loved the Hilton and took a "hop-on/hop-off" trolley tour. https://waikikitrolley.com/

    I am by no means a big hiker and didn't have any problem with DiamondHead!~YMMV!
     
  16. pjacobi

    pjacobi DIS Veteran

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    I watched several Youtube videos on HHV and various other Waikiki hotels, which show the lobby and inside a standard and/or deluxe room. Despite the high cost, none of the room were very impressive. Some rooms seem very dated from the 70s. Do not expect Disney Deluxe resort quality!

    My conclusion is that Waikiki room rates pay for 3 things: Location, Location, Location.


    -Paul
     
  17. MrsJanmik

    MrsJanmik Earning My Ears

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    We did 4 nights at the Hilton Hawaiian Village before doing a week at Aulani. The HHV rooms were great - they were set up very similarly to a usual DVC two bedroom suite (kitchen in between). The resort itself was not my favorite. A huge sprawling complex that seemed designed to make you walk past as many shops as possible to get to the beach. The beach was okay - bring water shoes to go in the ocean - the floor is very rough. From the Hilton we liked people watching and going out to restaurants. We did a trolly ride around Waikiki- which would be good to do early on so you check out the area and see what else you want to do. We also did the Atlantis Submarine, which was neat. If you want to do whale watching, the boats leave from near Waikiki so better to do it from there than from Aulani, as the drive back in is a long one. Also Diamond Head is close (we had my 2 year old so we didn't hike it).

    From Aulani we drove to the Polynesian Cultural Center, the North Shore, the Dole Pineapple Plantation and Pearl Harbor. I don't think any of these things are so much closer to Waikiki that it necessitates going to them from the Hilton, and they will be easier to get to when you have your rental car.
     
  18. Franca16

    Franca16 Earning My Ears

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    If you can't use points to pay for your room, consider staying at Moana Surfrider in Waikiki. It was built in 1901 and was the first hotel in Waikiki. It's rich in history and beautiful. There have been additions made over the years, but overall, remains unique in it's architecture. From this location, you can walk to all the stores/restaurants. Instead of renting a car for this portion of your stay, you can always Uber to Pearl Harbor/Hilton Head if you wanted to. Or, just enjoy Waikiki and leave the car rental and exploring for when you get to Aulani. We spent probably 2 days driving around the island when we were there. The rest of the time was spent at the resort.
     
  19. kruegeme

    kruegeme Mouseketeer

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    We spent a few nights at Hilton Hawaiian Village before heading over to Aulani as well. We didn't rent a car from the airport but instead took a shuttle to the hotel. We were able to walk down to the mall and down to all the restaurants on Waikiki beach. There is an interesting military museum next door to HHV that you can spend a couple hours at. Was a hit with the 7 year old son.

    I'm not sure if they are still doing this but if so, plan your stay to be at HHV on Friday night. They host a firework show just off the point in front of the hotel. We did a picnic dinner on the beach right at sunset with some extended family and then watched the fireworks go off just about over our heads.

    Once we finished our stay here, I walked down to the Sheraton and picked up our rental car from Avis for the drive out to Aulani. We then used it for our outings from there. It was much cheaper to not pick-up the car from the airport and we still had the option to return to the airport.

    Also, for excursions to Pearl Harbor, it would be highly recommended to work thru either HHV or Aulani to book that. The tour groups have people that will stand in-line for your tour group to pull tickets for Pearl Harbor so you don't have to go early. We had a great excursion booked from Aulani to tour both Pearl Harbor and the USS Missouri.

    Make sure you block out plenty of time to sit back, relax, and enjoy 'Hawaiian Time'.
     

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