Hotel Reviews

Where to Stay on the Big Island of Hawaii

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Back in January we took a trip to visit family in Oahu. As part of this vacation we decided we all would go to the Big Island together for a week.

The first three days were an easy choice, we stayed at the Kilauea Military Camp in Volcanoes National Park. It was my thought that traveling with four adults and two kids we’d want to do our big activities in the beginning, then stay somewhere that had more potential for R&R at the end of the trip.

The problem was, where do we stay on the Kona side? We ultimately went with the Kings’ Land by Hilton Grand Vacations Club in Waikoloa. This definitely made more sense for a group of more than four people since they had many two bedroom suites designed for six or more people.

Kings’ Land by Hilton Grand Vacations Club

There was one bedroom with a king size bed, and the other had two queen beds.


The master bedroom



The view from our lanai


The area was open so you saw your neighbors but it didn’t feel crowded or intrusive (fun uncle and small child not included with your stay)


Picture of the pool from the Kings Land/Hilton website.

I wish I could find one picture that truly showed how large this pool area was. It had bridges, waterslides, and hot tubs all throughout the area. The biggest problem is keeping track of the kids since there isn’t one good spot where you can see everything.

They also had a free luau the first night we were there (just the dancing, not the food), but it was during the happy hour specials so we made do. 😉


The dancers


Fire! =)

Having the full kitchen and a washer/dryer was another reason we wanted to stay at this property. That being said, a rookie mistake, we didn’t to check to make sure all the appliances were working when we got to our room. We figured out that evening that the microwave wasn’t working, not a big deal, but it wasn’t until the next day we figured found out that washer and dryer weren’t working either. Since we were staying only two more nights it wasn’t worth switching rooms over, but had we been staying longer we probably would have.


  • The resort is a sister resort to the Hilton Waikoloa Village hotel. A former Hyatt property that has lagoons, pools, and other amenities you can take advantage of.
  • We really liked having the full kitchen and laundry in our room.
  • This resort is geared towards families with children’s activities and babysitting available (for an additional charge).
  • We loved the pool and we really enjoyed our lanai and view.
  • It is part of Hilton’s “vacation club” properties, so you could sign up for the presentation for some extra perks if you were interested, but it wasn’t required as a part of the stay.
  • There was no resort fee and parking and wi-fi were included in the price of the room.


  • There is an area on the property that has stores and restaurants, but outside of that, you have to drive a ways to get anywhere. It’s not like you can walk from the hotel to other restaurants, shops, etc. It’s over a 30 minute drive to get to Kailua-Kona, which doesn’t sound far in the normal world, but in Hawaii it’s a bit more driving than you usually want to do, especially at night.
  • Since it was a “vacation club” property it didn’t count towards Hilton points. The food and beverages we charged to the room did, but the room itself did not.

Sheraton Kona Resort and Spa

Since our flight home was canceled, the four of us got to stay at the Sheraton Kona Resort and Spa in Kailua-Kona. I was excited despite it being 3 am, since this was a property I wanted to check out as well.

The hotel was older, but everything was still fine. Much more a normal hotel room with two beds, a bathroom, mini fridge, and microwave.


We did have a view from our balcony.

But it did not have the privacy of our lanai at Kings’ Land.


The pool was amazing.


The kids loved the big water slide

And the pool was more confined to one area where we could see the kids from almost anywhere.


It definitely had a more lush-Hawaiian feel being right on the water.


Though I loved the volcanic landscape of where we were staying before, this was definitely more what people think of when they think of Hawaii.


  • Also a great pool with a fun waterslide for kids.
  • Closer to the main Kailua-Kona area (15 minute drive) instead of 30+.
  • Still may be too far for people who want to be able to walk out and be in civilization.
  • Still had some activities for kids, but definitely more geared towards adults. Not a bad thing, it just depends on what you’re looking for.
  • You’re right on the water and it feels more like Hawaii.


  • A more traditional hotel room. It was fine, but I loved having a living room, kitchen, etc.
  • Our balcony had an amazing view of the pool and water, but it was not as relaxing in the morning once the waterslide was open and people started heading out to the pool.
  • We didn’t have a rental car since the airline gave us transportation vouchers, but it would have been a much further walk to and from our car if we wanted to go anywhere.
  • $30 daily resort fee that included parking and wi-fi.

Our biggest problem was one week wasn’t enough time at the Big Island for us. We could have easily stayed a week in the National Park and a week on the Kona side of the island and still not see and do everything we wanted to. If we go back again, I think Kings Land fits our needs more and I would like to spend more time checking out their sister resort as well. I liked the Sheraton and thought it was a nice resort, it just didn’t meet the needs of our family as well as the other.


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Tiff's first big vacation was a Caribbean cruise when she was six. She first started getting interested in deals when her husband showed her the tricks to getting bought off your flights back in the late 90s. She started flying nonrev when they got married; the first unusual nonrev she did was in '05 when her family flew through San Juan to get to Dallas from Philly. They have two boys, ages 11 and 7, who she usually drags along on their travels and hopes they will grow up to love traveling as much as she does.


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