Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort, the Hotel Review

In April 2021, exhausted with covid fatigue, we decided to look for a vacation spot for our Thanksgiving break. We didn’t want to deal with the ambiguity of international travel during the pandemic and decided to go to Hawaii instead.

This was our first time in Honolulu (and Oahu) and our 4th in Hawaii (we’ve been to Maui twice and once to Kauai). Although we love nature, hiking, and sightseeing dearly, for this vacation, we only planned to spend time mostly on the beach and to enjoy good food. So, this post is more of a resort review rather than a story about a Hawaiian experience.

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What to pack for Hawaii?

To help you prepare for your journey to St. Kitts and Nevis, we’ve put together a comprehensive family packing list that covers everything you’ll need to make the most of time on the islands.

Hawaii Safe Travels

Hawaii travel regulations keep changing all the time, so be sure to check the latest requirements. In November 2021, you were required to upload your 72-hour negative COVID-19 test result from an approved lab or a copy of your vaccination card to the travel.hawaii.gov website and then fill out a questionnaire to receive a QR code 24 hours before your departure time, so you wouldn’t need to quarantine for ten days upon the arrival.


We booked a roundtrip flight from San Jose to Honolulu with Alaska Airlines for three seats and a lap infant.

To pay for the flights, we bought two $500 Alaska Airlines e-gift cards at Costco, which was running a promotion for 10% off ($449.99 x2), and opened a new Alaska Airlines credit card that earned us a companion pass as well as got us a free checked bag (and that’s not including the $200 + 40,000 Alaska miles signup bonus!).

An Alaska Airlines companion pass allows you to book a ticket for any person on the same itinerary for only $99 plus taxes (once a year). Given that the roundtrip ticket price from San Jose to Honolulu was $498, the companion pass saved us a little over $350.

The flight itself was about 6 hours long and went pretty uneventfully, well, except trying to entertain an infant for 6 hours is no fun (sometimes it felt like you are trying to contain a bobcat kitten trying to be set free). We pre-ordered inflight food on the Alaska Airlines app and got an excellent 20% off as one of the perks of the Alaska Airlines credit card.

We didn’t have a rental car booked for this trip, so we took a 25-minute ride on an Uber from the airport to the hotel.

The Hotel

We booked a partial ocean view and two double beds room for six nights using our stash of Hilton Honors points at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort.

The standard room reward was 60,000 Hilton Honors points per night, and the 5th Standard Reward Night was free.

At the time of booking, we had a Gold status with Hilton that we got from the American Express Platinum card membership. However, a week before our departure, we requested a product change from our existing no annual fee Hilton Honors card to Hilton Honors Aspire, which elevated our Hilton status to Diamond.

The Room

Upon arriving at the resort, we politely asked if we could get a room upgrade due to the Diamond status, and we got it!

We got the room on the 30th floor of the Rainbow Tower with the incredible Diamond Head, Waikiki Beach, and vast ocean views! It was a spacious room with two double beds and a decently sized balcony. It was nice that even the baby crib (provided by the hotel) was set up perfectly without taking up the whole room.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

American Express Hilton Honors Aspire

Right now, it’s an incredible opportunity to earn a signup bonus of 150,000 Hilton Honors Points and get an automatic Diamond status with Hilton when you signup for the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card!






150,000 points



Girls enjoying the sunrise

The Rainbow Tower is a 31-story building right on Waikiki Beach, and it had the tallest mural in the world when it was revealed in 1968! Later we learned that Elvis Presley and his entourage stayed on the top floor (just one floor above us) of the Rainbow Tower while filming the famous Aloha from Hawaii via Satellite concert.


The resort sprawls over 22 acres with several guest towers, 90 shops, five pools, and a few restaurants. At the time when we were there, only three restaurants were open. We really loved the Tropics Bar & Grill, which was a beachfront restaurant with some great food and drink options. Hilton operated the Tropics Bar & Grill, and since we loved the food, dining there at least once a day was an easy way to spend our $30/day Hilton Food and Beverage credit (one of the perks of the Diamond status), as well as using the $250 Hilton Honors Aspire card resort credit.

The hotel also featured a Wiki Wiki Market with some to-go items, pizza/sandwich options, a bubble tea & fresh smoothie place, and a Starbucks.

It was really nice that our building was right on the beachfront, and it took just a short elevator ride to be on the sand. You didn’t have to cross the street and walk with your inflatable duck floaty through the city, as it would be the case with many other hotels in Waikiki.

One thing about the elevators is that there was always a line to get into one, and taking stairs to get to the 30th floor wasn’t a very compelling option for us.

The Beach

The beach itself was very kid friendly. Since there was a coral reef not far into the ocean (which was an easily accessible snorkeling spot) blocking all the waves from the ocean, the water was calm and clear, perfect for kids.

There was also a saltwater Lagoon right behind the Tower, but the water was unpleasantly cold for some reason; maybe it was just because we were there in November.

There was a boardwalk along the beach that you could take for a 15-minute stroll past the Duke Paoa Kahanamoku Beach Park.


For dinner, we walked to the restaurants in the city (that’s ideal if you don’t want to drive or stress out about parking).

Here are some of the restaurants we loved: Roy’s, Doraku Sushi, 100 Sails Restaurant & Bar for sunset dinner, Ginza Bairin Tonkatsu & Yoshoku Bistro. To be sure we would be seated early enough (always remember constantly starving kids), we made reservations 1-2 days prior, but walk-ins were also welcome.

100 Sails Restaurant & Bar

Got to admit that Hawaii made it to the next level with Covid restrictions in the restaurant business; not only were you required to show proof of vaccination to dine in, but some of the restaurants made you fill out the contact tracing form every time you eat, or had things like built-in wrist thermometer on the wall.

Bottom line

Overall, these were some six perfect nights that we spent in Honolulu. We got lucky with the weather; just a week later, there was a big storm. We’re definitely coming back to Oahu when Zoe is a little older and are going to explore the island!

On Points With Kids Summary

Full Cash PriceActually SpentSavings
Round trip flight
(3 tickets)
(6 nights)
(300,000 points)
Various Credits$180 Food and Beverage credit
$250 Aspire resort credit

$60 free checked bag savings
$14 inflight food savings

You can apply for the following credit cards to earn Hilton points:

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