Wheelchair travel: The Hilton Hawaiian Village Resort in Waikiki

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I spent a weekend at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Resort during my recent trip back to Hawaii. It was my first actual stay at the hotel despite having rolled around the property many times in the past.

The resort is located on the western edge of Waikiki near the marina. It has been the backdrop for many Hawaii 5-0 episodes and the grounds are unique compared to most of the Waikiki hotels. There are several towers — some older, some newer — and many pools.

The benefit of staying at a place like the Hilton Hawaiian Village is that there is definitely a lot to do there. And when you run out of things to do, many of the major tour operators and luaus run their shuttles right from the property, so you can easily leave the resort whether by tour or the bus. There are also many types of wheelchair accessible rooms at a resort like this, so availability is usually not an issue either.

One thing I like about the Hilton Hawaiian Village’s location is that you can take a path that winds around the lagoon all the way along the beach. In some spots there are waves crashing within ten feet of the path. The path traverses several other properties and parks and you can meander along it through several different configurations and never get lost. It’s one of my favorite routes to take on my chair.

The hotel staff was generally quite pleasant, but one of the housekeeping staff members was particularly wonderful in greeting me on my first morning there. There was definitely a high level of service during my stay.

My room was wheelchair accessible and had both a roll-in shower and a tub. The shower did have a chair but I noticed the tub controls were somewhat out-of-reach for a wheelchair user. The beds were a very nice height and the lanai was perfect for a wheelchair. I did have to pull one of the outdoor chairs inside the room to make space for myself but that wasn’t an issue. The curtains were all controlled by buttons on the wall too so that was neat as well.

The main drawback to the Hilton Hawaiian Village is it’s size. At times I felt like everything was so far away. I checked-in at the main desk (if you are in a wheelchair there is a special Manager’s Desk for check-in) but then found out I was in the tower way back at the main entrance. Although I didn’t have to carry my luggage back there, it seemed a little ridiculous. Also, because of its size, you’ve got a lot of people staying there. The main pools were usually very crowded, but the smaller pools were much quieter.

Overall my stay was fine and if you like a more “social” vacation with lots of activity and people, I would recommend the Hilton Hawaiian Village. If you want something more peaceful, I would not stay there.

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