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By Polly Fitz

The Hilton Waikoloa Village was our home for the Big Island portion of our Hawaii vacation. We had heard that it was a big resort, but even so, we were a bit surprised when we first arrived.

You see, a tram pulls up in the main lobby to take you to your room — or wherever you want to go. Alongside the tram is a canal where shuttle boats float you to your destination. When you need that kind of transportation to move throughout the resort, you know it’s big.

But not big in an overwhelming way. We had read reviews to that effect before we left, but we didn’t find it to be the case for us. We were there for a romantic vacation, and the resort was great for that. But I think it also is a great place for family travel.

We stayed in the Ocean Tower, furthest from the lobby, because we heard that it was the quietest location, and it was. Our balcony overlooked part of the golf course and the ocean, so we could sit out there most any time of day and not see or hear many people below. There’s an adults-only pool at the Ocean Tower, and it is an oasis of calm. In fact, I think I only saw one person swimming in it during our entire stay. Mostly, it seemed just a place for people to relax in the sun.

The lawn along the rocky shore was studded with pairs of lounge chairs — each with its own shade — and a few hammocks, and there was a sense of privacy and quiet there for reading or relaxing. And most nights we felt like we had the resort practically to ourselves. We could walk (and walk, and walk) along the lagoon, past the endless pools and hardly see another person. With tiki torches lighting our way, it made for a romantic stroll.

The great thing about being at one of the enormous Hawaii hotels is that there’s plenty for everyone to do. The Hilton Waikoloa Village has a huge saltwater lagoon. You can rent snorkel gear, kayaks and paddle boats to enjoy the water. They’ve even created a sandy beach alongside the lagoon. There are two activity pools — each with its own water slide.  And there’s a kids camp with supervised activities for the youngsters. One of the most unique features — for kids and adults — is the on-site Dolphin Quest. About 12 dolphins live in saltwater pools within the resort. Trainers are with them day and night as part of a research and education program. So — you can sit at the Lagoon Grill and watch dolphins play while you eat lunch. Or you can really get up close and personal and swim with the dolphins on an encounter program.

Here are a few pictures from the resort:

Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

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Polly Fitz is an editor for Orbitz. 

Tagged: Family time, Hawaii

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