I admit I'm not a personal fan of the vacation ownership concept. I prefer to have the freedom to stay at different resorts when I visit Hawaii.
Yet, I admit that the vacation ownership resorts at which I have stayed in Hawaii are far different from what most of us knew as "timeshares" just a few years ago. Most have accommodations equal to the top resorts in the islands, offer full concierge service, recreational activities and several dining options.
Such is the case, and more, with the new Grand Waikikian™ by Hilton Grand Vacations Club® which is located on the grounds of the Hilton Hawaiian Village® Beach Resort & Spa.
The all-suite resort opened in December 2008 and has proven to be very popular, especially with Japanese visitors, who seem more willing than Americans to invest in a vacation ownership property.
For those who aren't interested in ownership, any suites that are unsold are available as regular guest rooms for visitors seeking residential-style accommodations.
It is as a non-owner resort guest, that I approach this review of the Grand Waikikian™.
First Purpose-built Timeshare Building in Waikiki
The 331-unit, all-suite Grand Waikikian™ by Hilton Grand Vacations Club® is the company's fifth timeshare development in Hawaii, but the first purpose-built timeshare building in Waikiki.
The Grand Waikikian™ joins the existing 236-unit Lagoon Tower and 72-unit Kalia Tower at the Hilton Hawaiian Village on Oahu, as well as the 120-unit Hilton Grand Vacations Club® at Waikoloa Beach Resort and recently opened 198-unit Kings' Land by Hilton Grand Vacations Club®, both located on the Big Island of Hawaii.
A Resort Within a Resort
The Grand Waikikian™ is very much a resort within a resort. While located on the grounds of the Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort & Spa, the Grand Waikikian™ has its own private entrance off of Kahanamoku Street, lobby, seating areas, sundry shop, conciege and guest services.
A new retail space on the Ala Moana Boulevard side of the resort is still under development.
The resort also features the 5,000-square-foot Paradise Pool, part of an aquatic playground that is comprised of a two tiered heated, freshwater swimming pool bordered by lava rock formations, meandering streams and bridges and lush, tropical landscaping.
The pool features four slides including the longest waterslide in Waikiki, a 77-foot lava tube slide, three waterfalls and two heated spas. The pool overlooks the resort's landmark Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon, which reopened in 2007 after an extensive rejuvenation of its beach and swimming areas.
From my observation, the pool and pool deck was somewhat overwhelmed by the number of guests who use it.
Guests who wish never to venture into the Hilton Hawaiian Village® certainly have the option of doing so. That being said, however, one of the benefits of the Grand Waikikian™ is the accessibility to the rest of the resort with its over 90 shops and boutiques, pools, beach facilities and a diverse, international selection of restaurants. The only drawback is that it is a 5-10 minute walk to much of the more popular areas of the resort.
Layout of the Grand Waikikian™
The layout of the Grand Waikikian™ is, at first, somewhat confusing, especially for non-owner guests. Presumably those who are suite owners have all received a grand tour of the resort. Such, unfortunately, is not the case for non-owner guests who are left on their own to discover the lay of the land.
Elevators to the suites are located about several minutes from the reception lobby. I was merely pointed in the general direction of the elevators and surprised to find how far they actually were. Finding one's way over to the Hilton Hawaiian Village is, at first, also somewhat of a challenge.
My initial reaction was that orientation and customer service for non-owner guests could be better.
The resort has 155 one bedroom and 142 two bedroom suites as well as 24 two bedroom penthouses and 10 three bedroom penthouses. Each of the suites is top notch, designed with serenity and space in mind.
The top five floors of the Grand Waikikian™ tower are designated as exclusive penthouse levels with spectacular views, added amenities and expanded guest facilities including a private check area, concierge and lounge on the 35th floor.