For now on, rather than saying “wow” or “whoohoo”, I’m going to say “Waikoloa”. It’s a new level of “wow”. Located on the Kohala Coast of the Big Island of Hawaii in the midst of Waikoloa Beach Resort, the extraordinary Hilton Waikoloa Village offers an unforgettable experience shrouded in luscious gardens, serene waterfalls, picturesque sunsets, 62 oceanfront acres, and an array of activities including water sports in the lagoon, an interactive dolphin program, and water-slides. Wow doesn’t do it justice; it’s Waikoloa.
We arrived at Hilton Waikoloa Village via Kona Airport on Tuesday evening. It was too dark to truly understand the outside beauty of the resort, but the suite and magnificent view couldn’t be masked even by the night.
The morning music was the soft sound of birds singing, dolphins playing, and waves lapsing on the beach. I walked out on my balcony and Paradise await. I could see the sun coming up over a majestic mountain, a light haze of clouds surrounding the peak. Directly below my window, four dolphins played in the lagoon and just beyond their playground was the turquoise Pacific. “Could this actually be happening…” was all that I could think. The entire situation was surreal.
In the afternoon, we participated in the Encounter Deluxe at Dolphin Quest. It was the most interactive dolphin encounter that I’ve experienced. We were immersed in their environment and given the chance to kiss, hold, swim around, and learn about three different dolphins during a one hour experience. It was an intimate encounter, allowing Darren and I to to part of their playful environment and bond with the dolphins and each other.
Directly next to the dolphin area is the lagoon and it’s filled with activities for all ages. Our entire vacation could have been spent at the lagoon and we would have been completely happy. I stepped onto the sand and looked at all the water sport activities in front of me. The kayaks and paddle boards were like the Ferraris of the lagoon and the paddle boats were like the Cadillacs. Darren was anxious to snorkel and search for fish but I was all about the Ferraris. I couldn’t just try one; I wanted to experience them all. From the kayaks to the paddle boards, the paddle boats to the hydro-bikes, nothing was beyond my reach. Like a kid in a candy store, I was wide-eyed and ready to explore.
When I got my fill of water sport adventures above the water, it was time to get up close and personal with the fish below. Donning my mask and snorkel, I joined Darren under the water. Within a few minutes, we had found a huge turtle and were able to swim next to it for at least ten minutes before it made its way into the ocean. It was my first turtle encounter; I felt like I had just witnessed magic. It was graceful, peaceful, and calming. The words are not there to express how unique the event was for me. Normally, I’m overwhelmed by creatures in the water and I’m too nervous to enjoy the adventure but this time, swimming next to a turtle, completely in its element, I was at ease. Maybe it’s Hawaii.
We were already getting prune fingers from the water but we couldn’t pass up a swim in the massive pool. Darren and I are a great match because we have tons in common but the biggest thread is our love of the water.
The waterfall in the center of the pool was calling my name so I jumped in. As we explored the pool and swam under the waterfalls, we noticed there was another section to the pool.
WATERSLIDE! Our playland just got bigger. Just when we thought that nothing more could be packed into one resort, we found a large waterslide with turns and drops. As you can imagine, I was racing other “kids” to the top. It took me at least 10 trips down the slide and 5 dips under the waterfalls before I finally said that I was ready to get out of the pool and even then Darren wasn’t sure why I wanted to get out so quickly.
Sunrises, marine encounters, waterslides, waterfalls, and pools, I can’t envision a more perfect resort for Darren and I, but the best was saved for last. As the sun was setting over the ocean, an explosion of color erupted from the sky.
It was clear; this was the Hawaii I was expecting. At Hilton Waikoloa Village, I coined a new word meaning “wow”; Waikoloa! This is perfection!