Destination Report: The Big Island, Hawaii

The Big Island, Hawaii luxury travel

The largest of the Hawaiian Islands, Hawaii (commonly referred to as The Big Island) offers the most dramatic experiences and (in our opinion) Hawaii’s best resort, the Four Seasons Hualalai. Visitors to the Big Island can think BIG for their activities! See a live volcano with a hot lava flow, take a helicopter ride for skiing and surfing in the same day, spend the night snorkeling in the dark with Manta Rays, join the locals and go cliff jumping… this island is everything except boring!

Where to Stay – Our Top Recommendations:

  • Four Seasons Hualalai – Along with its sister property on Maui, Hualalai is one of our top selling hotels in the world. This is a spacious resort whose guest rooms and suites are arranged in four oceanside crescents and a fifth group of rooms alongside the 18th green of the resort’s golf course… five resorts within the resort. We recommend the Palm Grove crescent for honeymooners and romantic getaways, more secluded with its own adults-only Tranquility Pool. Families love Sea Shell crescent which features a pool that’s meant for active play. Hualalai has an incredible spa with your choice of indoor or outdoor treatment areas, a choice of wonderful restaurants, and a complimentary Kids for All Seasons programs for children. For more on our favorite resort in the world, read David’s blog post from Paradise!
  • Mauna Kea Beach Hotel – Mauna Kea was the first resort located on the Big Island. Lawrence Rockefeller, the original owner, found the best beach on the entire island and build this iconic hotel right by it. Although all beaches in Hawaii are public beaches, the fact that there is limited parking for the general public means that hotel guests will mostly have this great beach all to themselves. If your idea of a great vacation is spending the day at the beach and swimming in the ocean, you need look no further. You’ve found heaven. For proof, check out this photo of the view from David’s room during his stay.
  • Mauna Lani Bay – Currently the lowest-priced Virtuoso resort on the Big Island, the big news here is that Mauna Lani has just been purchased by new owners who plan to invest tens of millions of dollars to improve the resort. Much needed attention will be devoted to the beach and pool area and renovating the already pleasant open-air lobby. Guest rooms were recently redecorated and are quite attractive. The new owners have the ambition of making Mauna Lani the premier resort on Hawaii.
  • Fairmont Orchid – A reasonably priced luxury option on the Big Island, the Fairmont has large, comfortable rooms and lushly landscaped grounds. Some guests keep coming back because of the good snorkeling opportunities right at the resort … and the chance to see the sea turtles who live on this stretch of beach. Because it’s a larger resort, we recommend the Gold Floor at the Fairmont, a “resort within the resort” that affords guests their own exclusive check-in and check-out area and Concierge services.

Things to See and Do:

The Big Island offers so much to see and do! On David’s last visit to the island, he compiled a list of his 6 top things to do. David isn’t much of an adrenaline junkie, so his list may be too tame for those adventurers out there. If you’re looking for a bit more energy in your trip we recommend adding the following to your itinerary:

  • book a nighttime snorkel excursion to swim with manta rays
  • charter a private catamaran and explore secluded beach coves for a private beach experience
  • take a helicopter tour to see the active lava flow from the air

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