Manta & Pavilion Wine Bar
62-100 Mauna Kea Beach Dr., Kohala Coast
Even if you’re not staying at hotel Mauna Kea, you should come to its flagship restaurant, Manta, for dinner. It’s an especially good date-night spot, with stunning views of Kaunaoa Beach and an admirable wine-by-the-glass list. And this is one of those restaurants where you have to order dessert: Make it pastry chef Ross Alaimo's famous chocolate soufflé.
68-1400 Mauna Lani Dr., Kohala Coast
The Canoe House is the excellent oceanfront restaurant of Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows, complete with an open-air dining room and outdoor patio overlooking the Pacific. The menu draws heavily on local ingredients (nearly everything on the chef’s optional tasting menu is sourced from the Big Island), with dishes like twice-cooked pulehu pork ribs, locally grown beets served with Big Island goat cheese, and seared wahoo with pickled ginger and wasabi soy dressing.
Four Seasons Resort Hualalai
72-100 Ka`upulehu Dr., Kohala Coast
Anecdotally if not scientifically, the majority of the people who stay at the Four Seasons Hualalai would call it one of the nicest hotels in the world. And we’d be among them. First of all, the hotel has seven pools. Sit with that for a minute. The adults-only pool faces the ocean and has a swim-up bar. The lagoon-shaped family pool has an infinity edge and poolside fries and quesadillas. There’s a lap pool at the spa (and the spa is pure heaven). There’s a pool in the shallows of the ocean—the Pacific is walled off with volcanic stones. How many is that so far? But the coolest pool we have maybe ever seen is called King’s Pond—a 1.8-million-gallon pool that is more like a swimmable aquarium. It is home to 4,000 tropical fish and one spotted eagle ray. Once kids find this pool, they never want to get out of it. The hotel’s cultural center has a bunch of activities for kids, like shell jewelry crafting, ukelele lessons, and lei-making. But even better: Kids for All Seasons is basically a day camp on the property—the kids go swimming,…
Mauna Kea Beach Hotel
62-100 Mauna Kea Beach Dr., Kohala Coast
Few hotels enjoy the name recognition of the Mauna Kea. When it opened in the mid-1960s as part of Laurance S. Rockefeller’s hotel group, it was said to be the most expensive hotel ever built, at $15 million. Designed by architect Edward Charles Bassett, the hotel is a stunning modernist masterpiece. In the decades since it opened, it’s become an icon of Hawaii—and a $150 million renovation in the mid-2000s has helped it keep pace with the newer luxury resorts on the island. The beach here (white sand Kauna'oa) is one of the most beautiful beaches on the island. Mauna Kea is also known for its golf course, which was built by Robert Trent Jones Sr. and debuted in 1964 with the Big Three (Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player). Like the hotel, Mauna Kea Golf Course underwent a thoughtful renovation that maintained all its beauty (and its challenges). For those who favor tennis, there’s an eleven-court seaside club. The restaurant to dine at here is Manta, though on Tuesdays, the hotel also puts on an excellent luau, which is a pure delight for kids. (You don't have…
1 N. Kaniku Dr., Kohala Coast
Set on thirty-two acres along the Kohala Coast, the Fairmont Orchid spills onto a white-sand lagoon beach and the blue-green waters of Pauoa Bay. Every room has its own lanai, many with lovely views of the ocean or the island’s waterfalls and the Fairmont’s tropical gardens. The most luxurious rooms and suites are on the sixth floor of the resort’s North Tower, known as Fairmont Gold. The path to the spa winds past ponds and cascading waterfalls to set the mood, and in addition to the indoor treatment rooms, sauna, and steam room, there are several private oceanfront huts, where the soundtrack of ocean waves during your treatment comes from the actual ocean. The resort also has a tennis center with ten courts and lights for night play. And next door is the Francis H. I'i Brown Golf Course, which comprises two different eighteen-hole courses.
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