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15 Best Hotels on the Big Island of Hawaii

Written by Lavanya Sunkara
Apr 18, 2019

The Big Island of Hawaii is not the most visited of the island chain, but it deserves attention for the sheer amount of natural, cultural, and historic attractions. A vast majority of travelers stay in hotels and resorts on the Kona side, which is the entire West side, with its main hub in Kailua-Kona. Kona has no lush jungles, but does have incredible beaches lined by a range of accommodation, from high-end resorts to budget hotels.

Also on the West side is the sunny Kohala Coast, known as the "resort coast," which stretches up northwest of Kona International Airport and is home to the island's best luxury resorts offering exclusive spas, world-class golf courses, private pools, and tennis courts.

Kohala is close to the Kohala Forest, Waipo Valley, and Hamakua. South of Kailua-Kona is the resort area of Keauhou, which has accommodations at more affordable prices. Remote Waimea is a charming cowboy town in the Northwest offering a totally different experience than either Kona or Hilo.

Most of the Big Island's top attractions are on the Hilo side on the east coast, including Akaka Falls within the Akaka Falls State Park, Hawaiian Tropical Botanical Gardens, and proximity to the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Since going back and forth to each side takes up a considerable amount of time, the best way to experience the island is to stay on both sides.

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Best Luxury Hotels on the Big Island of Hawaii

1. Four Seasons Resort Hualalai

Photo Source: Four Seasons Resort Hualalai

Located on the picturesque Kona-Kohala Coast, the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai looks impeccable, with private bungalow-style rooms and suites surrounded by beautifully landscaped grounds and swaying palms. The isolated property provides 5-star service and has 243 guest rooms, an award-winning golf course, seven pools, and five dining options.

The guest rooms are housed in bungalows sitting along small crescents on the beachfront and the Jack Nicklaus signature golf course. Additionally, the resort has seven tennis courts, an open-air spa with 14 treatment rooms, a Cultural Center, Ocean Adventures team, and programs highlighting Hawaiian culture.

Address: 72-100 Ka'upulehu Drive, Kailua-Kona, Island of Hawaii, Hawaii

Accommodation: Four Seasons Resort Hualalai

2. Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii

Photo Source: Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii

Fairmont Orchid is a luxury resort and spa beautifully nestled in a sheltered bay on the Kohala Coast with amenities such as the award-winning Spa Without Walls, comprised of outdoor huts; a 10,000-square-foot oceanfront pool; and Hui Holokai Beach Club, offering ocean and cultural activities. The 32-acre family-friendly resort has 540 guest rooms, suites, and the exclusive Fairmont Gold concierge floor.

The property boasts six restaurants, a year-round children's program, fitness center, tennis pavilion, and a 36-hole golf course. Tropical gardens, cascading waterfalls, and a lovely half-moon beach await you at this magnificent oceanfront property. Don't miss the sunrise canoe voyages, sunset torch lighting ceremonies, Hawaii Loa Luau under the stars, and live entertainment nightly at the Luana Lounge.

Address: 1 N Kaniku Dr, Puako, Island of Hawaii, Hawaii

Accommodation: Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii

3. Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa

Photo Source: Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa

The newly redesigned Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa has 533 spacious, contemporary guest rooms perched on Anaeho'omalu Bay on the Kohala Coast. Spanning 15 acres with meandering paths, fish ponds, and multiple swimming pools, the resort grounds provide a peaceful retreat. The secluded Na Hale wing offers a more residential experience, and most of the rooms come with private lanais.

The property has ocean-view dining, a heated infinity pool, two children's pools, and a waterslide. Get a rejuvenating spa treatment at the boutique spa, play a round of golf at one of the two 18-hole championship golf courses, sunbathe on the pristine white sandy beach, or go shopping at the Kings' Shops & Queens' Marketplace.

Address: 69-275 Waikoloa Beach Drive, Waikoloa, Island of Hawaii, Hawaii

Accommodation: Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa

4. The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort

Photo Source: The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort

The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort stretches along its namesake sandy beach on the Kohala Coast. The elegant hotel, originally built in 1996, was renamed a Westin Property in June 2018 after undergoing a $46 million renovation. The contemporary style of the resort contrasts with the beautifully landscaped lawns and tropical gardens. Guests can play golf at the 18-hole Hapuna Golf Course designed by Arnold Palmer. There are two swimming pools, including a large freeform family pool and an adults-only pool overlooking the beach.

Take advantage of the Westin Workout Center and Crossfit Studio and get pampered afterwards at the Hapuna Spa. The Hapuna Beach State Park is south of the resort, and Pu'ukohola Heiau National Historic Site, containing the ruins of the last ancient Hawaiian temple, is 10 minutes by car.

Address: 62-100 Kauna'oa Drive, Kohala Coast, Kamuela, Puako, Island of Hawaii, Hawaii

Accommodation: The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort

5. Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Autograph Collection

Photo Source: Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Autograph Collection

Located on Kauna'oa Bay on the Big Island's Kohala Coast, the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Autograph Collection offers 258 guest rooms with modern, comfortable furnishings and private lanais. Each overlooks the sea or the championship Robert Trent Jones, Sr. designed golf course. The lobby and Mandara Spa are decorated with carvings and sculptures from Laurance S. Rockefeller's collection of Polynesian and Asian art. The dormant Mauna Kea volcano towering 13,803 feet looms in the background.

There are no mandatory resort fees, and guests can make use of the 11 tennis courts, and partake in canoeing, snorkeling, kayaking, and sailing during their stay. The indoor and outdoor Manta restaurant is steps away from where manta rays are fed each night; guests are also entertained with nightly storytelling through hula dancing at the eatery.

Address: 62-100 Mauna Kea Beach Drive, Puako, Island of Hawaii, Hawaii

Accommodation: Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Autograph Collection

Best Family-Friendly Hotels on the Big Island of Hawaii

1. Wyndham Kona Hawaiian Resort

Photo Source: Wyndham Kona Hawaiian Resort

Overlooking Kahalu'u Bay, the all-condo seaside Wyndham Kona Hawaiian Resort has two-bedroom bungalows designed to recreate the charming, traditional Hawaiian ambience of the 30s, with thatched roofs and rustic style, but with modern amenities so you and your family can enjoy the island in comfort.

The property has two outdoor swimming pools, picnic, and barbecue areas, and outdoor hot tubs. The condos have full kitchens, washers and dryers, cable TV, DVD players, and private patios. Bike rentals are also available to explore the area.

Address: 75-5961 Alii Dr, Kailua-Kona, Island of Hawaii, Hawaii

Accommodation: Wyndham Kona Hawaiian Resort

2. Hilton Waikoloa Village

Photo Source: Hilton Waikoloa Village

As the largest family-friendly resort in the Kailua-Kona area, the Hilton Waikoloa Village sits on 62 oceanfront acres and features 1,113 guest rooms and suites. The sprawling property is often referred to as the "Disneyland" of the Big Island, and it fits the nickname with dozens of fun activities for adults and kids alike. Experience waterslides, plenty of pools, a wide variety of restaurants, a museum walkway with Asian and Polynesian artwork, and cultural and recreational activities.

The expansive resort also boasts two championship golf courses and eight tennis courts. Navigate this small village by use of the air-conditioned tram and canal boats.

Address: 69-425 Waikoloa Beach Drive, Waikoloa, Island of Hawaii, Hawaii

Accommodation: Hilton Waikoloa Village

Best Budget Hotels on the Big Island of Hawaii

1. Grand Naniloa Hotel Hilo, A DoubleTree by Hilton

Photo Source: Grand Naniloa Hotel Hilo, A DoubleTree by Hilton

In the middle of the verdant tropical side of the Big Island in Hilo lies the Grand Naniloa Hotel Hilo. Enjoy seclusion and a chance to explore the waterfalls, lava, and volcanoes with your family. The newly renovated hotel is located near Hilo's quaint shops and restaurants and the Hilo airport.

Accommodations have magnificent views of Hilo Bay and Mauna Kea and are modern and stylish. Guests can enjoy the outdoor pool and the nine-hole golf course. There is a free daily round of golf, and Wi-Fi and parking are included with the price of the room.

Address: 93 Banyan Dr, Hilo, Island of Hawaii, Hawaii

Accommodation: Grand Naniloa Hotel Hilo, A DoubleTree by Hilton

2. Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay

Photo Source: Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay

Built on an ancient lava flow along the Kona coast, the Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort & Spa may not have white sandy beaches, but makes up for it with its many offerings. The resort overlooks Keauhou's giant manta ray coastal feeding grounds and is in close proximity to the Kona Coffee farms and snorkeling in Kealakekua Bay. Make the most of your vacation with the help of the oceanfront pool, Ho'ola Spa, water sports, and Hawaiian cultural activities.

The Manta Ray Super Slide and Pool is an enormous multi-level freshwater pool that includes a sand bottomed children's play area and the island's longest waterslide. The resort hosts the Ho'oulu farmers market every Wednesday on its lawn.

Address: 78-128 Ehukai Street, Kailua-Kona, Island of Hawaii, Hawaii

Accommodation: Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay

3. The Royal Kona Resort

Photo Source: The Royal Kona Resort

Conveniently located within the city limits of Kailua Kona, the Royal Kona Resort serves as a great base for exploring the rest of the Kona side. Set on 12 seaside acres overlooking Kailua Bay, the resort features a private beach area, saltwater lagoon, outdoor swimming pool, Royal Kona tennis club, beauty salon, fitness center, massage and spa center, and nightly Voyagers of the Pacific luau.

Rooms decorated in soft colors and rich wood accents come with a TV, refrigerator, and coffee machine. During migrating season from November to May, guests can view humpback whales from the on-site restaurant.

Address: 75-5852 Alii Drive, Kailua-Kona, Island of Hawaii, Hawaii

Accommodation: The Royal Kona Resort

4. Dolphin Bay Hotel

Photo Source: Dolphin Bay Hotel

Located just 10 minutes from downtown Hilo, this quaint family-run hotel has all studio units that come with Wi-Fi and a kitchen. One- and two-bedroom units with lanais are also available. There is no air-conditioning, but ceiling and desk fans are provided. Enjoy free coffee, cakes, and fresh fruit in the morning. The hotel is located within walking distance of the ocean, as well as waterfront shops and plenty of restaurants with a wide variety of choices.

Address: 333 Iliahi St, Hilo, Island of Hawaii, Hawaii

Accommodation: Dolphin Bay Hotel

Best Bed and Breakfast Inns on the Big Island of Hawaii

1. Holualoa Inn

Photo Source: Holualoa Inn

If big resorts aren't your cup of tea, then Holualoa Inn is the right choice. Located five miles from Kailua-Kona, this bed and breakfast is set on 30 beautiful acres of a coffee plantation, surrounded by fruit and flower gardens. Rooms are decorated in Polynesian-style and offer ocean or garden views; some feature hot tubs or private balconies. If you are traveling with family or friends, there is a one-bedroom cottage in a separate building with a wrap around porch.

Complimentary refreshments are served in the afternoons. On-site, there is a swimming pool and a rooftop gazebo with a telescope for stargazing.

Address: 76-5932 Mamalahoa Hwy, PO Box 222, Holualoa, Island of Hawaii, Hawaii

Accommodation: Holualoa Inn

2. Kilauea Lodge

Photo Source: Kilauea Lodge

Kilauea is a stone's throw away from Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, home of Hawaii's active volcano of Kilauea. This peaceful lodge is perfect for couples and honeymooners looking for an adventurous and secluded getaway. Hiking trails in the national park are just minutes from the lodge. Rooms are charming with wooden ceilings and exposed beams, four-poster beds, and private bathrooms with towel warmers and central heat. Some of the rooms feature fireplaces. Breakfast and Wi-Fi are included, and so is use of the hot tub.

Address: 19-3948 Old Volcano Road, Volcano, Island of Hawaii, Hawaii

Accommodation: Kilauea Lodge

3. Hale Kai Hawaii Bed & Breakfast

Photo Source: Hale Kai Hawaii Bed & Breakfast

Hale Kai Hawaii is a family-run B&B with accommodations offering panoramic views of the Pacific and Hilo Bay. Enjoy a delicious breakfast served early at 7:30am, as you scan the waters for sightings of dolphins, seasonal humpback whales, and surfers. Rooms have private bathrooms, free Wi-Fi, cable TV, lanais, and access to the pool and hot tub. Fresh flowers are put in the rooms daily. Hale Kai is located two miles from the town of Hilo and 10 minutes from the Hilo airport. Park for free during your wonderful stay.

Address: 111 Honolii Pl, Hilo, Island of Hawaii, Hawaii

Accommodation: Hale Kai Hawaii Bed & Breakfast

Best Hostel on the Big Island of Hawaii

1. My Hawaii Hostel

Photo Source: My Hawaii Hostel

My Hawaii Hostel is a top-rated hostel in Kona, perfect for those wanting comfort and convenience on their backpacking or biking trip. The hostel offers accommodations in male, female, and mixed dorms, as well as private rooms. All lodging comes with fans, air-conditioning, lockers, and comfortable bedding.

The hostel has an indoor and outdoor lounge area to socialize with fellow travelers, a fully equipped self-service kitchen and barbecue area, a commercial fridge with plenty of space, and top-notch appliances to make your own meals. Bike, surfboard, and other large luggage storage is available.

Address: 76-6241 Alii Drive, Kailua-Kona, Island of Hawaii, Hawaii

Accommodation: My Hawaii Hostel

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