Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Amazing Resorts on Hawaii Island

Hawaii Island has four resort areas clustered in South Kohala and North Kona on the sunny, west side of the island.   The contained, coastal resorts are large properties with one or more luxury hotels, white sand beaches, restaurants, shops, golf courses, and ancient Hawaiian sites.  The resorts, Mauna Kea, Mauna Lani, Waikoloa Beach, and Hualalai, are located north of Kona airport. The resorts have condominiums and individual homes that share the hotels’ amenities on the property.

One of the special things about Hawaii Island’s resorts are the unusually pristine white sand beaches with no crowds.  When we visit Waikiki, we have to squeeze into a spot among the throngs of noisy people.  By the time we’ve had breakfast on Maui, all the lounge chairs around the pool are taken. Lying on the quiet, soft sandy beaches on Hawaii Island, the world feels a million miles away.

Mauna Kea Resort
Mauna Kea Resort was developed in the 1960’s by Lawrence Rockefeller. The resort has two hotels, golf course, restaurants, and beaches.  
Mauna Kea Beach Hotel

The Mauna Kea Beach Hotel has 1600 pieces of Asian and Polynesian art on display and sits in front of one of the most perfect beaches in the world, Mauna Kea Beach (Kauna’oa Bay)

Hapuna Beach
Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel was built in the 1990’s in front of another pristine, white sand beach, Hapuna Beach. 
Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel
The resort was purchased in 1989 by Yoshiaki Tsutsumi of Seibu Railway and is managed by the Prince Hotels.

Mauna Lani Resort
The 3200 acre Mauna Lani Resort was developed by Francis Hyde Ii Brown a state senator for 20 years and Noboru Gotoh, chairman of the Tokyu Corporation in the 1970s. 
Mauna Lani golf tee
The resort has two hotels, golf courses, and a small shopping center with stores, restaurants, and a grocery store.  Within the resort are the ancient Kalahuipua’a fish ponds and trails along incredible coastline.
Bridge over fish ponds to Mauna Lani Bay Hotel
Mauna Lani Bay Hotel opened in 1983 in front of a protected reef next to ancient Hawaiian fish ponds.  

Turtle sunning on Mauna Lani coast
The hotel raises turtles in their lobby and releases the “Honu” every July.  Ocean front dining is available at several restaurants in the resort.  
Beach in Mauna Lani Resort
Nearby are spectacular beaches to swim and snorkel. There are trails circling the fishponds perfect for walking or biking. The resort and hotel are owned by Tokyu Corporation which own railroads, bus operations, and department stores in Japan. 
Petroglyph Reserve next to Fairmont Hotel
The Fairmont Orchid opened in Mauna Lani Resort in December 1990 as a Ritz Carlton and has been managed by Fairmont Hotel since December 2003.  The hotel has a rugged coastline with several protected coves for swimming.  The upscale hotel has pools, hot tubs, spa, luau, and restaurants.  Next to the Fairmont is a trail to the Puako Petroglyph Reserve. 

Waikoloa Beach Resort
The 1350 acre Waikoloa Beach Resort has two hotels and golf courses. 
Waikoloa Beach Queens Marketplace

The resort’s two shopping centers have restaurants, fast food, and stores. 
Fish ponds at Waikoloa

Anaehoomalu Bay at Waikoloa

The Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort, originally the Royal Waikoloan, faces the white sand beach of Anaehoomalu Bay behind two ancient Hawaiian fishponds.  
Marriott Hotel  pool in Waikoloa Beach Resort
Pathway around fish ponds in front of Marriott
Across the road from the Marriott is the ancient Kings Trail and a petroglyph preserve.

Entrance to Kings Trail and petroglyphs in golf course
Kings Trail to petroglyphs in Waikoloa

The Hilton Waikoloa Village is a resort within a resort with a train and canal boat roaming through the property.  
Hilton pool and protected lagoon below

Hilton canal boat

Rail track across Hilton property

Hilton ocean view from the lobby
The Hilton has a protected lagoon with a sandy beach, covered walking paths, exotic birds, and huge swimming pools.  The hallways have a large art collection.  Dolphin Quest is on the property.

Hualalai Resort

Hualalai Resort has the upscale Four Seasons Hotel with a spa, restaurants, golf courses, and gorgeous coastline.  

Four Seasons Ka'upulehu beach

Four Seasons path way along the coast

Four Seasons protected lagoon
The hotel is in front of Ka‘upulehu white sand beach with great walking paths.  The shuttered Kona Village Resort in Hualalai Resort was opened in 1965 but destroyed by the 2011 tsunami.  

Kikaua Point Park at Kuhio
South of Hualalai Resort is Kuhio, an exclusive residential area for billionaires with a great man-made beach in front. 

Check out Your Ideal Hawaii Island Vacation: A Guide for Visiting the Big Island of Hawaii just published by the authors of hiloliving blog ! 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Eight Fun Places for Young Children on Hawaii Island

Recently, friends with young children arrived for a week vacation. It was quickly evident that the hundreds of places and activities on Hawaii Island that thrill older children and teens were not of much interest or even safe for their active, young children.  We took on the  challenge of coming up with a list of some child-friendly places accessible by stroller with nearby parking and restrooms.

  1. Harold H Higashihara Park, located on Highway 11 south of Kailua-Kona, has Kamakana playground with a multi-story wooden castle, large playground, and fenced area. Children can explore, climb, swing, and run.  The park has lots of shade, nearby parking, and restrooms.
  2. Kamakahonu Beach is in front of the King Kamehameha Hotel in Kailua-Kona within a protected bay.  Young children can play in the soft white sand without nearby crashing waves.  Parking is behind the hotel and strollers can be used to transport beach stuff to the sand.  There is no shade, so an umbrella is a good idea.  Restrooms and showers are on the pier next to the beach.  The hotel charges for parking.
  3. The Astronaut Ellison S. Onizuka Space Center is a small museum located at Kona’s airport.  This museum is dedicated to an astronaut from Kona who died in the 1986 Challenger space shuttle explosion.  The displays and videos are aimed at young children with exhibits about space flight and life in space.  Activity tables are set up where young children can sit down and become absorbed with the materials provided.  There is a charge for the museum and for parking at the airport.
  4. The Hilton Waikoloa Village is like a mini-amusement park with sidewalks and covered walkways through the 62 acre resort.   Young children can be strolled past waterfalls and cages of exotic wildlife including flamingos, cockatoos, swans, cranes, parrots, and Hawaiian nene.  There is a viewing area of the dolphins next to Dolphin Quest and a white sand beach next to a protected lagoon filled with fish and green turtles.  Children can ride the air conditioned train that runs across the property  (free from 6AM to 12AM) and canal boats that float through the resort’s  waterways filled with tropical fish and a four-foot barracuda (free from 2PM to 10PM).  The hotel charges for parking.   (
  5. Kikaua Point at Kukio, south of the Four Seasons Hotel, is a man-made beach with white sand and shaded, grassy areas.  A small cove surrounded by lava rock provides a  protected swimming area for young children.  There are no lifeguards and currents are dangerous beyond the protected cove.  A paved path, perfect for a stroller, leads from the parking lot to the beach.   The beach has restrooms and showers.  Parking is free, but limited and requires a pass from the Kukio gate. 
  6. Queen’s Marketplace at Waikoloa Beach Resort has a large koi pond, fountains, and ponds in a center courtyard area. There is a lot of sidewalk for strollers, shady areas, and a gazebo.  Koi feeding is daily at 9:30AM and 3:30PM. Parking is free (
  7. Liliuokalani Gardens is next to Hilo Bay, but there are some very large grassy areas next to huge banyan trees for children to roam and run.  Paved paths through flowers and statues are stroller-friendly.  Nearby is the bridge to Coconut Island.  Banyan Drive has a great sidewalk for strollers and at the end of the road is Reed’s Bay which has recently been upgraded with new restrooms.  Reeds Bay is a beach in a protected cove with no waves.  There are parking lots at Liliuokalani Garden and Reed’s Bay.
  8. Panaewa Rainforest Zoo in Hilo is the perfect place to take young children for a stroll or to let them roam  It is small zoo with paved paths that lead past animal cages and through a tropical garden. There is a petting zoo open on Saturday at 1:30-2:30PM and an area with play equipment.   Parking and entrance are free.  (

Monday, February 10, 2014

Why you feel so good in Hawaii

At a recent gathering, friends staying in Hawaii for the winter were wondering why they feel so good.  After just a week on the island, their aches and pains were gone and they had more energy.  So, we came up with 10 reasons why we think you feel so good in Hawaii.

  1. The warmth in Hawaii relaxes your muscles and makes you feel less tense;
  2. The warmth causes you to sweat a little each day and sweat removes toxins from the blood;
  3. The tropical sunlight gives you a daily dose of vitamin D so your cardiovascular health and circulation improve;
  4. The laid back “no worries” culture of Hawaii helps you relax and enjoy a slower pace of life;
  5. The Farmer’s Markets have abundant, low cost vegetables and fruits with the vitamins and minerals needed for your well being;
  6. The local grass-fed beef and fresh caught fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and far more nutritious than grain-fed beef and farm raised fish on the mainland;
  7. The warm weather gets you outside to walk and jump into the pool.  The extra activity increases your circulation and creates endorphins that make you feel good;
  8. The “talk story” culture makes everyone more friendly and accessible;
  9. Being outdoors creates more opportunities for social interactions and more social interaction helps to improve your health;  
  10. The extra exercise and nutritious local foods makes you lose weight which gives you more energy.

Best of all is how good the bright tropical flowers, turquoise-colored ocean, and brilliant orange sunsets make you feel.