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Hotel on Big Island

Queens, New York
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500 posts
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Hotel on Big Island

Can anyone recommend a hotel either in the Kailua/Kona area or Waikoloa area that is similar to the Kaanapali Beach Hotel in Maui? We stayed at the KBH and it called itself the most Hawaiian of hotels because of its grounds and emphasis on Hawaiian culture with its many free Hawaiian activities. We loved the atmosphere and wondered whether there is something similar on the Big Island and Kauai for our next trip. I will also post this question on the Kauai forum. Thanks!

Big Island, Hawaii
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for Island of Hawaii
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1. Re: Hotel on Big Island

The Mauna Lani. I consider it about a hundred times more Hawaiiana than the Kaanapali Beach hotel (although I applaud their efforts). The Mauna Lani is on important historical and cultural grounds, has ancient fishponds, replanted and restored native vegetation, a cultural center and talk story events, restored historic buildings and displays, great local music and hula, a sea turtle hatch and release program, and as a big bonus, the best snorkeling off a beach in the state.

It's not in Kailua Kona or Waikoloa Beach but rather is north of Waikoloa Beach by a few miles. There is a Top Question about the resort area on the right hand side of the main Island of Hawaii forum.

LA
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2. Re: Hotel on Big Island

Second the Mauna Lani.

It just doesn't have the long wide stretch of beach like Kaanapali

Edited: 7:55 pm, January 14, 2014
Canada
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3. Re: Hotel on Big Island

What is your nightly accommodation budget?

The Big Island is a unique destination and much of it's layout and infrastructure cannot compare to visitor areas on other Islands........but that is a good thing.I agree with the others that Mauna Lani may fit the bill....lovely property.

If budget allows, Four Seasons Hualalai offers an idyllic setting and top notch accommodation and service.

Big Island, Hawaii
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4. Re: Hotel on Big Island

Re Hualalai, I've stayed there a couple dozen times, most recently a couple of weekends ago. They have really done a great job of consistently improving the resort to meet "green" and local standards...doing away with plastic water bottles in rooms, not using any pesticides but rather organic methods, planting native vegetation, only two-story bungalows, using the ponds to rehab and release wildlife, local bath products in reusable containers, gardens on site supplying the chefs (and you will also see the chefs at the local farmers markets and the menus are 75% minimum local), traditional outrigger canoe experiences, a cultural center, etc. It is truly an extraordinary property that is currently operating at its peak with excellent management, that also happens to be on an amazing piece of shoreline property with a long and fascinating history. If you can afford it, there are few properties in the world that so successfully reflect a sense of place.

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5. Re: Hotel on Big Island

I agree Mauna Bay Hotel is the most authentic but certainly esthetically a big step up from KB Hotel which I have also spent time at. Definitely a more upscale vibe than what you may be thinking but beautiful and restful (unlike KBH). The Four Seasons would make you feel like you won the 50 million dollar lottery after KBH, a true fantasy destination for sure.

Island of Hawaii...
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for Hilo, Island of Hawaii
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6. Re: Hotel on Big Island

I would agree the Mauna Lani.

If you want a big beach more like Maui instead of the culturally rich shoreline, then the Hapuna Prince is trying to be more Hawaiian as well. When I first explored the Prince property over a decade ago, it was going for that somewhat elite vibe and was rather cold, but in my recent stay I give it big plus marks for the aloha spirit of the staff and the laid back informality. The elitist vibe seems to have been assigned to the sister hotel the Mauna Kea.

They do offer Hawaiian crafts in the lobby daily, and the new chef is advertising that he uses local sourcing.

I love the Mauna Lani, but I have to say the desk staff there are a little more on the upscale wavelength and so less relaxed than what I saw at the Prince. The bell staff and valets at the Mauna Lani are cool and extremely helpful. I experienced nothing but great hospitality at the Mauna Lani; it does as SFRookies notes present a more upscale vibe within the actual hotel.

As for the grounds there, it is my favorite walk and swimming/snorkeling on the island.

Also I really love the area under the coconut palms near the hotel lagoon, because you can sit out and get some shade. Hapuna beach can be quite hot; the Prince does have a lot of loungers just in front of the pool area that are on the grass under trees with a nice ocean view.

Edited: 9:55 pm, January 14, 2014
Big Island, Hawaii
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7. Re: Hotel on Big Island

I just don't think there is any way the Prince is ever going to be "Hawaiiana". The location, restaurants and grounds just IMO reflect way too much of the sensibility under which it was constructed, which was massive concrete opulence, but decades removed. I also find the staff too MUCH "relaxed" to the point of a lack of professionalism. But then I put a premium on service.

Queens, New York
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8. Re: Hotel on Big Island

Wow...lots of info to keep me busy researching and dreaming...thanks everyone! I will look into all these although from past experience, I don't think the Four Seasons is within our budget, but it would be a great place to visit. Our trip would more likely be in 2015, but it's nice to keep reading and planning ahead. With limited time, it's hard to get to all the islands and since we've already been to Maui and Oahu, we'd like to do the next two on the next trip.

Hayden Lake, ID
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9. Re: Hotel on Big Island

Another vote for Mauna Lani. Try to be there the Saturday closest to the full moon. They have a wonderful "talk story" program that is free and open to the public. If you are staying there that weekend, they have a great room package and they treat you like royalty.

Queens, New York
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10. Re: Hotel on Big Island

Good to know, Karen/HaydenLake

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