Above: Moana pool, Kona Village, A Rosewood Resort, Hawaii

The Big Island’s Best Resorts

Moana pool, Kona Village, A Rosewood Resort, Hawaii

Undulating along the western edge of Hawaii’s Big Island, the Kohala Coast boasts lavish resorts, dramatic lava formations and alluring stretches of sand. As we gazed down from the plane at the impossibly blue waters, punctuated by a lone sailboat, I was brimming with anticipation. I couldn’t wait to start snorkeling, hiking, dining on fresh seafood and, not least, lounging on the beach, mai tai in hand. On this trip, my traveling companion and I anonymously reviewed four resorts, all within a short drive of one another, two new to the Hideaway Report and two overdue for revisits. We enjoyed the varying ambience of each, and the head-to-head comparisons proved most illuminating.

Kona Village, A Rosewood Resort

Shipwreck Bar, Kona Village, A Rosewood Resort
Beach Front Black Sand Kauhale, Kona Village, A Rosewood Resort
Ocean Front Black Sand Two-Bedroom Kauhale, Kona Village, A Rosewood Resort
Ohana Four-Bedroom Kauhale, Kona Village, A Rosewood Resort
Moana Pool, Kona Village, A Rosewood Resort
Hales at Kona Village, A Rosewood Resort

Opened to much fanfare in July 2023, this beachfront hotel had big shoes to fill. The original Kona Village Resort, built in the 1960s on the grounds of a former fishing village, was beloved for its homey atmosphere, where repeat guests like Steve Jobs could unwind without the distractions of Wi-Fi and television. Destroyed in 2011 by a tsunami, the property sat dormant for nearly a decade before Rosewood stepped in.

When planning the rebuild and redesign, the company worked in partnership with a cultural committee composed of community members, former employees and descendants of the original villagers. Today, solar energy powers the 150-room resort, and newly planted palms and other native flora fill the grounds. As we wandered the property’s winding crushed-coral roads, we came across canary-yellow hibiscus as large as dinner plates, bright orchids and cheery plumeria.

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Above: Moana pool, Kona Village, A Rosewood Resort, Hawaii

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