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Hawaii Spa & Golf

Hawaii Spa & Golf

Trip Plan Tags: 
beach + island,
spa + wellness
Big Island,
North America,
United States

Each of the four major islands (Oahu, Maui, Hawaii’s Big Island and Kauai) as well as Lanai offer amazing resort spas offering unique spa treatments including lomilomi massage. Golf in Hawaii is truly unique, offering everything from oceanfront courses set amongst black lava rock to scenic mountain courses. The PGA TOUR, Champions Tour and LPGA all play in Hawaii. The Kohala and Kona Coast of Hawaii’s Big Island has a high concentration of noteworthy courses.



See + Do

Experience at Koele, Hawaii

Keomuku Highway
Lanai, Hawaii 96763
Tel: 808 565 4653

Cool up-country surroundings have influenced the design of the Lodge at Koele's championship golf course, the Experience at Koele. Created by Greg Norman and Ted Robinson, the 163-acre, 18-hole course is lush with wildflowers, banyans, and pines, with terraced water hazards and steep valley gorges. Prepare for a whammy of a 17th hole, which leads to an extraordinary 200-foot drop into Lanai's deepest ravine. Guests of the Hotel Lanai, Lodge at Koele and Manele Bay receive a discount on greens fees.

See + Do


Kauai's waterfalls vary greatly in their degree of accessibility, but they're all beautiful. Helicopter tours provide the easiest viewing of the grandest inland falls, but you can't feel the spray on your face or swim in the cool mountain pools. (A note about that though: Each year between 50 and 100 people in Hawaii are diagnosed with leptospirosis, caused by bacteria found in mountain freshwater. Don't swim if you have open cuts, and avoid drinking untreated water.) Recent rainfall will affect the appearance of most waterfalls, but the best time to get that postcard-perfect shot is early morning.

Hanakapiai Falls: If you're tough enough to attempt the 11-mile Kalalau Trail, and you have the required camping permit, you can see these dramatic falls—a 100-foot sheer drop down a black lava rock wall. It's located two miles from Hanakapiai Beach, itself two miles from Kee Beach. Reward yourself by swimming in the freshwater pool, but beware of slippery surfaces on the way in and falling rocks directly under the falls.

Opaekaa Falls: Since these 150-foot falls are not accessible by river or trail (after two deaths in 2006, the state prohibited hiking there), you won't feel like a wimp taking your pictures at the crowded lookout. Unlike many waterfalls on the island that are dependent on rainwater, these lacy falls are North Wailua River runoff, so you can count on a rushing flow year-round. The name Opaekaa ("rolling shrimp") refers to the crustaceans tumbling in the turbulent waters at the base of the falls. To reach the lookout, take Highway 56 to Kuamoo Road at mile marker six and drive one and a half miles.

Wailua Falls: These 80-foot falls are easily accessible for viewing and photography (no hiking required). If they look familiar, you're dating yourself—the opening scene of 1970s kitsch-fest Fantasy Island was filmed here. The brave can attempt the extremely slippery tral down to the bottom of the falls and take a dip; hiking behind the falls is not recommended. In ancient times, warriors would leap from the top of the falls to prove their bravery, but unless you are a professional cliff diver and your camera crew and team of paramedics are standing by, don't attempt it. Take Highway 56 north to Maalo Road and drive to the end of the road.

See + Do

Studio Maui, Hawaii

810 Haiku Road
Haiku, Hawaii 96708
Tel: 808 575 9390

Eighteen-dollar yoga classes have come to Maui, and you'll have to fight for yoga mat space with at least 20 other detoxifying souls for the privilege. Still, there's something about the island that makes you want to be healthier, and the people here (a beautiful toned crowd of windsurfers, Internet millionaires, and organic farmers) will inspire you. Studio Maui also offers an impressive menu of other classes—from Pilates to tribal belly dancing—in its beautiful, modern warehouse space.


See + Do

Challenge at Manele, Hawaii

1 Challenge Drive
Lanai, Hawaii 96763
Tel: 808 565 2222

The Pacific Ocean is your water hazard on this dazzling Jack Nicklaus–designed golf course. Try not to be distracted as you work your way through: Like the Experience at Koele, the Challenge at Manele has a dramatic signature hole, its 12th, which overlooks a 150-foot cliff drop to Hulopoe Bay and the pounding surf below. Guests of the Hotel Lanai, Lodge at Koele, and Manele Bay receive a discount on greens fees.

See + Do

Spa at Four Seasons Manele Bay, Hawaii

Four Seasons Resort Lanai at Manele Bay, 1 Manele Bay Road
Lanai, Hawaii 96763
Tel: 808 565 2088

Spa culture is huge in Hawaii—perhaps because there are so many native traditions and botanicals to draw upon—and an expected part of a five-star hotel experience. But until a 10,000-square-foot facility opens at the Lodge at Koele in 2009, the pressure is on this small but decadent 11-room spa, the only one on Lanai. It's (expectedly) tough to snag an appointment in high season for an aromatic Ali'i banana-coconut scrub, a Ki Pola Ko'olu (cooling ti-leaf wrap) with lavender-infused aloe vera gel, a Limu (Hawaiian seaweed) wrap, or a Lomi Lomi massage. (Make your reservation when you book your room.) If they can't squeeze you in, arrange a private after-hours spa party for up to eight people, which includes a 50-minute treatment for each person, followed by pupus served in the relaxation area.

See + Do

Golfing on the Big Island

With more than a dozen world-class courses, the Big Island is Hawaii's premier golf destination, known for tricky shoreline holes (the classic shot over water and lava field onto the green), challenging winds, and rolling hills. Greens fees for the Kohala courses are akin to highway robbery, although guests pay less when they play where they're staying. Playing is much more affordable on the more modest Waimea, Volcano, and Hilo courses. Due to the blazing sun, it's best to tee off in the morning, but golfers who can stand the heat can take advantage of discounted greens fees after 3 pm.

Damage sustained during a 2007 earthquake closed the Kohala Coast's Mauna Kea Beach Hotel and its 1964 Robert Trent Jones, Sr., golf course (the standard of excellence in these parts), but there are still many more to choose from. In Kailua-Kona, the Jack Nicklaus–designed course at the Hualalai Golf Club is relatively protected from the wind and is one of the most player-friendly courses on the island (open only to Four Seasons guests). The ocean- and lava field–views from the popular, well-maintained Mauna Lani Francis H. I'i Brown South Course in Waimea may distract you from your game. The Waikoloa Kings Course is tough, with many lava obstacles, but also stunning 360 degree views. Close to Kohala, the Waimea Country Club is affordable, and generally cooler temperatures mean you can play all day; as long as mist, fog, and rain don't cut your outing short. At 40,000 feet above sea level, the Volcano Golf & Country Club can be chilly and sometimes wet; unlike at most other courses, afternoon rounds are favored over morning play and there's very little wind. Locals are the usual foursomes at the small, nine-hole Hamakua Country Club—it's casual, great for beginners, and since Hilo is one of the rainiest places in the state, the course is always lush.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.