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Four Seasons Hualalai, Kailua-Kona, Big Island

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hawaii, United States, North America: The Beach Tree pool at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai
72–100 Kaupulehu Drive
Kailua-Kona , Hawaii
Tel: 888 340 5662 (toll-free)
Tel: 808 325 8000's insider take:

If you think all Four Seasons resorts fit the same mold, Hualalai may surprise you. There's no mammoth cement tower here. Instead, the bungalow-style guest quarters are housed in two-story buildings spread out on 800 acres. The 243 near-identical rooms have Hawaii-inspired decor, walk-in closets, slate bathrooms, and furnished lanais. Twenty one- and two-bedroom suites with 180-degree ocean views are perfect for the growing number of return guests who honeymooned here and now have kids. A trio of restaurants includes the Hualalai Grille (no longer under the direction of Alan Wong, but the market-based Pacific Rim cuisine is still excellent), seafood-centric Pahui'a, and the revamped Beach Tree, serving Italian-influenced California cuisine. While the beach isn't stellar, there are plenty of aquatic options, including a family pool, a small adults-only pool, a quiet pool (where cell phones are not allowed and people speak in dulcet tones), a lap pool, and, for snorkeling, a natural lava pond stocked with photogenic fish. Aside from a lunchtime grace period, if you leave your beach or pool lounger, you'll lose it. If that happens, retreat to the gardens of the top-rated Hualalai Spa to select local ingredients (perhaps volcanic ash or macadamia nuts) for your customized treatment.—Cathay Che

From the readers of Condé Nast Traveler:
Overall Score: 94.1
  • Activities: 94.3
  • Design: 93.4
  • Food: 91.7
  • Location: 94.9
  • Rooms: 96.2
  • Service: 94.0
This resort of bungalow-style buildings has natural elements including outdoor showers made of lava rock, 800 coconut palms, and white-flowering plants. "Stylish rooms have a local flavor" thanks to the use of bamboo, thatch, and slate, and all face the ocean. Restaurants include Pahu i'a (which means aquarium), serving contemporary Pacific cuisine. "Food was great but overpriced—almost $30 for a club sandwich." Plant your toes in the sand and sip a cocktail at Beach Tree Bar.

(243 rooms)
—2011 Gold List

Amenities: Beach, Golf, Pool, Spa, Tennis, Water sports

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