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Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows, Kohala Coast, Big Island, Hawaii 

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68–1400 Mauna Lani Drive
Kohala Coast , Hawaii
Tel: 800 367 2323 (toll-free)
Tel: 808 885 6622
view web site ›'s insider take:

The oceanfront hammocks strung between coconut trees on the grounds of the Mauna Lani fulfill an image of Hawaii that's no longer easy to find. This tranquil, independent resort—nothing cookie-cutter about it—stands on a historic site of Hawaiian petroglyphs and ancient fishponds. One pond teems with sharks; look for a dorsal fin stalking the surface. A 2005 renovation gave the 343 small but well-laid-out rooms a contemporary edge with clean-lined koa wood and wicker furnishings; there are also five heavenly freestanding bungalows with private pools that are popular with visiting celebrities. The spa is the most beautiful on the island with a natural open-air lava-rock sauna in a landscaped "La'au" healing garden, and an outdoor lava-tube water-therapy pool (for something different, try the Watsu water massage). The Canoe House restaurant specializes in Hawaii regional cuisine: Well-seasoned and perfectly presented fresh local fish, salads, steaks, and homemade Kona coffee ice cream are served in a relaxed, open-air pavilion that's lit by tiki torches at night.

From the readers of Condé Nast Traveler:
Built atop a lava flow, the resort sits at the spiritual center of Hawaii's volcanoes. Its three-mile-long beach with views of Maui "is one of the best in Hawaii." Rooms reflect the setting—green upholsteries and dark woods give a nod to the nearby kiawe forests. "It's casual and family-friendly." CanoeHouse's menu "could use updating," though staff "are genuinely happy to help out with special requests."

(348 rooms)
—2011 Gold List
Overall Score: 88.3
  • Activities: 87.4
  • Design: 88.7
  • Food: 82.4
  • Location: 94.9
  • Rooms: 87.8
  • Service: 88.7

Also appeared in the Gold List in 2009, 2008, 2006, 2005

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

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Words can't adequately describe how wonderful the Mauna Lani is and how much I love it there; put it this way: I have been there 3 times and am making plans to... more