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A trip to Hawaii is luxurious enough in itself thanks to the island’s wealth of natural beauty, but staying at one of the top notch full-service resorts on the island only adds to the sybaritic feel of a trip here. From family-oriented resorts to romantic bungalows, the Big Island is chock full of great places to stay. Here are our Forbes Travel Guide editors’ picks of the best places to stay in Hawaii:
1. Four Seasons Resort Hualalai This Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Big Island resort blends beautifully into its natural surroundings. From the moment you enter the soaring, open-air lobby full of exotic floral arrangements and sip the fruity rum punch offered at check-in, you’ll be in pure Hawaiian heaven. Outdoor showers, pools lined with cabanas, a Four-Star spa and a charming general store stocked with great wines and snacks make it hard to ever leave. Charming little bungalows carved into the black lava house the spacious rooms, all of which have ocean views and private lanais.
2. Hilton Waikoloa Village. With more than 1,200 rooms spread among three buildings connected by tram, boat and walkway, Hilton Waikoloa Village is, well, gigantic. But with dozens of activities right onsite, it’s also ideal for families. You’ll find three freshwater pools (two with water slides), a four-acre swimming and snorkeling lagoon, a tennis center with eight courts, a huge collection of Pacific art, and nine restaurants serving everything from sushi to family-style buffets. The only thing you’re really missing is a real beach, but the lovely Anaehoomalu Bay is just a short shuttle ride away.
3. The Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii. Like all of the big chichi resorts in the area, The Fairmont Orchid has a beautiful beachfront location, oceanfront pool and miles of manicured walkways, plus a spa that offers outdoor treatments surrounded by streams and waterfalls. The traditional rooms are spacious with marble bathrooms and lanais, and everything is nice enough. It is certainly comfortable and there are all the perks of a big resort: seven bars and restaurants, and scores of activities.
4. Mauna Kea Beach Hotel. Before an earthquake toppled the resort in 2006, the Mauna Kea was the resort on the island, built by Laurance S. Rockefeller in 1965. Back then, no other lodging development had taken place in this barren area covered with lava rock, but that didn’t deter Rockefeller. The rebuilt resort is open-air, including guest corridors, with pretty Hawaiian quilts framed as art adorning the walls. The rooms resemble a chic boutique hotel, with built-in furniture, crisp white beds, pops of bright colors and luxurious white glass-tiled bathrooms.