Vacation on the Big Island of Hawaii

Nanci Goussak hiking on The Big Island of Hawaii
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I’m fortunate enough to live very close to a beautiful beach! That being said, there is just something about Hawaii and the beaches in Hawaii that take my breath away. My recent visit to the Kona side of the Big Island was one of those jaw dropping, incredible experiences where even, on my umpteenth time there, I am still in awe of the beauty of this incredible state.

This island, being the youngest, most diverse, and largest in the chain, boasts having just about every climate, ranging from a lush rainforest to a dry desert.  On the Big Island, there are activities for everyone, and so many beautiful resorts from which to choose.  The sunsets are so incredibly spectacular, and the photos make lasting memories. 

This trip, I split my time staying at two different resorts, both in an area I had never been.  The Kohala coast is located about 30 minutes North of the Waikoloa area, and is a bit more remote. It’s close enough to drive back to the many restaurants and shops, yet far enough away to feel separated from the tourists,  shopping and many dining options.   

The first Resort was the Westin Hapuna Beach Resort.  In keeping with the traditional Hawaiian resort layouts, this hotel has a beautiful open-air lobby, with views of the gorgeous pools, grounds and ocean.   The hotel itself was recently renovated, and is contemporary, with beautiful manicured gardens and lush landscaping. 

The guest rooms are spacious, nicely appointed and the views are outstanding both during the day, and at night.  I was up before the sun, and during my walk around the grounds, I truly enjoyed the view, looking up at the hotel before it ‘woke up’.     

One of my favorite memories of this trip was sitting on my balcony at night, reflecting upon my day, while listening to Hawaiian music piped in and hearing the waves crashing along the beach.  A few of my favorite aspects of this hotel were the incredible ‘Westin Heavenly Bed’, which was just perfect, the luxurious bathroom and the lounge chairs located inside the pool on a ledge just deep enough to be in the water without floating away!

Halfway through the week, we moved to The Mauna Kea Resort, a Marriott Autograph Collection hotel.  This is definitely one of those ‘must see’ Iconic properties. Built in the 1960’s, it’s a total throwback to that era.

Full of history and artifacts, the grounds are expansive and magnificent, and definitely took me back to the days of the first ‘modern’ spread out hotels from when I was a child.  The sprawling grounds contain artifacts from around the world. You can even take a tour with a docent or listen to a podcast while touring the grounds on your own.  At this point in its life, parts of the hotel need a little facelift. But if you are able to see past that, you’re in for a treat. The cuisine, service and friendliness of the staff can’t be beat, and totally outweigh the need for paint, new bedroom furniture and new stairwells.  

One of the many nice things about staying at these two properties, is that they have reciprocal signing privileges, and transportation back and forth between the two. There is also a lovely 1-mile hike between the two, along the water, through their golf course, and along the grounds. 

As a bonus, during my stay on the island, a group of us were able to take a tour of the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel a couple of days before it closed for renovation. Slated to reopen in late 2019, after a $150 million dollar renovation, this property will reopen as an Auberge Resort. Walking through the expanse of the lobby and being able to see the renderings and taking a sneak peek of the new rooms was a bonus.  The beautiful beach is situated in a bay and has incredible views of the island. Sunsets from this property are, and will be, like non-other. I look forward to returning in early 2020 to experience it. This one will definitely be on my radar for my next trip!

One thing can be sure, whichever island and resort you choose, the aloha spirit is alive and well. One can Breathe it. Feel it. And live it.  Aloha!

Nanci Goussak