Old-money travelers have long embraced this golf-course resort, which began as a twinkle in Laurance Rockefeller’s eye and in 1965 became the first hotel development on the rugged lava fields of the Kohala Coast. The 2006 earthquake provided the literal shakeup behind $150 million in renovations that reduced the number of rooms but expanded their size, with spacious bathrooms and closets, plus iPod docking stations and other tech accouterments. Further renovations in 2013 brightened the family-size rooms and suites in the Beachfront Wing, now with picture windows above the soaking tubs. Although dining, golf, and tennis are all top-notch here, the pool is rather small by today’s standards, and I find the orange-accented white room decor a little severe. The true pearls are sandy Kaunaoa Beach ★★★ , where manta rays skim the north point, and the gracious staff members, many of whom know several generations of guests by name.
- Jeanne Cooper