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. It still exudes upscale tranquility with an uncluttered, Asian-inspired aesthetic in spacious, modern rooms, while families relish the even larger lodgings in the Beachfront Wing and a new array of Hawaiian cultural activities, including throw-net fishing and hula lessons. At press time, plans were still afoot to expand the spa and add an adults-only pool. Dining, particularly at Manta and the gleaming Copper Bar, remain top-notch, with glorious views from both the golf course and tennis center. The pool is small by today’s standards, but sandy Kaunaoa Beach, where manta rays skim the north point, is just a few steps away. The true pearls are the gracious staff members, many of whom know several generations of guests by name.
Note: The hotel is part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection, but not owned by Marriott.