Getaways: Five Unbeatable Hawaiian Resorts

Castle Resort Poipu Shores: Kauai

Hotels are great but for extended stays on the island a condo is hard to beat as a jumping off point to enjoy Hawaii. Castle Resorts & Hotels boasts a collection of great resorts and condos all over the islands–Kauai, Oahu, Maui, Molokai and the Big Island. Poipu Shores on Kauai’s south coast is perhaps the most resort-like. With one, two and three bedroom options there is something for everyone and each unit comes with fully equipped kitchen, televisions, DVD players, high-speed internet. In fact, you’ll find all the comforts of home—even grocery delivery right to your unit. The nearby beaches are walking distance– Keoniloa Bay, Shipwreck, Brennecke and Poipu–and are considered some of the best in the world. The Poipu Shopping Village next door has all the restaurants and supplies you could ever want.

Travassa Hana: Maui
Maui has a lot of options for places to stay on the dry side of the island but smart travelers will brave the two-hour, winding, coastal Hana Highway on the wet side and escape to the Travaasa Hana (formerly Hotel Hana Maui). Recently rebranded and organized into an all-inclusive resort, your stay includes three meals a day and daily spa treatments, all for a surprisingly reasonable price. The Sea Cottage cabins overlooking the coast are the rooms to beat (ask for a hot tub on your lanai). There is no air conditioning, no TVs, just complete, joyous isolation in paradise where daily rainstorms make for great napping and are quickly followed by sunny afternoons to enjoy by the tile bottom pool. The food is good, though it will not blow you away. The Spa, however, is world class both in service and amenities.

Four Seasons Lodge at Koele: Lanai

A mountain lodge may seem counterintuitive when planning a trip to Hawaii but Four Season Lodge at Koele is one of the most serene and luxurious resorts in the world. Situated in the center of Hawaii’s smallest, mostly desert-like island, the hotel resembles a colonial estate, complete with wrap-around decks, white rocking chairs, an orchid house, and wild turkeys roaming the grounds around its private lake. The aptly name “Dining Room” run by Chef Kevin Erving has an inspired menu not to be rivaled on the islands, and the resorts central location (conveniently next to the one place in town to rent a car) allows for easy day jaunts down to the coast or out into the Garden of the Gods park. Pricey to be sure but when visiting Lanai there is little to do but relax so you might as well do it in style.

Mauna Kea Hotel: Hawaii

Built by Nelson Rockefeller in 1965, this Big Island resort was one of the most expensive hotels of its time. With the best hotel beach in all of Hawaii you are going to have picture post card days on your cabana chair or snorkeling out to the nearby reef, which is actually a destination for tour companies. Renowned for its modern architecture, geometric lines and dark beams are offset by the hotel’s signature orange accent color, which covers every guest room door. The hotel also houses an impressive art collection in its open-air hallways, including a seventh century Buddha. The food is nothing to write home about so pop up the road to Sushi Rock in Hawi. But the views don’t get any better and the modern rooms are a welcome relief to most hotels colonial meets Tiki designs.

The Royal Hawaiian Hotel: Oahu

When it comes to resorts in Hawaii there is nothing quite like the original. One of the first hotels established in Waikiki, The Royal Hawaiian’s signature pink stucco exterior has housed everyone from Franklin D. Roosevelt to today’s biggest celebs. Wandering the lobby makes you feel like you are part of old Hollywood listening to Shirley Temple as she famously strummed the ukulele on its beach. With its 2009 renovation the hotels classic glory has been brought to the 21st century with luxurious rooms, flat screen TVs, and revamped restaurants. There is still live music Tuesday through Sunday, often featuring some of Hawaiian’s top musicians. With one of the better of Waikiki’s otherwise lackluster beaches, sun bathing is best enjoyed with a Mai Tai from the hotel’s eponymous Mai Tai Bar, which is the original birthplace of the island’s most famous libation. Best of all the hotel is conveniently located close to all of Waikiki’s gay bars and Hula Bar & Lei Stand and Fusion are just a decent walk or a quick cab ride away.

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