This landmark hotel by Kailua Pier is located right in the heart of Historic Kailua Village and offers good vibrations and authentic local hospitality—all for less than the price of a Kohala Coast resort. The entire property highlights Kona's rich history, whether on the grounds where King Kamehameha I spent his final years or in the jazzed-up lobby, which displays an impressive array of historical Hawaiian artifacts. The hotel has the state's largest collection of Herb Kane artwork, a cache of billfish trophies, and an authentic koa canoe. Rooms include sliding plantation-shutter screens and carved wood furnishings in Polynesian motifs. The open-air Honu's on the Beach is adjacent to Kamakahonu Bay and Ahuena Heiau, site of the first capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom. Amenities abound, from water sports to a fitness center to a spa. The lobby's plush business library provides complimentary computer use and private seating enclaves with flat-screen TVs. Many of the rooms offer only partial ocean views.
There is a lot of activity in the water in this area – spinner dolphins cruising by, sailboats, people swimming, and of course the beautiful sunsets, all of which makes splurging on an ocean view room very necessary.
There are seven different room types at King Kamehameha based on view and beds. Each room is decorated to reflect a few specific island themes that include native flora, lava, and Hawaiian tattooing, and you can tell that each design element has been carefully considered. All rooms include a private lanai.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Because it is in a very busy area and because the hotel is currently working on upgrades at various times, the hotel can get a bit noisy. Come prepared by bringing a few pairs of earplugs if you’re a light sleeper. Garden facing and West Tower rooms are typically a bit quieter.
Bathrooms feature Paul Mitchell products (fun fact: the founder of Paul Mitchell owns property on the Big Island) and are sleek and well designed, maintaining the island feel. The sink/vanity area is a good size and guests can bathe in shower/tub combos.
The lobby is warm and welcoming, filled with comfy aloha spirit. The lava rock wall, Hawaiian artifacts, and large painting depicting a scene in King Kamehameha’s life really add to the ambiance.
The beautiful, large infinity pool is surrounded by palm trees and covered lounging areas reminiscent of bamboo huts. Both the pool and hot tub include gorgeous views of Kamakahonu Bay.
Full service spa treatments include massage (lomi lomi and traditional Thai stand out on the menu, as well as their varieties of signature massages) with oceanfront option, mini-treatments, body scrubs, and their day spa packages.
The gym is open 24 hours per day and includes cardio and weight equipment. In addition there is a tennis center, Ironman ocean swimming course, and a yoga studio.
Honu’s on the Beach features breakfast and dinner options that include hot and continental breakfast buffet and a la carte items, a weekend prime rib and seafood buffet with fresh tempura station, and sushi night that runs Sunday through Thursday, and a seafood heavy dinner menu. Add incredible views on a large lanai where you can cuddle up next to fire pits and you’ve got a wonderful dining experience.
For more casual dining try grabbing a bite poolside at Billfish Bar & Grille for pupus, salads, poke, and more. Kids will especially love Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice in the hotel’s lobby shop, with plenty of cane sugar and gluten-free syrups to choose from.
Honu’s features an excellent cocktail menu and sunset views, while Billfish has a wonderful happy hour that includes $6 mai tais, $1 off draft beer, and food specials, as well as live music in the evening.
Though there is plenty to do around the hotel area, you’ll need a car to explore the island more. Fortunately, one of the perks of this hotel is that they offer on-site car rentals (you just have to make it there from the hotel).
If you booked a Hawaiian vacation mostly because you love poke and seafood, you’ll definitely want to stop by Sun Dried Specialties (22-minute drive) – the name might not leave much of an impression, but the food definitely will. Rays on the Bay (18-minute drive) has tranquil ocean views, lovingly crafted local dishes from the land, ocean, and gardens, and a really incredible ahi poke stack that makes for a perfect start to your meal.
Bar hopping on Alii Drive (14-minute walk) includes Humpy’s, Laverne’s, and Ocean’s where you can grab a drink and enjoy some warm ocean air. The music gets loud and the dance floors are open on the weekends. Kona Brewing Company (5-min walk) has some of the best pizza you’ll find in Hawaii, paired with a fun atmosphere and the chance to taste a variety of their famous brews.
WHY WE LIKE IT
With lots of unique amenities like on-site car rentals, plenty of on-site shopping, a new adult fun zone (including shuffle board, bocce ball, table tennis, and more), and the Ironman grand ocean swimming course, the Courtyard King Kamehameha really sets itself apart. Add to that a great location with plenty of nearby dining and shopping options and a few tourist attractions, and this is a great place to have a vacation.