Here, above the sea cliffs in North Kohala's Hawi, sustainability meets luxury without sacrificing comfort: Hawaii Island Retreat generates its own solar and wind-turbine power, harnesses its own water, and grows much of its own food. Beautiful floors are sustainably harvested woods, and rooms take advantage of natural light and ventilation to keep energy usage low. Surrounded by 51 acres, 20 of which are a dedicated conservation area, the retreat feels both luxurious and completely hidden from the world. Handsome rooms have high ceilings, elegant doors, crown molding, and private balconies. Three new cliff-side hales with kitchenettes and ocean views have been recently added to the property. More affordable options are available at the retreat's Yurt Village, which includes access to the saltwater infinity pool and fitness center. Breakfast is sourced from the resort's garden supply, augmented by island-fresh ingredients from local farms.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Though the basic information on the website notes a 2-night minimum, many of the suites and bungalows actually require a 4-night minimum.
If you’re coming to Hawaii for an opportunity to connect with the land and yourself, this retreat is for you. Room options range from affordable yurts to suites to a penthouse, a way to ensure that the retreat is open to all, regardless of budget (though still nowhere near budget accommodations in either price or appearance).
Each of the suites is named after a tropical flower that also provides the inspiration color that is painted brightly throughout and is in a large print in each suite. You’ll find Violet Jacaranda and Crimson Royal Poinciana, among many others, all of which are breathtakingly beautiful. Suites also have turn of the century Hawaiian furniture and private lanais that overlook the garden and ocean.
The yurt village features seven large yurts situated near the spa complex in a needled ironwood grove. They are warmly and simply decorated with comfy furniture.
Each different accommodation has a very different personality, and guests love each one for a different reason. If you’re having trouble choosing one, give the staff a call and they can help make the perfect match.
Each accommodation has its own bathroom, and the penthouse has a large porcelain tub in the room. Other bathrooms vary, some have walk-in showers only and some have soaking tubs in addition to the shower. The yurts only have a toilet and sink and have access to the spa locker rooms as well as indoor and outdoor showers.
You’ll be greeted in a bright, spacious foyer that already conveys the warmth of the retreat.
The saltwater infinity pool is a wonderful place to relax and be lulled by the swaying palm trees and expansive views of the 50-acre retreat.
The full-service spa includes massage in secluded bungalows with valley views, face and body treatments, and more, as well as wellness classes.
There is a beautiful, partially open fitness room that is great for yoga and pilates and has a few basic pieces of exercise equipment.
The restaurant at the retreat is spa quality organic farm-to-table cuisine, with most of the produce grown at the retreat. Guests even have the option of taking a cooking class from the chefs.
You will need a car to access the retreat and get around the island. Even if you’re planning to remain at the retreat, a cab from the airport in Kona is prohibitively expensive.
Bamboo Restaurant (9-minute drive) will help you get your Hawaiian food fix for a pretty good price – the Kahlua pulled pork sandwich gets constant raves. For the vegetarian/vegan travelers in your group there’s Sweet Potato Kitchen and Take-Out (9-minute drive), great for a fresh and healthy to-go meal to eat on the lanai or near the pool.
At Seafood Bar & Grill (30-minute drive) you’ll get that island hut bar experience with bamboo bar and seats and mounted fish hanging about, as well as one of the best Mai Tais and happy hours in all of Hawaii. Sample a variety of beers by the flight or pint at Big Island Brewhaus (44-minute drive) while munching on yummy pub fare.
WHY WE LIKE IT
Serene, green, and so relaxing, everything about this retreat makes for a truly zen experience. If you’re not getting a massage you can take a class. When your class is over you can dine on organic farm-to-table meals. If you’re not eating you can relax at the pool or in your plush room. There’s just so much to love here.