What this big concrete structure lacks in intimacy, it makes up for with its beautifully manicured grounds, historical sense of place, renovated interiors, and stunning location on Keauhou Bay. Many rooms have great views of the bay and feel like they're right on the water, and each is decorated in a modern Polynesian style. Those traveling with kids appreciate the pool complex, one of the coolest on the island, with a slide, waterfalls, sand-bottom kids' pool, and an ocean view. Historical walking tours are given Tuesday and Thursday, and a luau, on a grassy lawn with a backdrop of coconut trees, features the live Polynesian show Haleo, which highlights the history of the immediate area. But perhaps the best part of the hotel is Rays on the Bay restaurant, which celebrates the mantas that glide below the lanai in the glow of a spotlight.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Daily fees can sometimes give guests a bit of a sticker shock, including resort fees and self-parking (valet parking may be worth the extra cash since the parking lot is a bit of an uphill hike). Keep these extras in mind when budgeting for your trip.
Rooms are spacious and welcoming, with incredible views. 80% of the 508 rooms have at least some ocean view, with the other 20% looking out on a beautiful mountain view. All rooms have refrigerators, comfy beds that are part of the Sheraton Signature Sleep Experience, and nice lanais to take in the views and enjoy the warm island air. Décor is warm and chic and features original fabrics and prints by Hawaiian designer Sig Zane.
Bathrooms are the least attractive of this hotel’s features. The bathrooms are small, with outdated toilets and average sized tubs. Fortunately, the large sinks and vanities are separate from the actual bathrooms, with plenty of available mirrors.
The lobby is partially open and full of island charm and warmth. Warm tones make up the décor throughout and as you approach check in from the valet stand you get a really nice view of Keauhou Bay. There’s also a special treat just before stepping into the lobby, near the valet stand, guests can find a fishing canoe (one of only three pre-Western contact canoes left in existence) that illustrates the area’s past as a fishing village.
The largest water slide on the Big Island can be found at Sheraton’s exterior pool that also comes with hot tubs, a small sand beach for the kids, volleyball nets, and more. This is one pool you may want to forego ocean swimming for. If the exterior pool is too busy, there’s also an interior waterfall pool that is also lovely.
The Ho’ola Spa is one of the nicest on the island, with five indoor treatment rooms and two private treatment balconies with ocean views. The Himalayan salt room is a particularly unique and calming feature that guests should spend some time with.
On the resort grounds guests will find a well-maintained tennis court and a basketball court. The gym has both cardio and weight equipment with incredible ocean views that will make you actually want to work out during your vacation.
Rays on the Bay is Sheraton’s signature restaurant with incredible farm to fork food. You’ll love the 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. Add on a few cocktails from the fun, island menu and you’ve got a lovely evening. We particularly love that there is a late seating option until 10:30 p.m. and live music most nights. The Holo Holo gift shop also has a small café and snacks and stays open until midnight for late night travelers.
Families of four should consider adding on the Kaiulu Club upgrade. For $75 per room (2 adults, 2 kids), per day guests can enjoy breakfast with some really incredible scrambled eggs, a few other warm foods, and other continental breakfast foods, along with unlimited drinks and coffee. In the evening the club also opens for complimentary beer, wine, and appetizers. It’s also a great way to spend some time enjoying the ocean view for those in mountain view rooms.
In addition to the bar at Rays on the Bay, the Holua Poolside Bar and Lounge is an easy in and out between dips in the pool to grab a cocktail, Kona brew, and a few pupus.
You will need a car to get to your hotel and get around the island.
If you booked a Hawaiian vacation mostly because you love poke and seafood, you’ll definitely want to stop by Sun Dried Specialties (10-minute drive) – the name might not leave much of an impression, but the food definitely will. The Strawberry Patch (12-minute drive) has a variety of fresh fare that includes curries, salads, and pastas. Not only do they have dinner service, but they also offer picnic basket service.
TJ’s Pau Hana Hale (17-minute drive) is a new sports bar getting lots of love by locals, particularly because TJ is such a nice guy and makes a mean Old Fashioned. Get drinks and a show at Gertrude’s Jazz Bar (17-min drive), an open-air jazz bar with great beer and wine selections, plus a few decadent desser-tinis to complement their cocktail list.
WHY WE LIKE IT
This wonderful family-friendly resort is full of fun and relaxation with wonderful views all around and plenty of Hawaiian culture and history. The connection with the local manta rays is also a nice feature that you don’t find at too many other hotels.