Hotel at a Glance: Waianuhea
Tropical gardens, a lily pond, and views of the Pacific Ocean highlight the scenery of this 4-star resort, which is perched on the side of Hawaii's tallest mountain, Mauna Kea. The inn embraces its natural surroundings by following eco-friendly practices, including sustainable dining, solar-powered electricity, and rainwater that's collected, filtered, and recycled for use in the guest rooms. Despite the property's tucked-away location, guests have access to a host of modern amenities, including an onsite spa.
- Three-course dinner: With select options, you'll get a gourmet meal for two, prepared by chefs using local ingredients and sustainable methods. Click here to see a sample menu.
- Accolades: Fodor's calls Waianuhea a "gorgeous country inn," and it earned a 2014 Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor.
- Rise and shine with a complimentary gourmet breakfast, including fresh pastries, tropical fruit, and hot breakfast entrees.
- Colorful guest rooms featuring floral accents, views of the tropical landscape, and coconut chai bath products made locally; select rooms have fireplaces and balconies
- Natural relaxation: The onsite spa is solar-heated.
- Sample local wines during an evening reception for guests.
Honoka'a, Hawaii: Farmers' Markets and Historic Boardwalk Near Waipio Valley
A steep paved road winds down the side of Mauna Kea Mountain from Honoka'a to the lush Waipio Valley, once a getaway for royalty on Hawaii's Big Island. Today, tourists can hop on a shuttle from Honoka'a and reach the valley within 20 minutes. Once there, you can hike or take a ride on horseback to explore volcanic sand beaches, dense tropical forests, and narrow waterfalls spouting out of the deep green hillsides. You can also admire the landscape from atop Waipio Lookout.
Things are relatively quiet back in downtown Honoka'a. Local growers set up shop at the weekly farmers' market each Saturday to sell fresh pineapples, macadamia nuts, and coffee. Stroll down Mamane Street's wooden boardwalk to shop for antiques and souvenirs or visit the art deco Honoka'a People's Theater.