Golf Resort with Ocean Views from Private Balconies
With the snow-capped Mauna Kea volcano as backdrop, golfers navigate undulating fairways designed by Arnold Palmer and Ed Seay to complement the natural contours of a tract of land stretching from the shores of the Pacific Ocean to about 700 feet above sea level. The 18-hole Hapuna Golf Course, named one of the top 20 courses in Hawaii by Links magazine in 2011, sits on the sprawling grounds of the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel. The championship course could be the Hawaiian retreat's most striking feature were it not for its beach—a pristine expanse of white sand lining the turquoise Pacific on the Big Island's sunny Kohala Coast.
Each of the hotel's Oceanfront suites and rooms offers views of the water from a private lanai. The intimate balcony features stone tile floors, a quaint café table, and comfy lounge chairs. Adorned with pink and purple blooms, the alfresco perch and its majestic surroundings inspire quiet moments of relaxation and awe. Back at ground level, guests flock to the heated pool to choreograph underwater ballets or lounge on cushy chairs under coconut palm trees and white canopy umbrellas. A leisurely stroll along Hapuna Beach brings visitors to a small, secluded cove where giant sea turtles occasionally seek harbor and snorkelers set off to explore Hawaii's abundant marine life.
After a day of exploring the waterfront, visitors can cap their nights with a traditional luau on the Mauna Kea luau grounds. As musicians pluck at steel guitars and hula dancers sway hypnotically, diners feast on Hawaiian specialties including poi, sashimi, and roasted kalua pig. Afterward, sun-kissed vacationers retreat to their Oceanfront suites and bed down on one king or two queen beds bearing muted floral-print comforters and a passel of soft, white pillows. Appointed in blond wood furnishings including a media center and dresser, rooms are both commodious and comfortable.
Kohala Coast, Hawaii: Big Island Paradise Abounding with Adventures on Sea & Land
The Big Island's Kohala Coast offers visitors a nearly limitless roster of invigorating aquatic adventures. Certified instructors at scuba-diving centers within 15 minutes of the resort lead divers on underwater tours through crystalline waters inhabited by whitetip reef sharks, eagle rays, and bottlenose mermaids. Amphibious travelers can also board catamarans for treks to areas frequented by humpback whales that glide through the water as explorers take in panoramic views of the island's volcanoes.
On the northeastern Hamakua Coast—located less than 60 miles from the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel—Akaka Falls State Park enchants visitors with a pair of waterfalls nestled in a lush Hawaiian rainforest teeming with wild orchids, bamboo groves, and draping ferns. The park's namesake Akaka Falls, reachable by a winding footpath, presents a majestic sight as it plummets nearly 500 feet into a bubbling ravine below.