Hotel at a Glance: Waianuhea
Tropical gardens, a lily pond, and views of the Pacific Ocean all make up the scenery of this 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 setting’s remote, tucked-away feel, guests have access to a host of modern amenities, including an on-site spa.
- Sustainable dining: Chefs craft sesame-crusted mahi mahi and coconut milk sweet mashed potatoes using fresh seafood and produce grown in the on-site gardens. See a sample menu.
- 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 on-site spa is solar-heated.
- Sample local wines at the evening wine hour for resort guests.
- Notable nod: Awarded TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence in 2013
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 the 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 horseback ride to explore volcanic sand beaches, dense tropical forests, and narrow waterfalls that spout out of the deep green hillsides. If you don’t want to head into Waipio, you can admire the landscape from atop Waipio Lookout.
Things are relatively quiet back in downtown Honoka’a, which produced sugar for more than a century. Local farmers still 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 see shops that sell antiques and souvenirs, and the art deco-style Honoka’a People’s Theater.<p>