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Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Autograph Collection
Booking.comMauna Kea Beach Hotel, Autograph Collection

The 11 best hotels on the Big Island

Infinity pools, volcanic lava, and beaches for days. These are the best hotels on the Big Island

Written by
Lori A May
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There are some fantastic hotels on the Big Island. Hawaii is one of the world’s great tourist destinations, so this shouldn’t come as a huge surprise, but the consistency and quality of the resorts, apartments, and boutiques here really are impressive. There is no shortage of choice on the Big Island, but we’re here to separate the good from the great when it comes to the hotels of Hawaii.

Hawaii is a place where hospitality is next to godliness and cleanliness, and visitors can expect the friendliest welcome upon arrival at the best hotels on the Big Island. That alone is a reason for excitement, but the dramatic scenery and jaw-dropping range of locations may take the biscuit. There’s a lot to love about the hotels on the Big Island, and that’s without mentioning those comfy, comfy beds. And the food, oh, the food! 

Best Hotels on the Big Island

1. Mauna Kea Beach Hotel

The Big Island has a lot of rocky volcanic beaches. They’re great, of course, but you may well want to opt for the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, with its uncommon soft white sandy beach on Kauna’oa Bay. But there’s lots more to recommend it. As the very first resort built on the island, the property is rich in Hawaiian culture and tradition, with hundreds of museum-quality artifacts such as quilts, wooden carvings, and sculptures to be found in the on-site Mauna Kea Art Collection – among them a five-foot pink granite Buddha sculpted in 12th-century India. On-site amenities include award-winning restaurants, a soothing spa, and oceanfront beach cabanas.  

2. Volcano House

Situated in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, this is a dreamy destination for nature lovers and volcano fans, with immediate access to volcanic hiking trails and a short walk to the Thurston lava tubes (it’s best to check ahead to see if any volcanic activity is forecast). In terms of accommodation, you can choose from luxurious lodge suites or go semi-rustic with furnished camper cabins. On-site dining at The Rim is paired with views of the Halema’uma’u Crater and Kilauea caldera.

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This recently renovated resort is surrounded by lava fields but still offers a soft sand paradise at Hapuna Beach, with calm waves ideal for sea kayaking and paddling. Combining natural elements with contemporary design, lush gardens surround the sophisticated open-air resort, with two incredible pools, one dedicated to families while the infinity pool is adult-only and overlooks the beach. The onsite beach grill is the perfect spot to nibble on lobster rolls and island poke. 

If you’re looking to relax and unwind, look no further than this retreat in Pāhoa. The mission here is to recenter health and wellness while providing opportunities for overall personal growth, all while enjoying a calm place to rest and recharge. Eco-conscious accommodation in the East Hawaiian jungle offers all the necessities. There are shared common rooms and bathroom facilities, and a hearty but healthy continental breakfast.

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5. Uncle Billy’s Kona Bay Hotel

Budget-conscious travelers wanting to stay in the middle of the action should enjoy Uncle Billy’s Kona Bay Hotel. Located in the historical Kailua-Kona waterfront village, it’s perfect for a casual island getaway: surrounded by shops, eateries, and nightlife, and within easy walking distance of the tiki bars and water sports on Kailua Bay. Staff are warm and filled with aloha hospitality, turning a cheap stay into one where you feel part of the ‘ohana. Amenities include free continental breakfast, plus there’s a coin laundry and no resort fees.

6. Royal Kona Resort

If you like the idea of being close to Kailua-Kona nightlife but crave a more luxurious experience, book your vacation at Royal Kona Resort. This oceanfront property has incredible panoramic views of the Pacific, and you can split your time between the cliffhanging pool and the private saltwater lagoon.

Royal Kona hosts an annual international Mai Tai bartender competition, but year-round you can sip oceanside at Don’s Mai Tai Bar, where retro tiki decor sets the tone for a night of local aloha.

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7. Hilo Hawaiian Hotel

Flying into Hilo? Enjoy luxurious oceanfront accommodation with views of Mauna Kea at Hilo Hawaiian Hotel. Contemporary decor and furnishings have subtle Polynesian accents. Most guest rooms feature a veranda so you can sip your morning coffee outdoors as the sun rises. Take a dip in the freshwater pool overlooking the waterfront, or go for a leisurely stroll along Hilo’s Bayfront Park. Right next door to the hotel, explore pagodas and oriental ponds at Liliuokalani Park and Gardens.

8. The Inn at Kulaniapia Falls

The Inn at Kulaniapia Falls is a real inland island escape. Walk its trail to a gorgeous on-site waterfall – stroll through bamboo gardens – or wander through lush rainforest. You’ll find all of this on the inn’s grounds, where accommodation comes in the form of tranquil private rustic guesthouses. Plus you’ll wake up to homemade macadamia nut waffles. There’s no air conditioning at the eco-friendly property, but you’ll definitely want to spend most of your time outdoors here.

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This oceanfront hotel is a bit no-frills, but its wallet-friendly rates and great location are sure to please budget travelers. Guestrooms feature traditional island decor with indoor and outdoor seating options, and the patio is a great spot to sip morning coffee as the sun rises. There’s an inviting pool with bay views, and the hotel is just a few blocks from area attractions like Queen Liliuokalani Gardens.  

10. Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa

One of the best sunsets you’ll see on the Big Island is on Anaehoomalu Bay, home to the Waikoloa Beach Marriott. The property includes a sand-bottom pool surrounded by towering palm trees, a lush garden with local Kona coffee trees, and historic petroglyph rock art. An on-site ancient fish pond invites guests to explore lagoons filled with native puhi (eel), kumu (goatfish), and kaka (barracuda). The on-site Hawaii Calls Restaurant & Lounge has a breakfast buffet, and evenings pair Polynesian entertainment with island cuisine at the Sunset Luau.

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With an amazing location on the Kohala Coast, Hilton Waikoloa Village is an awesome getaway for a family or small group. The property boasts tropical gardens and canal boats, a museum full of Pacific artwork, two golf courses, and three incredible swimming pools. And with kayaks and paddleboards onsite, there are enough activities to keep you occupied day and night. Bonus points for the onsite taproom. 

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