Hotel Wailea is one of the few quality boutique hotels in Hawaii, with a relaxed, laid back vibe verging on hippy-ish, but authentic all the same.
Located in the hills above Wailea and a seven minute drive from the beach (by shuttle bus), the hotel has beautiful panoramic views over the ocean and mountains.
The 15 acres of grounds are lush and tropical, with palm groves, lush vegetation, vegetable gardens, ponds and waterfalls. The main building is Asian inspired and houses the open air reception, The Capische restaurant specialising in Italian cuisine and a spa.
The 72 bedrooms with en suite bathrooms are dotted around in two-storey cottages throughout the gardens. Each 'suite' has a separate living room (with additional sofa bed), a private lanai, and a small but very functional kitchen. Several of the rooms have recently been renovated and now feel like well designed condos as opposed to hotel rooms. The decor is very fresh and light, with exposed brick walls, dark wood furniture and splashes of colour in the paintings decorating the walls.
There is a smallish pool surrounded by plenty of sun beds, a few four poster double sunbeds and a small pool bar.
Why We Love It
Hotel Wailea is perfect for anyone with an allergic reaction to resorts, and who likes the independence of semi self-catering accommodation.
Koa Kea on the lush tropical island of Kauai is a smaller set up than the ubiquitous Four Seasons resorts we recommend on other islands.
There are 'just' 121 bedrooms in a horseshoe-shaped building around the outside pool and lawn area. The rooms are cool and contemporary, and feel almost urban with tasteful dark wood panels, patterned carpets and brightly coloured bed runners.
The hotel's restaurant, 'Red Salt' serves contemporary cuisine and plenty of fresh sea food with regional flavours. The ocean front setting with large picture windows highlight the stunning location of this property. There is also a sushi bar and lunch is available poolside.
The kidney-shaped pool has plenty of sun loungers surrounding it, and there is a beach bar serving snacks and cocktails - we seriously recommend trying the frozen Coconut Mojito.
Poipu Beach across the road is a good spot for surfers and paddle boarders. There is a small activities hut at the hotel where you can rent equipment and book lessons for both. For relaxation the Spa offers five treatment rooms, and an extensive range of treatments all using natural island ingredients such as seaweed, coconut and pineapple.
Why We Love It
Smaller than most mega-resorts on the island Koa Kea was built on the footprint of the Poipu Beach Hotel which was wiped out in 1992 by a hurricane. By building here, Koa Kea has the closest location to the beach.
The Princeville Resort
The Princeville Resort - located on the stunning Hawaiian island of Kuai - allows you to relax and unwind in the lap of luxury with its golf courses, soothing spa, gourmet dining and direct beach access.
The hotel has a total of 251 rooms including 51 suites with the premium suites featuring their own dedicated butler. With tall windows letting in plenty of light and spacious terraces included in many of the accommodations, there is ample opportunity to soak up the sweeping views over the lush gardens, soaring mountains or sparkling Hanalei Bay. The interiors are elegantly decorated with works by Hawaiian artists and come with decent-sized bathrooms that guarantee a comfortable stay.
During your stay, enjoy refreshing dips in the pool, soak up the sun on the loungers and indulge in a relaxing treatment at the spa. Sip sundowners at the beach bar and take your pick from the resort's selection of restaurants including the magnificent Makana Terrace for casual breakfasts and sunset dining complete with jaw-dropping sea views.
Away from Princeville, there are a huge number of activities on offer including spectacular hiking, paddle boarding, kayaking and zip lining as well as boat and helicopter tours. Kauai is where the film Jurassic Park was filmed and the surrounding landscape is exactly what you would expect - floury beaches, swaying palm trees and gorgeous green hills rising up from the sea.
Why We Love It
All Hawaiian beaches are public, but the beach at The Princeville Resort is virtually inaccessible from anywhere else, so is pretty much private in all but name.
The Modern Honolulu
The Modern is a contemporary urban hotel at the top end of Waikiki Beach on Honolulu. Unlike on some of the other islands where height restrictions are in place, the Modern - all 18 floors of it - is a genuine skyscraper with predictably good views as a result.
The décor in the 353 rooms is predominantly white with splashes of colour, mainly turquoise, to create a stylish contrast. The en suite bathrooms only have showers.
On the ground floor the lobby is one of the great hotel statements, with an instillation art piece featuring full size surfboards behind the reception desk, and a library bookshelf that opens up in the evening to reveal a bar called The Study. Morimoto, the hotel's good quality Japanese restaurant, has outside seating with views over the marina.
There are two pools - the Sunset Pool and Sunrise Pool - the latter of which is for all ages and has an adjoining bar and al fresco restaurant, with more lovely views of the marina. The Sunset Pool has a sandy beach and is for adults only.
Away from the hotel, Pearl Harbour is just outside of Honolulu, so easy to visit for a morning, and the surf lessons on Waikiki Beach are legendary.
Why We Love It
If there was one word to describe the Modern it would be 'fun'. Fun vibe, fun bars and twice a month an extremely fun pool party by the Sunset Pool.