Big Island Requirements

Here's where I go when I'm in Hawaii.
  • 72-100 Ka'upulehu Dr
    Kailua-Kona, HI 96740
    5.0 étoiles

    Wow, how have I not reviewed this place yet? I love it. It's pricey, but in my opinion, it's worth saving up to spend a few days here. I can't justify spending a whole week+ here, but last time I visited, we stayed for 2 nights and will soon be returning for 4.

    What helps them stand out from the crowd:
    - Mai tai and lei greeting while you're checked in by someone while chilling out on a comfy couch instead of standing up. It's the little things like this that add up. These people know what they're doing when it comes to hospitality. You might not think about it, but who wants to stand at a checkin desk for 10-15 minutes after flying all day to get to your destination? And who wouldn't want a refreshing drink, cool towel, and fresh flower lei to welcome them?
    - FREE laundry! Yes, that's right, hidden throughout the resort at little laundry huts where you can do your laundry for free. I don't understand why more places don't do this! We stayed at the Fairmont Orchid for part of our trip and must have spend $50 on laundry for just a few items so we'd be able to pack light. Having free laundry facilities helps you pack as little as necessary so you can enjoy your trip and not worry about excess baggage fees or even checking a bag in some cases.
    - Many pools: kids pool, adult pool, saltwater pool with manta rays swimming around, gym pool for swimming laps, quiet pool... I don't even think that's all the pools! There are pools everywhere!
    - Gym facilities: SO NICE. It's a lot easier to keep up with your workouts on vacation when there's a nice gym and not some musty basement room with out-of-date equipment. Well, I checked out the gym here last time I came, and I will be brining my workout stuff with me next time. They have tons of classes offered, too, though you have to pay for most of them it seems. (But you can use the gym for free.)
    - Stellar breakfast buffet. If you know what you're doing, you'll book your trip through a Virtuoso travel agent. It's FREE and you get all kinds of perks: breakfast every day (I think it's like $50 pp otherwise) and a $100 credit for food+drink during your stay. Granted, that doesn't go far here, but it will get you a lunch or two, or dinner! Anyway, the breakfast is great. Crispy bacon, custom omelets, fresh fruit, rotating stations of fresh hot foods. This must be why they need such a nice gym.
    - Hilarious fellow guests: Last time I was here, I overheard the person next to me at the pool talking about an "Avian spritz". Ew, I don't know what landed on that person, but I was amazed to see that there were FS employees wandering around the pools/beach offering Evian spritzes to keep you cool and refreshed while baking in the hot sun. Thanks for the laughs, and the mists!

    Anyway, my overall assessment of this place: expensive, but worth it. Worth the splurge if you're used to staying at the Fairmont Orchid like I am, because for all the nickel-and-diming that goes on there ($25/day for parking, $50 for laundry, $30 for breakfast, $50 for a cabana, etc. etc.) you might as well just pay a little bit more to stay at the Four Seasons and not have to worry about any of that: free valet parking, free laundry, free cabanas, free breakfast if you book with a Virtuoso agent. Plus, there are no "The Shining"-esque long, dark hallways involved in getting to your room: there are only 3-4 rooms in each little building here, so it feels more homey.

  • 76-6246 Ali'i Dr
    Kailua-Kona, HI 96740
    5.0 étoiles

    I do not give 5-star reviews lightly, but THIS PLACE IS AMAZING! I always hit it up when I'm visiting the Big Island. The people there are so friendly and down-to-earth. I love seeing them be successful!

    These people have almost 200 reviews and still maintain a 5-star rating for a reason: they make the best poke around, and it's cheap too. Cheap + delicious is a hard-to-find combo: sure, there's lots of cheap food that's just OK. Hell, there's lots of expensive food that's just OK. But these guys know what they're doing.

    On our most recent visit, we arrived pretty late in the day, so they were out of many selections, but the poke that was left was still fresh and delicious. If you get a "bowl", it comes with a biiiiig scoop of poke (you can ask for half and half), rice (brown or white) and a side (like edamame). I tried spicy ahi with avocado, on brown rice, with a side of garlic edamame. ONO.

  • 55-3435 Akoni Pule Hwy
    Hawi, HI 96719
    5.0 étoiles
    10/03/2014 Avis mis à jour

    It's been 4 years since my original review, and this is still my favorite sushi joint on the island. The employees are really cool and friendly, the sushi is amazing (where else can you get seared local beef on top of a roll, hm?) and the space is laid-back and unique. I really can't picture it anywhere else but in Hawi! I love the drive up there, too. Driving along the Kohala coast up from Kawaihae is just beautiful.

    Back to the restaurant: my faves are the rock pockets (inari filled with rice and other goodies) and purple passion roll with purple sweet potato, ahi, apple and topped with seared tenderloin. Geez, so good! These guys do a wonderful job of showcasing the local bounty in unique ways. Grass-fed beef, fresh fish (obviously), fruit, mac nuts and lots more. We'll be back for sure! :) :)

    5.0 étoiles
    30/12/2010 Avis précédent
    This is the first place I want to eat at when I get to the Big Island!! Derek and Erika at Aaah the… En savoir plus
    Commentaire de Peter P. de Sushi Rock
    10/03/2014 It is thrilling to read your review and to hear that you were happy to return to Sushi Rock.Thanks… En savoir plus
  • 79-983 Kealaola St
    Kealakekua, HI 96750
    5.0 étoiles

    Best coffee tour ever! We've talked with Michael a couple times in the morning at the Four Seasons Hualalai, where you can try their coffee at 'Ulu restaurant (I recommend the Chemex) - he told us visitors were very welcome and to just give them a call to set up a time to stop by. Well, we didn't manage to do it last year when we were on the island, but we did this time! Lawton showed us around the farm and gave us a very interesting history of their property, coffee growing and Hawaii in general - very informative!

    While we wandered around, he picked some different fruit that we tried at the end of our tour with some coffee. These guys truly make the most delicious cup of coffee I've ever had, so I was happy to be able to see where it was grown! The farm cat, Kea, followed us around and flopped over for occasional belly rubs too :)

    Definitely check this out if you're into good coffee and have a couple hours to spare some day during your trip! Thanks Michael and Lawton!

  • 68-1330 Mauna Lani Dr, Ste 111
    Kohala Coast, HI 96743
    5.0 étoiles

    Tuna tataki. Real wasabi. Chuck Norris roll. Shiso mojito. These are all must-tries. Despite the hostess giving me a Japanese menu TWO times (sorry, I'm not that advanced in the art of sushi. YET.) our server was really nice. Awesome food, fresh fish and actually a really cool space considering its location tucked into the shops at Mauna Lani.

    Norio himself used to work at the Fairmont Orchid (you may have seen Norio's in Yelp/web searches) but he's no longer there - for some reason they're still calling it Norio's, but Norio opened Monstera and you can see him behind the bar here making really, really great sushi!

    Oh, they have the most excellent local ice cream available for dessert: Tropical Dreams, in Kona coffee, adzuki bean, green tea and vanilla! It's seriously the best ice cream I've ever had.

  • 99-165 Crater Rim Dr
    Hawaii National Park, HI 96785
    5.0 étoiles

    Great park! A bit remote - I recommend stopping for breakfast or lunch in Hilo on the way if you're coming from one of the resorts on the Kohala coast. It's faster (2.5 hours) than driving through Kona (3 hours) unless you're already in the downtown Kona or Captain Cook areas. Plus, there's not much between Kona and Volcano compared to driving through Waimea, Honokaa and Hilo en route.

    Anyway, the park is amazing  lots of helpful rangers to explain things, miles of driving on Chain of Craters road and many hikes as well.

    It's $10 to get in, but the pass is good for 7 days so you might want to come earlier in your trip in case you want to return again before you leave the island (if you're visiting). Or, a lot of people spend the day exploring the park, then go out and get dinner somewhere. Come back when it's dark and maybe catch a view of the lava in the distance! (It's verrrry far away..)

    My favorite part of visiting HVNP is always the steam vents and the steam bluff. It's like I'm in a sauna!! :-D

  • 5.0 étoiles

    One of the best meals I had on the Big Island. We stayed at the FS but didn't check this place out until after we'd checked out and were staying elsewhere for the rest of our stay. FYI, you'll never see any tables available for this place on OpenTable - you'll have to call and make a reservation, or just stop by but I'd recommend a reservation. Despite not being guests at the Four Seasons, service wan amazing. Our waiter was really nice and knowledgeable, and even the sous chef and GM stopped by and chatted with us. Not just the "hey, how is everything? OK, bye," drive-by conversations you get at lots of places - actually asking about you, where you're visiting from, etc. etc. really cool touch!

    I'm not usually a huge fan of Italian food, but everything I've had here has been perfect. This time I got a risotto with uni sauce, lobster, Ono, and hearts of Palm. Amazing! We brought our own wine to have with dinner and they had no problem getting a decanter for us, too. Their special desert was a Meyer lemon ricotta tart concoction that was really, really great, too - we'll definitely be returning! The beach-front location can't be beat. They have live Hawaiian music many nights, too! The night we were there, there was a hula dancer as well. really can't ask for a better atmosphere than that. Thanks for a great meal!

  • 65-1290 Kawaihae Rd
    Waimea, HI 96743
    4.0 étoiles

    OK, I'm normally one for pretty healthy eating so it's saying something that I ate here, home of giant portions, loco moco, and dinner plate-sized pancakes! But here's the thing: the only reason I got up here to eat at the Hawaiian Style Cafe is because we were evacuated for a tsunami warning. That's right, A TSUNAMI MADE ME EAT HERE! (No complaints, though :-)

    So we headed up mauka to Waimea and figured since we were hauled out of bed at 5AM to evacuate to higher ground, we might as well have a good breakfast. I remembered reading that Hawaiian Style Cafe opens early, so we stopped by. The wait was longer than usual because I guess everyone else had the same idea! We waited about 20 minutes before our name was called, and sat down for some eats.

    Right about this time, everyone outside was told that the wait would be 30+ minutes, so they all left! Of course as soon as they all went, the people who had stayed and patiently waited got seated promptly, heh heh :)

    I ordered eggs, hash browns, and bacon with a side of pancakes, and some coffee. I still haven't worked up the nerve to try loco moco (fried rice, hamburger, eggs, gravy, which ALSO comes with a side of gravy!!!) but the guy next to me was having it, and it looked pretty good.

    The hash browns are nice and crispy on the outside. The bacon was weird, but good - it came in a ball o' bacon. A bacon cluster. It was crispy and thin, which was good even though I prefer thick cut bacon. The eggs were cooked right, and the pancakes were SO HUGE!!! No 100% maple syrup here, either - Aunt Jemima all the way. The old couple sitting next to us looked at us, wide-eyed, when all our food showed up (they had shared a small omelet) and asked if we'd eaten there before. "Nope!" said I, "But I've heard about it!"

    I managed to eat 1/4 of my 2 dinner plate-sized pancakes, which were fluffy and topped with a dollop of butter. Great for soaking up some egg yolk. I wish they had some kona coffee there, but I guess that's a little upscale for a diner-type joint. But that's OK! They aren't fancy or pretentious here - come as you are, local people, tourists, everybody eating good food and relaxing for a meal.

    The waitress did a great job keeping up with the rush from all the tsunami evacuees from the hotels on the Kohala Coast. I will definitely come back again some day when I need giant pancakes, and calories. :)

    No reservations. No credit cards, only cash. Show up, write your name down and wait to be called. There are some stores nearby, and a park to explore if you're waiting. You could grab a coffee at Waimea Coffee across the street too if the wait is long, and bring it back over with you.

  • 66-1773 Alaneo St
    Kamuela, HI 96743
    5.0 étoiles

    Love this place. Perfect in-between point if you want to do things in Hilo and Kona. Not too far from the beaches, and Waimea has some killer restaurants! Derek and Erika are amazing hosts! I have fond memories of the breakfasts. We've stayed 3 times over the years and will definitely be back again in the future. But they're getting more popular, and they only have a few rooms so it can be hard to find availability. Book well in advance!

    Derek and Erica run an excellent B&B, with clean, bright rooms, beautiful views, and as an added bonus, a delicious, fresh breakfast every morning. The B&B is located beside a stream, with striking views of Mauna Kea, Mauna Loa, and Mt. Hualalai from our Treetop suite. Waimea is home to two excellent restaurants, Merriman's and Daniel Thiebault's, so if you're planning on visiting either of these, The Views is a good choice for lodging. It's just 15 minutes from the beaches and resorts on the Kona Coast and Kawaihae, as well.

    Derek and Erica are excellent hosts, and are quite knowledgable about beaches, snorkeling spots, restaurants, and almost anything else you want to know about. Fresh fruit and various local baked goods are served for breakfast every morning, and you can meet any other guests that might be staying at the same time as you. We had a great time talking to the other guests who were staying there, swapping advice on what beaches, restaurants, drives, and activities were good.

    We booked the entire second floor "treetop suite" which consists of the sunset room and the stream room, which each have a bed AND a loft. There's an extra charge to use more than one bed if you're only reserved for one, but it was nice to have the bathroom to ourselves and space to stretch out, store our bags, etc. If someone else is staying in the stream room or the sunset room, you'll have to share the bathroom with them.

    We stayed at the Views a couple of years ago for our honeymoon and Erica and Derek were very glad to have us back. We had previously stayed downstairs in the dream room, which was very nice and also has beautiful views of the mountains and a private lanai with an outdoor shower! This time we stayed in the treetop suite just to see what it was like, and we were just as satisfied with our stay. Every room has something to offer, and I'm sure you'll have a relaxing stay if you choose to visit.

    I definitely miss falling asleep to the relaxing sound of the stream outside our window now that I'm back from our vacation! Thank you Derek and Erica for providing a truly relaxing B&B for people to stay at.

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