Four Seasons Hualalai Rating: 5.0 Pearls
The pristine Four Seasons, the only five-pearl property on the Big Island, is unlike any other resort on the Kohala Coast. Lush and beautifully landscaped grounds surround private bungalow-style rooms and suites tucked along winding paths throughout the large property. The thoughtfully designed architecture, pools (all seven of them), and public spaces are indulgent without seeming excessive. Dining options on-site are few in number but high in quality, and include what is arguably the best restaurant on the Big Island. The service is excellent and the experience is first-rate down to the last detail.
Mauna Kea Beach Hotel Rating: 4.5 Pearls
This luxury property on the Kohala Coast is known for its beautiful white-sand beach, fine dining and world-class golf and tennis facilities. The atmosphere is relaxed and the thoughtfully renovated rooms have comfortable furnishings and a modern island feel. The hotel structure itself is less than grand, but in good shape for its age.
The Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows Rating: 4.5 Pearls
This beautiful luxury beach resort on the Kohala Coast is chock-full of excellent features: top-rated dining, golfing, tennis, fitness training, and spa experiences. It's pricier than some comparable resorts in the area, but free extras help compensate (valet parking, Wi-Fi, and newspaper delivery, to name a few). Free activities at the on-site Hawaiian cultural center -- including tours of the historic rock carvings and the former royal fishing ponds on the grounds -- are also a highlight.
The Fairmont Orchid Hawaii Rating: 4.5 Pearls
This 32-acre luxury resort in Waimea delivers all the high-end Big Island essentials: A beautiful spa, comprised mostly of outdoor huts; a white-sand beach on a calm lagoon; beautifully landscaped grounds, and a huge pool with ocean views. But rooms, though tasteful, aren't quite as luxurious as you'd expect at this price point.