A clifftop eco-hotel surrounded by 50 barely touched acres on the bucolic North Kohala coast, Hawaii Island Retreat feels as far away as it gets. There are no TVs in the guest rooms, no air-con, and Wi-Fi only in certain spots. Solar and wind power provide all the electricity, while much of the fruit and vegetables are grown right on the property. Resident goats and bees supply the cheese and honey. The inn has just 10 simply-furnished bedrooms in the main house, overlooking groves of cedar and pine trees, plus seven yurts a stone’s throw away, so it’s possible—likely even—that a guest might spend days here and rarely see another soul. The owners, a local spa therapist and natural healer and her physician husband, opened the property in 2009 with the express purpose of creating a wellness-focused retreat, which is why guests can sign up for classes in yoga, qigong, Pilates, or water exercise (there’s a small salt-purified infinity pool) as well as facials and massages. Outdoor massage tables, placed under a tent, overlook a deep green valley. There’s also a mediation rock. So health-minded is this little retreat that it’s become a popular spot for guests recovering from serious illness or simply in search of a detox. Various packages have a wellness or spiritual theme.
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As remote as this eco-retreat feels, especially since it lies at the end of a long gravel road on the island’s northern tip, it’s only a five- to ten-minute drive to two of the island’s most fetching small towns, Hawi and Kapaau, both lined with quirky and appealing restaurants and shops. Then there are the countless excellent hikes in the area, such as the one to Pololu Valley.
Need to Know
Rooms: Ten rooms and seven yurts. Rooms from $425 (though the rate drops the longer you stay), yurts from $195. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: 11 a.m. Dining options: For guests who book directly with the hotel, a big breakfast (almost all of it fresh from the garden) is included in the rate; lunch and dinners are generally extra and need to be arranged ahead of time. The kitchen caters to a long list of dietary restrictions (gluten-free, dairy-free, diabetic, and so on). Spa and gym details: Basic spa treatments are available, and there’s a small, glass-walled fitness room with a few elliptical machines, treadmills, and Pilates equipment.
Who it's for: Health nuts; anyone on the mend or just looking for a peaceful place to recharge; hikers (there are miles and miles of trails on the property). Our favorite rooms: The yurts are fun but not for light sleepers (the canvas is thin, the forest is loud). In the main house, the upstairs suites have ocean views and breezes. Explore the garden: Don’t miss touring the property’s organic gardens. They’re small but impressive.