Four Seasons Hualalai, Big Island

72-100 Ka'upulehu Drive, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740, USA

A favorite among Hollywood royalty, the Big Island’s Four Seasons is more secluded than its sister property on Maui. It sits on 863 acres of palm-fringed coastline, with little else for miles in any direction, other than two exclusive golf courses and some of the most expensive vacation homes in the state. Yet, conveniently, the hotel is only a 15-minute drive from Kona International Airport, and it isn’t uncommon for guests to fly in, park themselves at the resort, and never leave. Why would they? It’s an immaculate, ingenious playground, shamelessly verdant against the area’s prodigious black lava. There are seven pools to choose from, including one rock-walled rectangle in the ocean, and another man-made lagoon stocked with thousands of reef fish for guaranteed snorkeling success. Kids can camp overnight in a rock amphitheater. Lovebirds can have candlelit dinners on the beach. Even the accommodations are a Polynesian fantasy, with tropical woods and large headboards. All that, along with a tiki torch–lit beachfront, a French head chef, a swank sushi bar, a staff that treats every guest like Hollywood royalty, and honest-to-goodness cultural cred (the on-site museum and cultural center are well worth visiting), and it’s easy to understand why one would happily pay a king’s ransom to spend a few days here.

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