Waikoloa Beach Resort – A Great Place to Stay on Hawaii’s Big Island

Waikoloa Beach Course
Ocean front Waikoloa Beach Golf Course

Choosing where to stay on the Big Island can be a challenge. From my experience, I think that the Waikoloa Beach Resort on the Kohala Coast is a great base for a Big Island vacation.   I stayed there earlier this year and really found it to be very convenient for exploring the island.  Here are the top seven reasons I think Waikoloa is a great place to stay on Hawaii’s Big Island.

1.  Location, Location, Location!
Waikoloa Beach Resort is located on the sunny Kohala Coast, which is a great place to stay in Hawaii to avoid rain year round.  The resort is only about a 20 minute drive North of the Kona Airport.

2.  Moderately Priced Accommodations
In addition to sunny skies, the Kohala Coast is also known for its luxury accommodations.  For Kohala Coast standards, Waikoloa has some moderately priced hotels plus condomininium resorts that range from budget to high-end. We’ve not yet stayed at the Waikoloa Marriott, but we have stayed at the Hilton Waikoloa Village. For condos, we really like staying in Hali’i Kai with their fabulous oceanfront pool and restaurant.  We also found a bargain staying at Waikoloa Beach Villas, though they’re not actually on a beach.

Pool at Hali'i Kai in Waikoloa
Hali’i Kai pool

3.  Anehoomalu Bay
Anehoomalu Bay (also known as “A-bay”) is a lovely beach that’s great for picnics, sunsets, and relaxing. Sea turtles (honu) like this beach, too. A reef partially protects the bay, so it makes for a fairly safe area for water sports.  Always check conditions before going out in the water.  Several boat tour companies have operations from this bay, that makes it convenient for finding water tours.

Sunset from A-bay
Sunset from Anehoomalu Bay

4.  Fishponds
Hawaiians were aqua-culture geniuses and you can see some fine examples of ancient Hawaiian fishponds in Waikoloa Beach Resort between the Marriott and Anehoomalu Bay. The ponds are well preserved and marked with educational plaques. Each time I passed by these ponds, I couldn’t help but stop and admire them.  (See one of the photos here.)

5.  Petroglyphs and Kings Trail
Waikoloa Beach Resort is home to many excellent petroglyphs.  You can find them along the Kings Trail that runs through the resort. For those who don’t like trails, then you’ll find some excellent petroglyphs stationed in the Kings Shops.

Waikoloa Petroglyph

6.  Excellent Golf Courses
Waikoloa is home to two beautiful golf courses.

Waikoloa Kings Shops

7.  Convenient Shops and Restaurants
Kings Shops and Queens’ Marketplace host a range of shops and restaurants to suit any budget.  These resort shops also have some very good free entertainment.  We enjoyed being able to walk to the shops and to dinner. We particularly enjoyed dining at Roy’s and Sansei. For a quick bite, the food court in Queens Marketplace was always convenient and family-friendly. There’s a gourmet grocery store in Queens Marketplace that’s great for picking up snacks and picnic supplies.

You can see all the photos we took during our stay at Waikoloa Beach Resort. Have you stayed in the Waikoloa Beach Resort?  What did you think of it?  Did you enjoy your stay?

  1. Hi Sheila-
    We stayed at the Marriott in February and so I have to agree with your post! Waikoloa was a great place to stay. The Kings Shops and Queens’ Marketplace were perfect for us. It was nice to be able to grab a quick fast food lunch and then enjoy a nicer dinner. We absolutely loved Merriman’s which wasn’t that far of a drive from the resort area. I would definitely stay there again, unless I get a lot of money to stay at the Four Seasons Hualailai!

  2. Hi Nathalie – thanks for sharing your experience at Waikoloa. Several new shops and restaurants have opened in Queen’s Marketplace since you were there in February. So, it’s even better now.

    Thanks for adding that Merriman’s isn’t too far away. I was actually pretty surprised, myself, at how Waimea and the Hamakua Coast weren’t too far away at all from Waikoloa. We didn’t bat an eyelid for exploring those areas from our Waikoloa base.

    I’d love to stay at the Four Seasons Hualailai, too! It is waaaaaaaay out of my vacation budget, unfortunately! *sigh* Maybe one day…. 🙂

  3. Hey Sheila-

    Ooh! Now you’ve given me more reason to go back Waikoloa. We also enjoyed dinner at Daniel Thibaut in Waimea. We also had the best taco’s at a industrial type location in Kailua-Kona. I’ll have to get the name!!!

  4. If you’re looking for a higher end place to stay, and don’t want to do the hotel thing, I would try Kolea. It’s the only condo complex with beach access in Waikoloa.

    1. Justin – Thanks for adding that. Kolea is definitely a high-end condo community — probably one of the top ones in all of Hawaii.

  5. Hi Sheila, My husband and I are ranchers and we have dreamed of seeing
    the Parker Ranch. How close to that resort that you stayed at is the Parker Ranch? Thanks, Glenna

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