Hawaii Big Island rec?

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Blake Brown
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Hawaii Big Island rec?

#1 Post by Blake Brown » March 19th, 2013, 2:18 pm

A two weeks stay on the Kona coast [Waikoloa area] is coming up in a couple of months. I`m looking for golf, snorkeling and food and wine suggestions. Thanks in advance.
Last edited by Blake Brown on April 5th, 2013, 4:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Mark Y
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Re: Hawaii Big Island rec?

#2 Post by Mark Y » March 19th, 2013, 2:25 pm

subscribing as possible visit within next 18 months as well.
Y.e.

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Re: Hawaii Big Island rec?

#3 Post by James Cross » March 20th, 2013, 10:14 am

If you are in Waikaloa, there is a "food mall" across from the big hotels. It's the usual suspects like Roy's, etc. Kona is the only nearby town and some of the chains are there, but also a good micro brewery (Kona Brewing). Waiamea (sp?) is a bit of a hike, but there are some eateries there.

For golf, there are seaside courses in the area; ask at the hotel. I went to one that was 5 miles or so north. Be prepared to play in the wind if near the ocean. The tour has one event in the area and even the pros stuggle.

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Re: Hawaii Big Island rec?

#4 Post by Jeff Bloom » March 20th, 2013, 12:17 pm

While perhaps not as good as it once was since outlets have opened on other islands, Merriman's in Waimea is definitely worth a visit.

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e chin
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Re: Hawaii Big Island rec?

#5 Post by e chin » March 20th, 2013, 12:34 pm

Blake it has been a number of years, but I did enjoy the Hapuna golf course. Not sure about the current rates, but I did the replay so I thought I got a great value. A fun course built on a hillside.
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Re: Hawaii Big Island rec?

#6 Post by PR K e l l y » March 20th, 2013, 12:35 pm

For golf, the MUST play of the resort courses is Mauna Kea, which was just renovated a year or 2 ago. If you have the connections however, an ultra-private club, Nanea is incredible. Mauna Lani is also good, but not close to Mauna Kea, imo. The Hualalai course at the 4 Seasons is a flat, windswept boring course and way over-priced. Waimea is a great value and a local favorite. It is a higher altitude there so always much cooler and the course is lined with pine trees and the like. Kona CC is also good.

Merriman's in Waimea is always a great stop for dinner, other than the drive back down the mountain afterwards. Harbor Grille and Seafood Bar in Kawaihae Harbor is a nice find if you want to get away from the resort type over-priced restaurants.
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Re: Hawaii Big Island rec?

#7 Post by JKim » March 20th, 2013, 4:02 pm

I also recommend Merriman's. I thought it was quite good. Never been myself, but some friends loved the Surf, Sand and Stars Seafood Buffet at the Four Seasons. I would pass on Brown's at the Fairmont. To be honest, the Big Island isn't really a hotbed for cuisine. My favorite meal of my entire trip was eating KFC in Volcano National Park that we picked up in Hilo on the way. FYI, there's really no food in VNP so pick up something and eat lunch surrounded by epic surroundings. I don't know if you plan on hiking but to me the Kilauea Iki crater hike is a must and the highlight of my trip.
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Re: Hawaii Big Island rec?

#8 Post by Kent Zimmerman » March 21st, 2013, 8:12 am

We really enjoyed The Canoe House at the Mauna Lani resort, and I think they have a nice wine list as well.

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Re: Hawaii Big Island rec?

#9 Post by Michael Martin » March 21st, 2013, 8:53 am

If you like Indonesian food, try this place right in Kona.
http://www.yelp.com/biz/rapanui-island-cafe-kailua-kona

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Re: Hawaii Big Island rec?

#10 Post by Blake Brown » March 21st, 2013, 10:13 am

Thanks to all who have so far responded. Many of these suggestions are exactly what I was looking for. For any others, keep the recs coming? Much appreciated.
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Re: Hawaii Big Island rec?

#11 Post by PR K e l l y » March 21st, 2013, 10:52 am

Kent Zimmerman wrote:We really enjoyed The Canoe House at the Mauna Lani resort, and I think they have a nice wine list as well.
In my experience, Canoe House can be GREAT (when considering both food and setting), but has also been disappointingly inconsistent on too many occasions, given the $$$$ involved. While the wine list is nice...the markups are huge (a recurring problem in Hawaii, to be fair). That's why we like finding off-resort restaurants with better QPR. Of course, on vacation, QPR is a bit less important and we eat plenty of meals on resort (which is how Canoe House became one of our resort favorites). If you are staying in Hualalai, the Residents' Beach House is a great place as well. Wonderful location on the beach a short stroll from the 4S with excellent seafood and massive cocktails.
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Re: Hawaii Big Island rec?

#12 Post by Blake Brown » March 21st, 2013, 11:57 am

I just received an email from a local friend and winemaker who has connections with and is strongly recommending the Four Seasons Hualalai and Beachtree restaurant and the recently opened ULU!

Anyone have first hand experience?
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Re: Hawaii Big Island rec?

#13 Post by Bob Hunnicutt » March 21st, 2013, 4:12 pm

Been to the Big Island three times. Twice we stayed at the Marriott Waikoloa. They had luau dinners there Wed & Sun BTW. There are a couple shopping centers nearby so we ate there often: Roy's & Macaroni Grill. One of the markets there has a wine bar attached.
Outside of that area the places we went to more than once were The Coffee Shack above Capt Cook (for lunch or brunch) and the Kona Brewpub. Good pizza, pulled pork & spinach salad at the pub. Say hi to Jesse at the growler shack if you go. lol
Restaurant at the Marriott was way overpriced (surprise!), but the bar was very nice and had decent food.
(Not Hunnicutt Winery BTW)

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Re: Hawaii Big Island rec?

#14 Post by Michael Martin » March 21st, 2013, 5:17 pm

Bob Hunnicutt wrote:Been to the Big Island three times. Twice we stayed at the Marriott Waikoloa. They had luau dinners there Wed & Sun BTW. There are a couple shopping centers nearby so we ate there often: Roy's & Macaroni Grill. One of the markets there has a wine bar attached.
Outside of that area the places we went to more than once were The Coffee Shack above Capt Cook (for lunch or brunch) and the Kona Brewpub. Good pizza, pulled pork & spinach salad at the pub. Say hi to Jesse at the growler shack if you go. lol
Restaurant at the Marriott was way overpriced (surprise!), but the bar was very nice and had decent food.
+1 on the Coffee Shack. Great view.

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Hawaii Big Island rec?

#15 Post by Tim Caudill » March 24th, 2013, 6:10 am

We own a place at Mauna Lani and travel there often. Golf: Kona Country Club and Mauna Lani South Course. We usually do not do a lot of fine dining but Roy's and the Canoe Club are nice. We are so close to the Fairmont that we eat there too. I do enjoy the Sushi restaurant there. We also usually eat one casual dinner at the beach side restaurant at the Fairmont. Nice having dinner and watching the sunset.

Our routine when getting to Kona is: Get car, go to Kona and eat at Killer Taco's, hit Costco and then up to our place. We have also eaten at the Pinetree Cafe which is on your left hand side of the road between the Kona airport and the road to Costco.

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Hawaii Big Island rec?

#16 Post by Blake Brown » April 5th, 2013, 4:59 pm

Again, thanks to all of you who have provided some recs. I`ve just added an additional request on this thread for ideal snorkeling spots near where we will be staying.
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“Remember gentlemen, it’s not just France we are fighting for, it’s Champagne!” – Winston Churchill

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Hawaii Big Island rec?

#17 Post by johngonzales » April 5th, 2013, 11:28 pm

Blake, I'm a Big Isle fan, though Kauai is my favorite. I'll come up with some reccos over the next week. However, you should get the Wizard Press "Big Island Revealed" book. The restaurant reccos therein are only so-so, best for lower key spots. But the general info is great. I've learned a lot about various islands through these, including some beaches,hikes, etc that are not covered elsewhere. The books are also mapped and organized well.
Off the top of my head my favorite snorkeling spots are Kahaluu Beach Park (a must for extremely easy snorkeling and a lot of turtles), Captain Cook, Honaunau, and even the south side of the beach at Mauna Kea.
Some cool, not too busy beaches: waialea, kiholo, makalawena.

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Hawaii Big Island rec?

#18 Post by Blake Brown » May 28th, 2013, 12:08 pm

johngonzales wrote:Blake, I'm a Big Isle fan, though Kauai is my favorite. I'll come up with some reccos over the next week. However, you should get the Wizard Press "Big Island Revealed" book. The restaurant reccos therein are only so-so, best for lower key spots. But the general info is great. I've learned a lot about various islands through these, including some beaches,hikes, etc that are not covered elsewhere. The books are also mapped and organized well.
Off the top of my head my favorite snorkeling spots are Kahaluu Beach Park (a must for extremely easy snorkeling and a lot of turtles), Captain Cook, Honaunau, and even the south side of the beach at Mauna Kea.
Some cool, not too busy beaches: waialea, kiholo, makalawena.
John, your suggestions are right on. I leave early tomorrow for the 2 week stay and will use many of the recs provided herein. Thanks to you and all.
"In victory you deserve Champagne. In defeat, you need it".
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“Remember gentlemen, it’s not just France we are fighting for, it’s Champagne!” – Winston Churchill

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Hawaii Big Island rec?

#19 Post by Tim Caudill » June 15th, 2013, 5:30 pm

I did not see when you were going to be there. I just got home, wife and kids still there. Hapuna Beach has turtles right off the beach in about 10 feet of water.

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Hawaii Big Island rec?

#20 Post by John Liotta » June 15th, 2013, 6:06 pm

Also, there are probably 40 threads about Hawaii with Big Island info in them already, including info about where people ate and drank on their trips. I know John and I have posted a few ourselves over the years.
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Hawaii Big Island rec?

#21 Post by Blake Brown » June 16th, 2013, 9:01 am

A quick report after returning from the trip albeit earlier than planned:

We ate at Merriamn`s Market Market Cafe in Waikaloa on our first night before getting settled nearby in our condo. Our condo set up was quite special. Quiet, private and classy with a large pool, walking paths and golf course views.

The condo was located within a gated community and surrounded by 2 golf courses, Waikoloa King`s and Beach courses, and for which I had special rates for as an occupant of a condo that had golf privileges. Decent golf at more than reasonable rates, $50 and $75, considerably less than normal. Reservations at Mauna Kea and Mauna Lani GCs were aborted as we left earlier than expected.

Great snorkeling at a beach called 69s by the locals and near Mauna Lani. It is a somewhat small beach perfect for setting up a day camp. Another nearby and nameless beach was great for body surfing, my style.

I had contacts at the Four Season`s which could have included golf and dinning, but did not go for it.

Due to some family logistical issues, we left early from our intended stay.

Thanks to all for your suggestions.
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“Remember gentlemen, it’s not just France we are fighting for, it’s Champagne!” – Winston Churchill

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Re: Hawaii Big Island rec?

#22 Post by SteveBrown » August 21st, 2014, 4:47 pm

Blake Brown wrote:I just received an email from a local friend and winemaker who has connections with and is strongly recommending the Four Seasons Hualalai and Beachtree restaurant and the recently opened ULU!

Anyone have first hand experience?
Thought I would update this thread by reporting that we ate at ULU earlier this week. Food, service and location were exceptional, right on the beach with a great view of the sunset. As expected it was not cheap - for 4 of us (3 drinkers) the tab was $460 pre-tip; that included bottled water, 3 glasses of Prosecco, 3 glasses of wine (1 x '11 Chateau Montelena Cab at $29...), 3 apps, 4 entrees and 3 desserts + coffee. The Kona coffee steak (very tasty) was $55, double lobster tails $48, daily catch around $35. Good variety on the wine list (you can find it online), it looked like the markup was around 2.5X-ish based on the ones I am familiar with. Overall a worthwhile and memorable splurge for us.

On the complete opposite end of the spectrum I can heartily recommend (1) Green Flash Coffee on Ali'i Drive, super smoothies, sandwiches and coffee (can be a little slow) and (2) Da Poke Shack also on Ali'i, great variety of super fresh poke (always a line).

Also, if anyone is looking for a VRBO house rental in Kona the place we stayed was perfect, well-equipped, and the owner was really flexible and accomodating: VRBO #445845
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Hawaii Big Island rec?

#23 Post by Jay $$ Winton » March 3rd, 2015, 8:36 am

We're going in a couple of weeks. Staying at a condo for 6 nights in Kailua-Kono and then at the Marriott Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa for 4 nights. Any updates on dining and activities appreciated!
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Hawaii Big Island rec?

#24 Post by Dale Bowers » March 3rd, 2015, 12:40 pm

Jay,

Was just in Waikoloa area for 3 weeks in January. Not much to add to what people have said already other than to add for dinner/music:

The Blue Dragon in Kamuela. The food is stupid good for what it costs and they have great music on Thursday-Sunday (Friday and Saturdays have the best bands IMO.)

Also, while in Kona, take a drive up the hill to Holuakoa Gardens Cafe in Holuakoa. Great outside place under a huge banyan tree with excellent food.

If you plan on cooking while in Kona and have a hankering for blood, the butcher in the Foodland in Wiamea has Prime Parker Ranch Angus and will cut to order.

The Hualalai Grille at the Four Season's is still called Alan Wong's Hualalai Grill but I don't think he has anything to do with the food other than the name. They have changed to a steak house, and while good, not worth the tariff IMO.

Both the Canoe House and Manta have gone a bit downhill and the food is spotty.

Best restaurant/food on the Island, bare none, is Merrimans. Just go, you will not regret it.

Within walking distance from the Marriott is Roy's. Predictable, but the food is still excellent IMO.
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#25 Post by Jay $$ Winton » March 4th, 2015, 7:28 am

Thanks Dale!
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#26 Post by Hunter Fuzzell » March 4th, 2015, 9:25 am

Stay one night at the Volcano House and eat in their restaurant. I had a PHENOMENAL meal there.

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#27 Post by Dale Bowers » December 25th, 2015, 10:31 am

A car is an absolute must have.

The best hiking is probably around either the Wiamea Valley or Volcano National Park/Hilo. Other than the Volcano House Hotel, there really isn't any lodging around unless you stay in Hilo.

There is no place to stay in Wiamea, but the closest resort down the hill is Mauna Kea or The Fairmont Orchard. From Wiamea, you can also easily get to the road to Mauna Kea and the observatory. While I haven't hiked around there before, have talked to others who have with positive reviews. See my post above for Food recs.
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#28 Post by Stephen Pepe » December 26th, 2015, 9:14 am

If you like coffee ask Lee & Karen Paterson of Hula Daddy Kona Coffee for a cupping. Very similar to wine tasting but with coffee. Email: huladaddy@huladaddy.com website: www.huladaddy.com . Their pea berry Kona Coffee is excellent.
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Re: Hawaii Big Island rec?

#29 Post by Danny L. » February 16th, 2019, 9:30 pm

Bumpity bump for 2019... anyone with updates or new suggestions? I’m heading out there with my family soon!
L = Lo

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Re: Hawaii Big Island rec?

#30 Post by PeterH » February 17th, 2019, 10:18 am

Even though the lava is no longer flowing, a visit to the volcano park is well worthwhile.

Rent kayaks and snorkel gear and paddle out to the Capt. Cook monument. You can't go ashore unless you hike down a long hot trail, but you can snorkel from your kayak without touching land.

Don't even think of heading up Mauna Kea unless you have a genuine off-road capable vehicle, not some punky pretend SUV.
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