The aptly named Hawaiian paradise is the largest of the eight major islands and is one of the most beautiful and diverse. It’s filled with a fascinating dramatic terrain, lush emerald cliffs, volcanic mountains, mist-shrouded valleys, striking lava desert, rolling pastureland and a variety of colored sandy beaches and miles of highways making it very easy to explore.
Vacationers come here to relax and gaze at the extraordinary scenery but it’s also a hub for nature and outdoor lovers too. Now found yourself some to stay equally as incredible, from intimate boutique inns to grand modern resorts, here are the best cool and unusual hotels on the Big Island, Hawaii…
Outrigger Kona Resort and Spa
The Outrigger Kona Resort and Spa offers a glorious setting situated on the lava-rock cliffs overlooking the stunning Keauhou Bay.
This oasis of traditional Hawaiian luxury is one of the best accommodations to revel in the scenic splendors of the Kona coast and the Pacific Ocean.
Housed in a glorious 22-acre property, the Outrigger is home to indulgently lavish guest rooms and suites with splendid views of the oceanfront and mountains. Guests wake up to a picture-perfect view of the shoreline and Keauhou Bay cliffs from the spacious balconies.
Guests who reserve the exclusive Club Rooms enjoy access to the hotel’s Voyager 47 Club Lounge.
Situated on the lava-rock cliffs
Exclusive Voyager 47 Club Lounge
Limited dining options
A bit pricey spa services
Low water pressure in showers
Four Seasons Resort Hualalai
The Four Seasons Resort Hualalai is Big Island’s only AAA Five-Diamond resort and the sole recipient of the Forbes Five-Star rating.
Nestled against a mesmerizing backdrop of gleaming white sandy beaches, this sprawling resort is home to 249 guest rooms, seven luxury pools, and an award-winning golf course.
Travelers can explore a wide range of accommodations, including ocean view rooms, private presidential-style villas, and private oceanfront accommodations with indoor and outdoor dining spaces.
The Four Seasons features 5 dining facilities, including Big Island’s top-rated restaurant, ‘ULU Ocean Grill + Sushi Lounge.
Guests can also enjoy a world-class spa and salon, seven state-of-the-art tennis courts, and an Ocean Adventures team.
Forbes Five-Star rated
Private presidential-style villas
Five dining facilities
Top-Rated ULU Ocean Grill + Sushi Lounge
A bit expensive
Limited accommodation options
Crowded in events
Mauna Lani, Auberge Resorts Collection
Voted the #1 resort in Hawaii by Travel + Leisure 2022, the Mauna Lani is a heavenly abode nestled in the center of five magnificent mountains along the stunning Kohala Coast.
This luxury resort was erected on lands that once housed the Hawaiian royalty. Today, it serves an authentic Hawaiian experience to travelers eager to explore the mountainside splendors of the wilderness.
Travelers can choose from an extensive array of sumptuously decorated guest rooms, sprawling suites, luxury residences, and private estates. The variety of accommodations allows guests to find the perfect setting for their dreamy Hawaiian vacation.
The hotel’s onsite restaurant, CanoeHouse, offers an idyllic setting to feast on traditional Hawaiian flavors and Island produce.
Voted the #1 resort in Hawaii
Onsite CanoeHouse restaurant
No coffee machine in the room
A soulful nirvana for serenity seekers, the Holualoa Inn is a magical 30-acre wonderland that will position you in the heart of Kona’s coffee farms.
Set against the stunning backdrop of Mount Hualalai, this relaxing inn offers a romantic setting to fall in love with Mother Nature’s innumerable splendors.
The boutique Inn offers four beautifully decorated guest rooms, two luxury suites, and two private units: the Red Barn and the charming Darrell Hill Cottage.
Each accommodation is elegantly appointed with luxurious bedding, authentic artwork, modern amenities, spacious bathrooms, and finely crafted furniture.
The open-air floor plan of the venue is masterful, and everywhere one turns, there’s a secretive little nook, private balcony or cozy gazebo to relax and admire the landscape.
Panoramic view of Kona Coast
Centered in Kona’s coffee farms
Red Barn and Darrell Hill Cottage (Private suites)
The pool is not heated
Limited beverage options
The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort
The perfect venue to enjoy the scenic splendors of the white sandy Hapuna Beach, the Westin Hapuna Beach Resorts combines contemporary architecture with the endless charm of an oceanside location.
The resort is home to verdant, beautifully manicured gardens, 249 premium guest rooms and 17 luxury suites, a world-class spa, and a state-of-the-art fitness studio.
Business travelers and digital nomads find the resort ideal due to its several meeting rooms, complimentary WiFi, and modern amenities.
The resort also houses an award-winning 18-hole golf course and a magnificent 6,800-square-feet freeform pool. The onsite dining establishments whip up flavorful Hawaiian delicacies with a delightful tropical setting to enjoy the feast.
Beautifully manicured gardens
18-hole golf course
Six 800-square-feet freeform pool
Hard bed and pillow
Limited breakfast buffet
Volcano Eco Retreat by Heart Core Hotels
An adult-only retreat that combines forest therapy with sustainable hospitality to deliver a luxurious experience, the Volcano Eco Retreat is the ultimate base for wilderness lovers and adventurers.
Situated adjacent to 4 acres of native Hawaiian ʻōhiʻa tree forest, the Volcano Retreat is a tropical paradise with unique eco-friendly architecture.
The structures have been constructed with LEED-certified materials to create a Polynesian-inspired setting using bamboo. The eco-friendly and sustainable architecture of the retreat aims to minimize its carbon footprint and damaging impact on the environment.
Guests at this cool Big Island hotel enjoy an ideal location in the midst of the Volcano National Park and Hilo, and the sprawling guest rooms offer splendid views of the magical scenery.
Adjacent to ʻōhiʻa tree forest
Constructed with LEED-certified materials
Polynesian-inspired bamboo setting
Limited restaurants in the vicinity
Wyndham Royal Sea Cliff Resort
The Wyndham Royal Sea Cliff Resort offers premium accommodation and a convenient location to indulge in rip-roaring island adventures and enjoy the scenery of Kailua-Kona.
Nestled adjacent to the ancient sanctuary of Pu’uhonua o Hōnaunau, this world-class resort embodies the tranquility and serenity of the sanctuary with its soothing interiors.
This oceanfront resort allows guests to explore an array of 1-2 bedroom suites decked with modern amenities, including free WiFi, fine bedding, and state-of-the-art appliances.
Hotel guests enjoy an entertaining game room, tennis court, outdoor swimming pool and hot tub, and a lovely picnic area to enjoy the stunning scenery.
Adjacent to Pu’uhonua o Hōnaunau
Special games room
Outdoor pool and hot tub
No beach within walking distance
Housekeeping only upon request
Some rooms are small
Frank Lloyd Wright Home by South Kohala Management
Hawaii’s only Frank Lloyd Wright Home, this spectacular accommodation offers a family-friendly setting for an unforgettable vacation on the Kohala Coast.
Sprawling over 3-acres of lush beauty, this architectural gem is nestled between the lovely town of Waimea and the picturesque Kohala Coast.
The home offers 3 beautifully designed bedrooms, 3 luxury bathrooms, a living room with a rustic fireplace, and an outdoor lava rock hot tub with splendid views of the mountains.
The bedrooms boast delightful views of the surrounding scenery, while the master suite is an absolute delight with a walk-in wardrobe and a private balcony.
The accommodation comes with a fourth bedroom that can be used as an office and a lovely grass yard to start your mornings with yoga.
3-acres of architectural beauty
Walk-in wardrobe in suites
Outdoor lava rock hot tub
No fitness center
Orchid Tree B&B
A whimsical bread and breakfast nestled on the picturesque Alae Point, the Orchid Tree is a one-of-its-kind venue offering a spectacular lodging experience.
Travelers looking for an intimate and indulgent setting will feel endlessly spoiled by the opulence and comforts of this classic B&B.
Guests enjoy the splendors of a sprawling 600-square-feet suite equipped with modern amenities and private access to the hotel’s luxury swimming pool and Jacuzzi. Travelers can also enjoy the private hot tub and pool or delight themselves with BBQ using the charcoal grill.
Orchid Tree is tucked within walking distance from the hustling and bustling quarters of downtown Hilo.
Private pool and jacuzzi
600-square feet suite
Close to downtown
No onsite dining
Castle Hilo Hawaiian Hotel
One of the best luxury hotels to revel in the natural splendors of Hilo, Castle Hilo offers a majestic setting overlooking Mauna Kea, the verdant Hamakua coastline, and the Pacific Ocean.
The natural beauty of the site is accentuated by the authentic Hawaiian charm and modern interiors of the hotel, perfect for a comfortably luxurious vacation.
Travelers can choose their accommodation from an array of Standard, Superior, and Deluxe rooms or opt for one of the spacious and elegant suites boasting magical ocean views.
Castle Hilo offers an ideal location to enjoy the best of local splendors, including over 25 cascading waterfalls, hidden sea caves, and spectacular surf sites.
Lots of leisure activities including golf
Panoramic ocean views
Proximity to volcanoes
Proximal to 25 waterfalls
Limited on-site dining options
Crowded area in events
A bit expensive
Peaceful Kehena Beach Treehouse Villa w/ Star Deck
Tucked at an 8-minute stroll from the stunning Kehena Beach, this idyllic treehouse villa offers a whimsical setting for a lavish romantic getaway.
This vacation rental features 3 spacious bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a lounging area, a state-of-the-art kitchen, and a dining area.
The interiors have an infectious comfort-chic aesthetic, using functional and comfortable pieces to create an indulgent relaxing setting.
Guests also enjoy a private garden, a sprawling patio, and a bar, making the villa perfect for hosting local guests and enjoying home-like comforts.
This beachfront villa offers proximity to multiple scenic attractions, including the Lava Tree State Park and Lava Tree State Monument.
Kitchen inside suites
The beds are too soft
No on-site restaurant
Marriott's Waikoloa Ocean Club
Nestled amid a magnificent landscape dominated by lush greenery, white sandy beaches, and rugged volcanoes, Marriott’s Waikoloa Ocean Club boasts a stunning location with world-class comforts and modern luxuries.
Travelers can explore 1-2 bedroom suites, vibrantly decorated to pay homage to Big Island’s cultural and natural beauty, with thoughtful, modern upgrades. The suites come with dining areas, lounging spaces, private kitchenettes, and state-of-the-art appliances.
The resort amenities are strikingly impressive, including sparkling pools, guided tours, and access to a stunning stretch of the Anaeho’omalu Bay beach. This lavish beachfront resort is a stone’s throw away from the vibrant Waikoloa Village, local dining establishments, and sprawling golf courses.
Two swimming pools
Onsite Spa and Wellness
Golf courses nearby
Expensive compared to others
Limited on-site dining options
Not all rooms have a microwave
SCP Hilo Hotel
Popular for delivering an authentic and heartfelt Hawaiian experience, the SCP Hilo revives the spirit of Aloha with modern, minimalist aplomb.
The sprawling guest rooms have been designed to create a relaxing setting with minimalist interiors and mindful amenities. The hotel’s architecture and interiors have been constructed using sustainable and locally-sourced materials, and the ambiance is warm and welcoming.
The SCP Hilo is nestled near some of Big Island’s most adventurous destinations, including the Liliʻuokalani Park, the Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, Rainbow Falls, and Mount Mauna Kea.
Proximal to adventurous sites
Sustainable materials used within
Some rooms are small
A bit noisy
The Inn at Kulaniapia Falls
Sprawling 22 acres of verdant natural beauty overlooking Hawaii’s largest, most breathtaking waterfall, the Inn at Kulaniapia offers a magical setting to lose oneself in the wilderness.
This warm and idyllic inn offers an authentic Kulaniapia experience with its ideal location, comfortable accommodations, and rip-roaring guided adventures.
The Inn is home to multiple Asian-inspired structures offering premium accommodations, ranging from standard rooms to lavish abodes with stunning views of the Kulaniapia Falls.
Guests can also explore intimate cottages with private entrances and a lovely Pagoda house with a fully-functional kitchen.
Adventurers wouldn’t want to miss the hotel’s guided 120-foot rappel escapade to reach the Kulaniapia Falls in the most incredible way imaginable.
Multiple Asian-inspired structures
120-foot rappel escapade
No coffee machine in the room
Extra charge for breakfast
Kohala Lodge- Vacation Rental House
The ultimate accommodation to live, work and play while adventuring in the magnificent wilderness of North Kohala, the Kohala Lodge offers a one-of-a-kind experience.
The idyllic cabin is a fine specimen of exquisite timber craftsmanship dripping with old-world charm, set against a mesmerizing backdrop of heartbreaking ocean views.
This cabin attracts digital nomads and professionals by offering tech-savvy amenities, including reliable WiFi, cable TV, and elegant furniture.
The kitchen is a rustic paradise with a Monarch wood stove, perfect for culinary enthusiasts eager to get creative with locally farmed produce.
The ranch-inspired aesthetic of the cabin is dominated by rustic chic accents, like the lava rock fireplace and the vintage appeal of the master bedroom.
Monarch wood stove in the kitchen
Lava rock fireplace
No spa onsite
No safe in the room
Top-rated Quirky and Unique Hotels in Big Island Compared
The following table rates the Top 15 Cool and Unusual Hotels in Big Island.
|Hotel Name||Location||Price Range (per night)||Fitness Facilities||Distance to Attractions (km)||Nearby Restaurants|
|Outrigger Kona Resort and Spa||78-128 Ehukai Street||$382-$1121||Yes||10.0||3|
|Four Seasons Resort Hualalai||72-100 Ka`upulehu Drive||$12110-$4030||Yes||5.7||3|
|Mauna Lani, Auberge Resorts Collection||68-1400 Mauna Lani Drive||$790-$3279||No||2.6||3|
|Holualoa Inn||76-5932 Mamalahoa Highway||$1345-$1752||No||14.0||2|
|The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort||62-100 Kaunaoa Drive||$599-$929||Yes||12.0||3|
|Volcano Eco Retreat by Heart Core Hotels||11-2888 Hibiscus Street||$828||No||6.5||2|
|Wyndham Royal Sea Cliff Resort||75-5852 Alii Drive||$389-$858||Yes||17.0||3|
|Frank Lloyd Wright Home by South Kohala Management||65-1210 Lindsey Road||$328-$413||No||1.1||2|
|Orchid Tree B&B||6 Makakai Place||$218||No||8.0||3|
|Castle Hilo Hawaiian Hotel||71 Banyan Drive||$170-$294||Yes||7.0||2|
|Peaceful Kehena Beach Treehouse Villa w/ Star Deck||12-7207 Mauka Nui Street||$2701-$2813||No||3.9||2|
|Marriott's Waikoloa Ocean Club||69-275 Waikoloa Beach Drive||$519-$649||Yes||1.8||3|
|SCP Hilo Hotel||126 Banyan Drive||$211-$269||Yes||8.0||3|
|The Inn at Kulaniapia Falls||100 Kulaniapia Drive||$309-$850||No||7.0||3|
|Kohala Lodge||56-867 Kamalei Place||$847||No||3.6||1|
Gaby Maia – writer and photographer
Born and raised in Brazil, Gaby has always had a taste for the intriguing, the off-beat and the far flung. After traveling around most of South America, living in Spain and Italy and then moving to England, her feet have stayed continually twitchy. Studying for a degree in Spanish translation and then learning five more languages only poured more fuel onto her traveling ardor. Gaby likes nothing better than discovering new destinations in her spare time and meeting the locals, tasting the cuisine and then writing about her favourite places. Her other indulgences include French cinema, boxing, photography, colourful manicures and soaking up the rays on a sun-infused beach. The places she loves the most include Rio de Janeiro, Rome, Turkey, Barcelona, Lisbon and Cornwall. Find Gaby on Linkedin or Twitter.