Kona Hotel Review – King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel

Kona Hotel Review – King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel

Below is my Kona hotel review for the Courtyard King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel by Marriott.  This hotel is a 15 minute drive from the Kona airport.  It is located in Kailua-Kona near the Kailua Pier on Kailua Bay.  I booked my reservation 3-4 months prior to arrival using Marriott Rewards points.

Courtyard King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel

75-5660 Palani Road  Kailua-Kona  Hawaii  96740  USA


Kona Hotel Review:

During June, I stayed for 2 nights at Marriott’s Courtyard King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel.  I felt like this Kona hotel had more of a busy, convention hall feel although it is located near the water.  There were quite a few Hawaii artifacts and locally made items throughout the hotel which added a nice vibe.

My hotel room was clean, beautiful and faced the street side with all the shops.  Again, it felt more like a business hotel rather than a tropical oasis but it was clean and inviting nevertheless.  Onsite, there is a gym, a pool, restaurants, complimentary wi-fi and beach or pier access.

You can also make a reservation for the luau which happens on specific nights on the beach.  Although I didn’t attend the luau, you can certainly hear and see some of the dancers from afar.  It appeared to be fully booked and fun.



Outside the hotel:

You can see the pier, boats and cruise ships in the water from the hotel and walking along the boardwalk / sidewalk along the water.  At the corner of the pier and sidewalk, people were snorkeling and swimming.  I am not sure that I would chose that spot to snorkel or swim.  The water looked a bit deep there as it’s not a sandy stretch of beach that you walk out toward the ocean.  As well, some were jet skiing and paddle boarding in the area.

From the hotel, if you walk outside, there is a lot of shopping.  Just follow the main road, Ali’I Road, and for a lengthy stretch, there is lots of shopping and restaurants along the way.  All have ocean/beach view as they are on the right side of Ali’I Road (with the sidewalk on the left side).

Shopping is mostly touristy so it’s a good place to pick up souvenirs.  As well, the hotel gift shop is really good place to find souvenirs and to get snacks.

Getting to/from:

The Courtyard King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel is 8 miles from Kona International Airport (KOA).  I used a rental car, which you can pick up at the airport, to get to this hotel.  It’s a really easy drive south on Hwy 19 with a right turn on Palani Road.  There is a parking lot with lots of spaces for self-parking.  However, there is a daily $17 USD fee to park.

There is also a Kona-Hilo public bus.  I’m including the link to it from the Marriott website.  But I didn’t use it while on the Big Island so I have no opinion to share either way.

Onsite, there is a Hertz rental car service.


For my 2 night reservation, I used Marriott Rewards points.  For this stay, 25,000 Marriott Rewards points were needed per night.  The 25K points represents point-saver award levels.  Thus, 50,000 points total for the stay.

Recommend (Y/N): Yes

I would stay here again and recommend this Kona hotel.


Courtyard by Marriott King Kamehamehea Kona Beach Resort

Kona Airport

Discover Haleakala National Park & Crater on Maui

Discover Haleakala National Park & Crater on Maui

Haleakala National Park gets its own geographic location because it is smack in the middle of Maui…literally.  This is a must-see National Park.  It’s so beautiful and unlike any other park/place in Maui (or elsewhere).  The topography resembles more of the moon or another planet than a tropical island.  The summit sits at 10,023 feet above sea level.  Driving up here is a winding road.  I have bad motion sickness so I stopped several times before getting to the top.  The “Crater” as it’s referred to, is more of a desert valley (and not an actual crater) that houses animals and plants only found in this spot and not anywhere else on earth.

Getting to Haleakala National Park

Driving from Kahului, to reach the summit at 10,023 feet, you only have to go 38 miles.  However, it is a winding road so you will most likely be driving very, very slowly.  I stopped often to manage my motion sickness and to get a breath of fresh air.  Remember, as you ascend, the air thins out and pressure increases on the lungs.  If you have breathing problems, take note, as you may be gasping for oxygen.

In addition, the air gets colder so bring a sweater or jacket.  It is recommended to bring and drink water here.  If you have scuba-dived within the last 24 hours, it’s recommended that you delay your trip to Haleakala National Park.

To enter the park, it’s a $25 fee per car (valid for 3 days).  There are some days when the entrance fee is waived.  Check the official nps.gov/hale website.

Visiting the Park

Once parked, check out the Visitor’s Center for more information on the Park and Crater.  Definitely read what’s shown there as it’s such interesting information about the geography, topography, animal and plant life.  If you are camping or hiking, you have to check in here.  There are many hiking routes at Haleakala with some overnight and some with reservation required.

Be sure to check out the silversword plant which is native to Haleakala National Park and only found here.



From the Visitor Center (elevation 9,740 feet), you can take a short trail walk out to White Hill.  From there, you will have an amazing view of the valley/crater.

The highest point on Haleakala is Puu Ulaula Overlook (elevation 10,023 feet).  You can view the valley with 360 degree perspective from a glass enclosed building.

Consider a sunrise viewing of this special place.  Reservations are required with the Recreation.gov services.



East entrance@Oheo Gulch

Haleakala National Park can also be accessed from the east only via the Road to Hana.  It’s a section of the park called Oheo Gulch in Kipahulu town.  You can use your original entrance pass here so keep your ticket.  However, I didn’t access this part of the Park so I can’t advise either way on what it’s like, what you see or what you can do.  But just know it’s an alternate entrance and area to explore.  This is at mile marker 42 on the Hana Highway.

For other articles on Maui, check out my Maui hotel review of Wailea Beach Resort and my post, Explore Maui in the Hawaiian Islands.

Explore Maui in the Hawaiian Islands

Explore Maui in the Hawaiian Islands

Maui was the first stop on my trip out to the Hawaiian Islands in June.  After hearing countless stories about how beautiful and amazing this island is, of course, I wanted to explore Maui’s different areas to experience it all.  I was not disappointed.  There is so much to do here and different parts of Maui are completely unique.  If you like water sports, hiking, nature, beautiful sunsets and natural produce, you will enjoy.  And who doesn’t, really…

To explore Maui, let me reference the different areas of the island.

Central Maui

This is the area in between/ connecting West Maui and the rest of Maui (if you picture a lopsided figure 8).

–         The Maui airport, aka OGG, is in Central Maui.  From here, rent a car to get to your final destination.

–         Kahului is the main town in Central Maui.  It’s more commercial here with brands like Costco, Target, Whole Foods, Macy’s, etc.

–          Queen Kaahumanu Center is the largest mall in Maui.  Also, it’s where the buses convene so if you are heading to West or South Maui, come here to catch the bus ($2 per ride).

West Maui

–          Lahaina is a main town in West Maui.  Here you’ll find lots of waterfront dining and shopping options.  It’s a bit touristy because everything here is geared towards tourists.  The beach is easily accessible, beautiful and cold (or refreshing, depending on your perspective).


explore maui


View of Kaanapali Beach from Whaler’s Village.

–          Kaanapali is another main town in West Maui north of Lahaina.  The beach here is very beautiful.  This is also a more upscale and expensive area of Maui.  There are a lot of resorts and hotels along the beach here.  We stopped off at a shopping/dining complex called Whaler’s Village for lunch.  It is beachfront and you can dine with an ocean view.  It’s a bit pricey but there is a range of options for both dining and shopping.  You can swim in the ocean or lounge on the beach.  Ka’anapali Beach makes it onto Best Beaches in the World almost every year.  I can see why.  It’s beautiful (and busy and cold) with the mountains in the distance.

–          Driving along Hwy 30, there are fruit stands and local markets to stop off at and buy locally grown produce.


explore maui


In between West & South Maui, there is Maalaea town.  For me, this was an overlook stop out to the ocean.  From here, you can spot humpback whales.  It’s a beautiful view.  Not much else to do there.  If you are driving from South Maui to West Maui, before you get to Maalaea, you will see the Maui Ocean Center on your right.  It’s pricey at $28 per person.  You probably get more intro to sea life by snorkeling on the reefs.

South Maui Shore


explore maui


–          Wailea is the main town in South Maui.  This is where I stayed at the Waimea Resort by Marriott.  The beaches are absolutely beautiful here and in my opinion, warmer than the beach in Kaanapali or Lahaina.  There is a paved beach path that you can access to walk or jog along the beachfront.  Access the path from most Wailea resort beachfronts and also Polo beach (South of Wailea beach).

Haleakala National Park

This one deserves it’s own post, Discover Haleakala National Park & Crater on Maui.

Explore Maui’s ‘Upcountry’

This is the area north and west of Haleakala Crater; also south of Kahului town/Central Maui.

This area of Maui has a lot of farms, ranches and agriculture.  Most of Maui’s produce comes from this region.  I recommend a drive through this area and moreover a stop or tour at one of the farms or ranches.  To get to this area may take a bit of time as there isn’t a direct east/west highway.  You’ll have to go up to Kahului town (Central) and drive south on Haleakala Hwy.  Branch off onto Kula Highway towards Kula.  I recommend combining Haleakala National Park with a trip/tour of a farm in Upcountry region.  They are both in the same area and you’ll save time from not having to drive back and forth.

The Kula Highway is a very scenic drive with overlook of Central Maui, the water and the West Maui Mountains.  It’s very misty but beautiful.  The roads are also winding and bumpy here.

A Farm Tour


explore maui


One of the farms I visited was the Alii Lavender Farm.  I looooove lavender so I had to stop here.  It’s a lovely farm filled with lavender plants.  The smell is heaven.  You can also purchase lavender plants to take back home.   There is a gift shop that sells lavender items.  I found most of these items to be very overpriced.  As well, you can get a lavender tea, lavender honey and lavender scone (all made with real lavender) to munch on.  I did and it was also yummy.  It’s about $3 per person to enter or $12 pp for a walking tour of the farm.  I didn’t do the walking tour because the farm is very walkable by yourself.  I think the guides may tell you more about the plants, gardening, etc but I thought that price was steep so I opted to just roam and enjoy.

A few things to note: The lavender farm is large and there are slopes. My trip was in June which is when a lot of the lavender plants are in bloom.  If you are here in the winter or fall months however, you may not see the blooms in their full glory.  During that time, it may be more worthwhile to visit another farm or ranch where the produce or plants are in bloom or season.


Unfortunately, I didn’t have additional time to explore Maui’s North and East shores.  My references below are from research and peer recommendations.

North Shore


explore maui

Photo of Paia, Hana Hwy/North Shore by Luca Bravo

–          Paia is the main town in North Shore.  This is a town known for surf shops and surf viewing.  Check out Hookipa Beach for surfers, windsurfers and kiteboarders putting on a show.

–          -Road to Hana (Route 36) starts in Paia and traverses 55 miles to the east.  It’s a winding road all the way east and around Maui’s east coast.  I didn’t take this road (because I was weathered from the winding roads of Haleakala and Upcountry) but I’ve heard the views are lovely.  In the summer months, there will be a lot of traffic on this highway so leave enough time to complete this activity.

–          Waianapanapa State Park:  Explore Maui’s only black sand beach

East Maui

–          Kipahulu is the main town in East Maui.

–          The two main attractions are Charles Lindberg grave and Oheo Gulch.  OG is part of Haleakala National Park and includes a series of cascading streams/waterfalls.  You can also hike up Waimoku Falls (2 miles).


The best way to explore Maui is really to relax and enjoy the views & the vibe.  Take a drive along the coast, visit the crater or enjoy the beach.

For more Maui articles, check out my hotel review of Marriott’s Wailea Beach Resort and my post on Haleakala National Park.

Feature photo of surfer on Maui beach by HHach on Pixaby.


Kaanapali - West Maui

Lahaina - West Maui


Paia Town

Haleakala National Park & Crater



Oheo Gulch

Lavender Farm


Maui Hotel Review – Wailea Beach Resort

Maui Hotel Review – Wailea Beach Resort

Below is my Maui hotel review for the Wailea Beach Resort by Marriott.  This Maui hotel is located in the south of Maui and is beachfront on two beaches, Wailea and Ulua.  The property is immaculate, expansive and stunning.  Every view is beautiful and it’s very tranquil and calming.  I booked my reservation 3-4 months prior to arrival using Marriott Rewards points.

For more Maui info, check out my posts: Explore Maui in the Hawaiian Islands and Discover Haleakala National Park & Crater.


Wailea Beach Resort – Maui Hotel Review

3700 Wailea Alanui Drive Wailea, HI 96753, USA



Maui Hotel Review:

My 2 night stay at Marriott Wailea Beach Resort was during the month of June.  Upon arrival, you are welcomed by beautiful and large trees, a welcome drink and a gorgeous view of the ocean.

My hotel room was clean, beautiful and had a partial view of the ocean.  The floors were tiled which helped to keep it cool.  Onsite, there is a gym, multiple pools (including an infinity pool), restaurants and complimentary wi-fi.

This beach resort has expansive grounds where you can lounge out on the grounds by reserving or selecting a cabana or lounge chair.  It’s a short walk down to the beach which is also beautiful.  I can see why so many weddings take place at this resort.  The landscaping, scenery and views from all angles are stunning.

One thing I do recommend is watching the sunset (or sunrise) from the grounds or beach.  Bright orange, pink, purple and breathtaking.  The picture above really doesn’t do it justice.

Nearby is shopping, restaurants and retail at The Shops of Wailea.  Although beautiful, I found it to be very overpriced.  Therefore, if you’re on a budget or just don’t want to waste money, I would drive by/through but keep going.

Getting to/from:

Marriott Wailea Beach Resort is a 15 miles from Kahului Maui Airport (OGG).  I used a rental car, which you can pick up at the airport, to get to this Maui hotel.  It’s a really easy, relaxing drive.  Once you arrive at the hotel, there is ample parking.  However, the hotel charges a daily $25 USD fee to park.  I really disliked having to pay for parking at all the hotels I stayed at in Hawaii especially when there isn’t an alternative choice.  I mean, where else are you going to put your rental car?

Also, an alternate choice is the Maui public bus.  I’m including the link to it from the Marriott website.  But I didn’t use it while in Maui so I have no opinion to share either way.

In addition, onsite at the Marriott Wailea Beach Resort there is an Enterprise rental car service.


maui hotel trees



For my 2 night reservation, I used Marriott Rewards points.  For this stay, 35,000 Marriott Rewards points were needed per night.  The 35K points represents point-saver award levels as this hotel recently went through a refresh/refurbish.  Thus, 70,000 points total for the stay.

I was charged only for parking but not sure if this hotel now charges a “resort” fee on top of the room rate.  When I used Marriott Rewards points, there wasn’t a “resort” fee added to the tab.


Recommend (Y/N): Yes

I would stay here again and recommend this hotel.