Hawaii’s Big Island

The active volcano Kilauea has been providing Hawaii’s Big Island with a fair amount of press lately. Kilauea has been spewing molten lava onto sea and land for 25 years. In March, however, the island saw a mile-high plume of gas and steam erupting from a vent inside the Halemaumau crater wall. This was followed by a gas explosion in the crater wall that catapulted several huge rocks over the top of the rim, marking the first explosive eruption at the volcano’s summit since 1924.

four seasons resort hualalai hawaii

A Deluxe One Bedroom at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, Hawaii

Most visitors to the Big Island consider the volcano a must-see attraction. Travelers can witness the lava flow for themselves at the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park’s viewing area, which is a few hundred feet from the action. The viewing area changes daily because it’s dependent on the flow of lava.

There are several operators offering a variety of ways to view the lava flow. You can get a bird’s-eye view of the action via a helicopter tour. Blue Hawaiian operates helicopter flights that provide a tour of the crater and coast.

Vavoom Volcano Tours has a full-day hiking tour of Kilauea volcano’s crater attractions at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park ($147), and a new “Summit to the Sea” program ($179), which includes a trek to see lava as it enters the sea near Kalapana.

Bikevolcano.com has a new guided bicycle adventure to observe Kilauea’s flow where it enters the ocean. The tour has ocean views along the route and includes dinner in Kalapana. The company’s Kilauea Volcano Active Lava Flow Adventure—“Bike to Pele”—includes all equipment and is priced at $135.

Earlier this year, Lava Ocean Adventures introduced a dinner cruise on Hilo Bay on the Big Island. The intimate cruise is limited to four tables per trip (up to 16 people). The cruise costs $99 per person; a table of four is $349. On clear evenings, diners will catch a glimpse of the red lava glowing from Kilauea’s current eruptions.

hawaii volcano

Lava cools into rock as it reaches the sea, expanding Hawaii's borders

Where to Stay
The Four Seasons Resort Hualalai is on the Kona-Kohala Coast of the Big Island of Hawaii. This summer the resort is offering a special seventh night free offer through August 23, with room rates beginning at $775.

The Four Seasons Resort Hualalai consists of 36 bungalow-style buildings arranged in crescent shapes, with four crescents along the shore, and one crescent behind the green of the 18th hole (these rooms still afford ocean views). Rooms on the second level offer superior ocean views, while rooms on the lower level offer outdoor lava rock showers.

Ocean Front accommodations have the best views, and Deluxe Ocean Suites book quickly. The resort’s three Ocean Front Deluxe Suites are right on the beach, and are in one-story bungalows. The Deluxe Ocean View suite is also in a one-story bungalow next to a Hawaiian fishpond. Large families might want to opt for the Presidential Villa, which is a three-bedroom, stand-alone villa, or any of the resort’s one- or two-bedroom Deluxe Suites.

The resort has four restaurants, the most famous of which is the oceanfront, open-air Pahuia Pahuia. For advance reservations, call the resort at 808-325-8000 or e-mail [email protected].

The Hualalai Sports Club & Spa has nine outdoor massage hale (huts), including one for couples, and seven indoor massage rooms. Agents can book spa treatments for their guests up to two months in advance by contacting the resort’s spa director, Thad Calciolari ([email protected], 808-325-8400).

There are two travel agent liaisons at the resort: Sales Managers Gloria Krier ([email protected], 808-325-8005) and Leighton Kitagawa ([email protected], 310-286-7545).

Hilton Waikoloa Village room

Guest room with a view at Hilton Waikoloa Village

Hilton Waikoloa Village is within the Waikoloa Beach Resort area on the southern Kohala Coast, 18 miles from the Kona International Airport. The resort has 36 holes of championship golf, tennis, an adults-only ocean pool, the Kona Pool featuring a 175-foot water slide, a seaside putting course and the 25,000-square-foot Kohala Sports Club & Spa.

Ocean View Rooms in each of the three towers (Lagoon, Palace and Ocean) offer views of the Pacific. The resort’s Garden/Golf/Mountain view rooms have views of Mauna Kea, Hualalai and Mauna Loa Volcanoes. The resort’s Lagoon Tower offers Cabana Rooms, which are on the first level with walk-out lanais that take guests directly to the Kona Pool. Large families traveling together have the option of the Two-Bedroom Bay Suite, Two-Bedroom Royal Suite, or one of the resort’s five Presidential Suites (Duke Kahanamoku #7099, Iolani #5251, King Kalakaua #6251, Monarchy #7251 and Waiulua #6315), each of which is approximately six times the size of a standard room (more than 3,000 square feet) with two bedrooms, and two and one-half bathrooms. Suites offer living and dining areas, kitchenette, sauna, bedroom and dressing areas, as well as spacious lanais and spectacular ocean views.

The resort’s Kohala Sports Club & Spa has 24 single massage rooms; three couples’ massage rooms, one Seaside Cabana for al fresco massage and four facial rooms. The Seaside Cabana Massage is very popular, so book ahead. The resort encourages guests to book treatments at least two days in advance by contacting the spa director, Crystal Poe-Cababat ([email protected], 808-886-1234 ext. 2829).

Agent questions can be directed to Teresa Cosgrove, leisure sales manager ([email protected], 808-886-2861).

Aloha Place is a four-room bed-and-breakfast property in the heart of Volcano Village, about one mile from the entrance to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Rates range from $140-$160 and include a full continental breakfast, free high-speed Internet and free parking.

The Birds of Paradise Room is actually a suite with a king bed in the master bedroom and two sets of bunk beds in the adjoining room with an additional teak crib for an infant. It can accommodate six guests. The Honu Room on the second floor has views of the rainforest and a unique decor of numerous honu, or turtles. The Lei Room has a queen bed and a twin bed, as well as an enclosed lanai. The Aloha Room is the smallest and least expensive room and is a good recommendation for those who will be spending most of their time out and about the island.

A continental breakfast is the only meal offered at Aloha Place, although there are six restaurants nearby. The general manager at Aloha Place is Joan Prescott-Lighter ([email protected]), and agents are encouraged to reach out to her with requests or questions.

“I have lived here for almost 20 years and have experience on both sides of the island,” she says. “Just ask away at what you might want to do—or if you don’t know what to do—and I can fill in the blanks.”

While You Are Here: 

Check out Hilton Waikoloa Village's Bed & Breakfast deal or get a Seventh Night Free at the Four Seasons Resort Hualali.

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