After our Mexico trip was cut short recently due to weather, I was itching to get back to the beach so Alex and I decided Hawaii before Christmas was a must. Kona, Hawaii was our first stop and it was everything we wanted and so much more. Kona and the big island in general are known for their volcanoes so if you are going to Hawaii and want to see volcanoes, the big island is the island for you. We chose Kona as our first stop because we have stayed at one of the sister properties nearby and love the mix of activities and relaxation.

We booked our stay at The Westin Hapuna for 4 nights, the last time we were here we stayed at Mauna Kea Beach Hotel which is their sister property and wanted to compare the two. The nice thing about staying at The Westin is that you can use the amenities at both hotels and can be shuttled by a golf cart between the two. Instead of using the golf cart shuttle, we used our rental car from Turo instead – highly recommend.

Verdict about the hotel: The rooms at The Westin Hapuna are more up to date and have better pools but overall, we prefer Mauna Kea for the amenities. They have tennis and pickleball courts, better restaurants, a better beach setup with paddleboards, and a great beach bar!

Our Full Itinerary

Day 1:

Check in at The Westin Hapuna

Dinner at Merida at the resort

Day 2:

Breakfast & coffee at ARVO Cafe in Waimea, this was about a 20 minute drive from the resort. It’s one of our favorite spots on the island

Lunch was poolside at the resort

Dinner was delicious, we went to Tommy Bahama in Waimea

Day 3:

Breakfast & coffee at the resort

Pickleball at Mauna Kea – you can call ahead to reserve your courts

We had lunch at the Mauna Kea pool bar – you have to try the Pina Colada on the rocks with a rum float

For dinner on day 3, we went to Mauna Lani, this resort was truly so beautiful. Our dinner was remarkable and the live music was a great addition to the atmosphere.

Day 4:

Of course we had to go back for breakfast at ARVO Cafe, their coffee is so delicious and the Nutella toast is one of my favorites.

We did a lot of repeating this trip and spent another day at Mauna Kea, we spent the morning playing pickleball again and then went down to the beach to paddleboard – highly recommend.

For our final dinner in Kona, we went to Manta Restaurant at Mauna Kea. We loved this restaurant and make sure to get reservations ahead of time.

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