The Hawaiian Islands have long been a top choice among honeymooners and couples seeking sanctuary — not simply because it's one flight from California, but because it brings a certain magic, from the romance of pristine beaches and lush nature retreats to Hawaii hotels offering high-end cuisine and heavenly spas for top-notch pampering.
Hawaii is a tropical destination where couples will have so many things to do, including golf, water sports, tennis, paddle boarding — even manta encounters.
Ko’a Kea Hotel & Resort at Poipu Beach, Kauai
The lava rock hot tub at Ko'a Kea Hotel & Resort is the perfect spot to steal away.
With just 121 rooms, Ko'a Kea Hotel & Resort on Kauai caters to couples that seek a boutique hotel experience on the Garden Isle. Koa Kea is known for having one of the better beachfront locations on the island — granted, photos of the property show the lava rock border between the resort and the ocean, but just to the right is a long stretch of golden sand.
Onsite, a watersports operator offers surf lessons, outrigger paddling, and stand-up paddleboarding. We love Ko'a Kea for the sanctuary-feel of the property, as well as the pampering, including offering 24-hour room service, poolside drink service, and couples massages in a beachside cabana.
Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Big Island
Choose Mauna Kea Beach Hotel for its prime location on one of the best beaches on Hawaii's Big Island — also for the sprawling manicured gardens and lawns, and spacious, upscale rooms that cost considerably less than the competition.
Couples will appreciate a vast array of activities offered onsite, from tennis and golf, to paddle boarding and sailing — plus a moonlight snorkeling experience with manta rays happening right at the hotel.
The Kahala Hotel and Resort, Oahu
The Kahala Hotel and Resort in Honolulu sits 10 minutes from Waikiki on a quieter stretch of oceanfront, right on the golden sands of Kahala Beach.
This property knows how to pamper honeymooners (including Liz Taylor and Richard Burton back in the day) with a host of romantic offerings, from private dining beachside and in-room to the 3½-hour romance spa package for couples, with body scrubs and massages.
We love that the hotel includes fun complimentary extras, including a 45-minute photo portrait session, as well as surf lessons and paddleboarding clinics.
Travaasa Hana, Maui
For tranquility and inspiring views, there is no more magical setting than Travaasa Hana. Set in the remote town of Hana on the eastern tip of Maui, this expansive property is surrounded by lush mountains and waterfalls.
70 rooms are spread out on the property, allowing guests to bask in their own, private experience. Plus, all have ocean views. What's missing are radios, clocks, and televisions, helping guests get in sync with a more natural experience.
Plus, the resort offers an all-inclusive option, letting you wander and enjoy without worrying about wallets and tabs. The only downside is that the resort sits on a rocky coastline, but shuttles run all day to a sandy, swimmable beach 15 minutes away.
Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa, Kauai
Kauai's biggest resort, and one of the best Hawaii resorts for couples, the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa offers a huge range of amenities, starting with nine bars and restaurants, plus one of the island's best beachfront locations on the golden sands of Poipu.
Couples can choose to indulge in private cabanas available for rent on the beach, retreat to the adults-only pool, and partake in private beachside dining. At the hotel's Tide Pools restaurant, guests relax in overwater huts perched atop a koi pond while savoring Asian-inspired seafood dishes.
Classic Hawaii at its finest, the Halekulani holds the distinction of more than 100 years at the same prime location on Waikiki Beach.
The pool, overlooking the beach, has an old-Hollywood appeal in its simple elegant design. All rooms have a lanai, and the Oceanfront and Diamondhead Oceanfront room categories allow couples to enjoy ocean views from the soaking tub.
Also, Halekulani is one of the best Hawaii resorts for couples because the property places an emphasis on service, offering the highest staff-to-guest ratio of any property in Hawaii.
Hotel Wailea, Maui
Hotel Wailea sets the bar high: This private mid-island enclave with just 72 one-bedrooms suites set on 15 acres excels at crafting a private, luxurious experience.
Each villa offers guests 720 square feet of space, plus one wall that opens to your private lanai. Several include private plunge pools.
Hotel Wailea is one of the best Hawaii hotels for couples thanks to its dining options. The Restaurant easily wins as the island's most romantic dinner option, with tables nestled in private nooks surrounded by hedges and other greenery. We also love that a waterfall flows throughout the property, and that no guests under 16 are allowed.
Mauna Lani, Auberge Resorts Collection, Big Island
As of November 2019, a $100-million investment into the Mauna Lani breathes new life into this high-end property set on grounds that were formerly a holiday retreat for Hawaiian royalty.
Find this sanctuary, 25 minutes from the Kona airport, on 3 miles of beach on the Kohala Coast, which, thanks to Hawaii's many microclimates, sees just 9 inches of rain per year — great news for destination brides, and those who simply prefer sun when on holiday.
Choose from the 333 rooms, or book one of the five villas, each of which features a private swimming pool.
The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, Maui
The outpost posh escape that is The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua is an hour's drive from Maui's airport — but remote does not mean sacrifice. Hardly.
This 54-acre property delivers championship golf and six restaurants, plus a sweeping list of watersports including outrigger paddling.
We love their Waihua Spa, rated one of the top three on Maui, for its traditional Hawaiian-inspired treatments, plenty of cabanas for couples massages, and for the hot tub inside a lava-rock grotto.
Four Seasons Resort Lanai
The secluded oceanfront, clifftop Four Seasons Resort Lanai takes full advantage of this natural island, limited to 3,000 residents and reachable via flight or ferry from Maui.
Most of the resort's 217 rooms overlook the ocean, and onsite restaurants, including One Forty American Steak, are open-air, allowing couples to fully soak in the views. The entire site was rebuilt in 2016 and now features a more modern, natural look, with French doors, wood floors, and Polynesian art, all for a more luxurious experience.
Lanai, the least populated of the Hawaiian Islands that offer hotels, isn't known for a wealth of bars and nightlife, but it isn't without options. Larry Ellison, co-founder of Oracle software, owns the resort as well as most of the island, and helped usher in the famous sushi restaurant Nobu. Moreover, the resort arranges a diversity of experiences, including horseback riding, onsite Jeep rentals, private dining, and couples massages.
Most Romantic Hotels on Hawaii's Big Island
The Big Island might not be the first Hawaiian Island that springs to mind when it comes to romance, but you'd be mistaken to dismiss this multi-dimensional destination when planning a getaway for two. That's because this island lives up to its name.
Not only is it big on adventure, but as the home of some of Hawaii’s most indulgent resorts, it’s also big on luxury. Better still, if your budget’s more limited, you can find sexy seclusion, too. Check out our 10 picks for the most romantic hotels on the Big Island.
The aroma of freshly brewed Kona coffee isn't the only thing that will set your hearts racing at the Holualoa Inn, a six-room bed & breakfast set on a 30-acre estate on the slopes Mt. Hualalai near Kona. At an elevation of 1,400 feet, the inn is surrounded by 4,100 coffee trees and tropical fruit trees and its mosaic-tiled pool and hot tub offer panoramic views of the rugged Kona coastline.
Its interiors feature original eucalyptus floors and décor that embraces the spirit of Old Hawaii. In the four rooms and two suites, couples are surrounded by local artwork, beautiful Hawaiian textiles, and delicate orchids. A highlight each morning is breakfast, which features farm-to-table fruits and vegetables and estate-brewed coffee.
Mauna Kea Beach Hotel
A great spot to start married life together is a property that has stood the test of time: The Big Island's first resort, Mauna Kea Beach Hotel. The 252-room hotel, which dates to 1965 and was developed by conservationist Laurance S. Rockefeller, is located on Kauna'oa Bay and can rightfully boast about having one of the finest crescent beaches on the Kohala Coast. Mauna Kea is now part of the Autograph Collection, and recent renovations to its 252 spacious rooms and suites (many of which have stellar ocean views) have created a sleeker, more contemporary ambiance.
The resort also houses Rockefeller’s art collection, comprised of hundreds of museum-caliber pieces, and offers challenging fairways and greens on its Mauna Kea Golf Course (also the island’s first). Other activities include tennis, watersports, snorkeling, yoga and even bocce ball. Couples can indulge in romantic private dining in tiki-torch-lit locales around the resort or get in the Hawaiian spirit during the on-property luau. Additional restaurants include Manta for Pacific Rim cuisine and the Copper Bar for creative tapas, locally sourced entrees, and craft cocktails.
The Fairmont Orchid
This is the place to connect with nature and allow stress to float off into the gentle Hawaiian breeze at the Spa Without Walls, where an al fresco (but totally private) couple's massage with ingredients sourced on the island is the romantic antidote for the harried pace of everyday life. Named for one of Hawaii's most beautiful botanicals and known for its elegant 32-acre grounds studded with black lava, The Fairmont Orchid also has plenty of appealing places to soak up the Kohala Coast sunshine: a serene stretch of sandy beach, a calm lagoon, and a 10,000-square-foot oceanfront swimming pool.
Active couples can golf, play tennis, snorkel, or try outrigger canoeing and stand-up paddleboarding, while native Hawaiian specialties and seafood are specialties in the resort’s nine restaurants, from flavorful Hawaiian Regional Cuisine at award-winning Brown’s Beach House to the new modern Japanese menu at Binchotan Bar and Grill.
Westin Hapuna Beach Resort
If your idea of romance is wading from soft sand into warm surf or sleeping in atop a bed so comfortable it's called Heavenly, it's hard to top the Westin Hapuna Beach Resort. Not only is Hapuna Beach itself postcard-perfect, but the serene setting of the Kohala Coast is ideal for couples looking to relax, recharge or reconnect. The 249 rooms and 17 suites have been recently renovated and feature contemporary décor and partial or full ocean views.
The property (formerly the Hapuna Prince and celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2019) also features the Arnold Palmer-designed Hapuna Golf Course, two pools (one an adults-only infinity pool and the other a 6,800-square-foot freeform pool designed for families), four restaurants featuring Mediterranean and Hawaii-inspired cuisine, and a Mandara Spa.
Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay
Watch a romantic sunset from the pool at Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou
Sometimes romance needs to stick to a budget. Couples who can't splurge but want to enjoy the sights of the Big Island will find great value at this 508-room resort perched on the black-lava cliffs of Keauhou Bay. Yes, it does attract families (especially over school breaks and summer) and the most romantic things about it are its charming wedding chapel, lush green lawns and stellar views of clear aqua water where giant manta rays can be spotted gliding and feeding, but the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay makes an affordable base for couples looking to mix romance and adventure.
Enjoy the many watersports (diving, stand-up paddleboarding, and bars and dining in lively Kailua-Kona as well as the sights along the coast (including Kealakekua Bay, known for its great snorkeling) on the way to Volcanoes National Park. And sharing small plate specialties from the tasty Asian-fusion menu at Rays on the Bay will provide lasting only-on-the-Big-Island memories.
Mahana House Country Inn
With just four rooms, each offering a private lanai with an ocean view, the serene Mahana House Country Inn near Hilo offers a low-key escape for couples looking to experience the Big Island beyond the crowds and buffet lines of its large resorts. In fact, the inn is located on a 12-acre fruit farm and guests can enjoy freshly picked bananas, avocados, lychee, and passion fruit in season.
The rooms benefit from ample tradewinds (there are ceiling fans but no air conditioning) and feature a king-sized bed, modern bathroom with walk-in shower and a kitchen area (there’s a pantry in the inn’s great room that’s stocked with fresh fruit, eggs and more), but no daily housekeeping. The property also offers easy access to the area’s many waterfalls (including nearby Akaka Falls) and to top sights such as Mauna Kea, Volcanoes National Park and Hilo Town.
Lava Lava Beach Club
For a cottage-on-the-beach experience consider a stay at Lava Lava Beach Club. Located on 10 acres on Anaeho'omalu Bay near Waikoloa, the four cottages are 576 square feet and feature vibrant contemporary Hawaiian décor, offering the feeling of residential Big Island living with convenient access to dining and entertainment (note: there is live music nightly until 10pm at the restaurant, which accommodates several hundred people, and the entire property is non-smoking).
Hale Wa’a cottage is furthest from the restaurant and most private, but also the most requested so book well in advance. Lava Lava Beach Club makes a great base for independent-minded couples looking to learn stand-up paddleboarding, dine and enjoy the spas or golf courses of nearby Waikoloa resorts, or explore the rolling landscape of Waimea.