Mauna Kea Beach Hotel
A $150-million refurbishment, completed in 2007, brought new life to this venerable resort overlooking the crescent of Kaunaoa Beach (the property was originally built in 1965 by the founder of RockResorts, Laurance Rockefeller). The 258 guest rooms—all with private lanais overlooking the sea or the championship Robert Trent Jones, Sr.-designed golf course—are now sleek aeries outfitted in teak and Hawaiian-inspired fabrics. The renovated common areas, including the lobby and the Mandara spa, are decorated with carvings and statuary from Rockefeller’s museum-quality collection of Polynesian, Oceanic, and Asian art (the red-granite Buddha, which overlooks the grand staircase and the North Garden, dates back 1,400 years). The waterfront has an 11-court tennis club, and activities like canoeing, snorkeling, kayaking, and sailing. At dinnertime, outdoor tables at the restaurant, Manta, are just steps away from where the manta rays feed each night.