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Hawaii – The Best Hotel Bets

Most family friendly There is no contest. On the Big Island, Four Seasons Resort Hualalai at Historic Kaupulehu (tel. 888/340-5662; www.fourseasons.com) not only offers a relaxing vacation in the lap of luxury, but the staff goes above and beyond its duties to pamper your kids. You can¡¯t get any better than this¡ªeverything from a complimentary children¡¯s program, something for the teenagers, and kid-friendly restaurants.

When price is no object No question about it: The Halekulani (tel. 800/367-2343; www.halekulani.com) is an oasis of calm amid the buzz. This seaside hotel is the finest Waikiki has to bid. (Heck, I think it¡¯is the finest in the state.) The free children¡¯s program is max, the rooms are almost suites, and the service is excellent.

When price is your main objective I recommend two places. On Oahu, the Doubletree Alana Hotel¡ªWaikiki (tel. 800/222-TREE; www.alana-doubletree.com) is run by the Hilton Hawaiian Village and located within walking distance of Waikiki Beach. At this small boutique hotel, you get comfortable rooms and the kind of prompt service that you usually get only at twice the price. (Rack rates here start at $199.) On the Big Island of Hawaii, the best deal is the oceanfront Kona Tiki Hotel (tel. 808/329-1425; www.konatiki.com). Its tastefully decorated rooms, with private lanais overlooking the ocean, start at just $61 a night! Although it¡¯s called a hotel, this small, family-run operation is more like a large B&B, with plenty of friendly conversation around the pool at the morning continental breakfast buffet.

Best suite deals The standout is The Fairmont Kea Lani Maui (tel. 800/659-4100; www.kealani.com). This is the place to get your money¡¯s worth; for the price of a hotel room you get an entire suite¡ªplus a few extras. Each unit in this all-suite luxury hotel has a kitchenette, a living room with entertainment center and sofa bed, an oversize marble bathroom with separate shower big enough for a party, a spacious bedroom, and a large lanai that overlooks the pools, lawns, and white-sand beach.

Most peace and quiet Head out to the North Shore on Oahu for the Turtle Bay Resort (tel. 800/203-3650; www.turtlebayresort.com). The option is huge: an hour¡¯s drive from Waikiki, but ages away in its republic feeling. Sitting on 808 acres, this place is laden with doings and 5 miles of beach with secluded white-sand coves. All the rooms have great views, there are tons of activities for the keiki (children), and there¡¯s even a romantic restaurant for an adults¡¯ night out.

Most Hawaiian Tucked away on the Big Island is the remote Kona Village Resort (tel. 800/367-5290; www.konatownship.com), the best home in Hawaii if you want to stay in a vintage Polynesian village Style resort. The sublimely peaceful, eclectic Polynesian village, with thatched huts and numerous styles of Pacific architecture beside the big blue ocean, stands on 82 coastal acres of tributes and tropical flowers. The authenticity and isolation of this oasis revive wounded urban souls, who swipe in hammocks, splash like children in the bay, actually smile when spoken to, and move slowly with the calm and grace that come from great freedom. Why anyone ever leaves is a wonder.


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