(LEFT TO RIGHT) 100-percent pure Kona coffee is a rare commodity exclusively
grown in north and south Kona; King’s Course at Waikoloa No. 18; and Beach
Tree pool at the Four Seasons Hualalai Beach Bar & Grill.
w The Four Seasons Hualalai has 243 rooms
and suites for hotel guests and also a rental
program through which guests can rent single-family homes, townhouses and villas from the
Hualalai residential resort community on the
same property. People who avail themselves of
those accommodations are treated to a variety
of amenities including use of all pools, restaurants, bars and shops at the Four Seasons
Resort, the Jack Nicklaus golf course, the
Sports Club and the Spa.
w While the Nicklaus course at the Four Seasons
is the only one on the Big Island that currently
hosts a significant professional tournament,
the Champions Tour season-opening Mitsubishi
Electric Championship at Hualalai, Hawaii had
had other golf events of note over the years. The
South Course at Mauna Lani was the site of the
Champions Tour Skins Game during the 1990s,
for example, and in 1964, Nicklaus joined Arnold
Palmer and Gary Player at Mauna Kea for a
Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf exhibition.
w Under certain conditions, guests at Hualalai
are also able to tee it up at the private Ke’olu
Golf Club there. Tom Weiskopf designed the
course, and it opened to rave reviews in 2006.
KOHALA COAST, HAWAII | Convenient is a good way
to describe things on this part of Hawaii. The small
yet efficient Kona International Airport handles
direct flights to and from Canada and the U.S. mainland, and the Kohala Coast golf resorts are only 15
or 20 minutes from the air terminal by car.
w Weiskopf also laid out the King’s Course at
Waikoloa, with his longtime partner Jay Mor-rish. In 2008, Rees Jones revamped the Mauna
Kea track his father originally designed up
Hwy. 19, while his brother Bob did the Beach
Course at Waikoloa.
w Coffee is, in many ways, king on the Big Island,
and Hawaii has close to 800 producers operating on land as small as a quarter acre and as
large as 500. There is a wonderful coffee trail
south of the Kona Airport for those caffeine addicts interested in sampling the many different
brews. And an afternoon there feels a lot like a
trip through the wine country in, say, Sonoma
or Napa, California, with tours and tastings for
visitors. Only in this case, there are no issues
with driving afterwards.
w There are no shortages of good places to eat
on Hawaii. One of the best is Merriman’s, up
in the ranch town of Waimea and renowned
for its superb regional cuisine – both beef
and seafood – and a first-rate wine list. They
offered a Frog’s Leap winery sampler the
night I dined there, and it was top-notch. So
was the grilled shutome, or Pacific swordfish,
and a salad of heirloom tomatoes and beets,
avocado and fresh hearts of palm. As for the
Four Seasons, the oceanfront Beach Tree
Bar & Grill and Pahu i’a restaurant provide
five-star food and wine and excellent service.
Village Burger in Waimea takes advantage
of its locale in the heart of Hawaiian cow
country to dish out some of the best burgers
I have ever tasted, with super fresh accompaniments. And a good place to dine during a
coffee tasting is Holualoa Gardens and Cafe,
with entrees as wide ranging as grilled ono,
beef brisket and potato gnocchi with local ha-makua mushrooms and Hawaiian pumpkin.