According to local legends, the name comes from Hawai'iloa, the Polynesian navigator who's believed to have discovered the area. Others say the name references Hawaiki, a legendary realm from which some Polynesians originated. The island houses five shield volcanoes: Kohala, Mauna Kea, Hualālai, Mauna Loa, and Kīlauea. For more than 100 years, sugar cane was the main staple of Hawaii's economy, but the last plantations have been closed for more than two decades. Now the economy is based mainly on tourism.
When to Visit the Big Island, Hawaii
The climate on the Big Island is split into two main seasons: winter and summer. The winter season is also called the rainy season and runs from October to April. This time of year also includes hurricane season, so you could see some price drops in October and November because of the increased risk of hurricanes. During the summer season, between May and October, the high temperatures are typically in the high 80s to low 90s. It's rare for the temperature to drop below 65 degrees or rise above 90 degrees at any time of year.
Aside from the price drop during hurricane season, the hotel room prices on the Big Island tend to stay fairly consistent throughout the year. Between June and August, the prices tend to be the highest, as it's peak vacation time. When it's cold outside in other parts of the country during the winter, visitors often escape to the warm and tropical atmosphere of Hawaii. Some of the main events on the Big Island that can impact hotel rates include the Kona Brewers Festival in mid-March, the Merrie Monarch Festival after Easter, and the Holualoa Village Music & Light Festival in December.
Below is a chart of the current pricing seasonality of hotels and motels in Hawaii (The Big Island), HI:
Hawaii (The Big Island) by Star Rating
Below are 3 charts demonstrating mean nightly cost trends by star rating class in Hawaii (The Big Island), HI. You can use these charts to calculate the best months to stay in Hawaii (The Big Island) during the year.
Luxury Hotel Options on the Big Island, Hawaii
4 Star Average Prices: $208.14
One of the most luxurious hotels on the Big Island is the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai. This five-star oceanfront hotel has a full-service spa where you can enjoy a rejuvenating massage, facial, or body treatment; there's also a golf course, seven swimming pools, five restaurants, and a swim-up bar. Other amenities include concierge services, free Wi-Fi, complimentary daily newspapers in the lobby, and free parking. Within your spacious guest room, you'll find a private lanai, a plush bed with premium bedding and a down comforter, a refrigerator, an MP3 docking station, a shower and a separate jetted bathtub, designer toiletries, and a 42-inch flat-screen TV with premium cable channels.
Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa is another upscale place to stay on the Big Island. It offers easy access to the beach and two outdoor swimming pools for your enjoyment. You can also take advantage of the outdoor tennis court, sauna, concierge services, and spa offering a variety of relaxing treatments. Food is available at the coffee shop, at either of the two restaurants, or through room service (offered during limited hours). Access to the daily breakfast buffet is available for an additional fee. Your room features a private balcony, complimentary toiletries, a flat-screen TV, and a refrigerator.
Hilton Waikoloa Village is a four-star resort with everything you need for a comfortable stay. Every room is equipped with a private lanai, a flat-screen TV, wireless internet access, plush robes, a coffee maker, and upscale linens. The resort is a spectacular playground set on the shores of the ocean, with three swimming pools, including an adults-only pool and a 175-foot waterslide; award-winning restaurants and bars; a world-class spa; two championship golf courses; canal boats; air-conditioned trams to get around; and some of the best shopping on the island. You can also take a dip in the ocean-fed lagoon, which has a white sand beach and water activities.
Budget Hotels on the Big Island, Hawaii
3 Star Average Prices: $137.75
One of the most affordable hotels in the area is Kona Islander Vacation Club, located near Hulihee Palace. Each guest room has a private lanai, a refrigerator, a microwave, and a private bathroom with a hairdryer. You can also take advantage of the property's amenities, including free wireless internet access, a picnic area, concierge services, an outdoor swimming pool, a spa tub, barbecue grills, and laundry facilities. Parking is free for guests, and the staff members speak multiple languages to accommodate travelers coming from around the world.
Kona Seaside Hotel is another reasonably priced property on the Big Island. It sits on the waterfront and has a private garden, a coffee shop serving light meals and snacks, and a lounge. Other amenities include a computer station, a 24-hour front desk, free daily newspapers in the lobby, an outdoor swimming pool, and self-parking for guests. Each room has air conditioning, a flat-screen TV with cable programming, free Wi-Fi, complimentary toiletries, a tea and coffee maker, and daily housekeeping services.
You can also enjoy a relaxing stay at Aloha Happy Place, located on Old Volcano Road A. It's a bed & breakfast in a rural location within a 15-minute walk of the Cooper Center and Volcano Garden Arts. This cozy property has three individually decorated rooms, each of which has a refrigerator, a TV with a DVD player, free wired and wireless internet access, a private bathroom with complimentary toiletries, a desk, and a tea and coffee maker. The property has a library, free parking, and barbecue grills for guest use. Start your day at the continental breakfast buffet, which includes farm-fresh eggs and homemade bread.