Review: The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort, Big Island Hawaii
Last Updated in May 2019
Since it has opened, we had the chance to stay at The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort, formerly known as the “Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel” five times. The resort re-opened in May 2018 after undergoing a significant renovation to meet Westin’s brand standards. In this post, we will provide more information about this property and a review.
The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort is located about a 45 minute drive from KON – Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport on Hapuna Beach on the north-west part of the island known as the Kohala Coast between the Waikoloa Beach resort area and Kawaihae town.
Other than the resort shops and restaurants onsite, there isn’t much here so you’ll need to drive to access things off the resort property. As part of the $31 resort fee, the resort offers a shuttle to the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection. If you’re adventurous, you can also walk to the Mauna Kea Hotel and beach via the Ala Kahakai Heritage Trail in about 20 minutes.
When they built this resort, they did a great job in framing the resort to maximize the views of the stunning landscape from the rooms and common areas. There are 249 room on this property divided up between the North and South wings. The 3 base room categories are: Partial Ocean View, Ocean View, and Premier Ocean View. They also have a few different suites to choose from. All rooms have a small mini-fridge, coffee maker, kettle, in-room safe, and a lanai with outdoor seating.
As for on-site dining, there are 4 options: Piko Coffee + Bar, ‘Ikena Landing for the breakfast buffet, Naupaka beach Grill for lunch and happy hour, and Meridia for dinner. Guests can also access the restaurants at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel via shuttle, driving or walking. We did not eat at any of the restaurants on-site other than ‘Ikena Landing as it is complimentary for Platinum elites.
The full buffet breakfast at ‘Ikena Landing costs $37USD and includes a wide selection of prepared items and a made-to-order egg station. The continental breakfast buffet is $26USD. For a North American hotel buffet, we found it to be very good and above average, especially when comparing it to the Grand Wailea in Maui. We really enjoyed the egg white omelette with vegetables made by Charlie! Other items include the potato of the day, loco moco station, the banana po’e, daily bread pudding, the fresh fruit with optional lime (watermelon, pineapple, papaya, cantaloupe, honey dew melon, apples, bananas, oranges). They also had other items such as salmon, miso soup, fresh waffles, smoked salmon, bagels, pastries, toast, cottage cheese, yogurt, and vegetables. We were also delighted to see they added Big Island Booch kombucha to the juice station. Breakfast is served from 06:30-10:30 daily.
As for recreation on-site, there is the signature WestinWORKOUT Fitness Studio with cardio machines including 2 Peloton bikes and strength training equipment like free weights, cable machines and medicine balls. There are 2 large pool areas with hot tubs (one for adults only and one for everyone), a beach activity center where you can rent snorkel gear and boards, a golf course, and access to Hapuna Beach and the Ala Kahakai Heritage Trail. The gym is very well equipped as Westin does brands itself as a health oriented hotel chain. In order to respect people’s privacy, I did not take any photos as it was always occupied.
Hapuna Beach is part of a State Park that is very popular but the beach is large enough so that hotel guests don’t feel too crowded. In addition, the calmer and nicer part of the beach is located directly in front of the hotel where there are lounger chairs and umbrellas. The lounger chairs and umbrellas on the beach are usually out after 07:00 and they start putting them away around 16:00 which is quite early, especially when the sun sets at 19:00.
We really enjoy the beach here although the surf was way too rough for us to swim on October 5.
Link to resort’s webcam: http://www.westinhapunabeach.com/webcam
The parking lot includes self-park and valet options. If you are staying in the South Tower, it does take some time to walk to your room from the parking lot but we appreciate how they preserved the hotel grounds instead of building another parking lot closer. Up until recently, the self-parking was included in the $31 resort fee but it is now a $25 fee, which is disappointing but the trend these days.
Room Review – Premier Ocean View:
We stayed in a Premier Ocean View Room in the South Tower on the 9th floor. Our room had a king sized bed, a seating area with a small couch, a desk, large closet, and large bathroom with a shower, bathtub and the toilet in a separate room. The toilet seat was actually one of those Japanese-style high tech bidet seats with a nightlight which we laughed at even if it was quite useful. The mini-fridge was empty but they did have a price card as they intend to fill it with cold non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages.
Our favorite part of the room was the large and private lanai with a comfortable day bed, and a high table and high chairs where we were able to watch the sunset and have some snacks. The hotel construction may be complete but the lower wing construction is still in progress and will be for some time as they convert hotel rooms into condos. We feel that we enjoyed the best and worst of our room’s location: loud construction noise during the day that made it difficult to relax but quiet and dark evenings since no lights have been installed on the condo building to affect our view making it more private and unobstructed.
Room Review – Ocean View:
During our most recent stay in April 2019, we stayed in an Ocean View room on the 8th floor in the North building. This room was pretty much like the Premier Ocean View but on a lower floor and with a better view in some ways. Here are some photos.
Room Review – One Bedroom Ocean Suite
We stayed in a one bedroom suite in the South building on the 9th floor. As there is still a lot of construction by the south building for the condos, it was nice to be away from that noise. As you enter the room, there is a bathroom to the right with a toilet, a shower and a bathtub which is identical to the bathroom we had in the Premier Ocean View Room. Next, there is a living area with a couch, a chair, and a small kitchen with a table and seating for 4, a small sink, a fridge, a microwave, and basic plates and cutlery. If there is one thing we really appreciated about this room’s kitchen were the ceramic coffee cups so that we didn’t need to use the disposable ones.
The bedroom has a large king size bed that faces the view which was fantastic since we would rather look outside at the ocean than a large tv screen. To the side of the bed was a large walk-in closet with one stand for a suitcase and we contemplated calling and asking for a second one as that would have been useful. Behind the bed is another bathroom with a large shower, toilet, and sinks.
Similar to the other room we stayed in, the lanai has a bar table and two stools and a day bed. The lanai was very private and you couldn’t see other lanais and people, which was nice. We also enjoyed lovely sunset views due to the time of the year and how the sun is setting. If there is one downside to this room, it’s the close proximity to the outdoor event area and when there are weddings, you will miss the quiet and serene atmosphere.
We absolutely enjoyed the suite for the extra space, the more private lanai, the bed facing out towards the view and the large shower in the second bedroom.
At this time, the construction is still ongoing and can be disruptive if you plan on spending time in your room during the day.
We’ve been to the Big Island a few times where we have stayed at the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay, the Courtyard by Marriott King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel and the Fairmont Orchid and our most enjoyable stay has in fact been at The Westin Hapuna Beach resort because you cannot beat the location on stunning Hapuna Beach and close proximity to Mauna Kea Beach. We truly feel that staying here is one of the reasons why we enjoyed this trip to the Big Island more than past ones. We would probably even go as far as saying that The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort is now our favorite Westin Resort on a Hawaiian Island out of the 4 we’ve stayed at. It was a tough choice between The Westin Hapuna and the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel but in the end we feel we made the right choice. Those looking for a more quiet setting during the condo construction should stay at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel though. For more information, check out our TripAdvisor review here.
How much you enjoy a destination: do you agree or disagree? Would you stay at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel or The Westin Hapuna based on this review?
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