Hawaiian Vacation, A delightful Big Island get-away at Kolea



My nerves were already frazzled before arriving  at our vacation rental on the Big Island of Hawaii. I was traveling  with the ultimate  motley crew… my wife, four kids aged 0-6, and our nanny. We need a U-Haul trailer just to get our luggage to an airport with a nonstop flight.


Late to the gate with no time for a potty break, we were seated separately on the plane (airline’s fault) and I bartered a complex three-way trade with surly passengers with only a middle seat to offer. After landing, I sweated through my shirt installing four car seats in our highly masculine rental minivan in the humid parking lot at the Kona airport. This hombre needed a cold one.

Our vacation was originally planned to be six months prior when we had only three kids and a pregnancy to manage. But, due to complex circumstances, we were now traveling with an extra body. We initially planned on staying at a hotel, but it required two suites for a group this size. Not only was that twice the cost of a vacation rental but the suites were not guaranteed to be adjoining.

Our destination was the Waikoloa Beach Resort in the 10 o’clock position along the coast of the Big Island. The resort is an enormous, carefully planned tourist destination, containing two large hotels, golf courses, high-end restaurants, shopping areas, and every vacation activity and amenity imaginable. Within the Waikoloa Beach Resort was our true destination, Kolea.

Kolea is a stunning gated beachfront subdivision at the southernmost point of the resort. Its slowly opening gate leads to a dark gray unmarked road that looks like it was paved just yesterday. Palm trees and dark green plants of varying heights flank the road, accented by red flowering plants and the smell of saltwater in the air. Past a gentle right turn, flaming tiki torches line the road, marking the Kolea Club.


This private paradise, available to those staying in Kolea, has an infinity pool with 85 degree water –unheated, in October– a shallow sandy bottom kids pool with lava rock waterfall, a manicured lawn, open-air fitness area with towel service, lava rock hot tub, and a sunset ocean view over the palm tree-lined beach known as “A Bay”. The Kolea Club also offers a private gated pathway directly to the beach for Kolea residents. I had a good laugh when my four-year-old daughter, stretched out on a raft in the pool at dusk, proclaimed something I didn’t teach her, nor have ever heard her say: “This is the life.”

Built in 2003, Kolea’s sixteen housing units are three story buildings with elevators, are off-white with gray trim, and have either ocean or garden views. Within the units are 126 total villas, each having either two or three bedrooms, and all are less than a five-minute walk to the beach or Kolea Club. The majority of second and third story villas have ocean views, whereas first floor villas, and some upper floor ones, have garden views.

Our villa, 2A, is a 1700-square-foot, three bedroom, three bathroom, first-floor corner villa with a partial ocean view and private lanai. Immediately upon entering, I turned on the one-touch distributed audio system and filled the home with Hawaiian music just before my kids ricocheted like pinballs for a first look into their new home for the week.

The main room, which includes the living area on the right, and kitchen with dining area on the left, has an upscale island vibe. The floor is natural stone tan and cream tile, the walls a glossy white and complimenting the dark polished mahogany of the cabinetry and trim. The living area is appointed with a soft three-person taupecouch, paired sturdy medium brown rattan armchairs, natural wood coffee table, and tan area rug. In the corner of the living area is a custom TV stand crafted from the locally grown light brown koa wood, with a flat screen TV easily visible from any point in the main room.

The dining area has a glass-top table set, six mahogany chairs with taupe cushions, and koa display case containing a model sailboat.


The kitchen boasts a two-tiered island, three matching mahogany barstools, dark gray granite countertops, a wine refrigerator, and stainless steel appliances. The main room is further appointed with narrow pendant lighting, and one-touch controls for the lights, ceiling fan, and audio system.

The far “wall” of the main room steals the show. It is a five-tiered sliding glass door that fully retracts into a wall pocket, thereby opening the entire room to the ocean breezes of the lanai. The covered lanai has a sitting area with two couches and an armchair in conversational position, a table for outdoor dining, as well as built-in stainless steel gas grill and wet bar.

Flowing from the lanai is a garden estimated to be about 1400 square feet, with grass manicured to putting-green perfection, lined with lava rock and waist-high flowering plants. The audio system continued to pump out crystal clear sounds as I lounged on the lanai, bottled beer in hand, stress dropping rapidly, and watched my kids break out into a spontaneous game of tag in the garden. “Cooooool” exclaimed my son as he discovered his first bed of lava rocks.

The three bedrooms are carpeted, and match the décor of the main room; mahogany woodwork, natural stone coloring, and muted island artwork. The kids were excited about new sleeping arrangements, and there were surprisingly few arguments about it as we all explored further. The first bedroom is off the kitchen, has two twin beds with maroon and gold floral pattern comforters and wicker headboards, a 19” flat screen TV, a ¾ bathroom, and is good for the kids.

The second bedroom off of the living area, has a queen-sized platform bed with dark green floral comforter and wicker headboard, green patterned cloth tapestry over the bed, two closets, a travertine full bathroom, and private entrance onto the lanai.

The master bedroom has a king bed with grayish-green comforter and mahogany headboard, a bedroom bench, blackframed artwork depicting various sea stars, a cherry wood dresser hiding a small flat screen TV, a desk, and a door leading to the garden.

The master bath is tiled in varied natural stone colors with mahogany wood trim, cream-colored countertops with dual sinks, a hot tub, glass shower, and a walk-in closet. The villa also has a washer/dryer, beach towels, and toys for the kids to include rafts, pool noodles, and goggles.

Outside of Kolea, but still within the Waikoloa Beach Resort, are the Kings Shops and Queens Marketplace. The Kings Shops are a thirty-second drive away on the bank of a small lake, and have local art galleries and elite brands like Cartier.


Twice we visited the King’s Shops to eat at the Three Fat Pigs, not only for its lakeside patio seating and live music, but because its coconut chicken curry pot pie was so rich and flaky that I needed more.

Queens Marketplace is a one-minute drive away and has practicalities such as a grocery store and stores found in typical malls. Between the two there are at least fifteen restaurant options, ranging from fast food to fine dining. Though we told ourselves we wouldn’t eat at a chain restaurant, we found ourselves there on the first night because, with four kids, sometimes practicality is boss.

Hilton and Marriott hotels are both three-minute drives from Kolea, and offer their own dining options and activities, such as swimming with dolphins, a waterslide, canal boat rides, bicycle rentals, and a luau. The still-watered A Bay offers a glass bottom boat tour, snorkeling, a nearby petroglyph tour, and on-the-sand dining at the Lava Lava Club. If the stay at Kolea is booked through Waikoloa Vacation Rentals, then guests get full use of the facilities at the Hilton.

The stress from traveling vanished after arriving at Kolea and never returned. My wife and I fully relaxed at our villa. Keeping this herd of cats under one roof, with space to roam and with all the amenities of home, was the key. Our decision to stay at a Kolea vacation rental made what could have been a difficult vacation a success.

Need a relaxing Hawaiian vacation? These beautiful Kolea Villas are just the place. Click here for more photos, along with rates and availability.



Subscribe- It’s Free

Read more about Hawaii

Where in the World? Kauai, Hawaii

Like stories likes these?
Get your free subscription to Vacation Rental Travels and you'll have stories like these delivered directly to your inbox


  1. […] Hawaiian Vacation, A delightful Big Island get-away at Kolea […]

  2. […] Hawaiian Vacation, A delightful Big Island get-away at Kolea […]

Leave a Reply to Where in the World? Kauai, Hawaii Cancel reply


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.