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Staying at the King Kamehameha Beach Resort in Kailua-Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii

Staying at the King Kamehameha Beach Resort in Kailua-Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii

The King Kamehameha Beach Resort in Kailua-Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii is the most centrally located, epically placed hotel on the Kona Coast. We’ve been to the Big Island many times and have stayed all around, but the King Kamehameha Courtyard Marriott has been one of my favorite hotels. We’ve got the full scoop on what to expect when you stay here, highlights of what make it a cool resort and tips for how to enjoy your time on the Kona Coast. And yes the Kamehameha Beach Resort, King Kamehameha Beach Hotel, and Courtyard Marriott King Kamehameha are all the SAME HOTEL, just it gets called different things, even within the Marriott system.

As you’re planning a Big Island trip, consider your hotel location as both a home base and a retreat from the busy activities you’ll be enjoying on the Kona Coast. The King Kamehameha Beach Resort may be the perfect fit for the type of trip you’re planning. If you have any questions about staying here, things to do on the Big Island or Hawaii island hopping, please leave a comment or send us a note. We have lots of experience and are happy to help others plan!

Staying at the King Kamehameha Beach Resort in Kailua-Kona is a great launch point for a Big Island vacation. See what's great about this Courtyard Marriott location, things to do in Kona and trip planning tips.

Room Options at King Kamehameha Beach Resort

Like has become the norm in many upscale properties, in Hawaii and elsewhere, the room types tend to vary based on bed arrangement and view. At the King Kamehameha Beach Resort you can either get a standard or an ocean view room. You can get a room with two queen beds or a king with a pullout sofa. There is a King Suite option as well, but it’s just got a bit more living space. All rooms have their own lanai / balcony, so choose your room based on what you need for sleeping and if you care about the view.

Book the Kamehameha Beach Resort here!

Two Queen Room at King Kamehameha Courtyard Marriott Kailua Kona Big Island Hawaii 2

Top Pick: Standard Room, and here’s why!

The way our family travels, even when we’re staying at a nice resort like the King Kamehameha Beach Resort, we don’t spend a ton of time there. We travel to see places and experience everything, and that includes when we visit Kailua-Kona. The standard rooms at the King Kamehameha Beach Resort are very nice and plenty big, and each has its own outdoor space too, so you’ll be able to relax outside after the kids go to bed. You really only need the room for sleeping and refreshing between activities.

Even if you’re staying at the King Kamehameha Courtyard Marriott for the beach and pool, there is so much space around the property that if you have set aside lounge days at the resort, you’ll have plenty of options. Yes, we do love staying at a resort and having the option of cooking for ourselves and whatnot, but we don’t need that in Kona because we really love a lot of the restaurants and are happy to dine out.

If you feel like a larger room or suite are required for your trip, do what you’ve got to do for you, but I really do think the standard is sufficient for a mellow family stay.

Taylor Family at King Kamehameha Courtyard Marriott Kailua Kona Coast Big Island Hawaii 1

Check in / Check Out at King Kamehameha Beach Resort

The King Kamehameha Beach Resort is a Courtyard Marriott, so that means it’s part of the Marriott Bonvoy program. Be sure you’ve signed up for Bonvoy prior to booking your hotel stay, and if you’ve already booked sign up and provide your Bonvoy number upon check in for the points. There are quite a few Marriott branded properties around Hawaii, so if you want to earn benefits as you go, consider staying within the Marriott family. We’ve also stayed at the Sheraton Kauai Resort Villas and Sheraton Coconut Beach Resort on Kauai, both a part of Bonvoy.

Because the King Kamehameha Beach Resort is a resort with open access to different parts of the property, upon check-in you’ll be given wrist bands to identify hotel guests versus tourist who’ve wandered in. Yes, visitors are absolutely welcome to wander the property and enjoy the beautiful art collection and public areas, but the pool, the gym space and the beach gear is for hotel guests.

Check out is 

Lobby at King Kamehameha Courtyard Marriott Kailua Kona Coast Big Island Hawaii 2

King Kamehameha Beach Resort Amenities

What makes a resort a resort are the amenities and the ability to check in and not have to leave. The King Kamehameha Beach Resort is just that, despite it being a Courtyard Marriott, which I usually equate to simply being a hotel I book for work trips. Here you’ll find everything to make it so you can just check in and chill. It’s a nice resort for recovering from going hard around the Big Island for a few days.

One of the more unique features of the King Kamehameha Kona Beach Resort is the gallery. Here you’ll find many Hawaiian paintings, sculptures, and even a beautiful outrigger canoe. Take some time to go through the gallery during your stay, because it’s pretty cool.

Book the Kamehameha Beach Resort here!

Art Gallery at King Kamehameha Courtyard Marriott Kailua Kona Big Island Hawaii 1

Pools at the King Kamehameha Resort

There is only one pool at the King Kamehameha Beach Resort, but it’s a good sized one. It’s surrounded by lounge chairs and umbrellas, there is a hot tub, and there is poolside bar service if you like. The pool opens a little later than I would like, but there is another great swimming option if you need it (and you will love it).

Also at the King Kamehameha Beach Resort is a beach. It’s a small beach, but it’s a sheltered cove without waves. The sand is nice and you can just walk right in. For distance swimmers or experienced swimmers that want to do a fitness swim, the cove opens up to the bay of Kailua-Kona and there is an Ironman swimming course that heads south from here.

There’s more to the beach at the King Kamehameha Beach Resort. There are beach chairs for guests (be sure you’re wearing your wristband) and you can reserve cabanas if you like. Kona Boys rentals is also located on the beach in the event you want to get some snorkeling gear, a stand up paddleboard or other swim stuff.

Swimming Pool at King Kamehameha Courtyard Marriott Kailua Kona Big Island Hawaii 1

HIGHLIGHT: Kamakahonu National Historic Site

The most special part of staying at the King Kamehameha Beach Resort is actually what’s located right at the edge of the property: Kamakahonu National Historic Site. This was the location of King Kamehameha I’s heiau and it’s been restored to be historically accurate. The site is directly next to the swimming area and where the luau takes place (more on that below). As you swim you’ll see the palm structures, lava rock foundation and kii carvings. Kii are what could also be called tikis, representations of different Hawaiian gods. 

Kamakahonu is really cool and beautiful. To get good photos you have two options: swim up to it with a waterproof camera or photograph it with a telephoto from the pier area. You cannot go up to the structure, but you’ll get a wonderful view from the water.

Kamakahonu National Historic Landmark at Sunrise Kailua Kona Big Island Hawaii 3

Fitness Center and Spa

There is a fitness center on the property, and it’s a pretty good one. There is plenty of cardio equipment, several benches with free weights, and quite a few machines. There is also a TRX setup and plenty of floor space for body-weight workouts and stretching. It’s one of the better resort fitness centers on the Big Island.

In addition to an onsite gym, there is also a yoga studio and tennis courts. If you want to join a yoga class, they happen throughout the day, and in the morning there are outdoor yoga sessions on property. The tennis courts are just behind the King Kamehameha Beach Resort, but still connected to the property.

Fitness Center at King Kamehameha Courtyard Marriott Kailua Kona Coast Big Island Hawaii 2

Dining at the King Kamehameha Kona Beach Resort

I really love dining around the town of Kailua-Kona because there are so many different types of food, from Hawaiian to burgers to Thai food. I will always recommend venturing out for food, but if you want to just stay on property, you can. There is a poolside restaurant, nice dining at Honu’s On the Beach, a shaved ice spot, and a coffee shop. But just steps off property…

Billfish Poolside: Top Pick at King Kamehameha Beach Resort

I really like the Billfish because it’s so easy. If we’re actually hanging out at the resort like we did at the King Kamehameha Beach Resort we want to keep things as mellow as possible. Poolside dining with good food, including kid standards, is never a bad idea. Yes, it’s pricier than what you’ll find off property, but the convenience and quality is worth it. The Billfish is also the poolside bar, so if you want cocktails, that’s your option.

Mai Tai by the pool at King Kamehameha Courtyard Marriott Kailua Kona Big Island Hawaii 1

Coffee at Kau Coffee Mill

Located just across the street from the King Kamehameha Kona Beach Resort, Kau Coffee Mill is available for early risers and into the evening. Again though, just a block off property you’ll find more Kona coffee and a different vibe, so I always vote to take a walk for coffee. If you’re doing the scenic drive from Kona to Hilo, stop at the Kau Coffee Mill farm site on the south shore. It’s a fun stop and they have lots of great coffee!

Dessert at Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice

Hawaiian shave ice isn’t as common on the Big Island as it is on Oahu or Kauai, but there is a shave ice shop directly in the King Kamehameha Beach Resort. Just off the pool area, Ululani’s Shave Ice is open from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm daily. It has limited hours, but that’s prime pool time so it’s convenient to grab shaved ice between swims.

Tip: if you care about your kids’ lips being purple or blue, shaved ice may not be the treat for you… or just have them get the really good flavors like soursop and coconut.

Taylor Family at Ululani Shave Ice at Kamehameha Beach Resort Kailua Kona Big Island Hawaii 1

HIGHLIGHT: the Island Breeze Luau at King Kamehameha Beach Resort

Luaus are a great way to celebrate Hawaiian culture, from the food to the dancing. Luaus tell stories about Hawaiian history and can be really fun for everyone. I used to feel like luaus were not cool because they struck me as entertainment for the white visitors (which they still kind of are), but after participating and talking with native Hawaiians that are involved, I understand better now that enjoying a luau really is a celebration of Hawaiian culture, which was all but stripped from the people of the islands. For that reason, I totally support and enjoy the luau experience.

The Island Breeze Luau at the King Kamehameha Kona Beach Resort happens on property just off the cove, next to Kamakahonu National Historic Site. Several nights a week guests can enjoy the luau on property, and it’s open to visitors as well. The luau is an additional cost, so if you want to participate, book your ticket in advance. Check out more about the Island Breeze Luau in our Big Island Pride article.

Tip: attending a luau is a pricey decision. For a family of four you can expect to pay at least $450 USD, and prices can go much higher depending on seating and additional experiences you can add on.

Book the Island Breeze Luau here!

Joey at Island Breeze Luau - med

Stores on Site at King Kamehameha Beach Resort

There are several stores at the Kamehameha Kona Beach Resort: a gift shop, a high end Hawaiian boutique, and an ABC store. The ABC store is our go to, whether we’re here or anywhere else around the islands. Here you’ll find souvenirs, snacks, beverages, and lots of necessities (including reef safe sunblock).

ABC Store at King Kamehameha Courtyard Marriott Kailua Kona Big Island Hawaii 1

Where is the King Kamehameha Beach Resort?

The best thing about staying at the King Kamehameha Beach Resort is its location! The resort is located directly on the water in downtown Kailua-Kona. It’s next to the municipal pier, steps from the waterfront seawall, and it’s central to most restaurants and sights in Kailua-Kona. Arrival is really easy, as there’s a huge pull-through and waiting area, and then when it’s time to head out of town, you’re just a block from the Kuakini Highway to either the airport or to the south shore. Below you’ll find some walking distance and short Uber-away activities.

Easy Map of Big Island of Hawaii

Transportation To and From KOA – Kona International Airport

The King Kamehameha Courtyard Marriott does not provide its own shuttle to and from the Kona International Airport (KOA). You can easily get a taxi or a ride share (Uber or Lyft) from the airport to downtown for around $25. There is a free shuttle from the airport to Target (trolley), and then you can get a taxi from there as well, but for the convenience it’s worth just taking one mode of transportation from the start.

Depending on what you want to do and see when you’re on the Big Island, it also could be worthwhile to get a rental car. We usually have a rental car when we are on any of the islands because there’s so much more to visiting Hawaii than just hanging out at the resort, but if that’s your whole plan and goal, you do you! Check Kailua-Kona rental car rates here!

Taylor Family KOA Kona Airport Big Island Hawaii 2

Can I Walk from the King Kamehameha to anything Cool?

Yes! The King Kamehameha Beach Resort is walking distance to all kinds of stuff. The whole waterfront is fun for seeing the waves crash and people watching, there are historic sites and plenty of dining options. Right on the waterfront is the historic Hulihe’e Palace where Queen Liliuokalani and other Hawaiian royalty lived before the Republic of Hawaii formed, and across the street is the historic church. You’ll be able to walk to several galleries, food tour starting locations, manta ray snorkeling departure points and more.

Taylor Family with Crashing Waves at Seawall in Kailua Kona Big Island Hawaii 1

BONUS: Running Route in Kailua-Kona

Something I enjoy about where the Kamehameha hotel is located is the simple running route from there. I use the same route if we’re staying here or at the Royal Kona Resort:

  • Ali’i Drive/Palani Road to a Right on Kuakini Highway
  • Run along Kuakini Highway to Walua Road
  • Run down the hill at Lunapule Rd and turn Right on Ali’i Drive back to your start.

This running route is 3.5 miles and is pretty easy. The only tough part is running down Lunapule Road from the highway if you have bad knees, but you can take it easy and stay on Walua Road for a more mellow decline.

To lengthen the route, run up to the Hawaii Belt Road and then turn right onto the Kuakini Highway at Sadie Seymore Botanical Gardens (7.5 mile loop) or just stay on the Kuakini Highway to the gardens and turn around to complete the designed route (6 miles). Note: Hawaii Belt Road is BUSY after 6:00 am, so run with safety in mind.

Kailua Kona Running Map

Parking Details at the King Kamehameha Courtyard Marriott

There is on-site parking at the King Kamehameha Beach Hotel for $30 per day or valet parking for $40 per day. We parked ourselves and found it to be worth it given the scarcity of street parking and the very active parking enforcement. There aren’t many options near the hotel for parking, let alone anything less expensive.

Eleven Fun Things to do Around Kailua-Kona

The Kona Coast is so much fun to explore and there are lots of learning opportunities everywhere. We rarely just hang out in Kailua-Kona, but like to go both up and down the coast… and up into the mountains! Here are eleven fun, easy things to add to your trip to the Kona Coast, and be sure to check out our other Big Island articles for even more tips for having an awesome trip.

  1. Beach day at the Kamakahonu Cove at the Kamehameha Beach Resort
  2. Walk the seawall, dine out and enjoy Kailua-Kona
  3. Watch the sea turtles (honu) at Kaloko Honokōhau National Historic Site (5 minute Uber)
  4. Nighttime snorkeling with Manta Rays – our FAVORITE thing to do in Kona
  5. Guided hike to the Hualali Volcano and lava tube – AMAZING experience and awesome guides!
  6. Drive up the Kona Coast to Hapuna Beach State Park and Beach 69
  7. Enjoy a Luau in Kailua-Kona – Island Breeze Luau | Voyagers of the Pacific Luau (at Royal Kona Resort)
  8. Tour Kona coffee farms – we like Mountain Thunder and Buddha’s Cup
  9. Do a Zodiac tour to Kealakekua Bay / Captain Cook – such great snorkeling!
  10. Big day trip – Papakolea Green Sand Beach and Punalu’u Black Sand Beach on South Shore
  11. Big day trip – Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (do lava glow if it’s erupting!)

I could keep going about all the fun things to do on the Kona Coast, but this is enough to keep you busy for a week. Whether you’re staying at the King Kamehameha Beach Resort or anywhere else, you’ll love your time in Kailua-Kona.

If you have any questions about the hotel, visiting the Kona Coast or anything about the Big Island of Hawaii, please leave a comment or send us a note. We’ve spent a lot of time here and are more than happy to help you plan your own trip to this amazing island!