Where to stay in Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii, regardless of your budget

Hawaii is known as being one of the most expensive destinations on the planet and the Big Island is no exception. The most popular place to stay on the Big Island is the town of Kona, located on its western side, which offers excellent proximity to the best beaches and water activities on the island. There’s a ton of different lodging options to choose from here, ranging from backpacker hostels to extravagant world-class resorts, so if you’re planning your Big Island getaway, here’s exactly where to stay in Kona, regardless of your budget.

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Woman floating in the Ali'i Salt Water Pool in Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii
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If you’re planning a Hawaiian getaway and trying to figure out where to stay on the Big Island, Kona is likely at the top of your list. 

In fact, there’s really only two main areas that visitors stay when they come to this massive island, which sprawls a whopping 4,028 square miles—either Kona or Hilo

Kona is better-suited for beach lovers, first-timers on the island, and families, whereas Hilo, the biggest city on the Big Island that’s located on its eastern side, acts as a better springboard for adventure lovers looking to explore Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and some of the other best hikes on the Big Island

Steaming lava lake at Kīlauea Volcano at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island of Hawaii

I’ve been lucky enough to visit and explore the Big Island four times and I usually wind up staying in Kona, due to its proximity to the main airport and popular attractions, as well as its sunnier and drier weather. If you’re only going to be on the Big Island for a couple of days, I’d definitely recommend making Kona your homebase for your stay! 

Where to stay in Kona for Budget Travelers

As compared to the other Hawaiian Islands, the Big Island is the most budget-friendly. However, I’m using the term “budget traveler” here pretty loosely—even the most affordable properties in Kona often cost $250 (or more!) a night! With that context in mind, let’s get into it! 

My Hawaii Hostel

Good for: solo travelers looking to socialize, serious budget travelers

Palm trees along the beach at Pu'uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park in Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii

I never really think of Hawaii having hostels, but if you’re wanting to visit the Big Island on a serious budget, I’d strongly recommend considering a stay at My Hawaii Hostel. 

There’s a LOT to love about this hostel, given its pricepoint—for example, it’s a (Hawaiian) breeze to get to from both the Kona airport and the downtown area, which is conveniently located just two miles north, using the city’s public transit.

People sitting on the sand at Kahalu’u Beach Park with palm trees in the background in Kona on the Big Island

You have a mix of lodging options to choose from, including mixed or female-only dorms or private rooms, with provided lockers to keep your valuables safe and air conditioning to keep you cool during those muggy nights. Additionally, there’s a self-catering kitchen to help cut down on your food costs (which can REALLY wrack up on the island) and tons of free rentals to make the most of your time on the beach, like coolers, towels, and boogie boards. 

Best of all, this is an AWESOME option for those looking to socialize with other travelers and locals while on the island—the staff here create a really warm and inviting atmosphere that make it super easy to make new adventure buddies while you’re enjoying all of the best things to do in Kona

Pacific Kona 19

Good for: families on a budget, beach bums

Banyan trees and restaurants in downtown Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii

Pacific Kona 19 is probably the most affordable hotel to stay in Kona. If you can look past its dated exterior (which, in full transparency, most of the budget and mid-range hotels in Kona could use a facelift!), it offers an excellent location within walking distance to the downtown area and several beaches, a recently renovated interior, and a friendly and helpful staff.

While this hotel is more on the no-frills side, there’s still some really solid perks to enjoy, like a lovely pool area, adorable onsite coffee cart, and thoughtful freebies, like daily poolside yoga or a local beer upon arrival. 

Kona Tiki Hotel

Good for: first-timers on the island, travelers looking for a romantic getaway

Illuminated palm trees at sunset along the beach in Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii

If you’re like my husband, Justin, and me and prefer to travel bougie on a budget, the Kona Tiki Hotel is your best option. 

This boutique hotel has an old Hawaii kind of feel (in a good way!)—every room has an oceanfront room with a lanai and there’s a pool right up against the ocean, only separated by a sea wall. It’s not unusual to get sprayed by an ocean wave while you’re relaxing in the pool!

Additionally, the staff here is SO sweet and it’s conveniently located within walking distance of tons of different restaurants and bars in Kona. 

People walking near shops and restaurants in downtown Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii

Admittedly, there are a few drawbacks to staying here that are worth pointing out. The property has intentionally clung on to the aforementioned Old Hawaii vibes, so there’s no televisions or air conditioning in the rooms (although, given the ocean is right outside, it usually feels quite nice!). If you can look past those shortcomings, though, this is almost certainly the most affordable oceanside room you’ll find in Kona! 

Where to stay in Kona for Mid-Range Travelers

Royal Kona Resort

Good for: families, first timers on the Big Island, and beach lovers

Hula dancer at a luau in Hawaii

This waterfront property is probably the most conveniently located out of all of the hotels in Kona, literally just steps from its downtown.

And despite its incredibly desirable location, there’s still a TON of stuff that they’ve packed into the property itself, including a secluded beach area, saltwater lagoon, outdoor swimming area, and even an onsite luau

People with standup paddleboards walking next to the break wall in downtown Kona with the Royal Kona Resort in the background in the Big Island of Hawaii

In full transparency, like many of the places to stay in Kona, the Royal Kona Resort could use a bit of updating. But, if you can look past its slightly dated interior, you’ll find everything you need, including an in-room refrigerator and coffee machine (which are weirdly hard to find in Kona), a lanai in every single room, and an onsite spa and fitness center.

Outrigger Kona Resort & Spa

Good for: families, adventure lovers, and beach bums

Hardened lava field with palm trees in the background at Two Step Beach in Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii

Given its reasonable price point, the waterfront Outrigger Resort definitely packs a LOT of punch. 

It offers a sprawling pool complex with a 200 foot water slide; a whopping three onsite restaurants; tons of activities, like ukulele or hula lessons or a historical tour of an ancient fishing village on the property; and, perhaps coolest of all, a manta ray deck where you can watch one of the largest fish in the ocean swoop and feast right below you (the famed manta ray snorkeling tours in Kona literally happen right in front of the Outrigger!). 

Manta ray seen at a snorkeling tour in Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii

The rooms are surprisingly spacious, offer balconies, and are recently renovated. As an additional bonus, the resort is located a bit south of Kona’s downtown, within walking distance of Keauhou Bay Beach Park and close to some of the best snorkeling on the Big Island, like Kealahakua Bay and Two Step Beach. 

King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel 

Good for: families, first timers on the Big Island, and beach lovers

Rental gear at Kona Boys on the Kamakahonu Beach in front of King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel in Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii

Again, the Kona Beach Hotel offers an excellent location, about a 15 minute walk to Kona’s downtown and just steps from Kamakahonu Beach. This protected cove offers incredibly calm water and excellent snorkeling, and, if you’d prefer not to be in the ocean, there’s also a lovely pool that overlooks the Pacific,

While the rooms are on the smaller side, they are impeccably clean and comfortable and the staff are friendly and will go out of their way to make sure you’re having an excellent stay.

Break wall in front of the Pacific Ocean in downtown Kona on the Big Island

Where to stay in Kona for Luxury Travelers

Four Seasons Resort Hualalai

Good for: Honeymooners, travelers looking for a romantic getaway, families, and beach bums

Woman walking through a lush garden along a stone pathway at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai in Kona on the Big Island

There’s no ifs, ands, or buts about it—if you’re looking for the most luxurious resort on the Big Island, look no further than the Four Seasons. There’s a variety of modern and stylish accommodations to choose from at this immaculately maintained property, from oceanview rooms to swanky villas with your own private infinity pools.  Every room has thoughtful touches, like a bed that seriously feels like a cloud, candles in the bathroom to take a relaxing bath, and plush robes to lounge in.

If you wind up booking a room without its own pool, not to worry—the resort has eight(!!!) other pools to choose from, ranging from a shallow, sand-bottomed pool for the kiddos to an adults-only pool with a swim-up bar.

Of course, there’s all kinds of activities that you can enjoy at the resort, like an outrigger canoe paddle or a marine biologist that you can bring along on your snorkeling adventures.  The staff bends over backwards to ensure you’re having a good time and, perhaps just as importantly, the facilities smell AMAZING.

Overlook of the black sand beach in the Pololu Beach on the Big Island of Hawaii

Finally, the Four Seasons is also an excellent option if you have adventures included in your Big Island itinerary. Unlike most of the other luxury resorts on the island, which are located pretty far north of Kona in Waikoloa, the Four Seasons is conveniently located much closer to the city’s downtown area, serving as the perfect springboard for adventures around the island. 

Fairmont Orchid

Good for: Honeymooners, travelers looking for a romantic getaway, families, and beach bums

Palm trees on a beach at the Fairmont Orchid near Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii

The Fairmont is one of the most luxurious resorts on the Big Island, with its own stunning beach with soft white sand that’s frequented by sea turtles. Each day, you get a complimentary snorkeling rental to use on the beach or, if you’re not a fan of getting in the water, you can simply enjoy the complementary oceanside yoga. 

Outside of its stunning beach, the property itself is gorgeous, with a lush garden, waterfalls, and a sprawling 10,000 square foot pool, with a family and adults-only section.

Sea turtle swimming underwater in Hawaii

The resort has tons of other features to enjoy, including seven onsite restaurants, one of the best luaus on the island, and a spa where you can get massage treatments in thatched open-air huts, whilst breathing in the fragrant smell of the surrounding garden. Plus, there’s a number of activities for you to enjoy, from a lei-making class where you’re served a hand-crafted Mai Tai to hula lessons and a lecture from a marine biologist.

Of course, the rooms are spacious and incredibly comfortable, with plush towels and robes, a separate bathtub and shower, and pillowy beds. 

Westin Hapuna Beach

Good for: families, beach bums, and budget-minded travelers looking for luxury, golfers

Wave rolling on to the sand at Hapuna Beach with the Westin Hapuna in the background near Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii

The Westin is definitely at a bit of a lower price point than the Four Seasons or the Fairmont, but still manages to feel incredibly luxe. And one of the nicest—and most unique—aspects of the Westin is that each and every room has an ocean view, with a lovely lanai to enjoy the cool breeze at night. 

Perhaps the biggest draw here is the property’s namesake beach, which isn’t just any ol’ stretch of sand. It’s arguably one of the best beaches on the Big Island, with soft white sand, turquoise water, and excellent snorkeling when the waves are calm. If you tire of Hapuna Beach, you can instead head to one of two pools at the property, including a 6,800 square foot freeform option or an adults-only infinity pool that overlooks the ocean. 

Man looking at a wave splashing against a boulder along the Green Sand Beach Trail on the Big Island of Hawaii

Additionally, the Westin shares a pristine golf course with its sister property, which offers views of its neighboring island, Maui, as well as an onsite spa and a fitness center. Admittedly, there are less activities and excursions at the Westin as compared to some of the other resorts that are at a higher price point, so this might be a better option for travelers who don’t anticipate spending all of their time at just the resort. 

There you have it—exactly where to stay in Kona, regardless of your budget. We’ve visited and stayed at properties all over the Big Island, so don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions in the comments below! 

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