Travelers hoping to get close to the Aloha State's warm tropical water may want to consider a stay at the Lava Lava Beach Club, a new four-cottage property on the Big Island of Hawaii just 40 feet from the Pacific.
Welcoming its first guests in 2012, Lava Lava fronts stunning Anaeho'omalu Bay on 10 acres next to the Waikaloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa on the island's western Kohala coast. Featuring comfortable, high-end cottages, each equipped with, well-appointed kitchenettes, the cozy little resort offers visitors a laid-back contrast to some of the destination's larger hotel products.
"We're definitely not a hotel, but then we're not a condo property either," said Scott Dodd, one of the Lava Lava Beach Club's owners. "We offer a fair amount of service and definitely a lot of amenities, but we don't have that whole hotel experience."
Check-in, for example, doesn't require a signature; guests are encouraged to just drive up to their unlocked cottage and settle in. One of Lava Lava's managers arrives later to familiarize folks with the cottage, which is stocked with local specialty sodas and a bottle of wine and comes with complimentary continental breakfast each morning.
"We've tried to include a lot of things in the room rate and not be nickel-and-diming like some hotels do with resort fees," Dodd said. "We don't charge for Internet, and we don't charge for bottled water."
Another distinctive amenity guests appreciate is a koa wood ukulele they find hanging in the cottages on arrival, tuned up and ready to play.
"Everybody gets a kick out of that," he said. "You often see people out on their lanai, drinking a mai tai and trying to learn how to play the ukulele."
Lava Lava also provides stand-up paddleboards and kayaks so visitors can explore Anaeho'omalu Bay, a terrific place for snorkeling in the mornings that was loaded with Hawaiian green sea turtles during my recent visit.
"And the outdoor showers are probably the most popular part of the cottage experience," Dodd added, referring to the completely private, lava stone enclosed showers that allow guests to bathe in the fragrant Hawaiian air and warm sunshine.
"It's just a really unique thing many people from the mainland can't experience where they live," Dodd said.
A full-service, beachfront restaurant features live music nightly and draws a crowd of locals and guests from other properties.
Commissionable to agents, the Lava Lava Beach Club cottages start at $400 a night and require a two-night minimum. Visit www.lavalavabeachclub.com.