Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, Big Island, Hawaii

This is a great place to relax in the lap of luxury. Low-rise clusters of oceanview villas nestle between the sea and the greens of a new golf course. The Four Seasons has no concrete corridors and no massive central building — it looks like a two-story town-house project, surrounding three seaside swimming pools and a snorkeling pond. Guest rooms are furnished in Pacific tropical style: light gold walls, hand-knotted rugs over clay-colored slate, and rattan-and-bamboo settees. The ground-level rooms have bathrooms with private outdoor gardens — surrounded by black-lava rock and a bamboo roof — so you can shower under the tropical sun or nighttime stars. All units have new flatscreen TVs.

If you can afford it, this is the place to be pampered — sit back and relax as the pool attendants bring you ice-cold water, chilled towels, and fresh-fruit kabobs. Other pluses include a Hawaiian history and cultural interpretive center, twice-daily maid service, and a multilingual concierge. The spa has been selected by Condé Nast Traveler magazine as the world’s best resort spa. One of the five pools is a saltwater pond carved out of black-lava rock with reef fish swimming about. The new Lava Lounge offers exotic martinis, entertainment, and the best view for watching the sun sink into the Pacific.  Your kids will be pampered, too — the complimentary Kids for All Seasons program features plenty of activities to keep the little ones busy. The resort also offers children’s menus in all restaurants, a game room, videos, complimentary infant gear (cribs, highchairs, and so on), and more

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