Shandelle Battersby checks into the Royal Sea Cliff Kona by Outrigger, Hawaii Island.


A few minutes out of the busy, fun town of Kailua-Kona on the west coast of Hawaii Island, known by locals as the Big Island. Just a 30-minute drive south from the airport, the tiered resort is situated on a lava rock bluff, which is perpetually pounded with big waves - a spectacular sight.

Check-in experience: The Royal Sea Cliff is an enormous property and the open-air lobby suitably chaotic, with people everywhere - but checking in is very quick. After check-in, someone from the activities desk gives you a welcome pack featuring maps and other information, including the schedule of weekly events. Monday is Sunset by the Sea Party day, with drinks, canapes and live music, while Friday is Mahalo Party day, where you can learn to make your own lei, listen to more music, and try some local specialties. Car parking is all underground, accessed with a swipecard. Don't lose it.


Room: A one-bedroom ocean-view condo with two generous lanai (balconies), washer/dryer, enormous, fully equipped kitchen, big dining, full lounge, lots of books, and air-conditioning. There were some nifty Inter-Island Airways vintage prints on the wall, and the cushion covers were bright and colourful.

A room with a view? Yes, of the picturesque Kona Coast.

Price: From $320 per night for a minimum two-night stay, plus a departure cleaning fee of US$110-$195 (depending on room size). Parking is free and there is no resort fee.

What's so good about this place? It's very private and quiet and the outlook is gorgeous.

And the bad: The walk into town is a bit of a hike and it's on a busy road - it would be great if they'd managed to put some sort of beach walkway in, but the size of the surf crashing against the seawall means this would require dancing with the devil.

What's in the neighbourhood? Many small coffee plantations, a Walmart and Safeway, and the site where Captain Cook met his demise at the hands of angry Hawaiians in 1779.

The Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is a two-hour drive, and I'd recommend going the south coast way so you can stop at Punalu'u Black Sand Beach and see its sea turtles.

Closer to home is the Kahalu'u Beach Park, which is great for snorkelling and sunbathing.


Toiletries: A basic offering of Outrigger's own brand - Hawaii Vacation Condos by Outrigger - shampoo, soap and body lotion.

Food and drink: Activities briefings with a continental breakfast are held Saturday, Sunday and Monday, but other than that, you're on your own. Definitely have a look at Chillin' on the Bay in town, a very relaxed beach bar with excellent poke, a cool vibe, plus great views of the sunset. The bed: King-sized.

Bathroom: A shower/tub combo.

Noise: Just from those magnificent waves.

Facilities: There are two pools (one family, one "quiet") and a spa pool, and there's also a tennis court, ping pong table, board games, sauna and barbecue area. The grounds are tropical and lush, with lots of greenery and water features. Guests can learn hula and to play the ukulele.

Free Wi-Fi? Yes.


Perfect for: Groups of mates, couples, families.