At 2,600 feet elevation, Waimea is often 10 degrees or more cooler than the Kohala Coast, but it’s only a 20-minute drive to the beach, making this ranch-inspired boutique inn a great alternative. Foodies will love that it also lies less than a block from some of the Big Island’s best restaurants, including the original Merriman’s, which decades ago helped start the local farm-to-table trend known as Hawai‘i Regional Cuisine. Built as a motel in the 1930s, and expanded in the 1960s, the 31-room inn (named for the town’s alternative moniker used in addresses) has been carefully renovated with rustic-chic style. such as horseshoe towel racks in the attractive bathrooms tucked behind sliding barn doors. Larger rooms and suites come with modern kitchenettes or full kitchens, respectively, and various bed configurations suitable for families or small groups.
Photo: Kamuela Inn