Business Monday: Kona Village named among the best new resorts in North America and Europe in 2024

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Kona Village, a Rosewood Resort, is receiving recognition for its luxury and authenticity only a year after its reopening after being shuttered for more than 10 years.

In a lifestyle article published in Esquire magazine on April 9, Kona Village, located nine miles north of Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport, was the only Hawai‘i hotel named among the 41 best new hotels in North America and Europe for 2024.

Lanai of king suite at Kona Village, a Rosewood Resort. (Tiffany DeMasters/Big Island Now)

the resort’s managing director Daniel Scott said it’s a privilege to be recognized by Esquire as one of the top new properties in the world.

“We’re thrilled to be the sole Hawai‘i resort featured on the list, making us a standout for readers,” Scott said. “What sets Kona Village apart is its vibrant history, diverging from typical island resorts.

“From its origins as a fishing village to its evolution into a 1960s getaway, the mana, or unique energy, has endured. We’re proud to rejuvenate this legacy, blending old traditions with new, shaping the village’s exciting future.”


The article writes that the bohemian yet exclusive getaway gained a loyal clientele—Jim Morrison drank here, and it was one of Steve Jobs’s hideouts—before the beloved North Kona hideaway was shuttered in disrepair following a tsunami in 2011.

One of the six suites at Kona Village, a Rosewood Resort, rebuilt on its original foundation before being destroyed in the 2011 tsunami. (Tiffany DeMasters/Big Island Now)

The property remained that way until 2017 when the Kennedy Wilson and Emerson Collective purchased it and started working on the renovation. It reopened on July 1, 2023, now as a Rosewood Resort.

This stretch of North Kona coastline has black sand beaches and was once home to a fishing village in the year 1000.

Crushed coral pathways weave throughout the 81-acre property with 150 thatched-roof bungalows. Five are called legacy hale because their structures were rebuilt on foundations laid out when the resort originally opened in 1966.


Historical sites and petroglyphs were painstakingly preserved throughout the renovation of the resort. The southern end of the resort abuts Four Seasons Hualālai and stretches three-quarters of a mile north and about a third of a mile inland.

Esquire declares Kona Village is one of the most authentic-feeling Hawaiian resorts on the island.

“Many places on the island are ultimately big buildings from big brands that have Hawaiian touches here and there,” the article states. “Hawaii-themed, if you will. But Kona Village is the kind of place where ancient sites and trails and ponds are preserved and feel incorporated into this land’s legacy in a more intrinsic way.

“It is still a Rosewood, however. Luxury abounds.”


Amenities include a spa that overlooks the lava fields; kauhale can come with multiple bedrooms and outdoor showers; each guest gets their own bike; and a spectacularly large infinity pool overlooking the Pacific.

“The property’s recognition is all about its ability to make travel magic happen, a key factor Esquire sought in each award-winning hotel,” Scott said. “With the collaborative effort of Kennedy Wilson, Rosewood Hotels and Resorts, and a cultural committee of locals and native Hawaiians, something truly extraordinary has been born.

“Here, guests not only soak in the island’s beauty but also dive into standout amenities and offerings that fully immerse them in the vibrant spirit of Hawai’i and Aloha.”

Click here for information about Kona Village and to get room rates.

Tiffany DeMasters
Tiffany DeMasters is a full-time reporter for Pacific Media Group. Tiffany worked as the cops and courts reporter for West Hawaii Today from 2017 to 2019. She also contributed stories to Ke Ola Magazine and Honolulu Civil Beat.

Tiffany can be reached at [email protected].
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