Hawaii's destination resorts are pricey, $500 a night and up, up, up. But to visit them is free. And many of the best resorts have museum-quality artwork, entertainment, exhibits, special events, botanitcal gardens, and poolside architecture that will curl your toes. The Grand Hyatt Kauai (above) features a man-made saltwater lagoon, set alongside a sprawling pool.
Using pools is of course limited to guests, but hotels commonly will offer paid day passes. On the other hand, all the beaches in Hawaii including those in front of resorts are open to the public.
The resort strip in Wailea features several high-end resorts, all linked by an oceanside path that extends several miles to the beach parks in adjacent Kihei.
The pool at the Grand Wailea seems to sprawl over acres and is bordered by lawn sculpture.
Wailea has five public access parking lots. Same goes for the similar resort strip of Ka'anapali north of Lahaina on Maui, which also has a long walking path. The view at the St. Regis Princeville on the north shore of Kauai is mind boggling. South Kohala on the Big Island has quite a few fabulous resorts that have an entrance gate—Mauna Kea, Mauna Lani, Fairmont Orchid and the Four Seasons. The Hilton in South Kohala is like Disneyland. On busy days the entrance gate is a minor obstacle, if you know how to play it.
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Trailblazers have all the tips on visiting dozens of resorts in the Islands—all freebies.