A Peaceful Haven at Hualalai

Bask in this Balinese-style abode

Perched on its eyrie at the top of Kona’s Hualalai Resort, this $20 million home is a resort unto itself. Perhaps the greatest dilemma here is whether to stay in or go out. Relax by the infinity pool, basking in the vast Pacific view? Or venture out on the championship golf course? Take in a movie in your own private theatre? Or head on down to the Hualalai Grill by Alan Wong for a bite to eat?

It’s the best of both worlds and the best of everything at Hualalai.

The home is one of the premier residences at Hualalai, one of the five fine resorts sprinkled along Kona’s “Gold Coast.” At Hualalai, the $225,000 premier membership and annual fees give residents their own private paradise, including full access to the Four Seasons Hualalai and exclusive amenities including restaurants, golf courses and a spa. This has become a popular gathering spot for some of the big names in Mainland business, says Realtor Frank Schenk, who specializes in the area for C and H Properties.

The 865-acre resort is carved out of the sun-drenched slopes of the Hualalai volcano, where ribs of jagged black lava jut from seas of soft golden grass. The portal to this resort home is through two massive Balinese-style doors. An inner courtyard fills with gentle breezes and the sound of trickling water from the koi pond. The views from this serene oasis stretch over the resort’s emerald slopes and on to Maui.

The owner, a Japanese businessman, saw the home while it was still under construction and immediately fell in love with the view, says Schenk, his agent. He now enjoys it as a private retreat.

With this home, developer and builder Kent Johnsen of California’s Renaissance Custom Builders set out to create a resort within a resort. He pulled his design inspiration from Bali and wove in details from old Hawaii. The thought that went into the design can be seen in the fine details, including a repeating motif in the custom woodwork that was taken from a favorite brooch of Queen Kapiolani.

The home floats high on an airy view so Johnsen anchored it with strong, hand-distressed floors and rough-hewn beam ceilings. An earthy color palette flows seamlessly through the five-bedroom home, echoing the tawny colors found on the volcanic slopes outside.

A favorite gathering spot is the outside lanai, where deep eaves provide a cool lounge and the pool’s vanishing edge laps onto the quartzite tiling. Finished in a midnight blue, the pool mirrors the sky above, inviting you to dive in and enjoy the sound from the underwater speakers.

Beneath the plush comfort, this home is fully loaded. Command central is a Crestron remote control. With a push of a button, the homeowner can tweak the air conditioning, turn on lights, ignite the tiki torches or retrieve information from the weather station that sits just outside.

There are televisions of every shape and size throughout the home, but Johnsen used the latest technology to ensure they are discreetly tucked away – screens rise out of cabinets, emerge from behind pieces of original art and hide behind the vanity mirrors in the master bath.

The west wing houses the master suite. A beautifully carved four-posted bed enjoys the ambience of a double-sided fireplace with an Italian fossil stone hearth. The suite also includes an office and a sitting room with an invitingly cushioned punee (couch or day bed). There is a champagne bubble tub with built-in copper champagne bucket and a private shower garden where an ofuro soaking tub sits amid black lava rock, tiki torches and tropical foliage. The walk-in closet even includes its own private washer and dryer. (Not that you have to be worrying about the laundry: The resort does include an army of backup staff from housekeepers to engineers to landscapers.)

Just off the formal dining area is an exquisite wine cellar in ceiling-to-floor wood with drawers made from old wine cases. The kitchen features a massive island with bar seating and the latest in appliances and amenities, and a casual dining area opens out onto the inner courtyard.

The courtyard leads to a private guest cottage called the “ohana room,” and to the east wing, which is the home’s own private resort. Catch a movie in the 10-seat theatrette – the bomber-jacket leather seats must rank as the most comfortable anywhere, and the surround sound system has had no expense spared. Tired of the movies? There’s a golf simulator, where you can practice your swing at any number of the world’s famous courses. Or you can work out in the gym, which is complete with massage tables, a sauna and steam room, locker room and shower.

The front of the home is also where you will find one of Hualalai’s ubiquitous cart barns. At Hualalai, electric golf carts are the perfect, breezy mode of transport – if you choose to go out, that is.

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