An average of eight million people visit the Hawaiian islands each year. But it’s not likely that many of those tourists will have an experience that parallels what members can have at Kohanaiki, an exclusive club near Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii.
With an annual membership fee of $A33,000 (in addition to a one-time entrance fee of $A135,000), Kohanaiki offers travellers a plethora of activities and real estate options to enjoy. Members can either purchase pre-constructed, fully furnished homes or build out custom homes themselves.
Several C-suite finance executives, as well as golf legend Ben Crenshaw, former tennis pro Lindsey Davenport, and Jacksonville Jaguar Davon House have all joined the club.
“Our members are a very well-travelled, sophisticated set. This is not the first high-end, private club that they’re a member of, and it’s not their first vacation home,” general manager George Punoose recently told Business Insider. “They’ve experienced the finest things in life and know what service and luxury is.”
Let’s take a tour of the 450-acre resort community where entrepreneurs, hedge funders, athletes, and entertainment industry pros vacation together.
... as is the beach and all of the activities it has to offer. Kohanaiki's 'A-Team' will take members surfing, snorkelling, scuba diving, and hiking.
Kohanaiki currently counts about 140 homeowners among its members, but it will limit the total to just over 380 families. 'We're moving faster than the speed of light right now,' Panoose said.
One of the newest models is called the Hinahina residence, which has four bedrooms and 2,402 square feet of interior space.
'These homes are as custom as custom gets,' Panoose said. 'Most of our members love the idea that they can just walk into their house, and all they have to bring is their toothbrush.'
But members can also choose to build their homes from the ground up, as long as the design keeps in line with the club's established guidelines. 'From lots to built homes to large built homes, it's been quite the mix,' president and CEO Joe Root said.
Kohanaiki just completed the $A86 million construction of its clubhouse, which covers 67,000 square feet of communal amenities. A new chop house and sushi bar by chef Patrick Heymann is opening on the top floor.
Included in the amenities are a wine cellar and locker where members can store their prized bottles. Kohanaiki often hosts wine tasting events with winery owners, many of whom can be counted among the club's membership. There's also a 300-square-foot brewery on the premises.
The clubhouse's spa treatments were created by Tracy Lee, owner of TLee Spas and the designer of spas at many Auberge Resorts.
But if none of that is appealing, members can relax at the clubhouse's pool, on the 'yoga lawn,' or in the fitness studios.
'It's a very social community,' Root said. 'We try to utilise all of the facilities and have different experiences at each one.' Recent events have included a dive-in movie night, brewmaster's dinner, a 'Luck of the Irish' golf tournament, and a New Year's bash that included performances by members of Journey, Kansas, Santana, The Rascals, and Kool & the Gang.
'The membership here is not restrained to the geographic location itself. We do a lot of travelling events with our members,' Panoose said. During a trip to Austin, for example, Kohanaiki members got to have cocktails at golfer Ben Crenshaw's house, where he showed off his trophies.
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