Exploring the Underwater Wonders of Sheraton Hotel Kona Manta Rays

If you’re looking for an unforgettable experience on the Big Island, then Sheraton Hotel Kona should definitely be on your list. The hotel offers a unique opportunity to witness the majestic manta rays up close and personal, right off their shores.

But, that’s not all this place has to offer. You can also explore the Kona Surf Hotel nearby, dine at the Manta Ray Bar and Grill or Sheraton Kona restaurant, or enjoy the breathtaking views of the Keauhou Bay from the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa.

However, if you’re new to the area, you might be wondering why the Sheraton Kona Resort once closed down, or where you can spot manta rays for free in Kona. Worry not, we’ve got you covered.

In this blog post, we’ll take you on a virtual tour to discover the amazing underwater world of the Sheraton Hotel Kona Manta Rays, the history of the resort, and some spectacular spots to catch glimpses of these graceful creatures without spending a dime. So, grab your snorkeling gear and let’s dive in to explore this fascinating part of Hawaii’s coastline.

The Kona Surf Hotel: A Surfer’s Paradise

Nestled in the heart of Kailua-Kona, the Kona Surf Hotel is a surfer’s paradise. With its prime location right on the oceanfront, this hotel offers stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and easy access to some of the best waves on the island of Hawaii.


The Kona Surf Hotel has 88 newly renovated rooms and suites, each featuring a private balcony or lanai with ocean views, perfect for catching the sunrise or sunset. The rooms are decorated in a contemporary Hawaiian style, with natural wood furnishings, tropical prints and vibrant accents that add a pop of color.


In addition to the prime location and beautiful accommodations, the Kona Surf Hotel offers a variety of amenities that cater to surfers and non-surfers alike. Some of the highlights include:

  • Private pool with ocean views
  • On-site restaurant serving local Hawaiian cuisine
  • Complimentary surfboard storage
  • Surfboard rentals and lessons available
  • Outdoor shower for rinsing off after a day at the beach


Located just a short drive from Sheraton Kona Resort and Spa at Keauhou Bay, the Kona Surf Hotel is in the perfect location to explore the island of Hawaii. Some of the top attractions nearby include:

  • Kahalu’u Beach Park, known for its crystal clear waters and abundant marine life
  • Kealakekua Bay, a popular spot for snorkeling and kayaking
  • Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park, a sacred Hawaiian site with historical significance


  • The Kona Surf Hotel offers some of the best accommodations for surfers and non-surfers alike.
  • With its prime location and stunning ocean views, this hotel is perfect for those looking for a true Hawaiian experience.
  • The hotel’s amenities cater to surfers, including complimentary surfboard storage and lessons.
  • The nearby attractions offer a range of activities for visitors to explore and enjoy.

Sheraton Keauhou Bay

Sheraton Keauhou Bay is another fantastic hotel option in Kona, Hawaii. Located just a few miles away from Sheraton Hotel Kona, this hotel is a great choice for those wanting to explore the area. Here are some of the top reasons why you should consider staying at Sheraton Keauhou Bay:

Oceanfront views

The hotel is located right on the ocean, giving guests stunning views of the water. Whether you’re enjoying a meal at one of the on-site restaurants or relaxing in your room, you’ll be able to take in some of the most beautiful sights that Kona has to offer.

Plenty of amenities

Sheraton Keauhou Bay is equipped with many amenities to make your stay as comfortable as possible. Some of the amenities include:

  • Multiple restaurants
  • Swimming pools
  • Fitness center
  • Spa services
  • Water sports equipment rentals

Cultural tours

One unique feature of Sheraton Keauhou Bay is the opportunity to take cultural tours that offer insight into the local history and traditions. These tours are a great way to learn more about the island’s past and connect with the community.

Convenient location

Sheraton Keauhou Bay is located near many of Kona’s top attractions. Whether you want to take a trip to a nearby beach, hike in the mountains, or explore the town, you’ll be just a short drive away.


The hotel is perfect for families, with activities for all ages. Kids will love the on-site swimming pools and water sports equipment, while parents can relax at the spa or take a cultural tour.

Overall, Sheraton Keauhou Bay is a fantastic hotel option for those traveling to Kona. With its oceanfront views, convenient location, and ample amenities, you’re sure to have a memorable stay.

Exploring Manta Point on the Big Island

One of the most iconic destinations in Hawaii is the Manta Point, located on the Big Island. It is well-known for being one of the few places in the world where you can go night snorkeling and see Hawaiian manta rays up close. Here are some things you need to know about Manta Point if you’re planning a visit to the area.

Best Time to Visit

Nighttime is the best time to visit Manta Point as it is when manta rays come out to feed on plankton that’s attracted by underwater lights. However, the season does play a critical role, and the best time to visit Manta Point is between June and October.

What to Expect at Manta Point

  • The Manta Point is a rock formation located at the end of a point on the Big Island.
  • To reach the Manta Point, the best way is to join a guided tour.
  • A boat will take you to the dive site, and you will be given a snorkel, mask, and a wetsuit.
  • Once you jump in the water, you’ll need to hold onto a floating device or a guide’s hand.
  • The diving group will form a circle by holding hands, and that’s when the show begins.
  • The guides will shine underwater lights in the water to attract plankton, which, in turn, attracts manta rays.
  • As the rays glide through the water, you will have a front-row seat to watch these giant creatures up close.
  • While the experience can be awe-inspiring, don’t get too close to the rays or touch them, as that can be dangerous for both you and the manta rays.

Tips for Manta Point Night Snorkeling

  • Wear a wetsuit, so you stay warm in the water.
  • If you’re not a strong swimmer, it’s essential to join a guided tour.
  • Bring an underwater camera or rent one to capture your experience.
  • Try to avoid wearing bright colors or strong perfumes, which can deter plankton from coming to the surface.
  • Respect the environment and its inhabitants at all times.

In conclusion, a visit to Manta Point on the Big Island is a unique experience that is not to be missed. The sight of manta rays gliding through the water under the stars is a magical one that will leave you with memories that will last a lifetime.

Manta Ray Bar and Grill at Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa

If you’re looking for a place to unwind after a long day of exploring Kona’s exciting attractions, Manta Ray Bar and Grill is an excellent spot to consider. Located at the magnificent Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa, this restaurant is known for its unique Hawaiian-inspired cuisine, signature cocktails, and beautiful ocean views.

In this section, we’ll break down everything you need to know about Manta Ray Bar and Grill, from its menu options to its location and ambiance.

Menu Options

The Manta Ray Bar and Grill offers a wide variety of tropical drinks and delicious dishes, all served in a casual yet elegant atmosphere. Whether you’re craving a light lunch or a fancy dinner, this restaurant has something for you. Here are some of our top picks:

  • Grilled Kona Lobster with garlic butter: This signature dish is a must-try for seafood lovers. It’s cooked to perfection and served with a side of rice and vegetables.

  • Kona Coffee BBQ Glazed Pork Ribs: These juicy pork ribs are glazed with delicious Kona coffee BBQ sauce, served with a side of fries, and perfectly paired with a local beer.

  • Manta Ray Mai Tai: This refreshing cocktail is made with pineapple juice, coconut cream, and a generous pour of rum, garnished with a slice of pineapple and a cherry on top.


The Manta Ray Bar and Grill is located at the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa, a stunning oceanfront property situated on the lava rocks of the Kona Coast. The restaurant is easily accessible from the lobby, and it offers both indoor and outdoor seating options.


The restaurant’s ambiance is one of its most attractive features. With its open-air design and panoramic ocean views, Manta Ray Bar and Grill offers the perfect setting to watch the sunset while sipping on a delicious drink and enjoying superb cuisine. The friendly staff and laid-back atmosphere also make it a great place to gather with friends, family, or colleagues.

Overall, Manta Ray Bar and Grill is an excellent dining option for anyone looking for a comfortable, upscale experience. With its delicious food, tropical cocktails, stunning views, and relaxing ambiance, it’s no wonder why this restaurant is a favorite among locals and tourists alike.

So, the next time you find yourself in Kona, make sure to stop by Manta Ray Bar and Grill, and treat yourself to an unforgettable dining experience.

Sheraton Kona Hotel: A Haven for Manta Ray Lovers

Sheraton Kona Restaurant: Taste of Paradise

Aside from the breathtaking view of the ocean and the opportunity to see the playful manta rays, the Sheraton Kona Hotel offers an array of dining options that caters to everyone’s taste. The hotel’s restaurants are graced with Hawaii’s local cuisine, blended with an international twist that will leave you salivating for more. Here’s what you need to know about Sheraton Kona restaurant:

Rays on the Bay

For guests who crave local seafood, Rays on the Bay serves a variety of freshly caught fish and shellfish that are grilled to perfection. Diners can enjoy their meals while watching the playful manta rays dance in the water beneath them. Here are some of the highlights of Rays on the Bay:

  • The restaurant opens for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, serving as an all-round dining venue.
  • Guests can dine outside, overlooking the ocean and the manta rays below.
  • The “catch of the day” offers a different seafood dish every day.
  • The restaurant has an extensive wine list, with a focus on local Hawaiian wines.
  • On Thursdays and Saturdays, live music adds to the already magical ambiance of the restaurant.


Ainakai offers a more upscale dining experience, suitable for intimate dinners, weddings, and milestone celebrations. The restaurant provides an elevated dining experience, focusing on fresh and locally grown ingredients. Here are some highlights of Ainakai:

  • The restaurant occupies an outdoor patio setting overlooking the pool.
  • The menu offers an excellent selection of seafood and meat dishes.
  • They serve a traditional Hawaiian “luau” dinner buffet every Monday and Wednesday.
  • A substantial wine cellar offers an exclusive selection of wine and cocktails.
  • The modern design of the restaurant adds to its upscale ambiance.

Keauhou Bay Coffee Company

For those who need a quick energy boost, Keauhou Bay Coffee Company has got you covered. The coffee shop offers an excellent selection of Hawaiian coffee and teas, coupled with pastries and snacks that will satisfy your cravings. Here are some highlights of Keauhou Bay Coffee Company:

  • The coffee shop is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
  • Freshly brewed Kano coffee will keep you energized throughout your stay.
  • They offer a variety of grab-and-go snacks and pastries.

Whether you come to Sheraton Kona for the playful manta rays or the delicious dining options, your experience will be unforgettable. The hotel’s restaurants offer a unique blend of local Hawaiian cuisine and globally-inspired dishes, all of which are made with fresh ingredients. You’ll leave the Sheraton Kona knowing that you have just enjoyed a taste of paradise.

Why the Sheraton Kona closed

The Sheraton Kona was a prominent hotel located on the west coast of the Big Island of Hawaii. It was known for its stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and the yearly manta ray migration. However, in October of 2020, the Sheraton Kona announced its permanent closure. Here are some reasons why the Sheraton Kona shut down:

Economic Challenges

The COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on the hotel industry, particularly in Hawaii, where tourism is a critical component of the local economy. With travel restrictions, lockdowns, and reduced occupancy rates, many hotels in Hawaii have struggled to stay afloat. The Sheraton Kona was no exception and ultimately succumbed to the economic difficulties brought on by the pandemic.

Ownership Changes

Another reason for the Sheraton Kona’s closure was the ownership changes that occurred over the years. The hotel went through several owners, including the Blackstone Group, which acquired the property in 2014. Unfortunately, the investment firm was unable to turn the hotel’s fortunes around, and by 2020, they decided to close it permanently.

Aging Infrastructure

The Sheraton Kona was first opened in the early 1970s and had been operational for almost 50 years. As the hotel aged, it required significant maintenance and upgrades to keep up with modern standards. The cost of renovating the hotel proved to be too high, and the owners decided to shutter it instead.


The hotel industry in Hawaii is incredibly competitive, with many high-end resorts and hotels vying for a limited pool of tourists. The Sheraton Kona faced stiff competition from other hotels in the area, and it struggled to remain profitable in the face of cheaper and more attractive options for visitors.

Inconvenient Location

Finally, the Sheraton Kona’s location may have contributed to its closure. While the hotel offered breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean, it was situated on the western side of the Big Island, away from the major tourist hubs. This made it less accessible to visitors who wanted to explore the island’s attractions, and it may have ultimately hurt the hotel’s bottom line.

In conclusion, the Sheraton Kona’s closure was the result of a combination of economic challenges, ownership changes, an aging infrastructure, competition from other hotels, and an inconvenient location. While it’s always sad to see a prominent hotel close its doors, the Sheraton Kona’s legacy will remain a part of Hawaii’s tourism history.

Outrigger Kona Manta Ray Viewing

After experiencing the captivating sight of manta rays at Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa, head over to the Outrigger Kona Resort for another exciting manta ray viewing adventure. Here’s what you need to know about Outrigger Kona manta ray viewing:


Outrigger Kona Resort & Spa is located on Keauhou Bay in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. The resort is conveniently situated near the ocean, which is perfect for spotting manta rays.


Outrigger Kona Resort offers a unique and immersive manta ray viewing experience. Here’s what you can expect:

  • The tour takes place at night, which is the best time to spot manta rays.
  • You will board a boat and sail into the middle of the ocean where you will get a stunning view of the mantas gliding gracefully through the water.
  • The boat is equipped with lights that attract plankton, which in turn attracts the manta rays.
  • Expert guides will accompany you on the tour and provide information and insights about the manta rays and their habitat.
  • You don’t need a lot of swimming experience to participate in this tour, but it’s essential to be comfortable in the water.

What to Bring

To ensure maximum comfort and enjoyment on the manta ray viewing tour, it’s advisable to bring along the following items:

  • Swimwear
  • Towel
  • Waterproof camera
  • Sunscreen
  • Light jacket


The cost of the tour varies depending on the package you choose. Check the Outrigger Kona Resort & Spa website for the latest rates and packages.

Outrigger Kona Resort & Spa provides another exciting opportunity to witness the beauty of manta rays in their natural habitat. With expert guides and an immersive experience, it’s an adventure that’s sure to leave a lasting impression. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture these magnificent creatures and create lasting memories.

Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay: A Relaxing Island Getaway

Located on the western coast of Hawaii’s Big Island, the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay is a beautiful destination for those looking for a peaceful getaway. Nestled amongst stunning natural beauty and situated on historic grounds, you’ll find everything you need for an unforgettable stay.


At the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay, you can choose from a variety of accommodations, including:

  • Guest Rooms: Relax in a cozy room with a private balcony or lanai overlooking the ocean or tropical gardens.
  • Suites: Make your stay even more luxurious with a spacious suite featuring a separate living area and a larger lanai.
  • Ohana Suites: Perfect for families, these suites offer additional bedrooms and bathrooms and are located close to the resort’s pools and beach.

No matter which option you choose, you’ll enjoy comfortable furnishings, modern amenities, and breathtaking views.


At the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay, you have a wide range of dining options, including:

  • Ainakai: Offering a breakfast buffet and à la carte menu featuring island favorites and continental classics.
  • Rays on the Bay: Enjoy oceanfront dining with stunning views of Keauhou Bay and live music. This restaurant is well-known for its manta ray viewing in the evening.
  • Holua Poolside Bar & Lounge: Serves appetizers, sandwiches, salads, and drinks.
  • Keauhou Bay Coffee Company: A great place to start your day with freshly brewed coffee, espresso drinks, and pastries.

Activities and Amenities

The Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay features many activities and amenities to keep you entertained throughout your stay, including:

  • Ocean sports: Kayaks, SUP, snorkeling, and deep-sea fishing tours, and glass-bottom boat tours can be arranged from the hotel’s Paddle Shack.
  • Spa: Indulge in a relaxing massage or facial treatment at Ho’ola Spa. The spa features indoor and outdoor treatment rooms, steam rooms, and a hot tub.
  • Pools: Choose from two oceanfront outdoor pools or the indoor pool with a waterfall.
  • Fitness Center: Get your heart pumping with cardio and weight-training equipment.
  • Cultural Activities: Learn about Hawaiian culture through hula lessons, lei-making classes, and cultural walks.

The Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay offers guests a relaxing and enjoyable stay on Hawaii’s Big Island. With comfortable accommodations, delectable dining options, and a wide range of activities and amenities, this resort is the perfect place to unwind and experience the beauty of Hawaii.

What Happened to the Sheraton Kona Resort

The Sheraton Kona Resort was a popular vacation destination located on the Big Island of Hawaii. Unfortunately, the resort experienced a significant setback that ultimately led to its closure. Here’s what happened:

The Closure of Sheraton Kona Resort

  1. In 2018, the Sheraton Kona Resort was forced to close due to extensive damage from a volcanic eruption.

  2. The Kilauea Volcano erupted, sending a massive ash cloud into the air and causing widespread damage across the island.

  3. The ash cloud caused significant damage to the resort’s infrastructure, including its electrical system, communication lines, and sewage system.

  4. The resort was closed for several months while repairs and renovations were completed, but ultimately it was determined that it would be too expensive to restore the property.

The Future of the Sheraton Kona Resort

  1. Despite the unfortunate closure of the Sheraton Kona Resort, plans are in the works to develop a new resort in its place.

  2. The new resort will be called the Kona Kai Resort & Spa, and it’s set to open in late 2021.

  3. The new resort will offer all the amenities of the original Sheraton Kona Resort, plus some new additions, such as a rooftop bar and a renovated spa.

  4. The Kona Kai Resort & Spa will also have a strong focus on sustainability, with initiatives including solar panels, electric car charging stations, and reusable water bottles for guests.

Although the closure of the Sheraton Kona Resort was unfortunate, it’s exciting to see a new resort rising in its place. The Kona Kai Resort & Spa promises to offer an even better vacation experience than its predecessor, complete with all the amenities and activities that made the Sheraton Kona Resort such a popular destination. If you’re planning a trip to the Big Island of Hawaii, be sure to check out the Kona Kai Resort & Spa and see all that this new resort has to offer.

Where to spot Manta Rays for free in Kona

Kona is a great place to witness a grand spectacle of gentleness: the graceful manta rays. If you’re eager to catch a glimpse of these majestic creatures without spending a dime, get ready to explore some of the best free spots around Kona.

Here are some top locations where you can see manta rays for free in Kona:

Keauhou Bay

Keauhou Bay is a fantastic spot where you can observe manta rays without taking a boat tour. For the best viewing experience, take a stroll to the Sheraton Kona Resort and Spa Hotel, located on the southern end of the bay. The hotel has built a light above the water, which attracts plankton and, in turn, invites manta rays. You can watch them from the hotel’s balcony, or you can grab your snorkel gear and witness them up close and personal in their natural habitat.

Kona Coast

Another excellent place to see manta rays for free is the Kona Coast. The coastline is famous for various beaches and lagoons, serving as the manta rays’ natural feeding grounds. Just head out for a night swim, and you might get lucky to spot them swimming past you.

Kahaluu Beach Park

Kahaluu Beach Park is a popular spot with locals and tourists alike and is famous for its crystal clear waters and diverse marine life. The park often attracts manta rays due to its well-lit waters. Just find a patch of reef and sit/float quietly and wait for these incredible creatures to glide past you.

Old Kona Airport State Park

Old Kona Airport State Park is a beautiful beach park located in Kona and is known for its less crowded, peaceful surroundings. It’s also the perfect place for manta ray viewing. The shallow waters provide an ideal environment for the rays to hunt for plankton, and the mild currents around the pier keep the water clear and inviting for snorkeling.

Honokohau Harbor

Honokohau Harbor is a popular spot for both snorkeling and diving, offering visitors an up-close encounter with marine life. Manta rays are often seen here, and if you’re lucky, you might even spot them from the shores.

Final verdict

There are plenty of free options when it comes to observing manta rays in Kona. Whether it’s at Keauhou Bay, the Kona Coast, Kahaluu Beach Park, Old Kona Airport State Park, or Honokohau Harbor, you’re sure to have a fantastic time.

Remember, manta rays are wild animals and should be treated with respect. Be careful not to touch the animals or disturb their natural habitat. Keep your distance and take only memories, photos, and videos with you.

Can You Spot Manta Rays from the Sheraton in Kona

If you’re planning a trip to Kona and staying at the Sheraton hotel, your chances of spotting beautiful manta rays are pretty high. Below are some of the reasons why this is possible:

Proximity to Manta Ray Viewing Sites

The Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay is strategically located near excellent manta ray viewing sites. The most popular one is McMurphy’s Point, located just a few yards from the hotel. The other viewing spots are easy to access as well, either by boat or by a short drive from the hotel.

Activities Organized by the Hotel

The Sheraton Kona organizes night snorkeling tours to view manta rays at McMurphy’s Point. The tours are guided by experts in a controlled and safe environment. The hotel also provides all the necessary snorkeling equipment, and the guides are happy to assist you throughout the tour.

Best Time to View Manta Rays

The best time to view manta rays is during the Hawaiian winter months between November and May. During this period, the manta rays travel from shallow waters to the viewing sites to feed on plankton attracted by the light. Additionally, the water temperature is warmer during this period, and the waves are much calmer.

Tips for a Great Manta Ray Viewing Experience

Here are some tips to ensure you have a memorable manta ray viewing experience:

  • sheraton hotel kona manta rays

    Dress comfortably and in warm clothes. It can get chilly during the night.

  • sheraton hotel kona manta rays

    Bring an underwater camera or rent one from the hotel. You’ll want to capture the moment for posterity.

  • Be patient. Sometimes, it may take a few minutes of waiting before the manta rays show up.

  • Follow the guide’s instructions. The guides are there to keep you safe and to ensure the manta rays are not disturbed.

In conclusion, seeing manta rays from the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa is a breathtaking experience that you don’t want to miss. The perfect location, hotel activities, and the best time to view these majestic creatures make the experience unforgettable.

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