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Kohanaiki, the club where billionaires vacation in Hawaii

By Madeline Stone

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 $25,000 (in addition to a one-time entrance fee of $150,000), Kohanaiki offers travelers 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-traveled, 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.

Kohanaiki is surrounded by lava flows, white-sand beaches, and bright blue waters.

Kohanaiki is surrounded by lava flows, white-sand beaches, and bright blue waters.

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The golf course is one obvious draw for vacationers …

The golf course is one obvious draw for vacationers ...

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… as is the beach and all of the activities it has to offer. Kohanaiki’s “A-Team” will take members surfing, snorkeling, scuba diving, and hiking.

... as is the beach and all of the activities it has to offer. Kohanaiki's "A-Team" will take members surfing, snorkeling, scuba diving, and hiking.

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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,” Punoose said.

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," Punoose said.

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One of the newest models is called the Hinahina residence, which has four bedrooms and 2,402 square feet of interior space.

One of the newest models is called the Hinahina residence, which has four bedrooms and 2,402 square feet of interior space.

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The homes have their own pool deck, which look out on the 7th fairway.

The homes have their own pool deck, which look out on the 7th fairway.

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The finishes are modern, yet distinctly Hawaiian.

The finishes are modern, yet distinctly Hawaiian.

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The Hinahina homes also have an outdoor shower.

The Hinahina homes also have an outdoor shower.

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“These homes are as custom as custom gets,” Punoose 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.”

"These homes are as custom as custom gets," Punoose 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."

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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.

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.

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Kohanaiki just completed the $65 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.

Kohanaiki just completed the $65 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.

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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.

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.

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The clubhouse’s spa treatments were created by Tracy Lee, owner of TLee Spas and the designer of spas at many Auberge Resorts.

The clubhouse's spa treatments were created by Tracy Lee, owner of TLee Spas and the designer of spas at many Auberge Resorts.

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There’s a rec room with shuffleboard, pool tables, and a long bar.

There's a rec room with shuffleboard, pool tables, and a long bar.

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There’s also a 21-seat movie theater …

There's also a 21-seat movie theater ...

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… and a four-lane bowling alley.

... and a four-lane bowling alley.

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This cigar lounge and poker den is very James Bond-esque.

This cigar lounge and poker den is very James Bond-esque.

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But if none of that is appealing, members can relax at the clubhouse’s pool, on the “yoga lawn,” or in the fitness studios.

But if none of that is appealing, members can relax at the clubhouse's pool, on the "yoga lawn," or in the fitness studios.

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“It’s a very social community,” Root said. “We try to utilize 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.

"It's a very social community," Root said. "We try to utilize 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.

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“The membership here is not restrained to the geographic location itself. We do a lot of traveling events with our members,” Punoose 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.

Source: Kohanaiki, the club where billionaires vacation in Hawaii – Business Insider