Kona Inn was built in 1928 by the Inter-Island Steam Navigation Company and during its heyday had 20 rooms booked solid for steamer passengers. With its saltwater swimming pool, tennis courts and cocktail lounge, it offered wealthy Kona residents the amenities of a country club. Responsible for the start of commercial tourism in the Kailua Kona area, the Kona Inn was built by Charles Dickey, an architect who created many of the state's impressive buildings. There was no-county water in Kailua until 1953 so the Kona Inn acquired a water system from an abandoned sugar mill. It piped water to the hotel and manager's quarters.
The Kona Inn had its last overnight guest in 1976. Today, it is home to the sprawling Kona Inn Shopping Village and Kona Inn Restaurant. In 1998, the Kona Inn celebrated its 70th year as a historical landmark to all the visitors and residents on the beautiful Kona Coast.