I asked my husband what was most memorable to him about the Four Seasons and this is what he said.  “I love how we get there at night and you drive down this long road and there’s this anticipation.  You pull up to the main building and are greeted so warmly, it’s so quiet, and you’re just taken care of.  Then you go to your room, go to sleep in this awesome bed with the sound of the ocean, and then when you wake up and open the blinds in the morning, you’re greeted with this stunning view.  I’m smiling now, just thinking about it.

My husband and I recently had the great fortune to spend 13 days at the Four Seasons Hualalai Resort on the Big Island of Hawaii.  This marked our third visit to this little piece of heaven; all due to my husband’s great fortune to race Ironman Kona.

We have spent our fair share at island resorts from the Caribbean to Belize to the Seychelles to Hawaii.  You see, my husband is an “I want a beach vacation to do nothing each year type person”.  We also used to live in California, so spent vacations in Hawaii, our favorite being Lanai.  That said, we were actually married on the Big Island, yikes 20 years ago, at what was the Ritz Carlton and is now the Fairmont.

But, when we had to choose a hotel for our first visit back in many years, the Four Seasons won hands down.  Now, to be fair to the other resorts on the island, a big reason we did choose the Four Seasons is because it’s far enough out to be away from the chaos of Kona, but close enough to not take long to get into town.  Convenience does matter in this case…

DETAILS

Okay, I have to start this off with what the hotel staff did for my husband to endear them to us.  When we arrived, they brought over a welcoming gift with his Ironman race number and items a triathlete would use, such as Gatorade, Gu, energy bars, etc.  Then, when the race was over, they brought another one for relaxation, with a sand bucket, Kona Brewing beer, cold packs, etc. with a finish line arch and his time.  Wow, was my trihubby impressed and since it made him smile, it made me smile…It’s these special touches that sets a resort apart from the rest.

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It’s these special touches that keep guests coming back…

Now, on to the details.  The Four Seasons certainly seems to work well for adults and families.  I say this because even though we were 2 adults, plenty of people had kids of all ages, especially a lot of babies.  What we like is that one part of the resort is designated for adults only and even has a swimming pool with a bar.  This is the side we always stay on.

Some points to know or consider:

  • It is not an inexpensive resort and you are going to pay for views (all are ocean front) and how close you want to be to the ocean.  They do have offers, such as 50% off your second room and credits based on how long you are staying – all worth checking out.
  • It’s kind of a mid-size resort with 243 rooms, but never seems overwhelming at the time of year we have been there.  We were told, however, by people who visit all the time, that it is VERY crowded during the holidays and guests vie for beach chairs.  This has happened to us at other resorts during this time, so we tend to travel off-peak…
  • The best thing we really like to do is NOTHING!  There are so many places just to sit and read a book, including well placed hammocks.  You really don’t even have to leave the resort, but the Big Island is full of so many things to do that you HAVE TO LEAVE!

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    Life is easy in a hammock…

  • While the resort has a gorgeous white-sand beach, it is not really a swim and frolic in the water-type beach.  The surf is very rough and rocks abound.  They do have one sheltered area for people to use, but most seem to sit in the beach chairs or use one of the 7 pool areas, including a saltwater pool.  I have to say that the Mauna Kea Beach Resort has the most beautiful beach…
  • It’s about a 15 minute drive from the airport – straight shot down the Queen K.
  • You can valet and or self park – we choose to self park and enjoy the walk and views and not pay the daily fee.
  • Absolutely every single staff member who walks by you says Aloha and smiles and I mean every single one…
  • There is a really nice jogging path that goes along the water and then into the residential area.  The resort does include residential properties if you’re interested…

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    Available for a leisurely stroll or a pre Kona race run…

THE ROOMS

We have been staying in an Ocean View room with a king bed during our stays.  Our second year we had the fortune of getting upgraded to a suite, because the room we were assigned to was damaged.  We were told not to expect this routinely…darn…The room is quite spacious (625 sq. ft.) and a suite is certainly wasted on the 2 of us;  well, I should say the 3 of us, as we always have the tribike in tow!  Suffice to say the rooms are first class, with super comfortable beds, a very attentive  housekeeping staff, coffee makers, great bath products…

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Our ocean view room with a balcony…

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The view from our balcony…

AMENITIES

I have to say one of the biggest things that made us so happy this year was that wi-fi was free.  They had actually charged during our previous visits and this irked us, especially my husband, to no end.  When you are paying these prices for rooms, you do not expect to be charged for wi-fi.  Seriously?  He told them last time when we checked out, he’d rather have them add $10 onto the room rate, which he’d never realize, then be charged for wi-fi.  So, thank you for changing your policy.  But, very curious if they increased the room rate…

The Four Seasons offers it all in terms of amenities and services, so I don’t think I have to give you a list and everything is REALLY nice.  They can also help arrange any trip off the resort that you care to do.  But, if you are a triathlete family or are staying for more than a few days or have kids or just  hate to pay laundry service costs, you will understand why this is so important – they have free washer and dryer rooms on the premises.  This is vital when you’re rooming with a triathlete who is running and biking every day in heat and humidity.  The only downside is I have to do laundry on vacation, which is NOT what I want to do…

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Pretty much anything you want to do…

There’s also several high-end shops on the property if you need to get your shopping fix while vacationing or want to take home some local jewelry or hand-made silk scarves.  A probably overlooked shop by most is the golf shop, but they carry really cute casual wear besides golfing attire.  Oh, they also have a general store that you can buy food, Kona coffee, booze, sundries, and local wares, which is quite convenient and even has a gas pump.

DINING

There are three restaurants on the premises with several bars, giving you plenty of variety from fresh, local fish and ingredients from local farms – the Beach Tree, Ulu Ocean Grill, and Hualalai Grille.  The first two are on the beach and the grille (steak) overlooks the golf course and has a big screen TV for watching sports.  They have absolutely no problem accommodating any dietary restrictions.  There is also a very casual residents-only restaurant that is open to resort guests for lunch and dinner, but that most guests seem to have no idea exists.

I certainly advise making dinner reservations, especially for weekends as they do turn people away, even if you are a guest.  They do not take lunch reservations.  You can also choose to dine right on the beach and they will set this up for you.  We have seen both couples and groups do this.

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The Four Seasons Hualalai dining options…

As you can tell, we really like the Four Seasons Hualalai resort and the Big Island.  It is gorgeous, offers everything we love to do, has some really nice restaurants, is comfortable to us and beginning to feel more like home…So, I just want to end with a collage of some sunsets we were privy to during this most recent visit.  Enjoy…

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Sunsets enjoyed at the Four Seasons Hualalai.

I wish I was comped for our stay, but we paid our own way.  But, I can honestly say my opinion would be the same, even if we were comped.  This is just a great place to vacation…

 – SHERRY