Just returned from a great trip to Maui and Hawaii (Big Island). Stayed at the Fairmont Kea Lani in Maui 8/28- 9/3 and the Fairmont Orchid in Hawaii 9/3 - 9/8. Both hotels are top of the line. I would wholeheartedly recommend both. However, they are different, and the differences are greatly based on the differences of the islands. Looks like I have to review them separately.
The Fairmont Orchid is on the Kohala Coast area of the Big Island, about a 30 minute drive north from the Kona Airport. What amazed me was the landscape on the drive...barren, arid, with piles of lava as far as you can see. I could not imagine a hotel existing anywhere in the midst of that desolation. Pleasantly surprised to find the hotel in what appeared to be an oasis close to the ocean. There is a small shopping center close by. First impressions on the grounds...the most lush I've ever seen....plants, flowers, fountains, waterfalls...just a delight to the eyes. Also, the woodwork throughout the hotel was just beautiful, and the most amazing flower arrangements. If you are walking the grounds with a camera, it is impossible to not stop and take photographs. Nice pool, but only one. Our room was not a suite, as in the Fairmont Maui, but we were right on the beach. Room had a nice bathroom with higher flow faucets and oversized shower heads, refrigerator, and Keurig coffee maker (as did the Fairmont Maui). The bed was firmer...more to our liking. Speaking of the beach, I would rate it as an over-sized lilly pond...very small lagoon with no surf. The beach area was the only downer to me. If you want a real beach, drive north a few miles to Hapuna Beach State Park...one of the top beaches on the Big Island. By the way, all the beaches in Hawaii are public beaches. This hotel also has bicycles for guests, but if you bike, go early. It was very warm in September....high 80's to low 90's. If you want to cool off, take a drive to the Mauna Kea summit to watch the sun set and do some star gazing. Take warm clothing, however, as it was windy and about 50 degrees! I recommend the hotel's guided walking tour of the petroglyphs. You will learn much about the Hawaiian culture and history. It's at 8:00 AM and lasts about two hours. We had dinner at Brown's Beach House Restaurant....one of the highest rated on the island. Food and service was outstanding. Our returning flight to the mainland was at 9:00 PM, as are most returning flights. The hotel was gracious enough to let us have the room at a very reasonable day rate on our last day. This was truly a blessing. There are attractions close by, but others are a lengthy drive...as on Maui. We put about 500 miles on our car in six days. If we ever return to the Big Island, I would not hesitate to stay here again...a very enjoyable vacation.