We've stayed at the Four Seasons in Maui. The FS in **Maui** is the best hotel experience of my life so we were wondering if the FS Hualalai could outdo it.
Short answer: I don't think so.
First off, I'm not a fan of the Big Island itself. The ride from the airport to the hotel felt like a drive through a volcanic war-zone. Yes, I get the whole history of the volcanic island, and I can appreciate a little black lava rock here and there on the landscape for contrast, but the lava rock is literally everywhere. I guess that doesn't bother everybody, but I'm just saying I didn't like it--at all. I probably would have liked the Hilo side better since that is considered to be the lush, green side. But it's rainy there, so maybe not.
FS Hualalai tries very hard, and don't get me wrong, is an exquisite hotel by anyone's measure. And it does have some features that overshadow the Maui location. But if I was going to choose between the two, FS Maui is unbeatable.
Here are the PLUS POINTS of FS Hualalai:
* Resort is very close in proximity to the beach. Restaurants and some of the rooms are literally steps from the sand. The ocean view is IN YOUR FACE, and isn't that what you want at a resort? Let me answer this one for you. Yes, it is.
* Once you get to the hotel, the landscaping is green, green, green. Lots of greenery everywhere. Rainforest-like.
* The size of the resort is expansive and private. Everyone you see is a guest of the resort. You don't have people from other resorts cutting through your hotel property.
Here's where FS Hualalai fell short:
When we arrived, the check-in process was awkward. We had to wait for our room to be cleaned, so we had a delayed check-in. The timing of it worked out fine since we had not eaten lunch yet, so we went to get a bite to eat while they prepped the room. When we got back from lunch, a gentleman in a hawaiian shirt that looked like he might be part of the check-in staff, barely introduced himself and handed me a cilpboard with a form to fill out. There was no "...I'll be checking you in..." introduction. He just gave us his name and kept standing there with the clipboard. Then, after a few more painful, awkward moments, he motions for us to fill out the form on the clipboard. All the time, we're wondering, is this the guy that's checking us in, or is this a bellman just getting some info before the main front desk staff person shows up?
Well, as it turned out, this guy in the hawaiian shirt **was** the main check-in guy. He didn't do a good job of welcoming us to the hotel. For me, it wasn't a good first impression at all. The bellman who met us a few minutes later was much more accommodating. He took us on his golf cart and took us to our room. We asked for a tour of the grounds before bringing us to our room and he agreed to do that for us.
* RENTAL CAR
Our rental car that we secured through the hotel was brought to us dirty--unwashed with trash from the previous guest still inside the car. If we weren't in such a rush that day, I would have said something, but we had to get on the road, so I didn't. Never expected that to happen at a hotel of this caliber. This is something I should have brought up to the front desk at check-out but I didn't feel like getting into it!
The hotel supplies coffee and simple pastries in the lobby every morning. We would routinely go down to the lobby every morning to drink some coffee and relax a bit before getting the day started. Almost every morning of our stay, I had to go to the front desk to tell them that the coffee (and pastries!) were out, and that they needed to be replenished. Once I can understand, but every morning? It's all about the attention to details in the luxury hotel!
The room was nice and spacious, the bed comfortable, and the balcony very wide and private.
The food in the restaurants was hit and miss. For the most part, pretty good, but it took some time to figure out what was good on the menu. We found the Resident's Beach House to be the best for food. The desserts there were great and when I told the waitress how much I liked the dessert one night, she told me she would try to get the recipe for me. The next day, it was emailed to me. I found out that Resident's Beach House is not a part of the Four Season's resort.
Overall, a good experience but not great for me. I didn't feel like the price for the room was worth it. The best part of the hotel is the fact that the beach is so close to the hotel and the wait staff for the pool and beach area do a very good job of making sure you're taken care of.
I was going to give them a three star rating, but when I told my wife and daughter that, they freaked out and scolded me for ever having such a thought. So I'm giving FS Hualalai four stars since I'm factoring in my whole family's experience.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Nestled along the legendary Kona-Kohala Coast of Hawaii Island, Hualalai is a Hawaiian destination unlike any other. Blessed with 863 acres of lush oceanfront beauty, authentic Hawaiian artistry and the highly customized services of the award-winning Four Seasons, Hualalai is a holistic, sustainable and globally renowned community that continues to set the standard by which all other resorts are measured. Hualalai inspires and enriches every experience, forever transforming and connecting the lives of all who come here. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Four Seasons Resort Hualalai At Historic Ka`Upulehu Hotel Kailua-Kona
- 4 Seasons Resort Hualalai At Historic Ka`Upulehu
- Four Seasons Kailua-Kona
- Kailua-Kona Four Seasons
- Four Seasons Hawaii
- Four Seasons Hualalai
- Four Seasons Resort Hualalai At Historic Ka'Upulehu Hawaii/Kailua-Kona