Here's a trip/hotel review from our vacation at the beginning of the month. Please feel free to ask me any questions about the hotel. Hope it's not too long too hotel specific... i just had to share my very posittive expereince with the board.
We spent 6 days (November 11th to 16th) at the Four Seasons Hualalai after a week at The Four Seasons Maui. This was by far our most memorable vacation, thanks to the amazing hotel staff.
This was our second visit to this hotel, and by far our best Hawaiian experience we’ve had in 5 trips. Our visit to FS Hualalai in April 2010 wasn’t without issues. We were staying at the hotel during a time they had several other corporate groups, and the hotel was busy, and the service wasn’t exactly perfect. This time around was completely different.
Check in was fast, warm and efficient. We were surprised and delighted to find out we had been upgraded to a suite! In the past we’ve been upgraded to a better room location, but never to suite. We had a golf/ocean view suite directly facing the 18th hole of the course. We couldn’t have been more impressed with the location/view/suite amenities, etc. The room had two bathrooms, and a steam shower. It’s certainly hard to go back to regular life with a room like this.
We had some initial issues with housekeeping (same problem with our last visit), but it was immediately rectified, and all future days were perfect. If you have any issues with room service, or anything else, just let someone know. They will always try and make it right.
The weather was perfect that week, and we really got to explore a bit more of the island on this trip. Usually we snorkel every day, and love every minute of it, but this time around we tried to include a few non-snorkelling activities. We visited Waimea and really loved the change of pace and quaintness of the town. And I enjoyed the fresh breeze and cooler temperature of Waimea
We love the Big Island for so many reasons, but this trip (our third to Kona) really stole a part of my heart forever.
Some Pros of FS Hualalai:
1) Property: This is the most amazing hotel setting we have been to in Hawaii. It’s very secluded, and romantic. The landscaping is immaculate! Compared to the Four Seasons in Maui, this hotel is the true winner.
2) Restaurants: The Beach Tree restaurant is fabulous. We ate here for 5 nights and had the most amazing waiter (Chad) who made this a special trip for us. Tried several dishes and they were all very impressive. Make sure to make reservations, as this hotel gets very busy with hotel guests, residents and local people. The nightly musicians are really talented and the sunsets are by far the best in all of Hawaii. There should be a competition for best sunsets.
Breakfast buffet at Pahu i’a is just okay (it seems a little bit disorganized compared to Maui ) but the setting is really the best part. It’s nice to dine that close to the ocean; a great way to start the day. The waiters seem a bit over worked here, but that is only because Maui FS is much busier, with more staff. We had a really nice waiter named Jorge and the Manager Ricardo was exceptionally pleasant and accommodating. It’s the staff that create vacation memories at this hotel. Thanks!
3) Pools: The pools are all very unique and interesting. The service by the pool is good; the pool ladies are quite lovely!
4) Staff: The staff at this hotel really try hard to accommodate your every request and the service is generally excellent. If you want something, just ask. They rarely say no to any request. Even the groundskeepers (who never seem to sleep) are warm and friendly.
5) Amazing acts of service excellence: So under the category of they must be recording our car conversations …. I had commented to my husband in the car that the arm on my sunglasses was ready to come off, and did he have a mini screw-driver on his pocket knife. He did and said he would fix it later, but then quickly forgot. When we returned back to our room after dinner the same night, both our sunglasses had been cleaned, with FS cleaning clothes left as little gifts. And the arm on my sunglasses had been completely fixed. Are you kidding me? Did that just happen? I want to live at FS Hualalai for the rest of my life, if only I was a billionaire
Some Cons (even the FS is not perfect):
1) On-site Snorkel Tour: Attempts at booking a snorkel tour with Alaka’i Nalu or Ocean Ambassadors was situation that turned from bad to worse. We tried several weeks in advance, and then on arrival to book the ribcraft snorkel tour (advertised by the hotel in their glossy brochure). We kept getting different information from the hotel’s Concierge, but what was really frustrating was that we gave them 4 different days to choose from, and they still could not get us on any tour. First we were told they had private groups and then they didn’t have enough people to make the trip (translation: wouldn’t be profitable, so why go out). At one point we were confirmed, but then non-confirmed. After numerous emails, voicemail messages and direct calls with the Concierge (and later the General Manager at his request) we still don’t have a real reason. Saying that, I’m not sure I would ever give this company my business, and I’m glad we went out with Seaquest instead. They are extremely professional, albeit a less pretentious snorkel company, and seem to have that true Aloha spirit we expect when travelling to Hawaii. Check in was out of the back of their SUV, but that was to be expected since the tsunami did damage to their office. Our tour guide (Bill) was awesome, and we couldn’t have asked for a better day. We arranged this tour ourselves, for a lot less money.
2) Housekeeping: We had a few issues, but generally housekeeping can’t really be blamed. I saw the same women cleaning rooms early one morning, only to see her again at 6 pm. later that same night. They are certainly working hard, I just feel that if people are having issues with housekeeping, then the hotel needs to assign more staff to do the work.
On a positive note, we plan to return next year at the same time (right before US Thanksgiving) because this seemed to be a good time to travel, with less crowds, etc.
Please let me know if you have any questions about the hotel.