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Four Seasons Hualalai - trip/hotelreview

Toronto, Ontario
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Four Seasons Hualalai - trip/hotelreview

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.

Sea Quest Snorkel Tours
Scuba & Snorkeling, Swim with Dolphins
Dolphin Discoveries
Boat Tours, Dolphin & Whale Watching, Scuba & Snorkeling, Swim with Dolphins, Eco Tours
haines, alaska
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1. Re: Four Seasons Hualalai - trip/hotelreview

Well aside from the fact that you truly enjoyed your hotel........the first thing that jumps out at me is that the housekeeping staff seems to be working incredibly long hours.......hope you tipped them well......

Toronto, Ontario
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2. Re: Four Seasons Hualalai - trip/hotelreview

Yes, we did tip them well. Although I was overwhelmed by the number of managers ... thinking they should hire more staff/less managers.

Canada
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3. Re: Four Seasons Hualalai - trip/hotelreview

Hopefully you are considering to submit this extremely concise review in to the TA "review" section.....perhaps you have done so already...

The forums here tend to bury a review in short order with all of the newly posted threads.

Hayden Lake, ID
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4. Re: Four Seasons Hualalai - trip/hotelreview

Super report. Does Alan Wong still have a restaurant there?

British Columbia...
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5. Re: Four Seasons Hualalai - trip/hotelreview

Thank you for the TR. We are trying to figure out if the BI FS is going to be a fit for us for our milestone anniversary in 2013. We really like FS Maui, but would like to try a different (more laid back?) destination.

Island of Hawaii...
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6. Re: Four Seasons Hualalai - trip/hotelreview

Very nice, glad you posted it here.

Definitely post it as a review where it will stay more or less on top and will be seen by all who are interested in the property, unlike a forum topic.

It was nice seeing it here, as I don't read the reviews, and it opened up the topic for discussion.

Toronto, Ontario
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133 posts
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7. Re: Four Seasons Hualalai - trip/hotelreview

Yes, I have submitted the review and i think it was posted today. To be honest, I'm more familiar with the Maui TR board. On that board, people post every small detail and it's kind of fun to read.

Alan Wong's Restaurant is no longer at the hotel. They have replaced it with a restaturant called the Hualalai Grill, a more casual restaurant at the Golf Club. Pahu i'a is their fancy restaurant that we haven't tried (except for Breakfast). I wasn't really keen on the menu. It seemd a bit much for my taste. But really the star of the hotel is the Beach Tree Restaurant. It's casual, yet very upscale all at the same time. I have never really enjoyed a restaurant so much that I wanted to return for 5 nights in a row. And it's funny to say that the best pasta of my life was in Hawaii. Although, I've never been to Italy.

To Wifelikestotravel: FS Maui used to be our favourite hotel in the world, but FS Hualalai has now taken that spot. FS Maui is exceptional, don't get me wrong. With the beach and the reef right off the hotel, but it can be a bit stuffy, and the prices are definitely higher. We were ordering the same bottle of wine each night for 10 nights or so. FS Maui had it priced at $50.00 and FS Hualalai had it priced at $40.

We are planning for next year and trying to push our trip into early December to be able to see the whales. Any whale sightings right now?

Omaha, NE
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8. Re: Four Seasons Hualalai - trip/hotelreview

Alakai Nalu , as far as I'm aware, is owned by the same company that owns the Four Seasons and the Kona Village Resort, and manages the Hualalai development that surrounds the resorts. I wonder if the closure of KVR next door makes the Nalu operation difficult with only the Four Seasons to support it.

Did you happen to wander next door to the beach at KVR for the beach activities?

British Columbia...
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9. Re: Four Seasons Hualalai - trip/hotelreview

I do love the beach/water conditions at FS Maui. I've gotten up very early and been one of the first ones down there to snorkel. Usually my dh or ds would still be sleeping when I left, but if they came down too we'd have the beach to ourselves to make sandcastles. Just the FS beach guys would be down there prepping for the day. I think the beach is what I am most concerned about missing if we stay at Hualalai. Well, and the cost per night at Hualalai is more than Maui.

What is your opinion on staying on the BI first, and then switching over to Maui second. We might have to do that because of the airline's schedule.

I do appreciate you posting on the board. I wouldn't be able to ask questions if you had just done the review.

Big Island, Hawaii
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10. Re: Four Seasons Hualalai - trip/hotelreview

There is actually a really great beach a 10-15 minute walk from the hotel south, at Kukio Bay. It is full of turtles and there are often very few people. Behind the beach there are a series of important wetlands and pools that are home to a variety of rare and wonderful birds. From Kukio Bay you can walk to the Kikaua point beach area which has a lovely little beach and sea arch and very good snorkelling on the other side of the arch (best when tide is high).

It's certainly not as convenient as the beach access at Wailea, but it's far more special and interesting, IMO, and one of the most wonderful parts of the island. I often spend weekends there taking photos of the birds and wetland areas. It's also a good whale watching spot.

Edited: 1:32 pm, November 30, 2011
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