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Honeymoon! Four Seasons or Fairmont Kea Lani??

Cypress, Texas
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Honeymoon! Four Seasons or Fairmont Kea Lani??

I'm in need of advice and help!

The honeymoon will be a surprise for my fiance. She knows nothing about where we are going and where we are staying! Not till the wedding. I thought that would be a nice surprise for her! But unfortunately I have to plan it all myself and I'm bad at making decisions.

Here are my issues with both hotels that I've read from reviews off trip adviser.

Fairmont:

- I love the large suites, lanai and affordable price

- I read that the pools here are better than FS, especially the adult pool (less kids too)

- I read that the beach is a little more secluded and less people because it's in a cove and has the beach to itself mainly (even though I know its public)

- I've read the staff here is more friendly and the hotel seems more local, rather than "corporate".Some one said when you wake up here, you know you are in hawaii, but when you wake up in FS, you feel like you could be in any city.

The negative is that I heard many comments (not many, but more than enough to scare my confidence) that the decor is outdated, the rooms smell musty, the carpet looks old and the place itself (since its white) looks a little unkept. Now if all the rooms looked like the website, I would have no worries, but I've seen travelers pictures and some of those rooms worry me.

Now with the Four Seasons:

- I love knowing that all the rooms will be tip top shape, and all of them have been renovated with luxury decor and LCD TVs and ect. However, for the same price as Kea Lani, I would have to get a normal room here, instead of a suite (so much smaller)

- I heard great things about the staff, but I've also heard bad things like they can be snobby and the guests staying there too.

So I don't know which to choose! Any help would be appreciated! Also, i would love love love the ocean view, but the lady is very practical and says go for the garden view. I'm dreamy and would love the ocean front suite.

I know we do want a place that is nice and relaxing, not a ton of people like on Spring Break Vacation. But we also plan to do a lot of sightseeing and being away from the resort. So it's not a huge deal to which we pick, but I just want to make her happy :o) especially since she has no idea about any of the choices!

We will be going in late June 2009. Is there a lot of people during this time?

Thanks for the help!!

-Sam (A desperate groom to be)!

California
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1. Re: Honeymoon! Four Seasons or Fairmont Kea Lani??

Go for the Four Seasons. Even if you get the cheapest room you will be glad you did. It is like heaven on earth. And the adult pool will be finished by then. The service at the Four Seasons is second to none and you will feel like kings and queens.

Chicago, Illinois
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2. Re: Honeymoon! Four Seasons or Fairmont Kea Lani??

Congratulations on your upcoming wedding.

I've been to FS four times (about every other vacation since about 2002) so I may be biased (or maybe I'm just comfortable with the decisions my wife and I have made) so take this for what it is worth:

1. I absolutely did have the feeling of "being in Hawaii" at FS. The sites, smells, and everything else made that clear. It has never felt like a corporate place at all.

2. I absolutely have never experienced any rude staff at FS. It just never happened. It could not be more the opposite. Every employee we pass says hello and any time you talk to staff you get the impression that they are there to make your trip great. Our last trip in January was our first trip with our kid (10 month old twins at the time of the trip) and even though young kids can be a challenge, we never felt like we were burdening anybody. The only time we saw any attitude was at Spago on two of our prior trips. In January, the staff there was much better but there was a bit of an attitude (needless to say, we never took the twins into any of the nicer restaurants at night, but we did take them for breakfast at Duo).

3. Pools: No question that the KL are more beautiful. The pool at FS is more of a fountain, although some people do swim in it. For reasons noted below, we did not spend much time by the actual FS pool. We did notice that some people there appeared to have a "beautiful people" attitude, but we could not really tell since we never really spoke to them. Could just be me -- a slightly overweight 40 year old Irishman -- feeling inferior. Or it could be that a lot of people who spent time by the pool had attitudes. In any case, we always found it more amusing than anything else. Also, I actually thought there were more kids at KL. Until our last trip when we met other parents because we had kids of our own, we never really noticed kids at FS.

4. The beach: Both are nice. Wailea is larger. I'm not sure which is more crowded (i.e persons per sq foot). I marginally prefer Wailea because we enjoyed relaxing walks from one end to the other, but reasonable minds can differ. The area between FS and KL is condos, with rocks/coral. The area between the two has some great snorkling, and you can reach that area easily from either FS or KL.

5. Rooms: We saw a room at KL our last time (for reasons you stated -- we had heard that they had nice suites and wanted to check them out for a possible future visit). I wasn't all that impressed. It was not the big and not that nice. The FS rooms are updated, clean, and bright. The bathrooms (for reasons I won't ever quite understand, very important to most women including my wife) are better at FS (lots of counter space, big tub, sep. shower, sep. room for the toilet). Given the choice just based on room, I actually would choose FS. I've done pretty much the full range of rooms. The mountain view is a great value. We've done partial ocean view twice. The views vary greatly (we've actually had three, but since one looked out over the driveway, we requested a change to a different room). The two where we actually spent a lot of time were great. One was on the inside of the U towards the front with very nice views. The other was from the "bottom" of the U looking straight out. That was amazing. The last trip, FS would not put two cribs in a standard room, so we had a partial ocean view suite. Incredible. I would take that over the KL suite any day. There is absolutely no comparison. Of course, it is also much more expensive than the KL.

The detail you left out and one that made a huge difference for us:

The FS is set into the hillside. On the hill, FS carved some walkways with cabanas -- two chairs together, with a removal cover. You have great views from there and a real sense of seclusion. The staff walks around with water, fresh fruit, etc. It was our favorite place to hang out during the day. The FS also has a similar arrangement on the beach.

Cypress, Texas
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3. Re: Honeymoon! Four Seasons or Fairmont Kea Lani??

Thanks for everyone's help! I really appreciate. I feel much better and will choose the Four Seasons! I know I want to spoil the lady, but also have to watch the pocketbook!

Right now I know FS has a 5th night free deal on the dates we are going in June. So which room do you think is best? I was thinking for us maybe Garden view, from the FS website they look great and they seem very affordable. I don't really want to have views of the parking lot with the mountain view, and also you can't choose the mountain view with the 5th night free special.

Any suggestions on how to do the reservation with the hotel? Should I use a Hawaii travel website or book directly with the hotel? I know FS doesnt give very many discounts, so I want the best benefit as possible and since it's our honeymoon, I'm hoping they could do something special!

Do they do lae greetings or flower petals in the room or anything like that? or is all that extra cost? I don't like to offend by asking for a free upgrade, but I heard they do that sometimes.

Somewhere I read from a traveler that they treat you better if you book directly, rather than from a travel website.

Also, another thing is that another traveler said if you send the hotel gifts they would treat you better? (free upgrades and gifts in the room, ect) I thought sending gifts to the hotel would be odd (chocolates and pizza, and ect). Who would you send it to?

Am able to ask for a specific room since this seems to be so far in advance? Anybody have any room numbers they loved with a garden view? I kind of like the picture where they were on ground level and can walk out into the gardens from their room.

Thanks!!

Chicago, Illinois
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4. Re: Honeymoon! Four Seasons or Fairmont Kea Lani??

With regard to the greeting:

All FS guests are greeted with leis (spelling?). The host also offers you a glass of iced tea. At the check in desk, they offer you cool towels (nice for hands and face after a long trip). You are then of course escorted to your room.

Our first three trips we booked through a travel agent and got a marginally better rate (I'm not sure the hotel portion was less, but the whole thing was less when you factor in car and air). Our last trip we booked directly through the hotel.

The down side of booking through an agent is that special requests are more difficult. On the trip with the twins, we had a lot of special requests (they stocked the room with a lot of stuff for the twins). Also, if you book directly through them, it is easier to make dinner and spa reservations in advance.

Room choice seemed to be pretty much luck of the draw although I suspect that returning customers do slightly better.

For the rooms: I'm not sure I would go with Garden View. I believe they are on the lower floors. Not bad, but just not my choice. I would either save money and go with Mountain View, or step up to Partial Ocean View. THe Mountain View rooms look over the road towards Haleakala. For the price, a great deal. The Partial Ocean View rooms all do have some ocean views -- some better than others. We had a problem with the one room not because of the lack of view of water but because it also looked over the driveway.

Greensboro, North...
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5. Re: Honeymoon! Four Seasons or Fairmont Kea Lani??

My husband and I stayed at the 4S last June and absolutely loved it. I wrote to them directly several times before we went and told them we were celebrating 3 special occasions (our's son's wedding in Australia, our anniversary, and a birthday). They gave us an oceanview room as we had booked garden view and also had strawberries and wine waiting in the room.

Th staff was friendly and wonderful at all times!

The concierge even contacted me when we got back and asked about everything. I requested a recipe and he sent it back immediately.

We walked over to the Fairmont and felt it was in need of a complete renovation. We saw peeling paint, dirty walls, etc. in the lobby. We were surprised to see a Fairmont like this as they are usually top notch. We wen at night so we really did not see the pool but Idid hear it was lovely.

The pool at the 4S was fine. We were in the pool and ocean. You can have a cabana for free and the pool service is also wonderful.

Congratulations and you will love your stay there!

California
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6. Re: Honeymoon! Four Seasons or Fairmont Kea Lani??

Someone sent me a Private Message on this and I can't reply. Here's what I wanted to say:

In terms of view, you will have a fabulous uninterrupted view in an Ocean View room. We stayed right at the back of the U in the corner and still had a good one from the balcony. You will be very close to the games room, gym and spa etc - right down the elevator to Lower Lobby.

Having stayed there now, I would not book a car through them without properly understanding the price. I felt like I got totally gouged - not their fault, mine for not checking. Just book online through someone and pick up at the airport. Make sure all insurances, taxes etc are included. Yes, it's kind of a hassle after the flight. No, it's not worth the $225 airport transfer fee each way the Four Seasons charges. It's a straight-forward 30 minute drive. Impossible to get lost.

We had a bed and breakfast package and I'm glad we did. Took the hassle out of thinking about it and the buffet is delicious. There are daily specials.

In terms of concierge, I used them heavily for everything and booked everything before I went including spa treatments. We did surfing lessons with Maui Wave Riders, Snorkelling with the Kai Kanai (leaves from Maui Prince - we did the 6.30am express trip) and the Luau at the Marriott which is so close you can walk. Highly recommend all 3. Just send an email to the concierge saying what you want to do and they will organise it for you. Restaurants. While I liked the Four Seasons Restaurants, in fact they were not my favorite on the trip. My favorites were Capische? at the Diamond Resort (5 mins away) - authentic delicious Italian, and Joes Bar and Grill at the Wailea Tennis Club (more casual). For very casual we also liked Longhis at the Shops at Wailea. Mama's we did for lunch and it was my overall favorite fish meal ever. Go at lunch to appreciate the view. You can book online at Open Table.com.

4. I don't know how full the resort was this past week when we were there but I never had a problem getting pool chairs and we were there around 8.30am/9am. In fact I always got cabanas evry day without fail.

5. For your kids - yes it's sedate. They can go snorkelling off the beach or go on excursions. Frankly they could EASILY slip in unnoticed to the Grand Wailea pool area as long as they don't take towels. No one would know that place is so huge and it is right next door. The games room is cool. Other than that I'm probably not the best for advice as my kids are young and lived in the pool at the beach.

You will have a great time. The service is outstanding. My only gripe was with a babysitter we hired though Nanny Connection who was asleep in our bed when we got back at 8.30pm! But that is not their problem really.

Boston
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7. Re: Honeymoon! Four Seasons or Fairmont Kea Lani??

Please see my reply under the post titled "Moderate Suite OK at The Kea Lani". It's about 3/4 of the way down page 1 here.

I didn't give alll the details of our stay, but someone else privately e-mailed me and I filled them in with all the disgusting details of our stay recently at the Kea Lani. If you are interested, please PM me. I'll be happy to fill you in on our full experience there. I just felt that if I told all the details here that it would be way too long.

8. Re: Honeymoon! Four Seasons or Fairmont Kea Lani??

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