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Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii
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Reviewed April 8, 2013

My husband and I attended a two day conference plus chef extravaganza in March for the Big Island Chocolate Festival. We found the meeting rooms delightful, the shops well stocked with local items in addition to high end resort clothing and accessories, the grounds beautifully well kept, the restaurants (we ate at three in addition to the festival gala) outstanding, the rooms most comfortable and the staff genuinely friendly and outgoing.
I had a feeling I had been there before, and as we walked the grounds I finally recognized an outdoor lawn and eating area that triggered the memory of being there for "Food Choices 2000" when the hotel was a Ritz Carleton. The transition to a Fairmont property has brought many upgrades and the island flavor is throughout.
By the end of our weekend, my husband remarked, "I think this is the place to recommend to any of our friends who say they are coming to Hawaii Island."
The art on the walls was entrancing. We were particularly appreciative of a wall of old photos of canoes, surfers and horseback riders drawn from our State Archives and hand tinted. Also impressive were three large Polynesian navigation charts made of bamboo and shells.
After our restaurant experiences, it was no surprise that Fairmont Orchid sweet and savory entries won top honors from both the professional judges and in a popular vote contest.

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled on business
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Thank Katharine C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 8, 2013

We booked a "oceanview" room at this hotel for 7 nights but we were given a golf course view room. When complained, they argued that it is one of their "oceanview" rooms. In order for us to see the ocean from this room we literally had to stick our neck out of the balcony!!! After a few minutes of argument, they agreed to move us the next day to another room. Next day, they moved us to a room in the same wing but a bit closer to the front. From this room we could see the ocean without sticking our neck out but it was still a classic golf course view!! This time we were done moving so we just asked for a rate adjustment.

Front desk was nice enough to understand the complaint and did agree to adjust the rate but it ruined the experience. I had expected them to move us to a true oceanview room after the initial complaint. It is unfortunate that they tried to manipulate a higher rate by giving you a subpar room. The entire wing of the North Tower (on the golf course side) should be classified as golf course view or partial oceanview (at best). Please make sure that when you book a room, you get the right tower and the right room!!!

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with family
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3  Thank ppandy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 8, 2013

We traveled with our family of five (3 teenage boys) over Spring Break the week prior to Easter. We picked this hotel because my husband and I had stayed there many years ago prior to children and had fond memories of being pampered in a stunning setting on the big island. Our trip this time was very pleasant, but we were not as thrilled as we had thought we would be with our selection.

We had selected partial ocean view adjoining rooms for our trip (2nd floor North tower) and to our pleasant surprise they were ready when we arrived which was quite early (noon). The rooms did have an ocean view, but I would probably categorize them as a golf course view as you had to go to the edge of the balcony to look left to see the ocean. In retrospect, I probably would save the money and get a garden view room after asking exactly what the view was from the room. I don't think any of the rooms have a parking lot view, but I'd ask to be sure.

The grounds of the hotel are beautiful, but I felt that there could have been more attention to detail in the gardening. Many times at resorts like this, you see gardeners walking around snipping any browning leaves, getting rid of any cobwebs, etc. Not once did I see someone paying attention to the plants and taking care of these small issues. By the lack of maintenance on the plantings, the resort looks a little worn instead of sparkling.

The rooms are well furnished and in very good shape. The beds are quite comfortable and the bathrooms are huge. I love the two showers in the bathroom. There is a safe and a good size refrigerator in the room which we used to stock up on snacks, alcohol, and breakfast items so that we could save a little money on eating/drinking which in Hawaii is exorbitant. (We bought our food at the market that is on property just a short drive from the hotel, expensive but make sure to use their frequent purchaser card which is free to sign up by giving your phone number.)

One of the biggest pluses to our trip this time was the additional benefits you get by joining the Fairmont's President's club prior to arrival. Thanks to another Tripadvisor review, this was a HUGE plus. We got free Wi-Fi which was critical for the enjoyment of the kids (sad, but true). We got free local calls and we got free golf clubs for to use when we went golfing at the Mauni Lani golf course. We also got free use of a DVD player which we used to rent the kids a movie while we went golfing. All these benefits would normally have cost several hundred dollars over the course of the week, thank you Tripadvisor!!

Some small issues... housekeeping showed up to clean the rooms at all different times of the day. Once I asked a housekeeper in the hall to clean our room and was greeted with "that's not my side to clean." Generally, we like to have our room cleaned before noon while we are out and about, but that didn't happen on any consistent basis. Also, the beach house staff thoroughly messed up our reservation to participate in the day's free craft activity. You simply cannot reserve prior to the morning of the activity as they are not equipped to keep track of this info. Lastly, we were not greeted with a lei greeting as other travelers were (I think because we carried in our own luggage). We had to ask for leis so it feels like Hawaii :). These were minor inconveniences, but again they were enough to take the sparkle of our perception of the property.

The pluses...the staff was very friendly and generally accommodating. The beach lagoon had some fine snorkeling right off the beach (turtles and lots of fish). The pool is beautiful and the towels are plentiful (no towel police here). The property never felt crowded even though it was spring break time. The location on the Kohala coast provides for good weather and access to good restaurants is close by.

It was a very pleasant trip!

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with family
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2  Thank 49Happytraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 8, 2013

After almost five weeks in Hawaii staying at various condos we decided to treat ourselves and spend the last two days at a luxury resort. As a Canadian I have always been partial to the Fairmont brand as it started with the iconic old Canadian Pacific hotels that grace cities from Quebec to Victoria. However, this was my first time at a Fairmont resort property and it lived up to expectations as far as service, amenities and dining, all of which Fairmont consistently does very well. Where it exceeded my expectations was in the areas you could walk to from the hotel.

Flying into Kona one can be forgiven for wondering how or why anyone would build a resort in the middle of a lava field, but the Fairmont is only one of a number along the Kohala coast. However, once you are there it is pretty obvious that the terrain on which these resorts are built is pretty special, if not unique. If you are looking for great beaches this is not the place for you - there is a small and I suspect artificially maintained beach at the resort. However, if you love tidal pools this is nirvana - there are hundreds of them within easy walking distance of the resort and each one is like its own aquarium with many different types of fish, shrimp and other sea creatures to watch. Some are large enough to put a snorkel on and get even closer to the action. As well you are bound to see green sea turtles that come ashore to bask and sleep. Add to this the beautiful colour of the water, crashing waves and the Kohala hills in the distance and there is everything I would want at a seashore.

Also within easy walking distance are the petroglyphs at Puako which are among the most interesting you will find on Hawaii. They are very clearly visible to the naked eye and very well preserved. I also found some on the rocks while exploring the tidal pools.

Another great attraction that is easy to get to from the Kohala coast are two giant volcanoes, Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa. Driving on the Saddle Road between the two is almost like an extra-terrestial experience in that the landscape is so unusual. Driving up to the 8,000 foot level on Mauna Kea provides outstanding views of Mauna Loa,the plains far below and the coast even farther away.

We didn't get a chance to play the two Mauna Lani golf courses that the resort shares with Mauna Lani resort, but they looked to be in great condition and will be a reason to return.

We too stayed on the gold floor, but had no complaints whatsoever about the room or the food. The one thing I did notice is that large families have cottoned on to the fact that they can save money by staying on the gold floor and having everybody take all of their meals in the lounge.
The last day of our trip we enjoyed a couples massage in a cabana with the sound of breaking waves as accompaniment and followed it up with a great meal at Brown's.

Room Tip: If you are travelling with children the Gold floor option may actually save you money in the long run.
  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank maritimeexplorer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 8, 2013

The Big Island is not my favorite place to stay anyways...
Fairmont Orchid is a good choice if you land on this rock.
They have a nice lagoon and ok swimming pool.
Service is good at the restaurants, Norios is a hole in the wall, skip it if you can
Bell boys need additional training, because they always want to get in an elevator with you pushing their baggage cart.
Do the valet parking, pay the extra $5, its worth it.

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled on business
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Thank MOCKBA78
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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