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“Would never stay there again”

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Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii
Ranked #2 of 4 Hotels in Puako
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
A TripAdvisor Member
“Would never stay there again”
Reviewed March 20, 2005

This is the first time we have felt compelled to warn other guests about a hotel. Here are some of our reasons:

1. When we arrived, the rooms we requested and had been guaranteed would be ready, were not ready for at least an hour.

2. Despite the hotel's appearance as a family resort, our young children (6, 4, and 1), were directly approached by the floor managers and told not to disturb other guests who are "paying a lot of money to stay here;" the 6-year-old was so intimidated he didn't want to get out of bed the next day for fear of being thrown out of the hotel.

3. My husband and four other hotel guests (with whom we had traveled to Hawaii for a nearby meeting) came down with food poisoning after eating at the hotel's poolside Brown's Deli (the four-month-old baby of one couple was later affected and brought to the hospital). The hotel's "apology" consisted of sending fruit plates the next day to those affected while they were still nauseated.

4. We became aware of mice running through our rooms. Traps were set in our room and we actually caught one (I was tempted to parade that mouse around the hotel but decided not to stoop to the hotel management's level of insensitivity and rudeness). Management never apologized for the mice; we were told that "the island is overrun, it's not an issue of hygiene," so the mice were to be expected.

As we left, my husband told the manager that we travel a lot and can roll with the punches, including food poisoning and mice, but the rude treatment at this hotel is unacceptable. We will never stay at the Fairmont Orchid again and would not recommend it to anyone.

  • Stayed January 2005, traveled on business
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
34 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed March 14, 2005

I completely agree with "Goodbye Fairmont Orchid"

Not only will this be my last Orchid stay, but now with 2 less than ideal Fairmont experiences in a row (the Plaza - though now sold was Fairmont when I was there) probably my last Fairmont experience.

We were definitely treated like cattle - breakfast felt just like a cattle call. Dirty dishes all over the dining room, garbage in the corners, strange missing items from breakfast (I ordered yogurt off the menu at $8 and they could only find one flavor), poor housekeeping. Long waits to be seated (which to me, is particularly annoying b/c it is 90% buffet customers) in the morning. We didn't eat anywhere else in the resort so I can't comment on that (didn't want to risk it given the AM experiences.) Any one or 2 of these thing wouldn't amount to much, but all put together just kind of put a damper on the mood. So many large, rowdy groups - who brought their own "hospitality" people - good thing too b/c the concierge wasn't able to help us with anything.

The landscaping of the property itself looks nice so if you just want a place to sit by the beach probably not so bad. We were just disappointed b/c we came over directly from the Kahala Mandarin Oriental which was exceptional. Overall, just not an intimate experience.

I will tell you - go eat at O's (formerly Oodles of Noodles) in Kona - get the Hawaiian cream cake, yum!

  • Stayed March 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
16 Thank txderm1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
Reviewed March 13, 2005

My husband and I stayed at the Orchid last year (September), and enjoyed our stay there so much that we decided to go back again (February 15-22). We previously stayed at the Mauna Lani Bay (several times) next door. While the Mauna Lani Bay is very nice, the Orchid is nicer. The grounds are really lovely, as are the public areas of the hotel. It has a very elegant feeling, yet does not feel the least bit stuffy. We had a newly decorated room this time and liked it very much. It felt more up-to-date and less "Ritz" feeling....the hotel originally opened as a Ritz. I would describe it as somewhat "Tommy Bahama" looking. The housekeeping staff do a great job and the staff overall are very accommodating.

We especially love the beach at this hotel. While not particularly large, it is a very nice calm beach and the snorkeling is quite good. We see sea turtles every time we go out snorkeling there, and many of them come out of the water to sun themselves right on the sand. There is one particular beach attendant (Elton) who was there on both our visits, who grew up on the island. What a great guy and wonderful asset to the hotel.

We wanted to see whales, so booked a whale boat tour with "Dan McSweeney". The web site is ----. The tour is very educational, and we did see whales quite close. Unfortunately, despite several precautions to prevent it, I got a little seasick. I wish I was not prone to seasickness as I think I would have enjoyed the tour much more. A few days later while sitting on the beach we saw whales breaching right out in the ocean in front of us. It was very exciting to see them!

I will now comment on the various restaurants we ate at on our trip:

Brown's Beach House at the Orchid. This is an open-air restaurant facing the beach. We had a very good meal at Brown's this trip. We tried it on our last visit and thought it was much better this time. They have a couple guys playing music and a hula dancer. Nice to go at sunset.

Roy's Waikoloa. We always have one meal at Roy's on our trip. Although this is a somewhat noisy place, the food is always excellent. www.RoysRestaurant.com.

Merriman's in Waimea. This is our absolute favorite restaurant on the island. We liked it so much we ate there twice this trip! ----

Cafe Pesto in Kawaihae. Although this restaurant is in a somewhat unattractive area, the food is quite good. ----.

Saturday Night Seafood Buffet at the Four Seasons. Last year we ate at the Clambake Seafood Buffet at the Mauna Kea. We decided to try this one this time. We thought this one was incredible. They have all you can eat lobster, sushi, NY steaks, crab claws, shrimp and much more. Then, for desert they have souffles as well as many other incredible items.

We did not do much exploring on this trip, as we have done that on our previous visits. We've done the helicopter tour over the volcano and have visited the Volcanoes National Park. This was a vacation for a little R & R.

I think the Orchid is one of the best, if not the best place to stay on the island and highly recommend it.

15 Thank CarolfromCA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Denver, CO
Level Contributor
12 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 144 helpful votes
Reviewed March 6, 2005

Last February we had our second stay at the Fairmont Orchid. The first visit was so glorious that we couldn't wait to return. Everything you read about this property being lush and beautiful is true. Earlier reviewers sometimes complained that this property (including its original incarnation as the Ritz) was too formal and hushed. Our first trip negated this reputation, as we found the service relaxed, warm and welcoming, and the general atmosphere of the place serene and joyous. On this last trip the property had gone to the opposite extreme of being too casual. We noticed significant slippage in the overall ambience and upkeep of the place. Our bathroom was dirty, with dark stains on the white grout lines, and large strips of wallpaper coming off of the bathroom walls. We know that these things occasionally happen even in the best hotels, so I can overlook our bathroom's shoddiness. I can't overlook the general morphing of this resort from a serene, luxurious property to one that caters primarily (perhaps solely) to conventioneers. The staff were competent, pleasant and well meaning, but also maxed-out and harried. The crowds were loud and frequently yelling across vast expanses to talk to others in their group.

Although we were there for 10 days paying full price, we were treated like cattle because the property was filled to capacity by groups paying room rates about half of what we paid. Our flight home was at 9:30pm, so I requested a late checkout. I was informed that they could not allow a late checkout, but that a hospitality room would be available for an hour anytime after checkout so that we could freshen up. At checkout I inquired about the hospitality room, and was told that it was unavailable all day (never mind that they assured me otherwise when they were denying our late checkout request). Last trip after our checkout they allowed us to freshen up in the spa. This time they denied this courtesy, since there would be “too many people” using it. I protested that we had spend nearly $1000 in the spa alone, including about half of that the previous day. That made no difference.

We turned into untouchable pumpkins as soon as the clock struck 12 noon. The full capacity is wonderful for FO’s bottom line. It’s not wonderful for travelers who paid for what they expected was an exclusive, relaxing, upscale resort, only to find the property overrun by large groups and the property’s resources stretched to the breaking point. While conventioneers add to the liveliness and mirth of the property, they don’t allow for a serene and intimate feel. If you are looking for a quiet, luxurious, and exclusive vacation, you will not find it at the FO. If you prefer a spring-break for the thirty- and forty-something crowd, then this is your place.

We will not stay at the FO again. I will return to their spa, however, for a massage with Sandra. She is a gifted massage therapist and the nicest, sweetest lady.

  • Stayed February 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
32 Thank Denveresque
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed February 25, 2005

Feb 05 trip report: This is one beautiful resort, one of the most beautiful in the islands. Great location on the rocky lava sea shore of the Kahola Coast, immaculate grounds & pool, world class facilities, 5 star interior and a friendly helpful staff. With that said, there were some drawbacks.
1) Beach is too small(imo-for a Hawaiian Resort)- the man made beach is smaller in real life than the pictures
2) Browns Beach House food should be better(this should be an easy fix)
3) Convention oriented Resort- this can be a minus if you want to get away from business and the rowdy play hard business types

But...There are so many positives(ie great pool, musicians, dining, tennis, golf sailing, hikes, etc...) at the Orchid, I couldnt possibly include them all in a short review. We avoided some of the posted drawbacks by 1) Going to Hapuna & Mauna Kea Beaches & 2) Eating at some nearby places like (Excellent)Roys, (Very good)Merrimans, and (Good)Cafe Pesto

Big Island Opinions
- Shortage of Quality Beaches- the area is growing so fast that we found beaches were crowded except the Mauna Kea Beach(because of very limited parking)
- Kona town has deteriorated over the years
- Heavy construction looks to be an overburden on the infrastructure(imo- this will be a future problem)
- Upcountry, sailing and Fishing are still great
- After seeing the resorts on the Kahola Coast, I would stay at the Orchid Again...we love the resort, like to eat out and driving to other Beaches was easy ( Prince & Mauna Kea are nice but Prince feels like a school and Mauna Kea like a Eastern Religious Temple complete with Idols in Temple setup)

Lastly, I do feel Maui has done a MUCH better job handling tourism growth but every island is so different the Big Island is fantastic & well worth the trip. But to me sadly, the Big Island seems to be giving up too much of its charm with aggressive growth.

17 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed February 22, 2005

My husband and I went to the Fairmont Orchid for our 20th anniversary in November, 2004.

When we check in, we were offered an upgrade to the Gold Level for $50 a night. We accepted it and were very glad we did. Irene greeted us and offered to bring drinks to our room. Throughout our stay the concierges on the floor were very helpful. I had an allergic reaction to the bedding (feathers) and they took care of it and made sure everything was all right.

We spent a lot of time away from the resort but I tried to go to Calley O'neill's yoga class every day that I could. All of the exercise classes I went to were great. The $30 activity fee is definitely the way to go if you are going to use any of the facilities.

The restaurants at the resort were a little overpriced but that is how it seems to be in Hawaii.

All in all I recommend this hotel.

7 Thank KBS1607
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Berkeley, CA
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
Reviewed February 8, 2005

My wife and I stayed at the Fairmont Orchid for five days (15-20 January 2005) and we couldn't have been more pleased with our choice of accomodations.

To begin with, we were upgraded to the Gold Floor for free. According to the bellman, the hotel was over capacity as Monday was a Federal Holiday, so we may have just gotten lucky by checking in Saturday evening. The gold floor includes big rooms with partial ocean views, bathrobes, and a concierge for the floor (Tammy & Kim were especially helpful). Freebies included breakfast, soft drinks, internet access, afternoon tea (snacks), and appetizers. Alcoholic drinks are available, but the charge is slightly lower than the rest of the hotel.

Normally, upgrading to the gold floor is ~$400/night; in my opinion this is not a good value for the money. As it were, our price was significantly better ($0.00).

The Orchid has an activity pass available for $30/person. Definitely worth getting as we played tennis nearly every day; just a word of caution that the activity pass doesn't include $15/person-day court fee or racket rental ($5/day), but it does include tennis clinics with the pro. Also, we forgot our tennis shoes but the pro shop had free rental shoes available. Shoes are also available for purchase if you prefer. We avoided playing in the middle of the day, but played for an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening each day; the staff will leave the lights on for you if you ask.

Aside from tennis, we didn't get to do many other activities. High surf warning (not really hotel's fault) shut most of the water activities down (surfing intro, kayak rental, etc.). We did try the bicycles, but they're not very nice and there's not much to do on them other than pedal through the parking lot to the access road and past the golf course and construction site. I'd rather be at the poolside bar.

The pool was ok, but nothing great. There is a hot tub near the pool but we didn't use it. The times we went by in the evening it was crowded with teenagers and younger kids. In the morning, there were empty soda cans around. Not what we expected.

As with any resort, the food is good and overpriced. I'd recommend going to the King's shops (a small mall) down the highway a bit to stock up on supplies (beer). Prices were about the same as Safeway in Kona and a lot closer. The gift shops at the Orchid are nice enough and worth looking into for small gifts. Jay (a bartender at the Paniolo lounge) is a great guy; he's only there for a few nights per week.

We would definitely stay there again, even without the upgrade to the gold floor.

  • Stayed January 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
14 Thank P&W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii

Property: Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii
Address: 1 N Kaniku Dr, Puako, Island of Hawaii, HI 96743-9731
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Hawaii > Island of Hawaii > Kohala Coast > Puako
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Luxury Hotel in Puako
#2 Family Hotel in Puako
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Puako
#2 Romantic Hotel in Puako
#2 Spa Hotel in Puako
#2 Green Hotel in Puako
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii 4.5*
Number of rooms: 540
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii is a Kohala Coast Hawaii oceanfront luxury hotel and resort with white sand lagoon, Hawaiian Spa Without Walls, golf, tennis, five restaurants, extensive meeting and event facilities, and a year-round children's program. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii Hotel Waimea
Fairmont Hotel Kamuela
Fairmont Orchid Hawaii
Fairmont Kamuela
Kamuela Fairmont

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