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“First Family Vacation with 1 year old” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii

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Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii
Ranked #2 of 4 Hotels in Puako
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
A TripAdvisor Member
“First Family Vacation with 1 year old”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 2, 2006

We discovered the Fairmont as a result of a referral from a friend. We subsequently read all of the reviews on Tripadvisor and were a bit antsy prior to our stay.

We had a lovely time--the staff was extremely friendly, the service was good, and the food was excellent albeit a bit pricey.

We ate at the Ocean Bar (which we think is the best deal). The breakfast buffet was servicable but for $26 per person, one expected more. However, our toddler gets to eat for free which saves a few bucks. We would recommend going out to eat. There are some delicious restaurants 20 minutes or so away. Our favorites were Cafe Pesto and Harbor Grill. The fish were extremely fresh and prepared with a Hawaiian flair. We tried Merriman's in Waimea which alot of folks recommend (including Zagat). However, we thought it was nothing special and not worth the drive. As well, the Big Island Steakhouse which is 5 minutes from the hotel is nothing more than an overpriced Sizzler.

We got a no view room and it was adequate, but nothing special. We asked for a crib and a microwave prior to our stay, but when we checked in, nothing was ready. After a phone call to the front desk, both were delivered within minutes. We also used the hotel baby sitting service MK Care and we were very impressed with the quality of our sitter. We used the same person every day and she got along great with our toddler.

The pool was busy but didn't seem overcrowded. You can rent a cabana for the day for $25 and we thought that was well worth it. As well, we splurged and got a couples massage--certainly very pricey, but you only live once. The massueses were both very good and we are very picky and have lots of experience with massages.

One caveat, we did find a cockroach in our room on the last day of our stay as well as a tiny blood stain on two of the pillow cases. We mentioned both to the front desk and they were apologetic. It didn't ruin our stay or damper our favorable impression of the hotel, but thank goodness it happened on the last day of our stay and not on the first.

  • Stayed June 2006
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
7 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
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A TripAdvisor Member
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 21, 2006

Our family of four really enjoyed our stay. We have children 6 and 9 and the beach was perfect for kids our age. We spent most of our time at the beach and it wasn't overly crowded. My kids would have been disappointed if there weren't other children to play with. They used the surf boards, snorkel gear and floaties. You can be sure to see sea turtles and the snorkeling was okay much better first thing in the am. The breakfast buffett was good and the food at the Ocean Bar was also good. We ate at Merriman's Cafe one evening not so good, Cafe Pesto in Hawi had great pizza. I found the staff to be friendly, I do think the front desk staff could be better.

We had a great ocen view suite in the North Tower. I like the fact that they offer self parking for free. Another thing I like about the Fairmont is that you can usually count on no rain or very little. I met two families that stayed on the gold floor and they said the service was incredible. To sum it up our kids loved it and if they're happy we're happy. This resort is good for young families.

Stayed June 2006
Helpful?
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 14, 2006

Family of three (mom, dad and 15 month old) met mom's parents for a 7 day trip at the Fairmont Orchids.

#3 down below is really the key: THE BAD SERVICE. BUT I will start with something positive: The location - NOT the grounds - the location, is nice. The sunsets are nice, the evening breezes are nice and cooling, but the overall experience is not 4 and certainly not 5 stars.

I'll be specfic:

1. FRONT DESK staff always seems short-staffed and it is like they are doing you a favor when they help you. They answer phone calls while talking to you and don't bother putting the person on hold; the customer right there seems like the second priority. Consierge staff was better.

2. ROOMS - Nice and simple. Not over the top but we knew that going in. However, lamps didnt work, A/C seemed too hot or too cold as well. Our room had 'Partial Ocean View' and that's what it was: you had to strain your neck to catch the ocean.

** However, we had no trouble hearing the kitchen staff- and all the other staff - who used the concrete walkway was early as 6 in the morning, daily. They were constantly wheeling garbage, trays of food, etc... on the customer walkway all day long. All evening long as well. I will never forget the sound of well-worn wheels hitting the expansion joints at 6am as the sun rose on my 1 week vacation. Terrible.

** It just seems at the Fairmont Orchids you saw things that at other hotels (more OR less expensive) that you would not see.

3. SERVICE - I should have put this first. I can take no view/small rooms, busted A/C and even the aforementioned kitchen sounds but BAD SERVICE is terrible. I understand this is not the Four Seasons. But rude service was everpresent.

** Example: i went to the beach activity area to get some snorkel stuff for an hour or so. The guy behind the counter saw me, then instead of saying something like 'can i help you' or even 'yo bro what's up?', he looked at me and then proceeded to lather up WITH TWO different kinds of sunblock (1 type for his face and neck area and 1 type for his lower body.) Then AFTER REALLY RUBBING IN THAT SUNBLOCK, he turned to me in a lazy sort of fashion and raised his eyebrows as if to say 'Yeah?'
I had a bunch of quick comebacks but i held it in check.

The whole place had an air of 'I work here, but i dont want to help you - no matter how far you've travelled." To me that is not a vacation. That is like going to my local bank or supermarket. Only this time I paid more and got to see a nice sunset.

** LET ME SAY THIS: I would NEVER THINK of going here again due to the terrible service, day after day. The above is only 1 thing. There were many.

4. FOOD - Good breakfasts, OK dinners.

5. BEACH AREA - Pretty crowded and the chairs were packed VERY closely together. i knew a lot about people i had never met before because I was very close to them. Very close.

6. POOL - i didnt spend too much time at the pool to be honest.

7. Location - about 20 or 30 min from airport. There is a concrete walkway to walk back and forth along the beach but only for about 8 minutes in each direction.

OVERALL - if you are going to spend the big money, I would rather stay 1 to 2 days shorter and stay 5 min away at the Four Seasons. I really did not like the Fairmont Orchids. I am not some prima donna either who has a full time nanny or housekeeper who drives a Porsche SUV (no knock on those who do by the way, I love the Cayenne).

I just expect politeness and courtesy when I travel. That did not occur at the Fairmont Orchid. Pretty location-yes. Nice well-kept grounds-No, not really (kind of run down). Good food-for the most part. Service-well, you know how I feel.

I hope this helps.

  • Stayed April 2006
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
22 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Greensboro, North Carolina
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 10, 2006

I am not sure why this resort had bad reviews. This resort was great. I really enjoyed it. The staff were very friendly and helpful. We were treated like VIP's. We always got the best seating at Browns Beach House restaurant. They had live entertainment every night. Also, the wait staff would go out of their way to take a photograph of you with the sunset in the background. The room was clean and we had turn down service every night. The beach was also nice. There were not many people there and there are lots of activities to do. You can purchase an activity card $40 per person per stay or rent by half hour. We kayaked and snorkel. Snorkeling was great there are many sea turtles that live at the resort. Every time you snorkel you will see them in the water.

  • Stayed May 2006
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Hawaiitraveler24
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 31, 2006

We stayed at the Fairmont for 5 nights. We spent our first two nights on the island at the Four Seasons, and in comparison, the Fairmont fell far short. We couldn't afford the FS for the entire trip, so just stayed a couple of nights - wanted to do it at the end of the trip, but there was no availability. Anyway, we got a very good deal for the Fairmont on Expedia. And maybe that was the problem - maybe we got the Expedia discount room.
Here were the problems:

1) The room was not very nice. Tile floor, broken shutters that covered the sliding door. The bathroom was old and needed to be upgraded, even though it was marble. The shower stall was very small - not like the big ones most newer luxury hotels now have. The bathtub was also a small, standard size tub, like you would have at home.

2) The cleaning service was terrible - our sinks had not been wiped down from the previous occupant, and one of the glasses actually still had toothpaste spittle all over it.

3) The pool and beach area are really over-crowded. They push the beach chairs right up next to each other, and you have to pay extra to use the beach chairs that are paired together with a built-on sunshade. And these were almost always all reserved.

4) Spa locker room area not very nice - same with steam room. Again, needs to be renovated.

The balcony/outdoor bar area right off the reception desk is beautiful, and you can tell it was once a grand hotel. It just needs to be updated. And, in my opinion, it is not worth the $400 or $500 that they typically charge for a room. If we had not gotten such a good deal on the room, I would've been really, really mad. I can't imagine people staying here for their honeymoon and paying such high prices for the rooms - the pool wasn't even very nice. And like I said, you don't get much privacy, as compared to the Four Seasons where you really felt secluded, even in public areas because they created private spaces for people.

I actually wanted to and looked into changing hotels after arriving there, I was that disappointed with the place. On the plus, you do get to see lots of sea turtles, and they do venture into the hotel's lagoon area.

  • Stayed December 2005
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
Helpful?
18 Thank winterplum
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 29, 2006

My husband and I fell in love with this Fairmont. It's not too big, not too small.....just perfect. Everything from the food to the service to the location to the beauty of the resort was more than we could ever hope for. I highly recommend this place for anyone who just wants to relax and experience paradise. The breakfast buffet is a a great deal if you prepay at $15 per person. There are more turtles by the resort than you can count...you're guaranteed to see them in the water right off the resort and on the resort iin the afternoons. My only other suggestion is to bring reef shoes and you'll be very happy on their beach/lagoon. What a treat!!

  • Stayed May 2006
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
5 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 26, 2006

We arrived late Friday night, and were ready to begin a much anticipated vacation. When searching for hotels, my wife and I decided to bank on the Fairmont reputation, and give ourselves a treat. The room we were assigned was anything but that. The air conditioning system was loud, and did not work to cool the room properly. When I opened the door, I learned that our room was over a large generator plant and the maintenance shed. The generator made a constant and loud buzzing sound. We immediately contacted the front desk, and were told that there was nothing we could do. I went down in person, and talked to the night manager, and was told that our things would be moved the next day.

In the morning, we were awoken at 06:30 by the maintenance staff working their machines in the maintenance shed. Finally, about 09:30, my wife and I packed our things, and checked with the front desk. The front desk promised us a new room on the other side of the hotel. We were told it would be just a couple of hours, (checkout and cleaning), and we would have our room. We left for a day of sighseeing, and when we returned, we had a room, right above the generator plant (the same location as before!!!).

We explained that this was not going to work, and were told that there were no rooms available. We demanded to speak to the manager, but were delayed and given weak excuses as to why we could not see the manager. We finally refused to leave the front desk, and miraculously, a room opened.

With each person we dealt with at the front desk, we were told that all rooms at this resort were equal, and were told, "There is no bad room at this hotel". The contact with the staff was at times hostile, and never friendly. Later, when we had been successful in obtaining another room, we were told by the bell staff that these rooms are famous, and they move people out of these rooms all the time.

Dining at the hotel was crowded (had to wait 45 minutes for breakfast) , the food was horrible, and expensive. The sushi at the hotel was surprisingy awful, and again, ridiculously expensive. The waiters were inattentive.

My wife and I finally decided that we would only use this resort as a place to sleep. We then had to drive out of the area, (which is in the middle of nowhere), in order to eat, and relax.

Save yourselves your time, and money. Avoid this resort like the plague. If someone convinces you to stay at this resort, be sure and demand to know where the room is. If it is near the generator, get a flight back to the mainland, and forget you were ever here. The fight for a decent room will not be worth the headache.

  • Stayed April 2006
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
28 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
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
Amenities:
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 Spa Hotel in Puako
#2 Family Hotel in Puako
#2 Romantic Hotel in Puako
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Puako
#2 Luxury 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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