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Trip Reports: Four Seasons Hualalai, Big Island, HI

Trip Reports: Four Seasons Hualalai, Big Island, HI

Old Jan 22, 14, 2:38 pm
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Trip Reports: Four Seasons Hualalai, Big Island, HI

Weíve just returned from 8 nights at the Four Seasons Hualalai. This was our first time to the big Island and the trip was booked to celebrate our 10th anniversary. We flew into Honolulu and had the first 4 nights at the Halekulani. We tried to book into Hualalai from the 3rd of Jan but even booking a year in advance we were only able to get accommodation from the 5th Ė which I believe is the last day of their official festive season.

We had originally booked to stay for 4 nights and then move onto FS Maui for another 4 nights. Within half an hour of arriving at the resort I knew 4 days just wouldnít be enough. I duly contacted our agent, David O, who in his usual prompt and efficient manner, was able to cancel Maui and extend Hualalai. A huge thanks David for your patience in dealing with all the last minute changes!

Hereís a run down of our experiences and impressions:

Room
I was unsure of which crescent to choose Ė I was torn between the Beach Tree crescent and Palm Grove. David O highly recommended Palm Grove and Iím so glad he did. It feels like a slightly smaller crescent than the others but I donít know if thatís actually the case. Itís certainly quieter and more private. We opted for an ocean view room which means itís on the lower level. Given the time of year we didnít receive a room upgrade. I actually really liked the lower level room (and not for the outdoor shower which I donít particularly enjoy) but for the ease of the dual access from the room by either the front door or the lanai Ė the latter has you by the pool or the beach within a minute of leaving your room. Our room, which was on the right arm of the crescent, had good ocean views from both the bed and the lanai. One thing that surprised me was how little we used the lanai and the room, making the view a bit of a non-factor. Just about everywhere you eat, drink and swim here has amazing ocean views so enjoying it from the room wasnít a big deal, so next time I would probably opt for a partial ocean view instead. The room itself is large and well thought out with just the right amount of a Hawaiian theme without going overboard.

Restaurants
We tried all of them and our favourite was hands down the Beach Tree. The menu is diverse enough to eat here for a week without getting bored. Fantastic burgers/pizzas and one of the best gnocchiís with oxtail ragu Iíve ever eaten. The chef is Italian and the food is cooked with love and care. I also think that prices are actually very reasonable and far less expensive (not to mention better quality) than anywhere we dined in Honolulu. The other thing we loved of an evening was sitting around the bar at the Beach Tree for a couple of sun downers. Sitting at the bar, with the ocean just metres away and often with whales swimming by in the distance was truly magical. They have a very unique way of pricing the wine list at the Beach Tree which I thought was fantastic. Any wine can be purchased by the glass, the carafe or the bottle. They are pieced in categories with the bottle price being either $44, $66 or $88 and there are a good dozen bottles of red and white wines in each price category.
We ate at Ulu twice and whilst it was good it wasnít great Ė lovely location and views though so it was nice to change up the dining experiences a little.

The restaurant which surprised me the most was the Hualalai Grill which is their steak restaurant. My husband, a New Yorker and very fussy re steakhouses, was dubious about trying this but we were both really amazed at the quality of the steaks Ė they were really good. It is however one of the only venues that doesnít have water views and the atmosphere wasnít as buzzy as the other restaurants so we just ate here the one time.

Service
In a word, exemplary. From the bars, to the breakfast staff, to the restaurants and in particular the poolside, the service was amazing. Friendly, efficient and totally on the ball. There was not a staff member that we didnít enjoy speaking to. It says a a lot about a place when you see return guests going up to wait staff , hugging them hello and proceeding to ask after each others families and children. We witnessed this on a number of occasions and it speaks a lot to the staff and the guests here. The one area which I personally didnít find great, and I know from other reviews that this is not the norm, is the concierge staff member who assisted us with dining reservations. I made sure to book all our dinners way in advance of arrival but as we extended our stay at the last minute we needed to make more dinner reservations. I spoke to the concierge but I was unable to get a table for the 7pm slot we prefer at either the Beach Tree or Ulu on any nights. We had to dine at either 5.30, 6.00 or 8.00pm as she insisted that the restaurants were fully committed. I made the bookings for the times available but on the previous day would go up to the actual restaurant to see if I could change the time to 7.00pm and was able to do so with no problem at all for each night - so that was a little strange.

Pools & The Dreaded Deck Chair Issue
On our first few days we sat around the tranquility pool/adults only pool. There are only about 24 chairs around this pool so itís very peaceful and all the deck chairs face the ocean. On our first morning we headed out to the pool at around 8.30 am (weíre early risers) and there wasnít a staff member around and no towels. The pool was actually roped off. We found out that it opens at 10.00 am. This was in some ways a welcome surprise from Waikiki where guests at the Halekulani were reserving deck chairs at 5.00am in the pitch dark (I kid you not). But 10.00am was a little bit the other extreme for us. We like to wake up early, have a run, shower and hit the pool at 8.30, read the papers and then head to breakfast at around 10.30. We then go back to our chairs and use them for the rest of the day, as we tend to skip lunch. At the adults only pool they were very strict about not reserving chairs for more than 15 minutes outside of 11.30-2.30 where you can leave them vacant. I admire that they enforce this and I wish other resorts would be as vigilant but when I explained to them that we wanted to go for breakfast at 10.30 and that we donít do lunch so the 11.30-2.30 vacancy would not be required for us they were hesitant to agree and in the end we said that if anyone came after the chairs whilst we were at breakfast then they could give them away, luckily that didnít happen. Donít get me wrong I abhor it when people reserve chairs and then donít turn up until hours later, have a quick dip in the pool, dry off and depart again. I dislike it even more when hotels let guests get away with that. But if you can see that the guest is using the chair throughout the entire day and is only absent for breakfast for 30 minutes itís a different case. I noticed some people around the tranquility pool were very aware of the 15 minute rule. In one instance a gentleman sat in the pool keeping an eagle eye out for any one who was absent for 16 minutes at which time he pounced on the staff to remove them so he could take the chairs - the poor person had gone for a swim and then to the bathroom! For the rest of our stay we used the Beach Tree pool, which I preferred. Lots more chairs and the cabanaís (free) at the back give the best shade options for any time of the day. In general this is one of the only resorts weíve been to a peak times where both the staff and the guests used good etiquette and were sensible re deck chair use. I wish other resorts would use the same good sense. We loved the fact that there was a kids pool which meant that even the Beach Tree pool, which has no age restrictions, was very quiet and peaceful and the children who did use it were incredibly well behaved.

In closing we had an amazing time at Four Season Hualalei. Itís a very special and unique property. I wasnít sure what to expect Ė Iíd read all the glowing reviews but wondered if it would live up to the hype and it absolutely did, and then some. We canít wait to return!
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Old Jan 22, 14, 3:52 pm
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Great report and so glad you had an excellent stay!
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Old Jan 22, 14, 5:29 pm
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Originally Posted by ClefsDor View Post
At the adults only pool they were very strict about not reserving chairs for more than 15 minutes outside of 11.30-2.30 where you can leave them vacant.
good to hear

Originally Posted by ClefsDor View Post
We tried to book into Hualalai from the 3rd of Jan but even booking a year in advance we were only able to get accommodation from the 5th – which I believe is the last day of their official festive season.

Beach Tree...Fantastic burgers/pizzas and one of the best gnocchi’s with oxtail ragu I’ve ever eaten...far less expensive (not to mention better quality) than anywhere we dined in Honolulu...Any wine can be purchased by the glass, the carafe or the bottle

as we extended our stay at the last minute we needed to make more dinner reservations. I spoke to the concierge but I was unable to get a table for the 7pm slot we prefer at either the Beach Tree or Ulu on any nights. We had to dine at either 5.30, 6.00 or 8.00pm as she insisted that the restaurants were fully committed. I made the bookings for the times available but on the previous day would go up to the actual restaurant to see if I could change the time to 7.00pm and was able to do so with no problem at all for each night - so that was a little strange.
very informative!

if i understand correctly, your added dinner reservations were 4 > 7 nights in advance?
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Old Jan 22, 14, 5:42 pm
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Great review. I love this resort too! It is one of the best that we have ever visited.
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Old Jan 23, 14, 1:52 pm
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Hi Kagehitokiri, Yes, 4 dinner reservations out of our 8 night stay were booked in advance and then the last 4 were done 1 night into our stay.
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Old Jan 23, 14, 4:21 pm
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Anyone have any suggestions on how to get in for a tee time? We are staying at Sheraton Kona this summer and my boys would love to play a round there. Hotel rates are exorbitant but I believe you must be a guest to golf there.
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Old Jan 23, 14, 6:44 pm
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Sounds like a great stay. Many thanks for your report!

Personally, however, if deck chairs are to be a concern at a hotel whatsoever, the property is not for me. I just don't want to be concerned with that kind of issue on a holiday.
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Old Jan 28, 14, 8:23 pm
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Originally Posted by blueline7 View Post
Sounds like a great stay. Many thanks for your report!

Personally, however, if deck chairs are to be a concern at a hotel whatsoever, the property is not for me. I just don't want to be concerned with that kind of issue on a holiday.
Aloha Blueline, we live on the Big Island and visit Hualalai rather frequently. Even during Festive Seasons, unless you are particularly attached to a specific chair, finding a good chair around your pool of choice isn't a problem at Hualalai. Unfortunately, this is not true for the Four Seasons Maui.
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Old Jan 28, 14, 8:46 pm
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Originally Posted by blueline7 View Post
Sounds like a great stay. Many thanks for your report!

Personally, however, if deck chairs are to be a concern at a hotel whatsoever, the property is not for me. I just don't want to be concerned with that kind of issue on a holiday.
Well said. As soon as "reserving" or worry about lounge chairs at a beach resort is an issue - I move onto the next hotel option. There may be few easy options (one could be to purchase more chairs for the busier times, even if it means the deck area is more crowded) but one alternative is not to visit such a property.
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Old Jan 28, 14, 9:18 pm
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Originally Posted by Goodmorning2U View Post
Even during Festive Seasons, unless you are particularly attached to a specific chair, finding a good chair around your pool of choice isn't a problem at Hualalai.
Originally Posted by Kagehitokiri View Post
Originally Posted by Goodmorning2U View Post
I've never had to fight over a chair here, even when it is 100% occupied.
(new) hualalai festive problems (due to continually increasing numbers)

xmas/nye 2011 >

Originally Posted by Kagehitokiri View Post
Originally Posted by Kagehitokiri View Post
pool chair problem during festive - two new reports, while others previously seemed to suggest no problem
2 reports from dec 18-24 2011 and jan 1+ 2012 include problems with pool chairs >

http://www.sitinfirst.com/2012/01/ch...he-experience/
Originally Posted by NYBanker
The only drawback to any of the pools was competitively “early chair claims,” or “dibs-ing.”. Even at 6:45am, despite no one actually using the pool at that hour, perhaps 35% of the chairs at the Seashell (kids’) pool had towels or other personal items on them.. If you didn’t get down to reserve your seats by 9:00am, you’d be lucky to get a seat at the Seashell pool until 3pm, when it starts emptying out.
The adults’ only pool wasn’t as bad, and even turning up at 11am, we could get chairs.. If you turned up at any of the pools at 12:30pm, it wouldn’t be uncommon to see all of the chairs reserved, but with less than 35% actually being used.. The hotel said they would remove belongings left unattended for more than one hour (allowing people to go to lunch, etc), but that clearly wasn’t enforced
Originally Posted by jordyn View Post
I'm just returning from a short trip to Hualalai myself, and do think it's worth pointing out that many of the minor drawbacks tat NYBanker refers to are limited to really prime times. We arrived on Jan. 1st, when the resort was totally overflowing and crowded, but all of the subsequent days of our trip we had no problem getting chairs at the pools.
xmas/nye 2012 >

Originally Posted by wayzfam View Post
Breakfast buffet - not on par with Maui. Very crowded, understaffed, extra charges for almond croissant. Seriously, they had certain pastries not included in the buffet. After the first morning, we did room service for breakfast because it was such a zoo. Also, my three year old never eats at breakfast. At Maui, the server packed her eggs, bagels, cereal to go with utensils. No charge. At hualalai, they refused to even provide a to go container for her bagel that was unfinished.

Pools - seashell pool was wild, loud and lousy service. It reminded me of a Hyatt or Marriott. I could tell the staff was burned out from the main festive period dec 24-Jan 1. The beach tree pool was better, but they really discourage kids. This creates a big problem because the seashell becomes overcrowded while beach tree pool is empty. Palm grove pool was nice, but service was also below expectations. The serenity pool at Maui was a more dramatic adults only option.

The other big issue with sea shell pool was that the staff constantly asked if we were finished with our chairs. Multiple times a day. I was getting out of the pool and rather than bringing me a towel the staff asked me if we could give up one of our cabanas.

Service - housekeeping was fine, but second morning did not show up until mid afternoon when we requested early morning. Pool service was really disappointing.

Time of year - I would not recommend this property during peak times. Rates are highest and service is lowest. I could tell the regulars really got better service and toward the end of festive the staff was burned out.
easter 2013 >

Originally Posted by nnn View Post
entire week, for example, cabanas around the Seashell pool (the family pool) were gone by 6:30 AM. Note that this is before the arrival of the pool attendants, which is at 6:45 AM. (I know this because I was out at 5:00-5:45 AM each morning so that my family could have a cabana.) One day, by late morning, we were told by a pool attendant that the waiting list for a chair at the Seashell pool was 75 people long. I believe the issue was not that the hotel was full -- which it was -- but rather that the condos were also packed, and that pushed the common areas over the edge.
Originally Posted by nnn View Post
Was just at Hualalai over Spring Break. Way too crowded -- the masses come down from the condos and put a huge burden on the pool areas and restaurants. (A lot of snot nosed kids raising hell, too, but that's not the hotel's fault.) The hotel did not seem well prepared for the crush. Service was noticeably worse than usual in several categories.
Originally Posted by peter11 View Post
I tend to agree with your assessment of Hualalai over spring break. We arrived the day before Easter and it was quite crowded for the first few days. After the third email I received from the resort prior to our arrival advising me of how busy it was going to be (and that my room would not be ready and that I'd need to reserve my dinners in advance, etc, etc,) I picked up the phone and asked if I should really be coming at all. They, of course were reassuring and the rooms manager met us at check in and took personal care of us which helped quite a bit. That said, it really is not a great value at $1000+ per night with the strain on resort overall at such a peak period. The last few days were quiet and much nicer.

The rooms really are quite excellent and the staff overall is too. Some of the guests should be kicked out.
some numbers >

Originally Posted by Kagehitokiri View Post
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-0...nd-climbs.html
jan 23 2013

rates...back to their peak 2007 levels

this year probably will be the best yet for nightly prices and demand, Fitzgerald said.

Occupancy...will probably rise to more than 80 percent this year, from “high 70 percent” in 2012, Fitzgerald said.

property includes 300 residential units...according to Fitzgerald.

Patrick Fitzgerald, chief executive officer of the resort
and there are another ~200 homelots, for a future maximum of ~500

follow up to above >

Originally Posted by nnn View Post
At Hualalai last spring break, the waiting list for a chair or cabana at the Seashell pool was 75 people long by mid-morning, according to the pool workers. I was in the obedient group of husbands who were out before 6 AM to get a cabana.

Hualalai condos and villas, who we witnessed taking the chairs and cabanas by the loads each morning...we swore off Hualalai at spring break after our trip for being too crowded (for the exorbitant price being charged) at the pools.
also summer 2012 >

Originally Posted by Valveking View Post
by about 11 it seems that almost all of the pool chairs were taken
Originally Posted by Valveking View Post
chairs were full by 11 or so, there were plenty available after 1 o'clock
proposed change, but seems like not in place over xmas 2012 / easter 2013, so status unknown >

Originally Posted by Valveking View Post
I have heard that villa owners and renters are not being allowed to use the prime pool chairs during the busy times of year at Hualalai anymore.
new positive change, actually enforcing (Jan 22, 2014) >

Originally Posted by ClefsDor View Post
tranquility pool/adults only pool. There are only about 24 chairs around this pool

At the adults only pool they were very strict about not reserving chairs for more than 15 minutes outside of 11.30-2.30 where you can leave them vacant

some people around the tranquility pool were very aware of the 15 minute rule. In one instance a gentleman sat in the pool keeping an eagle eye out for any one who was absent for 16 minutes at which time he pounced on the staff to remove them so he could take the chairs

Last edited by Kagehitokiri; Jun 29, 15 at 8:05 pm
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Old May 19, 14, 12:15 pm
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Here's another take on the 4S Hualalai. This was during the flyertalk do of 2013 and I highly recommend you look into joining us this year also. At the bottom of this post is a link to this report with all the pictures too.

The Four Seasons Hualalai won the best hotel in the world award by Tripadvisor in 2013. Now if this doesn’t raise your expectations, I’m not sure what will.

If you are flying into Kona airport your Four Seasons Hualalai experience will start about 10 minutes after you leave the airport terminal. You will be greeted at the gate a few miles from the resort. This ensures the hotel is fully ready for your arrival. As you drive through the sweeping roads, villas and golf course to the resort you can’t help but be excited, especially us first timers.

As you pull into the lobby area the guest services crew reminds you not to worry about a thing when you exit your car. Of course you will be addressed by name and shortly after enjoy a Lei greeting, fresh flowers for the ladies.

Next you will be graciously walked into the open air lobby and asked to have a seat on their couches with a refreshing towel, fruit and adult beverage right in front of you. The agent will go over details of your reservation and then take your credit card probably putting on a preauthorization the amount of several of your mortgage payments.

At this point you may imagine we had a lump in our throats but just before handing over that credit card we received an upgrade to an ocean view room. This I wasn’t expecting and looking back it’s only going to pain my wallet more since now that I’ve done it anything less just won’t be the same.

I was still thrifty enough to use the complimentary parking so our agent who would take us to the room had all our bags piled on the golf cart and followed me to the parking spot. Finding out it was our first visit he gave us a great tour of the grounds. Initially they may feel expansive but after a few hours of exploring you’ll get your bearings and keep in mind it’s only a 7 minute walk from one side to the other in case you get lost.

Getting lost is part of the fun at resorts which maintain their grounds to this level. Unlike most other resorts the beach cabanas had the least use I’ve ever seen. We did spend a few hours beachside but the majority of our stay was spent pool hopping and snorkeling at Kings Head Pond.

All the rooms at this hotel have the same layout except for one big exception. They are built in a two story duplex style. The bottom rooms have an outdoor shower in addition to the indoor one. This shower is surrounded by rock and has some bamboo overhead so the bathrooms above can’t peep in. Views and outdoor showers aside all rooms are the same.

Suites are another level here. I suggest you get in touch with the hotel directly in case you are in that league. Suite customers do get a few additional benefits but once again I don’t know the details of those benefits so I would get in touch with the hotel. I did notice a few of the suites have full yards just 40 feet from the ocean, I can only dream of having one of those.

The bottom floor unit lanais (balconies) walk out onto the green space in front. This can make getting to the pool nearby very easy. However other guests in nearby rooms may have to walk on these same paths which can be as close as 20 feet from your lanai. So the advantage of the second floor units is better ocean views since you are higher but also more immediate privacy.

The people I travelled with were split between preferences of having a first or second floor room. I personally really enjoyed the outdoor shower, especially since I could even see the ocean from it through the entire room. I found the view of the ocean great from our outdoor seating area. The neighbours I did see walk by all had huge smiles and were friendly but fast and didn’t peer into the room.

The rest of the room was excellent for a hotel room. Furniture and finishing’s were in nice shape, big closet off the entrance, double sinks, toilet with a separate door and phone (Who uses those?!? Ewww…). It has a flat panel TV which I imagine has HD channels even though I never even turned it on. The hotel is 16 years old so the bathroom finishing may not be cutting edge but fit the bill and are super clean.

Bath amenities were a local brand and in large bottles meant for multiple guests and to reduce plastic waste overall. The scent screamed Hawaii but once I got the major lemongrass tone I couldn’t help but think of Thailand. I really liked the bath soaps, my better half did express concern they were a bit potent and since many people have allergies these days she felt the aroma could have been softened.

But getting back to environmental stewardship the Four Seasons Hualalai does a fair bit of promoting itself as such a hotel. They have water dispensers next to each ice machine which seems to be every 80 feet. My water never got below half full while relaxing in one the hundreds of different loungers. The turndown service includes a carafe the size of a litre of water. However one evening they even surprised me, there was a bottle of Hawaiian Springs bottled water tableside. According to the literature in the room this wasn’t supposed to be their plan, but what do I know, perhaps the filter system went kaput.

The basic rooms at this hotel have a golf course view with the ocean in the distant background. However these rooms may be the most private since only golfers or maintenance workers are around. During the night it’s very unlikely anyone will walk by your lanai.

The remainder of rooms are alcoves (semi-circles) around one of 3 pools or the saltwater Kings Pond. We enjoyed our adult pool alcove; this pool has a swim up bar open 11am-5pm, hot tub, infinity edge and only 24 seats with every two seats sharing a table. In front were the only 5 cabanas available for rent on property and the beachside cabanas. This alcove felt the most intimate and we would request it in the future since we have no kids, whoop whoop….yet.

The pool just north called the beach tree pool is also referred to as the quiet pool. Children are allowed but there is no splashing. Another bonus, usually even more of an annoyance than a child having fun is no cell phone talking or ringers on. So if you are about to close that big deal please answer that call right by the smoking section.

The seashell pool (aka Kids Pool) is another beautiful infinity pool. On our first day we sunk down into what may be the best seats in the house. Right next to everything including semi submersed loungers with a minihut above. But it was our first day so we continued pool hopping and then we found Kings Pond.

For someone like me who doesn’t think twice about driving the limit on the autobahn or sliding across metal on a snowboard I must say I get intimidated by unusual sea creatures. This is the beauty of Kings Pond, even a guy like me who nearly needed a change of pants when I first saw the Eagle Ray by the second time I was totally engrossed in the beauty to see.

There is a daily eagle ray feeding at 1pm Mon-Friday I highly suggest you sign up for. It fills up so get your name on the list early; it opens at Kings Pond at 10am. Once I fed that eagle ray my confidence and snorkelling enjoyment just shot up like Trumps ego when he’s on TV.

After we checked out of the Orchid we did a bit of Christmas shopping in Kona and bought snacks and breakfast food prior to checking in. Truthfully I was expecting to pay $30+ for dinner entrees all week. Our first night we had dinner reserved at Beach Tree. After I little mix-up since our reservation was made for January instead of December by the concierge we got a table pronto.

Service and food at Beach Tree were excellent. In total we tried the Burger, Mascarpone Prosciutto arugula pizza, alfredo, lobster risotto, lobster pasta in bread bowl, chef Nicks grandmothers gnocchi and all these entrees tasted great. The risotto did have a strong seafood taste and we just ordered a half order as a side. That’s another beauty; most requests are granted and often encouraged.
We also dined poolside and the staff made it an easy experience. Food is quick to arrive and tastes very fresh. I had the Mahi Tacos and Burger and would order both again. I’m a fan of the onion rings but the house salad is a great mix of different leafs.

Now my favorite part of the food and beverage experience at the Four Seasons Hualalai has to be the adult themed popsicles. The pool staff walk around with treats every hour; fruit kabobs, ice cream, sunglass cleaning, cold face towels etc. But the adult popsicles filled with real fruit and booze are awesome. Instead of the usual welcome drink I will request a popsicle next time. I’m pretty sure it has more booze in it too.

For the best sunset you may ever experience get a table at the Residents Beach House which hotel guests have access too. Enjoy a cocktail and watch the VOG (Volcano Fog) turn the sky red, orange, purple, blue all at the same time. The Beach House is also open during the day and at 5:30 has a more extensive dinner menu with Burgers and Pizzas for $19-$23 and finer entrees at the $35 mark.
The newest fine dining option is ULU restaurant. The breakfast buffets take place on their beachside tables and at night it satisfies your Japanese and fresh fish cravings. We enjoyed a few of the rolls here one evening and dessert.

The resort has two 18 hole golf courses however only one is available for hotel guests to play. They charge $250 for an all day golf pass. The 17th hole is a spectacular par 3 along the oceanside and the Hualalai Grill is a great spot for an aprŤs round adult beverage or to enjoy dinner. The course is only open to residents and hotel guests so you may be able to finish your golf rounds in record time.

In case you are in need for complete solitude the Four Seasons Spa can fulfill this. There is a separate pool by the SPA, fitness area and tennis court. At the men’s locker area there is a sauna, steam room and both a hot and cold tub. In addition you have a television area and excellent service from the locker room attendant. Outside of the locker rooms is a tranquil garden you can relax and enjoy some peace and quiet. The best part of the spa is there is no additional fee for using the facilities and in case you arrive early or depart late it’s a great place to freshen up and store a few things while you are waiting for your room or late night flight. Keep in mind the hotel offers any guests in these shoes full access to all the hotel facilities too.

Overall the Four Seasons Hualalai really impressed me on all fronts. It didn’t nickel and dime like many of the higher end resorts in Hawaii. No resort or parking fees, drinking water supplied night and day, no fees for cabanas, dining value and no need to reserve beach chairs early stood out compared to a few of the other luxury hotels I’ve stayed at in Hawaii. Service was exceptional and the grounds are stunning with plenty of options to enjoy. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this hotel to anyone.

http://behindthecockpit.wordpress.co...l-trip-report/

Last edited by kokinos; May 19, 14 at 12:23 pm
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Old May 19, 14, 2:41 pm
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Hualalai Spa - logistics

For booking spa services, do you go through the FS Hualalai concierge or try calling the spa directly? I've always booked all activities and meals through the FS concierge previously, but they are being a bit (more like exceedingly) glacial in working with me to get the availability of the massage therapist I prefer. Wouldn't the spa be able to pull it up on their computer system and resolve it in real time, or can one not even contact them directly?
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Old May 21, 14, 2:18 pm
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Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Canada
Programs: Virtuoso TA, Four Seasons Pref Partner, Rosewood Elite TA, Ritz Carlton STARS TA
Posts: 4,280
Originally Posted by blueheronNC View Post
Wouldn't the spa be able to pull it up on their computer system and resolve it in real time, or can one not even contact them directly?
Call the resort and just ask for the spa.... I always book client's spa with spa staff
ABG is offline  
Old May 8, 15, 4:56 pm
  #14  
nnn
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: San Francisco
Programs: All-Around Kettle
Posts: 3,042
Just thought I'd report on the cabana situation at Hualalai's family/Seashell pool this Spring Break (the week of April 5 for us). It really shows a tale of "two" hotels.

Until Friday, getting a cabana by the family pool required (as in past years) being outside very early. The first cabanas would be taken around 5:15 am, and by around 6:00-6:30 am, they were gone. With the exception of Sunday, the pool attendants came out at 6 am this year, earlier than I remember in the past. By contrast, the adult/Palm Grove pool was dead -- you could get a chair anytime you wanted.

The newish policy of disallowing villa/condo dwellers from using the cabanas and prime chairs was in effect. I think this helped avoid the extremely long waiting lists I had seen in past years, but one still had to be outside early to get a cabana during the morning/lunch hours.

On Friday, the entire hotel seemed to change. Most families seemed to have gone home (presumably to get prepared for school on Monday), so it suddenly became very easy to get a cabana by the Seashell pool and the pool area was generally quiet. By contrast, we tried to use the adult/Palm Grove pool that weekend while a babysitter watched our children, and were surprised to find that that pool had gone from being dead to completely full. Clearly, the adult groups had replaced the families and were crowding the amenities tailored to them.

We had a great visit, and continue to love this hotel. Granted, it was a bit of a zoo around the family pool most of the week (despite the 4-figure pricing), but I assume the nearby alternatives would have been even worse. We are considering FSBB next year.
nnn is offline  
Old Jun 28, 15, 4:53 pm
  #15  
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Programs: SPG Gold, Hyatt GP Platinum
Posts: 432
Thinking of staying at the FS Hualalai. Do they still great you at the airport? What if I rent a car, how does that work? Will they still greet me at the airport?

Thanks in advance.
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