Four Seasons Resort Hualalai Review: Best Luxury Hotel in Hawaii
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Hilary Stockton
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Four Seasons Resort Hualalai Review


This Four Seasons Hualalai Review is from a recent trip to the Big Island of Hawaii and Maui, including stays at Andaz Maui at Wailea and Four Seasons Maui at Wailea. 

For prior posts in this trip report, please see:

Alaska Airlines First Class Review

Alaska Airlines Board Room Seattle Lounge Review

Alaska Airlines First Class to Hawaii

Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach Review

Andaz Maui at Wailea Suite Review

Ka'ana Kitchen Review and Andaz Maui at Wailea Dining

Mama's Fish House Review in Paia, Maui

Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea Review

Breakfast at DUO at Four Seasons Maui at Wailea

Koiso Sushi Bar Maui Review

Hawaii Volcano Treehouse Review

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Review

Kilauea Lodge Restaurant Review

Punalu'u Black Sand Beach Photo Tour

 

TravelSort Clients may book Four Seasons Resort Hualalai with Four Seasons Preferred Partner (FSPP) benefits. I always recommend that when booking a Four Seasons property, you book with preferred partner amenities, since FSPP upgrades are prioritized ahead of all other upgrades, such as Virtuoso, AMEX Fine Hotels and Resorts, etc.

  • Upgrade of one category, based on availability at time of check-in (excluding signature suites and villas)
  • Daily full American breakfast for two people per bedroom, served through In-Room Dining or in the hotel restaurant (including buffets)
  • Food and beverage credit of USD100
  • Complimentary basic Internet access for up to two devices

Four Seasons Resort Hualalai Location, Lobby and Check-In

Four Seasons Resort Hualalai is located at 72-100 Ka'upulehu Drive in Kailua-Kona, about a 10 minute drive from the Big Island's Kona Airport (KOA). Look for mile marker 87, and soon after you'll see the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai sign. And fortunately, if you're driving at night, it's illuminated, making it easy to spot.

Four Seasons Hualalai Sign

 

Although we used valet parking for convenience, which is $20 per night, there is also complimentary self parking for guests, which is a great option that is not available at either the Four Seasons Maui at Wailea or the Andaz Wailea.

We were greeted on our arrival with leis, and escorted to a comfortable sofa in the lobby to complete our check-in, along with refreshing cool towels, welcome drinks and fresh pineapple (note that once again, I wasn't fast enough snapping a photo before my husband and the munchkin managed to drink most of their drinks).

Four Seasons Hualalai Review - Lobby

Four Seasons Hualalai Review - Welcome Drinks and Pineapple

 

Four Seasons Hualalai Prime Ocean View Room

Our Prime Ocean View Room was spacious, at 635 square feet, with plenty of room for all three of us with the included King bed and a complimentary extra bed for the munchkin. The bed of course was perfect, and we got great sleep.

Four Seasons Hualalai Review - Prime Ocean View Room

 

There was a signed welcome note from the General Manager, Robert Whitfield, along with a lovely fruit bowl that included lychee, oranges, apples and a banana, and also bottled water.

Four Seasons Hualalai Review - Welcome Note, Fruit and Bottled Water

 

The munchkin was thrilled with his welcome amenity: a Four Seasons Hualalai turtle, and a swimming red squid that he had a blast chasing around in the Sea Shell Pool, both carefully arranged on his bed along with a child size bathrobe and slippers.

Four Seasons Hualalai Review - Kid's Welcome Amenity

 

That night, the munchkin couldn't have been happier with his new turtle friend:

Four Seasons Hualalai Review - With New Turtle Friend

 

We were happy to be near the adults only Palm Grove Pool, since we knew it would be pretty peaceful when outside on our private lanai, but families with young kids will likely want to be closer to the Sea Shell Pool, which is for families and is also closer to the restaurants. Here's the view from our lanai:

Four Seasons Hualalai Review: View from Prime Ocean View Room

 

The bathroom featured double vanities, a soaking tub, and glass enclosed walk-in rain shower. There was a cute Aloha greeting written on the tub that the munchkin liked so much, he tried his best to preserve the writing throughout our stay.

Four Seasons Hualalai Review - Bathroom with Dual Vanities

Four Seasons Hualalai Review - Soaking Tub with Aloha Greeting

Four Seasons Hualalai Bathroom - Rain Shower

 

Organic bath products are by the Kawili Project, and include indigenous herbs, flowers, essential oils, Kona coffee and macadamia nuts. While I was a little skeptical since the large containers don't exactly exude luxury, the shampoo and conditioner were fantastic.

Four Seasons Hualalai Review - Kawili Organic Bath Products

 

There's a Cuisinart coffee maker and mugs in the room, but I didn't use them since I enjoyed coffee as part of our breakfast each morning at 'ULU.

Four Seasons Hualalai Review - Coffee Maker

 

There were bathrobes in the walk-in closet, along with a beach bag for use during our stay. As at the Four Seasons Maui, there was even Woolite to rinse out bathing suits--love this attention to detail!

Four Seasons Hualalai Review - Walk In Closet with Bathrobes and Beach Bag

Four Seasons Hualalai - Woolite and Complimentary Shoe Polishing

 

Nor was hand washing the only option. Just next door (and dotted all over the property, for guests' convenience) were laundry rooms with large washers and dryers and laundry detergent, all free for guests' use. I never had to wait to do laundry, and even over a 3 night stay, we did 3 mini loads of laundry. There's no need to pack many clothes if you're going to Hualalai, given the ease of doing laundry.

Four Seasons Hualalai Review - Washer and Dryer


Four Seasons Hualalai Crescents and Swimming Pools and Beach

The Four Seasons Hualalai takes a fantastic approach: instead of a tall high rise, all the rooms are part of two story bungalows, nestled around four crescents close to the shoreline, each with a different pool. Here's a Four Seasons Hualalai map, showing the crescents:

Four Seasons Hualalai Map


As you can see, there 4 major pools for the 4 crescents, plus there's the Lap Pool at the health club and the small Keiki Pool near the Sea Shell Pool.

The Palm Grove Pool is adults only, so honeymooners, couples celebrating anniversaries, and parents looking for a bit of couples only time while their kids are at the Kids for All Seasons kids club can enjoy a pool with no kids.

Four Seasons Hualalai Review - Palm Grove Adults Only Pool


The Beach Tree Pool is not adults only, but it is a quiet pool, which applies to both adults and kids, so anyone wanting the serenity of hearing the ocean while napping or reading a good book by the most scenic pool of the resort should be happy here. 

Beach Tree Pool, Four Seasons Hualalai


The Sea Shell Pool is the family pool--you have been warned! But more seriously, at least when we were there, while popular and with quite a few families and kids, it didn't feel overly crowded nor was it that noisy.

Four Seasons Hualalai Review - Sea Shell Pool


Of course, since this is the Four Seasons, a nice perk was that as you were relaxing after a swim, a friendly attendant would come by with ice water and complimentary treats such as chilled pineapple.

Four Seasons Hualalai Review - Relaxing After a Swim

Four Seasons Hualalai Review - Chilled Pineapple Poolside


There's also a jacuzzi whirlpool that all of us loved, also because it was shaded so we could take our hats off and not worry about getting sunburned.

Four Seasons Hualalai Review - Jacuzzi Whirlpool By Sea Shell Pool


Behind the Sea Shell Pool is the Keiki Pool, the perfect pool for very young children, since it's shallow.

Four Seasons Hualalai Review - Keiki Pool


The final crescent is occupied by Kings Pond, an utterly unique "aquarium" carved out of lava rock with over 3000 fish and a spotted eagle ray that you can swim and snorkel with. We loved swimming in Kings Pond, and I attribute the munchkin's greater willingness to swim underwater to Kings Pond. Before this trip, he enjoyed pools, but not swimming underwater.

Four Seasons Hualalai Review - Kings Pond


The Four Seasons Hualalai is beachfront with some white sand beach, and I did see some guests in the water, but it's quite rocky here so this is not the best place on the Big Island for ocean swimming. There are plenty of sun loungers, however, if you prefer to lounge with a direct view of the ocean.

Four Seasons Hualalai Review - Beach and Lounge Chairs


Finally, if you're a serious swimmer and want to get some laps in, there is a lap pool by the Fitness Center.

Four Seasons Hualalai Review - Lap Pool


Four Seasons Hualalai Activities and Kids for All Seasons Kids' Club

I'll cover things to do (and there are plenty of choices) and the Kids for All Seasons Kids Club in a future post.

 

Four Seasons Hualalai Dining at 'ULU Restaurant and Beach Tree

In a future post, I'll cover 'ULU Restaurant's breakfast buffet (which is complimentary if you book with TravelSort to receive Four Seasons Preferred Partner benefits) as well as menus and sunset dinner at 'ULU and Beach Tree.

 

The Verdict

The Four Seasons Hualalai is my favorite luxury resort in Hawaii. No other Big Island resort can compare, and it is even my personal favorite over the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea, as great an experience as we had there. With 4 different and distinct crescents, each with their own pool and vibe, everyone has a place to enjoy their vacation: couples who want to socialize, those seeking a completely serene experience without any chatter, families with teens and older kids, and families with little ones. Service was superb throughout our stay, from the friendly and efficient valet staff to housekeeping, who always came conveniently when we were out of the room, and the pool staff as well as our servers. And I haven't even scratched the surface of the many fitness and cultural activities that the resort offers daily.

In a nutshell, if you're seeking the best luxury resort Hawaii can offer and haven't been to the Four Seasons Hualalai, you're missing out.

Related Posts

Four Seasons Preferred Partner Benefits

Best Offers: Four Seasons Maui, Four Seasons Hualalai, Four Seasons Lanai Manele Bay, Lodge at Koele

Honeymoon in Hawaii: Which Island and Which Hotels?

Disclosure: My family and I were guests and enjoyed a complimentary stay at the Four Seasons Hualalai, however the views expressed in this post are my own.

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Comments
Picture?type=large Bill R. commented 10 Aug 2014
I agree that the FS Hualalai is the most beautiful and special property in Hawaii. That being said, there is a big caveat there which precludes me from ever returning--air conditioning. The air con system at the FSH utilizes a cold water system which is very environmentally friendly but which is not as effective as other air con systems. When it gets very hot outside, as it can even with tradewinds in Hawaii and especially in the summer months when tradewinds are not as present or as strong, the air con system at the FSH cannot cool your room to below 71-72 F in my experience. I was last there in July 2006 and August 2008, and both times it failed us terribly. They moved us around trying to find a room capable of cooling to below 70 F and couldn't find a single room either time. They even moved us into the Presidential Suite to assuage us, but the air con worked even less well there since it is the room most removed from the central air con water cooling system, so it was even warmer than most rooms. Ultimately, they moved us into a downgraded room closest to the lava rock pool (children's pool I think at the time) which also was closer to the water cooling system...and refunded us 3 of our 5 nights BOTH TIMES after guaranteeing it would never happen again. (It obviously did, since they guaranteed us air con of 68 F on our second visit and failed to deliver.) I've had friends who have been to the FSH around Thanksgiving and Christmas, when it wasn't as hot, and they said the air con was able then to cool down to 69-70 F at best. The moral of this story is that the FSH is the best property in Hawaii IF you don't require your room to cool below 70-72 F. If you do, as I do in order to comfortably sleep, the FSH is not the best property in Hawaii.
Avatar_60_hilary Hilary Stockton commented 10 Aug 2014
Bill, interesting--I'll take your word for it, since everyone in my family is comfortable sleeping in a room cooled to 72 degrees F, so we didn't test to see how much cooler it would go. The room was already that temperature when we arrived and very comfortably cool for us, but of course everyone has different preferred temperatures for sleeping. When was your last stay at Hualalai? Was there no Kings Pond when you were there, with the 75 species of fish and eagle ray?
Picture?type=large Bill R. commented 11 Aug 2014
You didn't see my dates? July 2006 and August 2008, both for weddings we were attending nearby.
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