This Fairmont Orchid Hotel Review and Video is from our 2021 site inspection stay, which included four Big Island luxury resorts. The Fairmont Orchid is the largest of the four with over 500 rooms and suites, but bigger isn't necessarily better, as our recent experience illustrated.
Fairmont Orchid Location and Check-In
The Fairmont Orchid is located about a 30 minute drive from Kona Airport (KOA), and less than 2 miles from the recently renovated Mauna Lani, an Auberge Resort. Check-in time is 4pm, so we recommend arriving close to that time or being prepared to enjoy the resort's common areas until your room or suite is ready; these days nearly all Hawaii luxury resorts are running at very high occupancy, so early check-in may not be able to be accommodated.
Check-in took a long time, as the staff member who checked us in didn't appear to be very experienced. During the delay, my husband and son got bored of waiting and found the pool table by the Luana Lounge just off the lobby, so at least some of us made good use of the time.
Fairmont Orchid Rooms and Suites
The Fairmont Orchid offers five room view categories: Garden View, Partial Ocean View, Ocean View, Deluxe Ocean View, and Oceanfront. All room types are the same size, 522 square feet (48 square meters), with a private lanai (balcony), and come with one king bed or two queen beds. There's also the option of paying more to book a Fairmont Gold Room (Garden View, Ocean View, or Premium Ocean View) so as to have access to the Fairmont Gold Club Lounge. We've stayed in a Gold Floor room before, and in our view, it wasn't worth the extra cost as the lounge food was mediocre in quality.
Suites start at 1050 square feet, although an unfortunate design choice means that the doors separating the bedroom from the living area have semi-transparent panels, not ideal for parents who want to put their kids to bed on the queen sofabed while watching a movie or keeping the lights on in their own room. For this reason, it's best to either get two connecting rooms or a suite connecting to a room to become a two bedroom suite, if you're staying as a family and want more privacy between the parents' bedroom and where the kids sleep.
Fairmont Orchid Ocean View Room
We were upgraded from the Partial Ocean View Room we reserved to an Ocean View Room on the 6th floor. Elevator doors reminded guests that only one family should take the elevator at a time.
Rooms were last renovated in 2006, 15 years ago, so while they've been well maintained, they don't have the new feel of either Four Seasons Hualalai or Mauna Lani. The beds at least were comfortable, with plusher mattresses than at the Mauna Lani although not as comfortable for us as the Four Seasons.
The bathroom has double sinks and a separate toilet chamber, so those are pluses. A minus, at least in our room, was poor water pressure both in the bathtub-shower combo and the stand alone shower. Engineering did come and replace the shower head of the stand alone shower which helped somewhat, but it still was too weak.
Since our stay was during the pandemic, there was a package containing two face masks, hand sanitizer, sanitizing wipes and gloves.
Welcome amenities were all packaged, perhaps due to COVID, and included a jar of macadamia nuts, some dried fruit, local chocolate, potato chips, and a granola bar.
As with many Hawaii resort rooms, the real attraction is the view from the lanai, which has an angled view of the ocean. It was extremely windy during our stay, so we didn't spend as much time out on the balcony as we might have under calmer conditions.
TravelSort Clients enjoy these Virtuoso benefits at the Fairmont Orchid:
- Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability (does not apply to suites, Gold Floor or oceanfront rooms)
- Welcome amenity
- Daily breakfast for two guests per bedroom served at Orchid Court
- $100 USD dining credit to be utilized during stay (not combinable, not valid on room rate or any third party vendor charges, no cash value if not redeemed in full).
- Complimentary Wi-Fi
- Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
Here's our Fairmont Orchid YouTube video review:
Breakfast at Orchid Court Restaurant
Orchid Court serves breakfast daily from 6:30-10:30am; TravelSort Clients enjoy complimentary daily breakfast for two. We had to wait a few minutes to be seated, but the wait wasn't as long as at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel or Mauna Lani.
Highlights for us were the Avocado Toast, the Acai Bowl with fresh fruit and granola, and the Malasadas, stuffed with haupia (coconut cream) or chocolate cream.
Fairmont Orchid Pool, Beach, Tennis
Next to the Mauna Kea Beach Resort, the Fairmont Orchid has the best white sand beach among the Kona-Kohala coast luxury resorts (albeit much smaller than the Mauna Kea) in the form of Pauoa Bay, which is crescent shaped and protected. Don't count on borrowing free snorkel equipment, however; you'll need to pay for Fun & Sun pass (at time of our visit, $95 per person for adults) in order to enjoy rental equipment throughout your stay, in one hour time increments.
Something to note is that there's only one large pool for everyone at the resort; there isn't a separate adults only or serenity pool. For this reason I don't recommend the Fairmont Orchid for couples hoping for relaxing poolside time.
All of the Big Island luxury resorts have good tennis facilities, and the Fairmont Orchid is no exception. The 10 tennis courts are a short walk from the lobby, and our son was able to join an adult tennis clinic that was a very reasonably priced $30.
The Fairmont Orchid room was our least favorite of the four Big Island luxury resorts we inspected, as it was fairly dated (last renovated in 2006) and the water pressure in the bathroom was poor (partly but not wholly ameliorated by installing a newer shower head). While the angled view of the ocean from our balcony was nice, we didn't use the balcony much given how windy it was. While we're not big pool users, the single pool for all guests, is far from ideal, especially for couples who want an adults only pool.
All that said, we did really enjoy our dinner at Brown's Beach House, which was one of the best meals of our trip (both cuisine and service), our son had a very good experience with his tennis clinic, and we liked being able to walk to the Puako Petroglyphs.
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