Four Seasons Hualalai Review 2021, Photos, Video

Four Seasons Hualalai Review, Photos, Video

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This Four Seasons Resort Hualalai Review and Video is from our 2021 site inspection stay, following the resort's recent 2020-2021 renovation. The renovation included all rooms and suites, the building of a new oceanfront Bungalow Zero near King's Pond, which houses the new Kekaha Suite on the second floor and the new Kahuwai Suite on the ground floor, along with a private infinity pool, and the renovation of the Jack Nicklaus Golf Course.

The Four Seasons Hualalai Jack Nicklaus Golf Course Was Renovated in 2020

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 Four Seasons Resort Hualalai Location and Check-In

The resort is located on the Kona-Kohala Coast, about a 15 minute drive from Kona Airport (KOA), which is served by nonstop flights from DEN, LAS, LAX, OAK, ORD, PDX, PHX, SEA, SFO as well as inter-island flights from Honolulu HNL and Kahului Maui OGG. We arrived from the Fairmont Orchid, about a 25 minute drive away. Since guests provide their name at the gate to Hualalai, we were warmly greeted with leis on arrival, and shown where to park. I love that unlike most other Hawaii luxury resorts, Hualalai offers complimentary self-parking. While we were swiftly checked in without having to even go into the open air lobby, the lobby does have the front desk and Concierge team if assistance is needed.

Four Seasons Hualalai Open Air Lobby

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Four Seasons Resort Hualalai Rooms and Suites

The Four Seasons Hualalai offers 236 accommodations, including 184 rooms, 49 suites and specialty suites, and 3 villas. All rooms and suites were renovated over the 2020-2021 renovation, in addition to building the new Bungalow 0, near King's Pond.

Entry level rooms are the Ocean Golf View Rooms, which are further away from the restaurants, pools and beach. All rooms are 635 square feet (59 square meters), and differ based on location and view. We recommend reserving an Ocean View Room or higher, and for those who want to be guaranteed a room in the King's Pond crescent, reserve an Ocean View Deluxe Room.

We were in an Ocean View Prime Room in the Beach Tree crescent, with a lovely view of the Beach Tree Pool and ocean beyond that.

Prime Ocean View Lanai, Four Seasons Hualalai

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One of our favorite aspects of any Four Seasons stay is the Four Seasons bed, which can be customized to your mattress preference with a choice of three toppers. The Signature topper, which is the default, is medium, but we opt for the Signature Plush topper, while clients who prefer a firmer sleep surface choose the Signature Firm.

King Bed, Four Seasons Hualalai Review

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The bathroom offers double sinks, a walk-in shower, and a separate soaking tub.

Double Sinks, Four Seasons Hualalai
Soaking Tub, Four Seasons Hualalai

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Bath products are Makana Honua, custom made for Four Seasons Hualalai by LATHER with organic and Hawaiian ingredients.

Makana Honua Bath Products are Custom Made for Four Seasons Hualalai by LATHER

Here's our Four Seasons Hualalai video review:

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Four Seasons Hualalai Dining

The Four Seasons Hualalai signature restaurant is ‘Ulu Ocean Grill, which serves the daily breakfast buffet from 6:30-11am, as well as dinner from 5:30-9pm. TravelSort Clients enjoy complimentary daily full breakfast for two, either at ‘Ulu or via in-room dining, in the privacy of their room or suite. Our first morning we had an early morning boat trip so we tried an early in-room breakfast, which arrived promptly and was beautifully arranged on our lanai.

Room Service Breakfast at Four Seasons Hualalai
Ricotta Pancakes with Berries, Four Seasons Hualalai
Fruit Plate with Banana Bread, Four Seasons Hualalai Room Service

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Our other mornings, we enjoyed breakfast at ‘Ulu, sometimes the buffet, which includes a fruit, smoked salmon and pastry section, hot selections, and made to order omelet bar, and sometimes a la carte items such as the Paniolo Breakfast Burrito or Crispy French Toast. Everything is served to you after you indicate what you'd like, with the exception of juices and yogurt parfaits, which are contained in sealed glass jars/bottles.

Breakfast Buffet at 'Ulu Restaurant, Four Seasons Hualalai Review
Breakfast Burrito, Four Seasons Hualalai Review
Yogurt Parfait and Berries, Four Seasons Hualalai Review

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Beach Tree is the resort's more casual restaurant, serving lunch and dinner daily. Highlights for us were the Brick Oven Pizza, Pasta Carbonara and wonderful Hawaiian music at sunset.

Fantastic Wild Mushroom Brick Oven Pizza, Beach Tree Restaurant at Four Seasons Hualalai

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Four Seasons Hualalai Pools and Beach

A great advantage of Hualalai is that even when the resort is full, it doesn't usually feel that way because guests are able to spread out among the four main pools. There are actually a total of seven pools when including the new infinity pool overlooking King's Pond, the toddler pool by Seashell Pool, and the lap pool at the Spa.

The Palm Grove Adults Only Pool is for guests 21 and over. Something to be aware of if staying in this crescent is that sometimes adults can be as loud (or louder) than kids, so bear that in mind.

Palm Grove Pool, Four Seasons Hualalai Review

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The Beach Tree Pool that we were overlooked is the serenity pool. Kids are allowed, but they (and all adults) must be quiet.

Beach Tree Pool, Four Seasons Hualalai

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The free form Sea Shell Pool is the family pool: kids can freely swim and play here without disapproving stares from childless adults (who can and should repair to the Palm Grove or Beach Tree pools). There's a jacuzzi in one corner, a great place for tired parents to soak aching muscles while keeping an eye on their little ones.

Sea Shell Pool, Four Seasons Hualalai

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Just next to this pool is a little wading pool with a fountain for toddlers.

Toddler Wading Pool, Four Seasons Hualalai

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Easily the most unique pool at Four Seasons Hualalai is King's Pond, a giant aquarium with walls carved out of lava rock, where 4000 tropical fish and even an eagle ray swim. Because all the kid activity can stir up the sand and sediment from the bottom later in the day, reducing visibility, we recommend going early, right when it opens at 10am, for the best water visibility. Note that King's Pond closes at 4pm to give the marine life a rest.

King's Pond, Four Seasons Hualalai

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Wholly new post-renovation is the infinity pool overlooking King's Pond, along with a couple jacuzzis.

Infinity Pool Overlooking King's Pond, Four Seasons Hualalai

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For lap swimmers, there's a lap pool at the Spa, which solves the problem at so many resorts where lap swimmers are trying to dodge either water features like fountains or playing families or kids.

Four Seasons Hualalai Outdoor Lap Pool
Spa Lap Pool, Four Seasons Hualalai

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The Big Island, as the youngest Hawaiian island, isn't known for its beaches, which tend to have coarser sand than what you can find on Oahu, Kauai or Maui. If a big white sand beach is a priority then you may want to consider the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, although it's older and lacks the amenities of the Four Seasons Hualalai. Hualalai does offer beach loungers, but you won't see many people in the ocean due to the rocky shoreline. Kids still have fun playing on the sand however.

Beach and Loungers, Four Seasons Hualalai

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Four Seasons Hualalai Spa and Fitness

Speaking of the Spa, on the way to it you'll pass the basketball half court, which was rarely busy during our visit.

Basketball Half Court, Hualalai

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If swimming and walking around Hualalai isn't enough exercise for you, there are plenty of fitness machines, some of them outdoors, and even the ones inside have good ventilation as the doors remain open to the outside air.

Fitness Center, Four Seasons Hualalai

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The Spa itself offers a number of stand alone spa hales that are open to fresh air.

Open Air Spa Treatment Room, Four Seasons Hualalai

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The outdoor courtyard has a waterfall as its focal point, with loungers and day beds providing tranquil spaces for guests to relax in before or after their treatment.

Spa Day Bed, Four Seasons Hualalai
Spa Waterfall, Four Seasons Hualalai

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The Verdict

We previously enjoyed Four Seasons Hualalai some years ago, although by 2018 we were already recommending guests consider the Four Seasons Lanai instead, as Hualalai needed renovations. Fortunately the recent comprehensive renovation has returned the resort to our most recommended Hawaii luxury resort, with thoughtful renovations that retain the low key charm of the two story bungalows, yet include new furnishings with a residential feel to them.

We particularly enjoyed the excellent service, from the dining venues to superb tennis coaches, spa services and the warm folks at the Cultural Center who took the time to give me a hula kahiko lesson, something that isn't regularly scheduled.

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