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Paul Klein

Four Seasons Hawaii Report, by Russ Wagenaar

Aloha, Four Seasons style

 

Despite a 2.5-hour flight delay out of Dallas on a Friday morning to Honolulu, our meet and greet at the Honolulu airport by Private Limousine Company was easy and efficient.

An approximate 25-minute ride from the airport brought us to The Four Seasons Oahu at Ko Olina.

Leighton Kitagawa escorted our small group of 5 agents throughout the trip and had arranged everything for our 6-night trip flawlessly; transfers, touring, accommodations, and group meals.

Four Seasons Oahu at Ko Olina :

Located an approximate 45-minute drive away from the always active Waikiki area in the city of Honolulu, this 370-room property sits on a calm cove beach area on the southwest shores of Oahu.

The resort sits next door to the Disney Aulani Resort, so the beach area is somewhat shared with that property. However, there are ropes in the sand acting as a line of demarcation between the two properties. My room was in the far-right smaller tower in the picture on the 7th floor and sitting on the balcony I heard more of the kid’s noises from next door than from directly in front of me!

Due to the flight delay out of Dallas, and an agent from Dallas arrived at the hotel on our first evening too late for cocktails with the resort General Manager as we hurried to meet the others for dinner at Mina’s Fish House (yes, that Mina).

Bright and early the next morning at 6:30 am we met with a private guide from Keawe Adventures who took us in a very nicely appointed sprinter van for a tour of Pearl Harbor National Memorial. We then were taken to Ford Island where you visit the U.S.S. Missouri, touring the historic ship, and standing in the same place where the Surrender Ceremony took place on 02Sep 1945 ending World War II. The guide was very chatty and knowledgeable with war stories and facts for days …

Afterward, we returned to the resort for lunch at the all-day restaurant La Hiki.

We were treated then to a cabana at the Adult Only Pool (far left in the above pic) for a couple of hours.

These are for rent during the day for a whole day’s use (about 8 hours) at the rate of about 650.00 which includes champagne, water, and sodas supplied in the cabana.

A site inspection of the property showed us a rooftop sports area complete with basketball, tennis, and pickleball courts, a big-sized lawn area used for yoga and kid’s activities, and a full-service spa facility in the building below this rooftop area. Of course, there are magnificent suite opportunities to be had in 1 to 3 bedrooms (via connecting rooms) and of course Presidential and Penthouse suites with exclusive views over the Pacific Ocean.

After a quick 2-night stay at Ko Olina, we were off on Hawaiian Airlines service to the Valley Isle of Maui and the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea. Located in the residential/vacation area of the island an approximate 30-minute drive from Kahului airport. This resort first opened in 1990, celebrating 32 years of excellent service, ambiance, and an ideal beachfront location on the island. My previous stay here was maybe 15 years ago and while there have been some minor updates to the property it is still the resort frequented by many California residents, where many go to be “seen” while others go to simply “see” ….

A site inspection of this property showed us the Club Lounge, the 3-bedroom Presidential suite with magnificent oceanfront views and ocean-view guest rooms.

The resort offers a Club Floor on level 8 of the resort with various guest rooms and suites allowing only these to have access to the private top-floor lounge. Guests confirmed in Club accommodations complete check-in/out in the lounge and can enjoy food and beverage presentations throughout the day. On average it could be a rate difference of about 800.00 to 900.00 per night between Club and non-Club accommodation.

Excellent dining opportunities at the resort in the all-day restaurant DUO with an amazing buffet spread and great smoothie station to the always intimate beachfront Ferraro’s Italian restaurant offering an exceptional location for dinner and Spago which carries its own fanfare with excellent service and cuisine.

On our full day at the resort, we began the day early with a canoe excursion, one of several complimentary activities for all guests. With swimwear on, we headed out with two of the beach sports guides in an outrigger canoe paddling our way through the waves to hear about the area and taking a short snorkel dive where we saw sea turtles. Our visit was a little too early for whale watching which ramps up come to the end of November through March.

We were given downtime in the afternoon on our second day here again treated to a private cabana at the Serenity (Adult) pool which is a relatively new addition to the property located just off the resort entrance. Complete with an underwater sound system and swim-up bar. Poolside spa treatments (for a fee) are offered at each of the 3 pools from 10 am to 5 pm daily.

I never get tired of seeing this view which is along the walkway from the lobby area to the North Tower rooms. Steps lead down to the pools where you will find self-served cabanas along with the Ocean Sanctuary cabanas for rent.

A wonderful dinner at Spago on our second night then off to the Garden Isle of Kona we went the next day.

On the Big Island, we warmly welcomed at The Four Seasons Hualālai at Historic Ka’ūpūlehu. We flew into Kona airport which was an approximate 20-minute transfer to the resort. Set amidst acres of lush vegetation with a golf course on the property, this 243-room property, in my opinion, is the true epitome of a luxury resort. Where the Maui property is a place to be seen, Hualālai is a place to hide out.

The accommodations are spread throughout 4 oceanfront “crescents” each named differently and each with its own pool. Kings Pond is the first crescent which is located furthest from the lobby. However, it also has a fish-stocked pond where you can snorkel with the fish manta rays in the pond. A new freshwater pool in this crescent was a welcome addition to the 9 two-story buildings of accommodations here. All accommodations are in two-story bungalows with the ground floor offering direct lawn access off a private lanai and, my favorite feature, a huge outdoor shower off of the bathroom in the back of the bungalow. Ocean view category is the ground floor and Prime Ocean view is the second story.

Since there is only 1 small swimmable beach area the resort relies on the 6 different pools that are spread through the property, including a lap pool at the spa building.

Our full day here had us touring the property seeing the villa accommodations offering 3,4 and 5 bedrooms under one key. We also enjoyed time at the on-property Ka’ūpūlehu Cultural Center learning the hula and lei making from the local and very friendly staff members. This is complimentary to all guests and is a great introduction to the history of this area. More pool time after this was enjoyed at, again my favorite, the Beach Tree crescent pool.

Late in the afternoon, we experienced a spa treatment of our choice. I opted for a rainfall Vichy massage which was heavenly. The spa also has outdoor hales available for massage treatments.

An excellent dining experience was our last evening at the ULU Ocean Grill restaurant where we enjoyed the company of the General Manager Charlie Parker.

Our departure day began with another stellar buffet breakfast at the ULU Ocean Grill restaurant. After which I had time for a last short dip in the Seashell crescent pool then time to pack up and depart from this paradise.

I must say that at each property I cannot stress how spot-on the service was from everyone at the resort.

Housekeeping staff is excellent all around (at Ko Olina I reported very weak water pressure in the shower which was promptly repaired while at dinner on our first evening there), and the restaurant staff at all properties greeted every guest BY NAME and even remembered coffee or tea orders, at least at our table, to pool staff always available with towels and other poolside goodies. Each property seemed to flawlessly offer unobtrusive service. The guest rooms at each of these properties are also extremely large, averaging approximately 650 to 700 sqft in size plus lanai and or terrace space. Another plus is they ALL have at least a queen-size pullout sofa in the ample seating area.

After visiting these 3 properties I came away with the notion that each of them has a unique identity unto itself.

  • Ko Olina on Oahu offers a great getaway for couples of any age and more important to families with kids from toddlers to teens. Being close to the city of Honolulu is good for shopping and restaurant hopping in that area. About an hour’s drive north and you have the famous North Shore surfing beaches; Sunset Beach, Waimea, and Pipeline Beaches which in the winter months are very active. The Polynesian Cultural Center is also in this region so an easy day trip by car for the family.
  • The Resort on Maui at Wailea is where the LA crowd hangs out so celebrities from film and music scenes may often be around here at the resort. Wailea is a vibrant residential area and nearby is a large shopping center with high-end stores. I noticed more couples here interspersed with some families.
  • Hualālai on the Big Island …. Hands down my favorite and best for last on our visit. A great mix of clientele, and service second to none. There is a slight lack of restaurants here, as this resort does not have any celebrity-named dining venues and between Ulu and Beach Tree restaurants the menus do get rather limited.

Wishing I could work remotely from locations like this!

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