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Hotel Review: Four Seasons Hualalai

Diego Travel Hotel Review

Four Seasons Hualalai

A Big Island, Hawaii Luxury Resort
MARIA DIEGO

Located on a half-mile stretch of beach along the Kona Coast of Hawaii’s Big Island, Four Seasons Hualalai happens to be the driest part of the island. The resort features 252 newly renovated rooms and suites, a Jack Nicklaus championship golf course, a world-class spa and fitness center, a marine biology center, tennis, on-site ocean activities, retail shops, eight pools including Kings Pond, cultural experiences, and many restaurant options. Of all the Hawaiian resorts, Four Seasons Hualalai offers the most variety of things to do and see.

Perfect For: Families | Weddings | Multi-Generational Families | Groups | Couples | Golfers | Honeymoons

Four Seasons Hualalai

Four Seasons Hualalai Pool

Location:
  • 19.8278417,-155.991648

    Four Seasons Hualalai Pool

    Four Seasons Hualalai

  • 19.743906,-156.0422959812206

    Kona International Airport

Only a 13-minute drive (or 7 miles) from Kona International Airport (KOA), Four Seasons Hualalai is easily accessible as a non-stop option from many major hubs in the continental Unites States. We recommend renting a car if you plan to explore, or we can set up airport transfers for you, if you’re just looking to relax and stay on property.

Four Seasons Hualalai Location

Vibe:

Four Seasons Hualalai Vibe

The most luxurious resort option on the Big Island, and arguably all of Hawaii, the Four Seasons Resorts have long been a Hawaii-fan favorite of the luxury travel jetsetters. With four crescents and another set of rooms and villas along the 18-hole golf course, the Four Seasons Hualalai feels like four boutique hotels within a resort. There is truly an area for everyone, whether you are traveling alone, with your loved one and want peace and quiet, or with kids and need multiple rooms. At this resort, it’s important to select the right area of the resort that fits your needs, and we are here to do just that.

After a renovation in 2019, the Four Seasons Hualalai is an exclusive enclave for golf, sunbath on one of the many sandy beaches, bike along the black volcanic rock, or dine at one of the five restaurants around the property. While the resort is large, it is spread out, so you will have ultimate privacy and every amenity for the most selective luxury traveler.

ACCOMMODATIONS:

Four Seasons Hualalai Bedroom

There are rooms, suites, specialty suites and up to 5-bedroom villas. The main differences in room view categories – poolside are the ground floor rooms, ocean view will be set back, but still have ocean views, prime ocean view rooms are set on the upper floors of the two-story bungalows, while the oceanfront views will be front and center to the ocean. Rooms are all 635 square feet, so massive by Hawaii standards.

Four Seasons Hualalai Bathroom

We recommend staying in a specialty suite, where you’ll be taken care of by your own concierge team with customized inclusions, and each suite has its own Peloton bike and fitness equipment. My favorite was the 3-bedroom Hawaii Loa Presidential Suite, where you can walk straight out to the beach, or watch passing humpback whales from bed. Perfect for entertaining or for privacy, you’ll receive daily breakfast and a $200 hotel credit with your Four Seasons Preferred Partner amenities when you book your stay with Diego Travel.

LETS SET UP A CALL

FOOD & BEVERAGE:

  • There are five options for dining at Four Seasons Hualalai, which is more than most properties on the Big Island. With an emphasis on local ingredients, more than 75% off what is served comes from a combined 160 local farms. In addition, you have the Hualalai Trading Company, a casual grab-and-go for snacks, morning coffees or afternoon ice cream, and they sell cute apparel and beach items as well.

  • Restaurants La Reserve Paris

  • BookFour Seasons Hualalai

  • ‘ULU Ocean Grill (and sushi bar) is their award winning fine dining, where you can eat under the stars on dishes infusing fresh, local ingredients with flavors found around the Pacific Rim. We loved our poke bowl at Beach Tree, a casual beachside restaurant where you can dine on the sand or at one of the open-air tables on the patio. Finally, Miller & Lux is an intimate seafood and raw bar experience on the golf course, led by Chef Tyler Florence.

ACTIVITIES:

  • One of my family’s favorite things about Four Seasons Resorts is the Four Seasons Kids for All Seasons programming they offer, which incorporates engaging, fun and educational activities included with your stay! For kids ages 5 to 12, they’ll be entertained with arts and crafts, outdoor activities and sports, swimming and meeting kids from around the world. At the Kumu Kai Marine Center, they’ll learn about ocean health and marine life and the team really sparks a passion in your kids’ curiosity. While most resorts forget about the older kids, Four Seasons Hualalai offers ages 9 to 17 time at Camp Manitou, an exclusive partnership with one of the nation’s foremost summer camps, offered during peak family vacation times. Campers will explore beyond the resort to visit secret beaches, exploring lava tubes and waterfalls, and making friends, so they get off their phones and enjoy new experiences.

  • Four Seasons Hualalai Pond

  • Paris Seine River

  • While the kids are playing and entertained, the adults can play pickleball and tennis, golf, bike, hike or enjoy water sports like canoeing, surfing or stand up paddleboarding. The property literally has it all, and if they don’t you’ll find helicopter tours just off property, which can jet you to anywhere on the island in no time for advanced hiking, seeing volcanos, waterfalls or farms.
  • A private boat charter is always one of the highlights of any trip to Hawaii. Four Seasons Hualalai offers both a zodiac for shorter snorkeling trips and an outrigger boat for exploring a bit further to go whale watching, or find private beaches for a picnic lunch.

  • Paris Seine River

  • Hawaii Whales

  • Off property, there is so much more to explore beyond on the Big Island of Hawaii, such as night time manta ray diving, private helicopter tours, or snorkeling in the Kealakekua Bay. You also won’t want to miss the Lu’au that happens every two weeks and is exclusive to Four Seasons guests, so be sure to reserve your dining in advance so you don’t miss out on this cultural experience.

  • Services & Fees

    Services & Fees

WELLNESS:

Perhaps my favorite part of Four Seasons Hualalai is the 28,000-square-foot Spa and Apothecary, which feels decidedly Hawaiian. They offer whirlpools, saunas, steam rooms and cold plunges, along with a lap pool, which has become in high demand when the Big Island hosts the annual Ironman competition.

Four Seasons Hualalai Spa
Four Seasons Hualalai Spa

Entering into the spa, you’ll walk through winding paths tucked between lava rock walls and trickling waterfalls, where you’ll be invited into a freestanding open-air cabana. I recommend the signature Hawaiian Lomi Lomi massage, a sacred healing art handed down from generations. I love that they use local ingredients and fragrance-infused oils in all their treatments. You’ll feel like you’re melting into the earth and never want to leave.

What  Sets  It  Apart:

Four Seasons Hualalai Lagoon

As I already mentioned, King’s Pond is a unique attribute that doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world. Four Seasons Hualalai recently added an elevated, infinity-edge pool that overlooks the pond, where you can marvel over its thousands of fish and resident eagle ray, swimming around the pond. The marine activity center allows you and your kids to become little marine biologists in the making, which is truly a unique experience to Four Seasons Hualalai.

In addition to King’s Pond, Four Seasons Hualalai offers exclusive experiences, such as visiting a local coffee farm with a Hawaiian blacksmith to create a unique, personalized knife, or snorkeling along the Kona Kohala coastline with a champion freediver.

Four Seasons Hualalai Suites

Diego Travel Loves…

In addition to everything already mentioned in this article about Hawaii’s most exclusive hotel, Four Seasons Hualalai, we want to share with you the hotel’s newest bungalows, Kekaha and Kahawai, which has walk-out access to the beach.  These bungalows can be combined to create a 6-bedroom villa, perfect for families traveling together. 

For the ultimate romantic getaway, book a couples nest, which runs you $350/day but includes a dedicated server and cocktails and can include a massage for an additional cost.  Book the Palm Grove Crescent, which is the adults-only area of the hotel.  We can also arrange a special beach dinner for you, which comes with a personalized menu, tiki torches, a blessing from an ‘uncle,’ ukulele player, and hula dancers.

Four Seasons Hualalai Suites

How Much Does it Cost?

Rates start at $1200/night for the poolside room, but as a Four Seasons Preferred Partner client, you’ll have access to exclusive promos like upgrade at time of booking (going on now) or 3rd night free. Before booking, you should always contact me to ask about our promos, which you won’t find direct on the Four Seasons website.

BookFour Seasons Hualalai

Extras You’ll Get with Diego Travel:
  • Daily full breakfast for two people per bedroom, served in a hotel restaurant or through In-Room Dining
  • Hotel/Resort Credit* (based on room category booked):
  • Guest Rooms: USD 100 credit per stay
  • Suites and Specialty Suites: USD 200 credit per stay
  • Private Retreats: USD 200 credit per bedroom per stay
  • Upgrade of one category, based on availability at time of check-in**
  • Welcome box for new Diego Travel clients with custom trip planning

    Book Four Seasons Hualalai Now With Perks

    Diego Travel Insider Tips:

    Average length of stay is 4-5 nights, but we say 7 is just perfect in order to allow you to completely disconnect and fall into the rhythm of island life.

    When booking your spa appointment, ask for an outdoor treatment room; they can be closed off from the elements, and the open ocean air is divine during a treatment!

    Reef-friendly complimentary sunscreen is offered throughout the resort, so if you forgot your sun protection at home or back in your room, they have you covered.

    BookFour Seasons Hualalai

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    Hotel Review: Mauna Lani

    Hotel Review

    Mauna Lani

    A Barefoot Luxury Resort on the Kohala Coast, The Big Island, Hawaii
    MARIA DIEGO

    Mauna Lani, part of the Auberge Resorts Collection, is a newly redesigned open-air resort nestled in the center of the Kohala Coastline on the island of Hawaii. Best known for its outdoor activities, luxurious accommodations, and family-friendly atmosphere, I’m going to review what we loved about our stay at Mauni Lani and share some insider tips that will make the most of your visit to The Big Island.

    Perfect For: Families | Weddings | Multi-Generational Families | Groups | Couples | Golfers | Surfers

    19.9464,-155.8673

    Mauna Lani Overhead

    Mauna Lani

    Mauna Lani location: Located in in the center of the Kohala Coastline on the island of Hawaii.

    Getting There: Only a 25-minute drive (or 23 miles) from Kona International Airport (KOA), Mauna Lani is easily accessible as a non-stop option from many major hubs in the continental Unites States. We recommend renting a car if you plan to explore, or we can set up airport transfers for you, if you’re just looking to relax and stay on property.

    Mauna Lani Vibe

    Vibe: We traveled to Mauna Lani with our three kids and both grandmothers, and it was a perfect resort for this multi-generational trip. Walking into the grand open-air lobby, you’ll feel an instant sense of place of having arrived to your Hawaiian home away from home.

    While this is a 333-room property, it does not feel that big, and I will explain why. The resort was originally designed in the shape of an arrow, which points in the direction of Tokyo, where the original owners resided. This orientation actually allow more than 90% of the rooms to have ocean views, with the advantage of unbeatable sunset views. The two pools on property are located near each other, with the adults-only pool set back away from the ocean. With the location of the Surf Shack and the Kalahuipua’a fish ponds, the resort feels centered around one hub. This is advantageous because it makes the property feel intimate and boutique-like, where families can gather and not feel lost on a sprawling property.

    With new ownership and a $100 million renovation, Auberge’s first Hawaiian resort reopened in 2020, just before the start of the pandemic. Because of this timing, the resort has stayed under the radar for the last few years with growing popularity as word spreads about the renewed spirit at this classical resort.

    Accomodations:

    There are 12 different room and villa categories at Mauna Lani, ranging from the mountain view entry-level rooms to the oceanfront two-bedroom residences. When booking with Diego Travel, we can advise you not only on what room category will be best for you, but where you’ll be most likely to get upgraded.  We can also advise on the advantages and disadvantages of booking the poolside rooms vs. the CanoeHouse-side rooms.  As a Diego Travel client, you will be able to choose your room’s orientation, as opposed to booking direct on the hotel website. 

    Mauna Lani Villa

    Food & Beverage: 

    I want to start by saying that my expectations about food were not very high going into my stay at Mauna Lani. I don’t know why, but perhaps past experience at other Hawaiian resorts didn’t inspire much confidence. Our family arrived hungry late at night after a delayed travel day. We devoured a large family-style steak dinner in HāLani restaurant, where servers buzzed around us and attended to every table with lightning speed.

    Halani at Mauna Lani Resort Hawaii

    For adults traveling without kids, Hā Bar is located perfectly between the adults-only pool and family-friendly pool. It was a gathering place and the perfect spot to have a leisurely conversation and watch the sun set.

    Canoe House Mauna Lani

    Finally, the CanoeHouse was one of my favorite spots at the resort. With an expansive grass lawn that lies between the sea and the dining tables, it is the perfect spot for golden hour family photos and a shared Japanese-inspired meal to enjoy stories from the day’s adventures. Kids can play freely while the adults enjoy cocktails with dinner, and the 180-degree ocean views from the outdoor tables really cannot be beaten. We enjoyed dinners at Four Seasons Hualalai and the Fairmont Orchid, but the sunset views from CanoeHouse are simply the best.

    Mauna Lani Food

    The next morning, brunch was just as busy. Even though service at breakfast was lackluster, the buffet had endless great quality options. I developed a routine of strong Hawaiian coffee and a colorful Acai bowl almost daily. The best part about booking your stay with Diego Travel? Every day, the same plentiful breakfast is complimentary.

    Mauna Lani Bar

    The Market is another eatery that provides grab-and-go snacks, drinks, and goodies to take home. We loved the convenience of The Market because as any parent can attest, kids are always hungry between meals. With the convenience of the bracelets that are given to you at check-in, our kids could visit The Market as often as needed. Remember how I talked about the resort being centered around a hub? The Market is perfectly located so that I could watch them enter and exit from my poolside lounge chair, so I didn’t have to accompany them every time they wanted a gluten-free white chocolate macadamia nut cookie… and yes, my kids bought all of them. Every day of our vacation. Note to advise the hotel to make more next time we go for a visit.

    Canoe House Hawaii

    Wellness: The spa at Mauna Lani was basic. They offer an abbreviated menu of massages and facials that incorporate local, organic ingredients. There are two separate Goop outlets at Mauna Lani, so skincare products from Goop are featured in spa treatments. The spa is small and simple and gets the job done if you are looking for a relaxing massage. I came home with a jar of body cream that was made locally and smelled delicious.

    Whales of Mauna Lani

    • Surfing Lessons Mauna Lani

    • Surfing Lessons Mauna Lani

    We also loved the complimentary kids club, Holoholo Kids Crew, for kids ages 5-12. It was perfect for us because it spanned our kids’ ages. While they have a fantastic indoor space with plenty of arts & crafts and games for the little ones on rainy days, they spend most of the time outdoors with the kids, exploring the Hawaiian beach and learning about nature and the Hawaiian culture. Kids 4 and under can play in the kids club, but they must be accompanied by an adult. During summer months, kids also eat free at all dining outlets, which is huge bonus when you’re feeding several children!

    Mauna Lani Boat Charter

    The Mauna Lani also offers sunrise canoe paddles, pickleball and tennis clinics, tennis camp for kids, golfing, turtle releasing (again, this is seasonal), canoe snorkeling in the reef, historic biking tour (which we did), and a Ukulele lesson, just to name a few more things.

    Hawaii

    Activities: One of my family’s favorite things about Mauna Lani resort are the activities here. My husband is a die-hard surfer, so most of our personal vacations are prioritized around surf breaks. At Mauna Lani, there were two options for surf breaks that are directly infront of the resort. One is a few minutes’ walk and the other is a 5-10 minute walk, and they’ll also take you by golf cart if needed. The Surf Shack offers rental boards and some of the best kid-friendly surf instructors we have ever experienced. Our youngest, who was 5 at the time, became confident in the waves and consistently stood up on a tandem (sharing a board with the instructor). Our kids have had lessons at other resorts, and no other instructors compare to those at Mauna Lani.

    • Mauna Lani Kids Club

    • Mauna Lani Kids Club

    One of the highlights of our entire trip was the private boat charter that we took aboard Kalama Kai to go whale watching. Our four-hour charter sped by in a flash as we saw dozens of whales traveling in different pods, each showing off different whale behaviors. Our visit was in February, which is one of the peak months for whale watching, so keep in mind that this is a seasonal activity. Like much of Hawaii, many things are seasonal, such as surfing, whale watching, and rain, so you can always consult with me to find out best times to visit.

    Swimming with Turtles Mauna Lani

    Off property, there is so much more to explore beyond on the Big Island of Hawaii, such as volcanos, ‘Akaka Falls State Park, Parker Ranch Rodeo, Waimea Farmers Market, Nāhuku lava tube, and more. Stay tuned for my Hawaii Destination Guide for more details of what to do during your time on the Big Island.

    What  Sets  It  Apart: This resort truly makes it easy! Everything is very convenient and focused on family-friendly, without being too in-your-face. There were plenty of adults-only groups as well, so it wasn’t overtly family-friendly (ie: there are no water slides here), yet there is something for everyone. However, if you also just want to read and nap by the pool or in front of the ocean, it is the perfect relaxing environment to do so..

    For families that want to surf, Mauna Lani has surf breaks in front of the resort. No other luxury hotel on The Big Island has this convenience, so for our surfing family, this pro is a big one! It’s one place we will return to…

    My only two complaints about the entire resort were that the rooms could be larger, but this is Hawaii and Hawaiian entry-level rooms are typically small! If you’re wanting extra space, I highly recommend the ocean front suites or the 2-bedroom villas, where you’ll have full butler service and access to your own Moke cars. My second complaint was the prominent display of inappropriate products at the goop shop at a family-friendly resort. I took my kids to browse and quickly shuffled them out of the store, and I heard another family talking about the same. However, I loved the merchandise they carried in the upstairs Milo shop and at the Market

    Mauna Lani Pool
    Mauna Lani, Kona Hawaii

    How Much Does Mauna Lani Cost? Rates start at under $700/night for the entry-level mountain view room, but the Mauna Lani frequently offers exclusive promos for Diego Travel clients, with free nights that are combinable with our preferred partner amenities. On the high end, the 2-bedroom villas start at around $5,000/night.

    Diego Travel Loves: The sunsets sitting on the lawn at Mauna Lani overlooking the Pacific Ocean are magical!

    In addition to everything already mentioned in this article about Hawaii’s best luxury hotel, Mauna Lani, we can’t forget to mention, Mika, the resort’s yellow lab mascot.  She makes a daily appearance at the resort to greet guests, and is just as personable as the rest of their warm and sincere staff. 

    Their attention to detail and peaceful setting all make for a perfect Hawaiian vacation.

    Sunsets at Mauna Lani
    Diego Travel Extras at Mauna Lani

    Extras You’ll Get with Diego Travel:

    • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
    • Daily Breakfast for up to two guests per bedroom
    • $100 USD equivalent Food & Beverage credit to be utilized during stay (not combinable, not valid on room rate, no cash value if not redeemed in full)
    • Early Check-In / Late Check-Out, subject to availability
    • Complimentary Wi-Fi
    • Welcome box for new Diego Travel clients with custom trip planning

      Our current exclusive promo is on all oceanfront & residence bookings.  You’ll receive a bottle of Billecart champagne, one Sunrise Canoe Paddle for four, one-day use of an oceanside Hālau daybed (the one mentioned in my insider tips), and one MY Menu Tasting for two (excludes alcohol). Residence bookings will also get a half-day excursion on the powerboat Kalama Kai. These Diego Travel perks equate to thousands of dollars in value…and this is in addition to the extras you’ll get by booking with us!  For other room categories, they are also offering 20% off rates + kids eat free all summer long, so book your last-minute travel now to take advantage.  Plus remember, direct hotel bookings are complimentary, so you literally have nothing to lose by booking your stay through Diego Travel.

      Mauna Lani Beach Cabana

      Mauna Lani Insider Tips:

      You won’t want to miss the Hale Ho’aloha Lū’au. Invest in the VIP ticket for priority seating, wine, welcome cocktail, family-style pupus, entrées, desserts and keepsakes. 

      There is a complimentary laundry room that stocks detergent right off the hallway behind the front desk.  There’s nothing better than returning home with a suitcase full of clean clothing!

      The cabanas are worth the splurge! You’ll have poolside or beachside service with a fully-stocked cooler, fresh towels and a comfortable space with plenty of shade.  I have my preferred cabanas in my notes, so when you book your stay with us, I will be sure to snag these for you. 

      Let’s Get Planning!

      Mauna Lani Beach


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