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Reviewed 7 April 2021

Last year I offered a stellar assessment of the Four Seasons Maui as essentially without peer in the South Pacific. I spoke too soon. In my defense, it had been nearly 20 years since I last visited Four Seasons Hualalai on the Big Island of Hawaii, so my memory might have faded. I’ve just returned from a one-week refresher course.

Hualalai is nothing less than stunning. More eco-friendly resort than swank high rise, it is easily distinguished from its cousin on Maui. Maui has shopping within walking distance of the property, a spate of good restaurants nearby if you want to venture off site, and an upbeat suburban vibe throughout the island. A driver told me he preferred the Big Island because it is “more authentic.” This resort and this island are quiet and understated.

Four Seasons sits on the Kona coast, the northwest sector of the Big Island, a 15-minute ride from Kona Airport. Including its Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course, the resort boasts over 800 acres of prime real estate, beautifully manicured and maintained daily to promote a recurring sense of fresh wonder. The cart paths and walkways never feel tired or worn. The flowers bloom. The birds preen. The humans are generally soft spoken. There is a Zen-like quality to the experience.

Most of the guest rooms are in two-story pods surroundings four pool areas (including some that feature two pools). The lower rooms have walk out lanais leading directly to putting-green soft grasses and then pool decks. They also feature outdoor rain showers in private stone enclosures. Upstairs rooms have better views to the water or golf course, but no outdoor shower option. Bathrooms are well stocked with upscale amenities and a good-sized dispenser of an aloe-based gel for sunburned skin. Every room is newly renovated, tastefully decorated, and spectacular.

Most guests focus on the water. Everyone has some kind of ocean view, and the Pacific is never far away in sight or sound. Adults avoiding children have their own pool area with swim-up bar, hammocks on the green, and a short stroll to the beach. The serenity pool welcomes all ages, but there is no jumping, pool toys, or cell phone chatter to pierce the relative quiet. Further north, there is an all-purpose pool and a baby pool, and further still is the saltwater King’s Pond for swimming and snorkeling with hundreds (thousands?) of native fish and rays. Above the pond is still another infinity pool for unlimited use.

At either end of the resort are restaurants, Ulu to the north, featuring primarily Asian fusion cuisine and a killer breakfast buffet. To the south is the Residents’ Beach House, a members-first ocean front dining experience with a more American menu. The Beach Tree restaurant and bar serves casual bar food, pizzas and burgers in the middle of this coastline. The Hualalai Grille above the golf pro shop has a diverse menu with second story views of the golf course and the rest of the property. All the venues feature stunning, unspoiled views of the Pacific.

Four Seasons lacks nothing in the fitness regime. A full-service spa includes outdoor treadmills and bikes, a four-lane lap pool, weight room, and a regulation half-basketball court. The tennis center features eight wind-protected courts, teaching pros, demo racquets, and ball machine rentals. (Tennis players will tell you that sometimes you just want to work on a stroke by yourself without engaging a tennis pro. Most resorts won’t let you use a ball machine.)

The Hualalai golf course spreads over the south side of the resort, and several of the holes play alongside the ocean, between something far more challenging than deep rough: ancient lava fields border the oceanfront holes and I suspect some of the interior ones as well. The course offers an expansive driving range and a fully equipped “hale,” or outbuilding, where golfers can refine their swing in a digital tee box with video feedback.

Water sports include paddle boarding, snorkeling, and James Bond-like handheld, propeller driven scooters to push or pull snorkelers around with far less effort. Whale watching Zodiacs are available in whale migration season.

Things everyone should know: complimentary washers and dryers, detergent and dryer sheets are sprinkled around the resort, so no need to overpack. Free wifi throughout the property, faster upgrade for a fee. Room service will bring you food not only from their kitchen, but also from every restaurant on site if you’re willing to wait a few extra minutes. You don’t need a car, and bellmen will take you longer distances on golf carts should you need them. The concierge desk runs cars out from Enterprise at the airport, so you can rent a car when you want one for the day. There is a gas station on site (open until 7pm), adjacent to a general store offering coffee, ice cream, sandwiches, and treats if you’re on the go.

I have only touched the surface of the broad array of amenities available from an incredibly resourceful concierge staff, singling out Summer, Kay-Ree, and Chenin for extraordinary effort on my behalf. They represent examples of an impeccably trained team, always willing to lend a hand regardless of job title. I saw Wil working the front desk, and later driving a guest in a golf cart. Special thanks to Melissa at the front desk for her ingenuity, and Sean herding cats at the Ulu buffet daily.

These folks are representative of an ethos that seems to be slowly vanishing from the hospitality industry. Courtesy, flexibility, and resilience run in short supply these days, and a global pandemic surely doesn’t improve one’s patience. I credit Sebastian Hinsch and Charlie Parker, General Manager, both of whom were visible, engaged and helpful throughout. Four Seasons is lucky to have these able men and women, and we are all beneficiaries of their skill and good nature.

If you are looking for a Las Vegas-style vacation, this Four Seasons will disappoint. But if you need a week or two to decompress from civilization, this is your tranquility base.

Room tip: There are no bad rooms, and for half the daily rate, you can get a 6pm checkout on getaway day.
Date of stay: April 2021
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
4  Thank Jack F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sebastian Hinsch, Owner at Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, responded to this reviewResponded 4 weeks ago

Aloha Jack,

Wow, what a touching review! Mahalo for taking the time to share your experience. We are ecstatic that we were able to be apart of your stunning vacation after your last visit almost 20 years ago! We pride our self in our eco-friendly efforts as well as the comfort of the bungalow style guest room and we are so happy that you appreciate all that our resort has to offer during your getaway. We will be sure to share this feedback with the fantastic team that makes this magic happen for our guests. We are grateful you chose to stay with us for your tranquility base, and we hope to see you again soon in paradise!

Sebastian Hinsch
Resort Manager
sebastian.hinsch@fourseasons.com

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 April 2021 via mobile

The Four Seasons Hualalai really delivered up one of the best family vacations Ive ever been on! Two adorable children's robes and complimentary kids packs (with a pool toy/stuffed animal/coloring book and shaved ice coupons) had my boys cheering from the start. The resort is breathtaking and Im not sure I could get closer to the ocean if I tried! Our boys left it all on the beach/pools each day and my husband and I could relax with a cocktail and be delighted watching them love life. (If you are sans kids- there was an adults only pool as well.) I made reservations ahead of time for the restaurants each night and never had an issue. We did the trading post or room service on our deck each morning. Ulu Sushi delivered up one of the best meals Ive ever had on our last night. Every single staff member I encountered was so nice and accommodating to us. They really go out of their way to make sure we had the time of our lives. Thanks to 4 Seasons for the best vaca ever!

Date of stay: April 2021
Trip type: Travelled with family
1  Thank crawfordpcv
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sebastian Hinsch, Owner at Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, responded to this reviewResponded 9 April 2021

Aloha,

Wow, what a touching review! Mahalo for taking the time to share your experience, we will be sure to share this feedback with the fantastic team that makes this magic happen for our guests. We are so happy that we could provide such an amazing family vacation for you and your Ohana in so many ways. It sounds like you and your husband were able to enjoy your selves almost as much as your boys. We are grateful you chose to stay with us for your family vacation, and we hope to see you again soon in paradise!

Sebastian Hinsch
Resort Manager
sebastian.hinsch@fourseasons.com

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 April 2021

Of many hospitality experiences, Hualalai was by far the best in terms of service and amenities. We were coming from our wedding about an hour away on Hawaii island and the Hualalai team ensured our dinner reservation could be adjusted, and when we arrived that evening, a host of bellmen were there to help me and my wife (including with her dress) and instantly put us at ease. The rooms are well apportioned and befitting the property, but it is the people who make the place. Service here was not only excellent - but what put it a cut above was how genuine all of the staff are. They genuinely care and want to help you, or just talk to you. Because they care, and ask questions and go above and beyond to suggest things that you might like or want to experience, you end up having a better trip and stay. On top of that, the thoughtful gestures and gifts (like the dinner staff knowing that it was our wedding night/honeymoon, to the thoughtful card and prosecco on ice in our room upon arrival), the staff and place embody the spirit of aloha. The rooms, grounds, and amenities throughout the property are all top notch to boot.

Date of stay: March 2021
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Review collected in partnership with Four Seasons
Thank mattcQ7721WM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sebastian Hinsch, Owner at Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, responded to this reviewResponded 9 April 2021

Aloha,

Mahalo for giving us such an amazing review! Congratulations on your recent wedding and we wish you both many years of happiness! We will be sure to share this feedback with the fantastic team that makes this magic happen time and again for our guests. We are ecstatic that you are very much able to feel the genuine hospitality that we strive to reach each day. We very much appreciate you taking the time to share your experience, and we hope to see you again soon in paradise to share more Aloha with you and yours!

Sebastian Hinsch
Resort Manager
sebastian.hinsch@fourseasons.com

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 March 2021

You won’t be able to eat dinner when you want, and you will wait in line to get breakfast at the general store and to use the gym. I know these are circumstances of COVID, but it does take away from the full experience. So be prepared to pay 100 cents on the dollar but get 80% of the value during this time.

Date of stay: March 2021
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Review collected in partnership with Four Seasons
4  Thank Hal K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sebastian Hinsch, Owner at Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, responded to this reviewResponded 30 March 2021

Aloha Hal K,

We appreciate you taking the time out to share your experience. We are disheartened to hear your time with us did not meet your expectations. I've taken your feedback and will be following up with our team to help ensure these issues are remedied. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me personally if you have any further feedback.

Sebastian Hinsch
Resort Manager
sebastian.hinsch@fourseasons.com

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 March 2021

The facility is absolutely first rate and the staff are excellent. Hard to beat, but recognize that they charge for it -- far more than any other hotel around there. People who come here can afford it and don't seem to care. Many families with younger children who love it. Their "remodel" is about complete, but not clear why they needed it. We have been here many times and will likely come again.

Room tip: You can call in advance and make room requests. Ask for room close to lobby building
Date of stay: March 2021
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
1  Thank Abraham W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sebastian Hinsch, Owner at Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, responded to this reviewResponded 30 March 2021

Aloha,

Mahalo for giving us such an amazing review! We will be sure to share this feedback with the fantastic team that makes this magic happen time and again for our guests. We as a team take much pride in the quality of our product. We very much appreciate you taking the time to share your experience, and we look forward to seeing you again soon in paradise!

Sebastian Hinsch
Resort Manager
sebastian.hinsch@fourseasons.com

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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