Four Seasons Hualalai – Hotel Review

During our summer vacation to the Big Island last month, we stayed at the Four Seasons Hualalai.

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The Four Seasons Hualalai is a luxury hotel with 294 guest rooms and suites. This hotel is widely regarded as one of the “best” hotels located on the Big Island and from our experience it lived up to the hype. This was our first visit to the hotel, and I hope it won’t be the last.

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Location – The hotel is centrally located about 20-25 minutes  from the airport (KONA). The hotel is located on the beachfront of the Kona-Kohala Coast – where the sunset views are fabulous.

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Customer Service – The service at the hotel is beyond exceptional. This hotel offers high-end hospitality – more than you can imagine, and more than we could take advantage of during our stay.  The hotel gets high-marks from us for communicating with us before our arrival and throughout our stay.  The hotel is incredibly family friendly and went above and beyond to make sure that George felt welcome.  The hotel offers little things that make life easier – beach toys, sunscreen stations, complimentary laundry centers, and beach bags to use during your stay. To boot, every restaurant on property has a kid’s menu for every meal service, and children under 5 years of age eat for free.

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Accommodations – We stayed in an Ocean View Prime room at the hotel.

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Our large room had a very comfortable king bed, an oversized sleeper couch,  a desk and chairs, bar area, and a large lanai. The over-sized master bathroom had an over-sized shower, a generous bathtub, water closet, and double vanities. There was also ample closet space for our luggage and carry-on bags.  As the room-type name suggests, we also had gorgeous ocean views from the room.

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Amenities – The hotel offers far more amenities than we used during our stay. The hotel features many lounging areas, shops for souvenirs and high-end luxury items, both casual and high-end restaurants, multiple pools, multiple bars, a fitness center, a spa, and lots, lots more. The hotel also has a really gorgeous courtyard and lobby.

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Member Recognition – There is no loyalty program to speak of, but repeat guests are remembered.

Again, while this was our first visit to the hotel, we hope it won’t be the last. Additionally, we would highly recommend this hotel to others.

St. Regis Princeville – Hotel Review (Updated)

While in Kauai, John, George and I were guests at The St Regis Princeville. We visited this property in 2013 on our baby-moon, and we were thrilled to be back to enjoy the property as a family of 3.

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Location – The hotel is about 30 miles from the LIH airport — depending on the traffic, the commute can be anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour. The hotel is located in Princeville and is situated in a little community with condos, house rentals and a few hotels (including the Westin Princeville Villas). The hotel is 2 miles from a small collection of shops and restaurants.

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Customer Service – Sadly, the service at the hotel is still hit or miss. While some staff consistently asked how they could help or if they could be of assistance, others couldn’t be bothered to perform their jobs. Fortunately, the bad customer service was limited to a few members of the beach and breakfast server staff. In advance of our trip, I was contacted by concierge staff and they helped us to plan meals and activities. This service was very helpful and most appreciated. Concierge also helped us on site and we found them to be extremely gracious and informative.

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Accommodations – We stayed three nights at the hotel and were able to redeem Starpoints for our entire stay. We stayed in a premium room and it was perfect for us.  George slept on the pull-out bed and was as happy as a clam.

Amenities – The hotel offers far more amenities than we could use during our stay. In addition to two restaurants, a coffee shop and a large bar, the hotel offers many lounging areas and rooms. The hotel also has two fitness centers, a spa and many in-hotel shops for souvenirs, food/drink, books, jewelry, art and the like. The hotel also hosts a weekly luau and local bands/hula dancers in the bar as forms of guest entertainment. The hotel also has a very nice pool, whirlpool and premier seating on the beach. A beach/water activities desk also schedules and hosts a variety of activities. This hotel is very family friendly.

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Member Recognition – As a Platinum Starwood member, we were mostly treated like VIPs. During our stay, we were treated to complimentary continental breakfasts. Our choices were very extensive and made for a comprehensive and filling breakfast. Considering the cost of things in Kauai, it was great to have one of the day’s meals taken care of by someone else! Additionally, hotel staff kept our room well-stocked with complimentary water that we kept in the fridge in our room. We were also given free wireless internet, beautiful leis upon arrival and offered a 4PM late check-out.

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We are very likely to return to the St. Regis Princeville, most likely on another family vacation. Despite some of the customer service shortcoming, we would happily recommend this property to friends and family.

Hawaii – July 8th/9th

We all slept in again and it was so glorious. Boy do I love vacation sleep. 

Once I woke up, I went to our hotel building’s complimentary laundry room and began to do our laundry. Since there is nothing like coming home with suitcases full of clean clothes, I was motivated to get this done in between the day’s final moments of fun.

We had our last breakfast at Ulu and it was my favorite yet. I had an epic slice of avocado toast on homemade bread, an organic boiled egg, and fruit. Delicious.

The guys made a final visit to the beach and pools and I made my way to the gym for a workout (stopping along the way to put our clothes in the dryer).

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The gym was SRO and it was inspiring to see so many people focused on their health and fitness while on vacation. After my workout, I grabbed and folded our laundry before I changed and headed down to the beach.

We spent another hour in the pool before retiring to our room. We did a mad dash of final laundry, showers, and packing, and managed to get it all done with ease and efficiency.

We had a final lunch at Beachtree and it was as lovely as it had been for our entire trip. I had another salad and it was just what I needed.

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After lunch, we checked out of the hotel and made a final stop at the hotel’s Trading Post for some souvenirs.

We drove over to the nearby National Park for a quick visit. It was insanely hot so we didn’t last too long.

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Later, we made our way to the Kona Airport to check our bags and navigate TSA Pre Check. The airport is open-air so it was super hot.

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Our Hawaiian Airlines flight to HNL was fast and uneventful.

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Once we landed, we spent a little time in the United Club.

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Everyone was able to get some snacks and relax before the overnight flight to Houston.

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We boarded our flight and took off without issue.

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Sweet George passed out before dinner service and slept just until we landed in Houston.

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We landed in Houston just before 7:00 AM on Monday morning and overall it was a great and easy flight. Thanks to our reclining seats, all of us slept well.

We spent the rest of the day unpacking and acclimatizing to “real life.”

Hawaii – July 7th

John was up super early in the morning to catch a World Cup game. George and I happily slept in.

Later, we had another great breakfast at Ulu. We had great seats to take in the surf while we ate our delicious meals.

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After breakfast, John went to do some shopping, and George and I went on a turtle watch. We spotted a few in the water – it was magical.

After we were reunited, we set up camp at the “Quiet Pool” and did a bit of sun and swimming. I was so relaxed that I managed to take in a quick poolside snooze.

For lunch, we walked over to the Beachtree Restaurant for another stellar lunch. I had my new usual – a Greek Salad topped with fried chicken tenderloins. It was so delicious.

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While the boys retired to the room to nap, I hit the gym for a workout. The gym was SRO, so I had to wait a bit to get a treadmill.

After my workout, I visited the Trading Post for a souvenirs and a snack for the guys – Arnold Palmers and cookies. They were a hit.

While we had every intention of swimming again, the rain had other plans. Instead, we had lazy time in the room.

For dinner, we walked back over to the Beachtree Restaurant. The Restaurant had a live band and hula dancer to entertain everyone – it was beautiful and serene. John and I shared a fabulous Caprese Salad for an appetizer.

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I had the rigatoni arrabiata for my entrée and John had the spaghetti caccio y Pepe. Both were to-die for.

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George had another cheese pizza and he was tickled pink. Speaking of being tickled pink, I had a Paradise Spritzer that totally hit the spot.

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While the sun was setting, we took a stroll around the hotel property.

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We ended up close to the golf course and we watched large and powerful waves crash onto the shore.

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We walked back to our room and promptly crashed for the night.

Hawaii – July 6th

We had another great night of sleep and it was glorious. Let me acknowledge how fortunate we are to be a family of great sleepers. A-M-E-N.

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We also had another delicious breakfast at Ulu. The buffet had great options – some that were the same from the day before, and some that were different.

We set up camp at the beach area in front of the Seashell Pool. It was the perfect locale for exploring the tide pools, swimming in the ocean, and taking in the views.

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George and I spotted a beautiful turtle floating in the water and John and George got in to check it out.

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There was also a beautiful school of blue and black fish nearby.

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John and George spent some time working on another sand castle. They got pretty far into the development of their creation before the tide came in.

Since there were a few World Cup games on, John and George watched them beachside. They had a blast cheering from their beach chairs.

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After a swim, I took George to King’s Pond to help staff feed the fish. King’s Pond is stocked with over 4,000 fish and they apparently eat lots of food.

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George had such a great time feeding the fish and watching them come to the surface. I had a ball seeing all of the fish up close.

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For lunch, we returned to the Beachtree Restaurant. We had another great and casual lunch. Since it was National Fried Chicken Day, I had a salad with fried chicken tenderloins on top. It was delicious.

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After lunch, we spent some time relaxing in the room before heading out to the Ocean Rider Sea Horse Farm and Sanctuary. Pictures were only allowed in a few areas of the sanctuary, but trust me when I say that this place is special. At the end of the tour, we were allowed to hold a seahorse. It was amazing!

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After our tour, we drove into Kona and swung by the Farmers Market. The Market was closing, so I’d say the experience was a bust. All of the vendors I wanted to explore had already closed up shop for the day. Bummer.

We made a stop at the Trading Post when we made it back to the hotel. We picked up
a few souvenirs and snacks. We also spent more time relaxing indoors while it rained outside.

For dinner, we treated ourselves to a nice dinner at Hualalai Grille at our hotel.

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George dressed up in the Star Wars Aloha shirt that I packed for him.

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Our dinner was lovely. John and I both had steaks and we shared sides of Brussel sprouts and mashed potatoes.

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We also shared a coffee ice cream pie for dessert.

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George had chicken fingers and fries for his entrée, and a chocolate popsicle for dessert. The Keike menu had great options, and I was surprised that G didn’t choose the small steak. Maybe I shouldn’t be – he knew he could poach some from my plate. 

We took a leisurely stroll around the property after dinner to walk off our rich meal. It was a great way to end the evening.

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Hawaii – July 5th

We slept in on our first night on the Big Island…and it was glorious.

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Once we were up and ready, we made our was way to Ulu for breakfast. Long time readers of this blog know that 9 times out of 10, I despise hotel breakfast buffets (for a variety of reasons). However, the buffet at this hotel was incredible. Everything was fresh, organic, and homemade. We had a delightful breakfast.

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After breakfast, we explored the property and made a trip to the hotel’s Trading Post Store. George and I picked up some new sandals and we eyed a few souvenir possibilities.

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Later, we set up camp at the Beachtree Pool – a “quiet pool” where phone calls, loud noises, and splashing are forbidden. This was clearly a test in our parenting abilities, but we managed to sail through without getting dirty looks or being asked to leave the area.

To keep things fun, we took George to the beach to explore the morning tide pools. There were lots of fish and sea urchin to take in.

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Later, we walked over to King’s Pond and signed George up to feed the resident eagle ray.

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Apparently this is a big deal, so we were lucky to get on the list. While we were there, we decided to check out the fish. The Pond is amazing.

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Afterwards, we did some swimming at the Seashell Pool – the resident kid’s pool. There’s a pretty crazy vibe at the kid’s pool, so we didn’t last long.

After a more relaxing swim in the “Quiet Pool,” we walked over to the Beachtree Restaurant for lunch. We had a nice, quiet lunch with delicious food.

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After lunch, we returned to King’s Pool for the ray feeding.

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All the kids (and their parents) looked excited and anxious. Ms. Laura was a great hostess and walked the kids through everything. G had a great time and loved getting a “high-five” from the ray.

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After all of the day’s fun, it was time for a nap. While George and I snoozed, John got some work done in one of the hotel’s lounge areas.

After our snooze fest, we had some unstructured lazy time in the room. It was magical.

We kept things easy and had a causal dinner at the Beachtree Restaurant. Honestly, this dinner was perfect. Perfect. The service was excellent, it was cool and breezy, and the food was spot on. Spot on.

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John and I shared a Cesar salad and I had a simple pasta dish for my entrée. Everything was divine.

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I also had a prosecco spritzer.

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For dessert, we ordered bon bons and they also served complimentary malasadas. Again, this was just perfection.

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We had a lazy walk around the property before turning in for the evening.

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Hawaii – July 4th

We all slept until 7:00AM again and it was glorious.

We had breakfast at the Makana Terrace again and we had the best views of the Bay yet. Truly beautiful.

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We also all had great food. I didn’t feel like eating much, so I had toast made with homemade bread, a side of Portuguese sausage, and the best pineapple I have ever had.

While the guys went to the pool after breakfast, I hit the gym for a workout. While I ran/walked, I watched the series finale of The Americans. I was not disappointed – it was brilliant. 

Later, I met the guys in the hotel room and we all showered and got packed and ready to travel.

Once we checked our of our room, we made one last pass through some of the shops for some gifts.

We made the easy drive to LIH, checked or bags, and sailed through Pre-Check. We picked up some light snacks for lunch and boarded our flight. We were delayed taking off and were nervous about making our connection in Honolulu.

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We ate our snacks on board and ran to our next flight once we landed in HNL. They were paging us once we landed at the Terminal so we made a mad dash to the gate. We were the last people to board, but we made it. Whew. 

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Our flight to Kona was pretty uneventful and we enjoyed time to catch our breaths. I also really enjoyed the juice they serve on board the Hawaiian Airlines flights — it is so good! 

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Once we arrived in Kona, we picked up our rental Jeep and made the quick drive to our hotel. Check-in was seamless, and after a quick tour of the property, we were led to our room.

We ordered a snack and indulged while we unpacked and got settled.

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For dinner, we partook in the hotel’s Fourth of July BBQ on the beach.

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To say that it was spectacular would be an understatement.

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From the food, to the live entertainment, to the views, everything was more than we cold have hoped for.

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In terms of food, all of the American classics were offered, including lots of options for kids.

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They even had separate entertainment, including a balloon artist, for children. After waiting patiently in line, George walked away with this awesome crab.

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Because George was extra tired (no nap that day), we decided to watch the fireworks from our balcony. Talk about a spectacular show. George was so excited that he clapped when it was over.

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We were all really worn out from the day, so it was pretty much lights out as soon as the firework show was over.