Fodor's Expert Review Four Seasons Resort Hualalai

72-100 Kaupulehu Dr., Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, 96745, USA See on Map

Beautiful views everywhere, polished wood floors, custom furnishings and linens in warm earth and cool white tones, and Hawaiian fine artwork make this resort a peaceful retreat. Ground-level rooms have outdoor garden showers. The 600-square-foot bungalows are large and luxurious, with spacious slate-floor bathrooms. One of the five pools, King's Pond, is a freshwater pond, with thousands of tropical fish and a spotted eagle ray that guests have the opportunity to feed daily. The sea-shell infinity pool is family-friendly and surrounded by cabanas and palm trees with a clear view to the ocean beyond. The on-site Hawaiian Cultural Center honors the grounds' spiritual heritage, and the sports club and spa offer top-rate health and fitness options. Hualalai's golf course hosts the PGA Tour Champions Tour and the Senior PGA Tournament of Champions. Despite its quiet luxury, the resort is super kid-friendly, with a great activities program.

room

The 192 standard rooms are spacious and inviting, with full sized foyers leading into the bedrooms, simply elegant rustic island décor, 42-inch plasma TVs, and mini fridges. Of course, that’s just the standard rooms (there are seven types, based on view and size) – there are also three villas and a variety of suites to choose from, all with their own private lanais.

bathroom

The spacious bathrooms have deep soaking tubs, waterfall heads in the shower, and a separate water closet for the toilet. Large granite vanities and a dose of natural lighting make these bathrooms ones you’ll want to spend time relaxing in. Lower level rooms also include outdoor lava rock showers that bring a bit of the spa straight to your room.

lobby

Your tropical vacation starts fully as you drive to the valet stand and get a beautiful peak at the ocean. You’ll meet staff inside where you’ll enjoy being greeted by a fresh lei and mai tai while being checked in. The open-air lobby is simple, yet elegant, a beautiful way to start your visit.

pool

There are SEVEN pools at the resort, including a lap pool, an adults-only pool, and a really stand-out feature, the King’s Pond where guests can snorkel and swim among more than 4,000 fish and a special spotted eagle ray named Kainalu. The kids’ pool is also a wonderful feature, with splash pad elements and a small sandy beach.

For those who have an interest in marine biology, don’t miss out on some of the incredible programming available, including snorkeling in King’s Pond with a marine biologist (there are five on staff), touring the fish ponds and/or tide pools with a marine biologist, feeding the spotted eagle ray, and watching the sea turtles bask on the beach after 3 p.m.

Beach Tree Pool
Photo: Beach Tree Pool
King's Pond
Photo: King's Pond
King's Pond
Photo: King's Pond

spa

The spa is a special oasis for guests, whether they’re getting a treatment or not. For those indulging in a massage or body treatment, there are both inside and Thai-style outside treatment rooms to choose from. There’s also a steam room, sauna, outdoor showers, and cold and hot plunge pools. A small waterfall and lounge chairs next to a special walking wading pool that symbolizes your body work journey are a nice place for any guest to relax.

gym

The Four Seasons gym is unique because they offer both indoor and outdoor gym facilities to meet guests’ temperature preferences. A separate weight room and cardio room (that includes Peleton bikes) are flanked by tennis and basketball courts, as well as a rock climbing area that includes bouldering, top rope climbing, and wall yoga. Classes include spin, yoga, and Barre. If you’re getting a skin care treatment, their unique apothecary bar is where your specialist will create a concoction special to your needs made of Hawaiian island ingredients.

'Ulu Ocean Grill + Sushi Lounge
Photo: 'Ulu Ocean Grill + Sushi Lounge

dining

There are four restaurants at the resort, a snack/coffee/ice cream store, and in-room dining. The restaurants include a steakhouse (Hualalai Grille), a sushi restaurant (‘Ulu Sushi Lounge), and beachside dining at Beach Tree and ‘Ulu Ocean Grille. Don’t miss the Kanpachi Crudo at Beach Tree – it’s light, yet rich, and brought in from nearby Blue Ocean Mariculture, the only open ocean fish farm in the U.S.

'Ulu Ocean Grill + Sushi Lounge
Photo: 'Ulu Ocean Grill + Sushi Lounge

drinking

The adults-only pool has a swim up bar with beer, wine, and fresh cocktails made with herbs from the adjoining garden. Beach Tree also has a designated bar area with beer, wine, some heavenly tropical cocktails, and a small bar bites menu.

YOU SHOULD KNOW The adults-only pool closes at sunset, which is a bit disappointing, as it would make a nice spot for some evening drinking and relaxation, as well. It’s the perfect spot to enjoy a cocktail while watching the sunset, however!

LOCATION

Getting Around

You’ll need a car to reach your accommodations and explore the rest of the island.

Restaurants

Pueo’s Osteria (26-min drive) offers farm to table Italian-inspired fare that, while it isn’t what you’d think of as Hawaiian food, includes some local favorites like Hamakua mushrooms and lilikoi cheesecake. A lovely wine menu and a late-night happy hour with limited food menu for night owls from 9:30 p.m. to midnight make this a great spot to wine and dine.

At Lava Lava Beach Club (22-min drive) find a menu that includes happy hour specials, daily fish preparations, and island twists on classic foods like hamburgers and ribs all right on the beach. The bar is also a huge draw, with delicious and strong cocktails (the “Big Bamboocha” will definitely get your vacation started well) and a nice wine menu.

Bars

Get drinks and a show at Gertrude’s Jazz Bar (28-min drive), an open-air jazz bar with great beer and wine selections, plus a few decadent desser-tinis to complement their cocktail list.

Kona Brewing Company (27-min drive) has some of the best pizza you’ll find in Hawaii, paired with a fun atmosphere and the chance to taste a variety of their famous brews.

WHY WE LIKE IT

There’s a lot to love at this resort, but it’s particularly great for those looking for a quiet vacation with tons of amenities and activities. It’s especially impressive just how much Hawaiian history and culture the resort manages to incorporate into its offerings, giving guests a true taste of the island in a luxury setting. There's plenty to do, but at the same time plenty of ways to relax, and there's something for everyone here.

QUICK FACTS

Resort
FamilyRomantic
Sophisticated
On the beach
$$$$

HOTEL INFO

Phones: 888-340–5662;808-325–8000

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