I’ve been lucky enough to visit the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai three times in the last few years, and I have to say, it’s quite possibly my favorite resort to visit on the planet. There’s no doubt it’s one of the best resorts in Hawaii, and it’s easy to see why. This 5 star property features everything from 7 pools and 5 restaurants to an 18-hole Jack Nicklaus designed golf course set on a volcanic landscape. For our trip, we left at the end of January, which is high season for the Big Island as people try to escape the cold. It’s also the perfect season for whale watching, and if you’re lucky, you can see them right from the beach at the resort. Leaving Austin for this January/February trip was the perfect way to escape the cold fronts that had rolled into Texas, and the weather in Hawaii was perfect. “Winter” on the Big Island tends to be in the 70s/80s with lows in the 60s, so while you’ll want to pack a sweater, it’s much more mild than most other destinations. We stayed a total of four nights at Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, which was the perfect amount of time to really settle into our room and get to fully explore the property. After our stay, we set out on a two day drive to loop the Big Island via Hilo. You can read my guide to the Big Island below.
The Four Seasons Resort Hualalai is conveniently located just a 30-minute short drive north from Kona and only 10 minutes from the Kailua-Kona airport. It’s very easy to make day trips to Kona from there, or up to places like Waimea and Waipio Valley. Other good day trip options include the summit of Mauna Kea or a whale watching tour based out of Kona. While it’s definitely possible to drive the whole island in one day, I don’t recommend it if you really want to see everything. You can make it to Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, but you will be spending a full day away from the resort and likely be getting back after dark.
Food & Dining
There are several dining options on property, ranging from casual to upscale. For a poolside lunch, Beach Tree is the perfect option. Beach Tree is just steps away from the pool and is open for lunch and dinner, serving, to quote, “Californian cuisine with an Italian twist”. It’s also a beautiful spot to watch the sunset from, and the bar is open from 11am – 10pm.
If you’re looking for just a quick snack or a coffee, over by the spa you can find the Hualalai Trading Company. They serve things like sandwiches, acai bowls, and ice cream, and are perfect for a casual bite. It’s also the spot to buy supplies on property, like sunscreen or souvenirs. The Hualalai Trading Company is open daily from 6:30am – 7pm.
Next up is ‘Ulu Ocean Grill and Sushi Lounge. If you’re looking for an upscale night out, this is the place to go. They also have a fabulous breakfast buffet in the mornings, or you can choose to order a la carte. Personally, I find the breakfast buffet to be a great value because of how many options they have. Definitely try the malasadas and the pancakes with coconut syrup. I also love that they serve turkey bacon, which is so rare to find! ‘Ulu’s dinner is also fantastic. The calamari appetizer was possibly the best calamari I’ve ever had. Don’t miss it!
And last but not least is Hualalai Grille, an American steakhouse that overlooks the golf course. If you’re looking for meat, this is the best choice for you. They’re open for dinner from 5:30pm – 8:30pm daily.
Activities on property
The Ka‘upulehu Cultural Center is a great place to learn a little bit about Hawaiian culture and do hands on crafts and activities. It’s great for kids, but adults are also welcome to join in the fun. We participated in lei making one afternoon, hand stringing orchids that are grown on the Big Island, and another day made sea shell bracelets. Other activities you can find at the Ka‘upulehu Cultural Center include hula lessons, la’i skirt making, and ‘ukulele lessons. Make sure you stop by the cultural center to sign up for activities in advance though so that they know to expect you!
The King’s Pond is a really unique area of the Four Seasons Resort. The pond is home to 98 species of fish, with over 4000 total fish, and a Spotted Eagle Ray that you can sign up to feed each afternoon. It’s a really fun experience, especially for kids! They also rent out snorkel gear at King’s Pond, so it’s a great place to snorkel in a controlled environment and see lots of ocean life.
If you’re looking to relax at the pool, you’ve come to the right place. Hualalai has 7 pools to enjoy around the property, including the Sea Shell Pool and Keiki Pool, which are family-friendly, a manmade ocean pool, King’s Pond, a heated lap pool in the spa, the Beach Tree Pool (which is a quiet zone and perfect for reading a book), and the adults-only pool with a swim-up bar, the Palm Grove Pool. The Palm Grove pool is definitely my favorite at the resort, and the best place to watch the sunset from, in my opinion. The light reflects off the pool perfectly at sunset, making it look like liquid gold.
The Spa at Four Seasons Resort Hualalai is one of my favorite parts of the property, with its open air Waiea Garden, outdoor spa hales for treatments, and more. The Waiea Garden is a beautiful area to relax in, and guests at the hotel are allowed to use the spa’s amenities without an appointment, which is a big plus. Come for the tropical gardens, steam rooms and hot tubs, stay for the treatments! During my visit, I had a traditional 50-minute Hawaiian Lomi Lomi massage. This is a great treatment to get if you’re looking for a massage unique to Hawaii.
The Golf Course
Last but not least, the 18-hole Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course is a must for any golfer visiting Hawaii. The course is beautifully laid out, with fairways in between old lava flow rocks that add a unique challenge to the game that you’re not going to get back home. For a dramatic finish, the course ends over the ocean for the last few holes, giving you a taste of seaside golf. Truly one of the most fun courses I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing!
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Disclaimer: This post is in collaboration of Four Seasons Hualalai. I was invited to stay as a guest of the property. As always, all opinions are my own!