Fairmont Orchid Hawaii

Hotel in Island of Hawaii

AAA Four Diamond Hawaiian Island Resort

Hawaii hardly warrants a sales pitch.  Who wouldn’t be hard pressed to better contextualize that quintessential vacating ideal – Hawaiian idolization is epic by nature, compliments of nature.  The trees, the breeze, the sandy toed culture that collaboratively manifest an island alchemy allergic to stress and unhappiness of any kind, as mythical as it is magical, its appeal has proven itself timeless and archetypal.

Over on the Kohala Coast of the Big Island, soaring greens and soft sea blues anchor the cove that hosts The Fairmont Orchid.  The shock of Pacific sapphire shouldn’t be, but always is, because breath taking is a tireless trade around here, where even the predictable gives you pause.  Blue stone and black rock contrast and complement a backdrop that has spawned one million desktops, maybe more.  And any view from the beach, from the balcony, the hammocks between the palms (swoon), all boast that prototypical wish you were here.

It’s popular.  Classic.  Cliché even.

And yet, at The Fairmont Orchid, they have summoned the return of the quiet, and harnessed it.  And that languid, luscious island rhythm that that is psalm beneath the palms, it is sacred here.  Gentle and generous, infectiously warm, with a wealth of welcome, wanting to share.

Maybe it’s the bay.  Or the resident sea turtles that set the serenity standard.  Flora that won’t quit.  POG (Passion.  Orange.  Guava) juice offered at every turn?  Something in the soft seclusion, the inimitable aloha hospitality, separates this idyllic inlet apart from the alternative resort giants.  And it is something that reveals and unravels repeatedly, arrival to departure.

The departure won’t feel quite as good.

The sugary sand cradling their signature cove doesn’t help.  Nor does their turquoise tub of an ocean.  The swimming lagoon?  I know.  And The Gathering of the Kings Luau? Dancing you through a historical tour, fire eaters to a full on Polynesian feast on The Plantation Estate, this is the one worth going to.

But the real draw here is how the island vitality softly interweaves the Pacific with Polynesian pleasantries, blurring boundaries with nothing but bougainvillea and an overhang between the outside and in.  The way the Plumeria scented breezes effortlessly carry the day into sunsets that paint the sky a highlighter pink, ceremoniously commemorated with the lighting of the tikis, (nightly, at the Luana Lounge). And how the external dreaminess is matched not only by white marble bathrooms (featuring Le Labo amenities – nice), soft sage walls and and French doors, but a quality of customer service that should define not only that spirit of aloha, but the vacating standard at large.

And the kids will be alright.

Robes outfitted to size.  Giant Jenga on the lawn.  Ukele lessons, basket weaving, lei making, and a Kohola King of the Whales bedtime book left on the first night of your stay.  There were dedicated kids programs, projects, a whole third floor space we never even got to, because no time is enough time, as we so lamented.  While the ambiance flutters with reverie upheld by the island pats, there seems to be no accommodation that is not quietly, tastefully, magnificently met, for the keiki’s, and the folks they brought with them.  And with both, the realization that what is iconic can still continue to unearth new means of being awesome.

And beach to pool proximity is so simple, steps away from one another. Snorkel/paddle boarding/kayak gear is right there, so plan on finding not only find Nemo but most of his ohana.  Whenever the wind blows you, head back to the aqua accented pool for an Evian spritz and a sunscreen refresh (both deliveries unprompted and mysteriously if not elegantly well timed), and lunch over the water, toes in the sand, umbrella above, at Hale Kai (one of six completely delightful places to dine on property).  Expect the fish tacos to inspire you.  The beet tacos inspired me even more.

And if you’re feeling up and at ‘em, there’s a coastal walk over ponds and preserved Hawaiian heritage (we saw eels!) that come close to distracting from the fact that you’re walking within a postcard.  Tired?  Make it to the neighboring Mauna Lani and they’ll happily shuttle you home.  We’re all friends here.

The intoxicating ease of the island is made wondrously personal by the concierge – expertly informed and infused with graciousness; their guidance can get you en route to some serious terra firm fun.  In a morning you can drive through the black rockscape (note: much of the island resembles something between Mars and the moon) to the Pololu Valley Lookout, where a (~3/4 mile) hike through rainforest terrain, under canopies of bucolic flora, will finish with a black sand beach finale.  Grab some indigenous shaved ice on the way back (The Original Big Island Shaved Ice Co., a local favorite – look for the truck), and spend the afternoon getting a subterranean snorkel in.  It’s all so smooth.

Full disclosure, this was my fledgling Fairmont experience, and the experience floored me, not just with its tasteful furnish and finish, but the degree of warmth woven into their refinement.  They have done this former Ritz-Carlton property right.

With all the lovely nooks our planet boasts, there’s a reason Hawaii’s return rate is upheld with virtual religiosity.  The Fairmont Orchid culture is a magical microcosm of an island infiltrated with some airborne elixir of calm, where one becomes gracefully inextricable from the other.  The ethos of agendaless days that seep seamlessly into sacred, citrus hued sunsets, a stress salve, a halt for the habitually hurried, it’s a lifestyle that sets in at The Fairmont, and won’t, bless it, let go. The only thing that will, without question, is you.

Jolie Loeb is a Luxury Lifestyle columnist based in Los Angeles

Photographs by Jolie Loeb

Reviewer's Rating
Relaxation, Beach / Sun
Services Free High Speed Internet, Restaurant, Room Service, Fitness Center, Swimming Pool, Health Spa, Family Friendly, Conference Rooms, Wedding / Personal Event
Dress Code Beach Casual
Cost High
Ambience Quiet
Number of Rooms 540 rooms and suites

Room and Suite Categories

Deluxe Ocean View Room; Executive Suite; Garden View; Executive Suite Ocean View; Fairmont Garden View Room; Fairmont Gold Executive Suite; Fairmont Gold Garden View Room; Fairmont Gold Ocean View Room; Fairmont Gold Presidential Suite; Oceanfront Suite; Ocean View Room; Partial Ocean View Room; Signature Ocean Front Room and South Tower Presidential Suite.

Additional Ambience Information

Blissful island ambiance. Serenity reigns supreme on their 32 acres. Merits its AAA Four Diamond rating.

Additional Price Comments

Specials and promotional packages run year round so always check them before booking. May and September are considered off season, though in June we never had one issue getting chaises by the pool or walking into any restaurant. They manage their masses extremely well.

Last updated on 14-07-2016

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