I recently had the opportunity to spend two nights at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii, a AAA Four Diamond Award winning property, located within the 3,200-acre Mauna Lani Resort on the Kohala Coast of Hawaii's Big Island.
You know you've found a great Hawaii property when, even though the weather is terrible for half of your stay, you still leave with the impression that you've stayed at one of the really great resorts in Hawaii.
The weather on the Kohala Coast is usually sunny and warm and full days of rain are rare indeed. While time was short and the weather poor, I quickly got a keen appreciation for the The Fairmont Orchid.
Brief Look at The Fairmont Orchid
Set on 32 beachfront acres on lovely Pauoa Bay with great snorkeling, this 540-room luxury resort offers large, 522 sq. ft. air conditioned guestrooms, along with a number of larger suites. All guestrooms at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii offer cool boxes, high-speed Internet access, safes, video games, furnished lanais, and marble bathrooms with double vanities, separate shower, bathrobes, scales, and phones.
The resort has four highly acclaimed restaurants including the award-winning Brown's Beach House and, 60-seat Norio's Japanese Restaurant and Sushi Bar.
The resort has extensive meeting and function space, year-found children's and cultural programs, the exclusive "hotel within a hotel" Fairmont Gold Floor, a 10,000 square foot pool, 10 tennis courts and two resort golf courses.
The Spa Without Walls is a full-service facility with private outdoor venues that allow the natural beauty and healing properties of Hawaii to contribute to your wellness treatment. Indoors, there are treatment rooms, a steam room and separate dry sauna plus a boutique featuring spa products.
The 24-hour Fitness Center features the latest in fitness equipment with views of the expansive lawn and pool beyond. Other fitness activities offered include daily seaside yoga, meditation, pool aerobics, art classes, a world-class tennis pavilion and more. Many additional activities are complimentary including daily Hawaii Arts & Crafts and cultural hikes on the resort exploring ancient Hawaiian petroglyphs and lava shelter caves.
The Resort Grounds
The resort grounds are beautifully landscaped and expansive. The well protected Pauoa Bay is a perfect spot for swimming, snorkeling or paddle boarding. Just stop by the Orchid Beachboys Beach Shack to check on ocean conditions to sign up for activities, get any equipment or reserve a private beach cabana. If you're lucky you may even spot a Hawaiian green sea turtle in the bay.
The resort's 10,000-square-foot swimming pool is the perfect spot to take in the sun and sip on a tropical drink from the nearby bar. Their Blue Hawaii cocktails are superb.
A walk along the coastline is a must. The beach path takes you past the resort's wedding gazebo and past two holes of the award-winning Francis H. I'i Brown Golf North Course. Just a short walk further takes you to Holoholokai Beach Park where, if the surf is up, you can watch local surfers. Walk across the parking lot for the entrance to the Malama Petroglyph Trail.
The resort's signature restaurant, Brown's Beach House, offers both indoor and outdoor seating with Hawaiian musical entertainment. It's the perfect spot to enjoy a beautiful sunset. The menu offers a wonderful blend of Pacific Rim, Hawaiian Regional and Big Island Cuisine. I enjoyed the Keosavang sea scallops appetizer and as an entree a pork tenderloin wrapped with prosciutto and accompanied by a sweet potato & taro mash.
Fairmont Gold Floor
A group of fellow travel writers and I had the privilege of staying on the resort's Fairmont Gold Floor, located on the 6th floor of the The Fairmont Gold's North Tower. With a beautiful and spacious lounge, large flat-panel TV, several computers with Internet access, complimentary continental breakfast and evening canapés and free non-alcoholic drinks and honor bar, we were perfectly content to spend the majority of a rainy day.
The Fairmont Gold Floor has 45 enhanced guest rooms and suites. The rooms are spacious, impeccably decorated and very comfortable. The bathroom was large with a separate tub and shower.
Guests who stay on the Fairmont Gold Floor are escorted, upon arrival, directly to the Fairmont Gold Floor concierge who handles check-in.
Our evening concierge, Patricia Eyford, was a true gem catering to our every need and efficient in every way. As I mentioned the large and comfortable lounge was our group's gathering spot for most of the weekend and well appreciated with the weather outside. The Fairmont Gold Floor experience was the best of its kind I've ever experienced.
Shops at Mauna Lani
Located within the Mauna Lani Resort are the Shops at Mauna Lani with great shopping at stores such as Caché, Oasis Lifestyle, Tommy Bahama Store and Tori Richard by Quiet Storm; dining options including Monstera (a hip, casual "izakaya-style" restaurant), Ruth's Chris Steak House, and Tommy Bahama's Restaurant & Bar; as well as three galleries.
Taken As a Whole
My stay at The Fairmont Orchid was short, but it was easy to see why the resort is so popular and why it is considered one of the top resorts in Hawaii. The weakened economy has hit the Big Island hard with major declines in visitor arrivals, yet you see no sign of this at The Fairmont Orchid.
If you'd like more information about the resort, check out our Profile of The Fairmont Orchid where we discuss the history of the resort and outline in more detail all that is available at the resort.
We also have put together a gallery of 36 photos of The Fairmont Orchid.
You can also visit The Fairmont Orchid's excellent website.