The Suite Life

Experience a paradise of amenities at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai

Since it opened in the mid-1990s, the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai has ranked among the top hotels in the world, with many kama’aina considering the property “the best resort in Hawaii.” Tucked away on a private stretch of beach on the picturesque Kona-Kohala Coast, the resort seamlessly captures the essence of all things Hawaiian while delivering the modern luxuries needed for a perfect paradise escape. And after recent revitalization projects totaling $40 million, life at Hualalai has gotten even sweeter.

“What we have seen over the last 15 years is that people have focused on their quality of life and their personal space,” says general manager Robert Whitfield. “Our customers like the finer things in life and they are accustomed to it, and we are working to keep the standards up so that this is really a place where their lifestyle is perfected.”

The resort’s most notable improvements include 20 new suites, beachfront casual dining, fashion boutiques and expansions to the spa and golf course. Other subtle touches are spread across the property, such as new hammocks and daybeds in the Palm Grove pool area and vibrant pillows on every poolside chaise lounge.

“One of the things we were really conscious of is that the original developers and architects did such a great job,” Whitfield says. “So we used the architects that did the original design and brought on San Francisco design firm Babey, Moulton, Jue & Booth for a contemporary twist, and local designer Mary Philpotts to keep the project rooted in the Hawaiian tradition in terms of textures and woods.”

The results of the project are stunning. Just a glimpse into the new one- or two-bedroom suites will leave you begging to stay the night.

Each suite provides 1,150 to 1,950 square feet of indoor/outdoor living space, arranged with sleek, Hawaiian-accented furniture, traditional and contemporary Hawaiian art and spacious bathrooms, complete with steam showers.

The new suites were created simply by adding more square footage to current rooms, keeping the total number of rooms still at an exclusive 241. This ensures that there are more than enough amenities across the expansive property for guests to enjoy.

One of the most popular amenities at the resort is the recently transformed Hualalai Spa. The new 28,000-square-foot, indoor/ outdoor facility incorporates Hawaii’s natural environment into the spa experience. Each guest is given a pre-treatment foot massage in an open-air waiea (“Water of Life”) garden, complete with a calming waterfall and cool ponds for foot-soaking. Four private Hawaiian hales (“houses”) are available for those who wish to continue their spa experience outdoors.

The spa also offers a new signature Apothecary treatment. The Apothecary treatment was created by kupuna (Hawaiian elders) who shared their traditional healing techniques with the Hualalai Spa. Before beginning the treatment, guests are invited to select from more than 20 natural, local ingredients – from Hawaiian sea salt to crushed hibiscus petals – which are custom-blended to create a personalized body scrub or mask. When combined with a soft massage, it becomes an experience you won’t find anywhere else in the world.

While the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai always has been home to award-winning restaurants, the new Beach Tree restaurant and bar complex is nothing like Hawaii has ever seen before. The resort calls the Beach Tree’s style “barefoot elegance,” which is an understatement for this casual eatery that sits just steps from the sand.

Open for both lunch and dinner, the cuisine at Beach Tree is Mediterranean with both Californian and Italian influences. Book a table in the covered dining area, or dine on small plates at the bar or on the cozy, wooden armchairs on the patio. After an excellent dinner, take your drink down to the fire pit, where all the fixings for campfire s’mores are always waiting, compliments of the chef.

No vacation in Kona would be complete without a little shopping. And if you like designer fashion, two new boutiques at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai will not disappoint. For beachside apparel, ocean-themed jewelry and workout gear, head to the Seaside Boutique near the resort’s gym and Hualalai Spa. For high-fashion resort wear from the design houses of Pucci, Missoni and Zac Posen, check out Seaside Luxe in a bungalow setting under the hotel’s main lobby. Comparable to Ron Herman and Fred Segal in Los Angeles, these boutiques are world-class and feature designer pieces that often are hard to find in Honolulu.

With the new restaurant, renovated spa, exquisite shopping and expanded suites, there is no reason not to escape reality and venture into perfection for a day or two at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai. Your trip is sure to leave you relaxed, rejuvenated and with a whole new standard of luxury. The Four Seasons Resort Hualalai has successfully created a true paradise that delivers an understated, authentic Hawaiian experience that often is hard to find at a resort.

Rooms at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai start at $495.

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