When you drive to the entrance of the Fairmont Orchid, be sure you have your car windows down so you can hear the birds. After hours on a plane, they offer a fun unofficial welcome for your stay on the Big Island’s Kohala Coast. When you pull into the hotel, you’ll understand why they sound so happy. Set on 32 lush and waterfall covered acres, the oceanfront luxury resort captures the essence of classic Hawaii.
The resort has 540 rooms, a white sand lagoon, 10,000 square-foot oceanfront pool, 10 tennis courts, 24 hour fitness center, six restaurants and a full-service spa. It’s hard to see and do it all.
I spent the night in a Fairmont Gold Premium Ocean View Room. Located on the 6th floor of the North Tower, 45 rooms make up this hotel within a hotel. Fairmont Gold comes with a long list of nice perks including: private check-in and check-out, valet parking, high-speed internet and access to the Gold Floor concierge from 6:30am to 10pm daily. The Gold Lounge offers coffee, tea, a nice assortment of cold drinks and an honor bar throughout day. Breakfast is served 6:30am to 10am and evening pupu or appetizers are served from 5pm to 7pm. Both are complimentary.
My room had a large lanai with a lounger, table, two chairs and ocean view. The balcony allowed natural light and fresh air to stream into the room. At 522 sq. feet, even with two queen beds, bureau and working-sized desk, the rooms was spacious. And even in warm Hawaii, the fluffy bed linens were nice to curl up in. The bathroom layout is well-suited for a non-couple or family. Along with a double sink, there’s also a tub and shower. The toilet area has a door, making the bathroom accessible to more than one person at a time.
As enticing as lingering in my room was, there were too many things waiting throughout the property, most notably turtles. Hawaiian green sea turtles or Honu, are fans of the Fairmont Orchid. They haul out of the bay to lay in the sun along the resort’s shoreline on a regular basis. A stretch of coast is fenced off, exclusively for the turtles, but viewpoints allow guests to get an amazing look.
Since the coast is a turtle hotspot, be sure to be on the lookout when you go snorkeling in the lagoon. If you’re lucky enough to meet a turtle in the water, take as many pictures as you want, but don’t touch. Honu are protected under the Federal Endangered Species Act and by Hawaiian State law. Along with snorkeling gear, an assortment of water gear like paddle boards, kayaks and floats are available for rent at the Beach Shack. If you’re the active type, you might want to think about buying a Fun & Sun Activity Pass. It covers beach and water equipment throughout your entire stay for $75 for adults and $65 for kids age 5-12.
The 10,000 square-foot oceanfront pool is open 24 hours. The sundeck is large and there’s no concern about needing to arrive early to find a spot. The poolside ping pong table is a popular way to dry off.
Set the alarm clock at least once during your stay so you can take a guided historic hike of nearby Puako Petroglyph Preserve or the fishponds and shelter caves of Kalahuipua’a. Wear good walking shoes, sunscreen and be sure to bring water and your camera. Hikes typically meet at the Beach Shack at 7:50am.
The Fairmont Orchid charges a daily $25 resort fee. I’m not a fan of resort fees, but it covers a large number of items and activities hotel guests at the hotel can and should take advantage of. The resort charge covers basic internet (Fairmont President’s Club Members are upgraded to premium internet access), self-parking, an hour of snorkel equipment rental (two sets per room, per day) and an assortment of cultural activities that include Outrigger Canoe rides, daily arts & crafts and guided hikes.
The Fairmont Orchid is a non-smoking hotel. It is also dog-friendly. There is an additional charge of $25 per night.
Review and photos by Dana Rebmann. Her stay was hosted by the Fairmont Orchid, but as always her thoughts and opinions are her own.