The Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii
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Travel Blogs from Kamuela
We stayed at the Fairmont Orchid on the Big Island in Hawaii. It was beautiful and was the perfect honeymoon location.
... Bay and Manini-owali Beach. It was a little tricky to find, and not the most popular beach among tourists, but there were a few other travelers nearby. I do note the significant difference between a tourist and a traveler... But that is a whole new topic best left for its own blog entry...
Following our beach day, we used the next day to ...
... aby som to stihol na Mauna Kea - 4200 metrov vysoku sopku v strede ostrova a pocitajuc aj s morskym dnom najvyysim kopcom na svete. Hore na vrchole je observatorium zadarmino co bolo nieco pre mna. Cesta bola fajn az po visitors centrum kde ma zastavili stym ze hore sa da ist len na offroade, to bolo pre mna dost velke sklamanie lebo som sa tesil na zapad slnka ale zase som nechcel problemy ze by som odpalil auto a ostal niekde vysiet. Nehal som auto tam, postavil som sa teda ...
... top. Now I have realized that it is important to charge your batteries once in a while to make best out of this trip.
Today’s only goal was to reach Kealakekua Bay and do some snorkeling in the ocean. We hiked down one hour to reach the bay, spend an hour in water, and hiked back up. This three-hour exercise was good for our physical and mental health. It was so relaxing and beautiful to just place your head under water and begin to watch the show starring ...
... 4 wheel drive to get into and we ended up hitching a ride with this guy from texas. He tried to take us all the way down, but the road got to rough so we walked the rest of the way. It was a very nice beach and there were only about 10 other people there.
I got to snorkel some more and swim with with a sea turtle again! It was a lot of fun watching the way they move through the water. The rest of the day was overcast so everyone else left and we stayed ...
How has this resort rated in the past?
- Swimming pool
- Room service
- Wheelchair accessibility
- Business Services
Historical Traveler Reviews The Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii Kamuela
A Wonderful Resort
After carefully considering the 5 major resorts on the Kohala Coast, I was thrilled with my selection of the Fairmont Orchid. The problems described by other reviewers simply baffle me. We had an incredible time during our 4 night stay and found every service just fantastic.
The Ohana package gave us two rooms (2nd room half price) plus the wonderful, delicious and expansive breakfast buffet daily. The facilities are lovely, gracious, elegant yet very relaxing & comfortable. Our rooms were very spacious (rooms 1140 and 1146) and convenient to both the pool and beach. Our original rooms faced a construction site which concerned me, but our kind bell man happily called the front desk and we were moved across the hall to a quieter location -- no problem at all. Unexpected special amenities were the beautiful orchid leis upon arrival, huge Aveda toiletries, nightly water bottles at turndown, fresh fruit handed out around the pool, and many more. The "Beach Boys" are incredibly knowledgable and generous in their love of Hawaii (Kalani & Kalua). We were so busy with the free activities (historic hikes, water aerobics, on and on) that I never even made it to the golf course. The threat of a hurricane meant cloudy, rainy weather for 24 hours (obviously well beyond the hotel's control!) but they tried to make it up by showing kid-freindly movies in the theater all day. My girls were thrilled and I was impressed with how calmy the staff handled a potentially scary situation. Kudos to the Fairmont for a wonderful trip.
I can understand why there are negative comments about the Orchid, although I don't think it's that bad. Of course, they didn't have our reservation in the computer when we arrived. When they did find it, they had booked us for the wrong number of nights in the wrong room type. When it was all straightened out, our room wasn't ready and it was already 3:30. So we went to the pool bar. This is where things started to look up. The grounds are beautiful, the view is awesome, and the drinks were good. THe size of our room was fine, the bed was comfortable enough, and the large lanai was comfortable and well furnished. Their breakfast buffet is terrible, not much to offer for room service. But Browns and The Grill were awesome! The one major problem I had was no hot water. I ran the hot water for 20 minutes and it got barely lukewarm. I called the front desk, who promised to send someone right away. Well, maintenance called and told me to just keep running the hot water. That was their solution to the problem. And the front desk didn't care either, so I had a hot shower when I got home. I can understand the complaints about lack of service, but I still had a good weekend, and may go back.
Best Hotel on the Big Island!
Wow! This is the nicest hotel I have stayed at on the Big Island. (Neck and neck with the Grand Wailea on Maui for my money)
I went with my girlfriend for 8 days and we had an amazing time.
To begin with, the hotel used to be a Ritz Carlton and it is immediately apparent. It is perhaps the most beautiful hotel on the island. With amazing views from the hallways that are open to the ocean. The rooms are average size but appointed nicely with large king size beds.
As far as ammenities, the beach is a nice size man-made quiet beach.
Snorkling is incredible from the beach (we saw huge sea turtles every time). The pools are nice with the unique jacuzzi made of smoothed volcanic rock and sandy bottom. Excellent beachside restaurant on the premisis for lunch and dinner with live music.
My girlfriend got an outdoor massage along the ocean and was on cloud nine for 5 days.
The gym was really nice with plenty of treadmills and new equipment and a view toward the ocean.
Oh, almost forgot. we got a deal over the internet that included free buffets every morning. This is without a doubt the best breakfast buffet in Hawaii. With kona coffee. Absolutely huge. Even better than the buffet at the Grand Wailea.
One morning we were leaving for a road trip around the island around 4:45 am. The buffet wasn't open yet but a nice waitress let us in and even helped us pack up a breakfast to go.
Finally, service was outstanding. Everyone was very friendly and helpful.
The Orchid Is Paradise!
I just recently got back from the Fairmont Orchid. I found this hotel to be amazing! I was surprised to see some of the bad reviews, but trust me, this hotel is gorgeous. We had an ocean view room, and we also had a view of the golf course and also mountains. Service was excellent. The food was overpriced but it was excellent too. Each day we had the buffet breakfast which was $25 a person but it was well worth it. There are hot and cold stations, fresh fruit including tropical selections, an omelet station. Each day there was a different fish cooked and I thought that was neat. I can say that the North Tower rooms seem to be the best so you should ask for that section. Our room was 2515, I would say that section is the place to be. There are many falls on the property, and ponds full of Japanese Koi fish. The beach is great and there is a great poolside bar there too. In my opinion, you would not go wrong staying at this resort.
We have stayed at the "orchid" before. On our last trip, We split our vacation between the "Orchid" and "Manele Bay" hotel on Lanai. We payed the same rate at both of the hotels for partial ocean view rooms. On arrival at Manele Bay, they recognized us as returning guests, provided us with a great room , and gave us a fruit basket in the room. The Orchid gave us a lousy room and wouldn't move us. Our partial ocean view room was over the restaurant and through the palm trees. Hardly saw anything at all and we were there during off season with plenty of rooms available. Never again for the Orchid. Lanai forever.
My husband and I just returned from a fabulous five night stay. I too am shocked by the negative comments. Everything was great. There is FREE Kona coffee in the morning until 9am, and then a small counter with muffins and the sort until 10am. If you are a late riser, the dozen or so tables at the beach bar are ready for you after 10am until the wee hours of the night. Each day at the pool we got small cups of fresh fruit and very cold washclothes to cool off with. Very nice touch! The pool is heated (very nice) and is beautiful! The padded lounge chairs are an added plus as is the beach towels I swear they use faberic softener on. The beach is man-made/enanched. Small sandy area, but large enough. Be sure to snorkle. It's wonderful. You will see many fish and turtles. Be sure to seek out the turtle they named Tripod... unfortunate shark incident. You are in Hawaii after all and the sight of lava is pretty cool.The restaurants are wonderful. Expensive, but great. We enjoyed our first night's dinner at Brown's Beach Grill. Every night they had live entertainment and it was wonderful to eat great food, listen to the singers and watch the waves crash against the shore. Heaven.The daily torch lighting is as fun to watch as the kids say it is to run along with them! The grounds are wonderful. Be sure to check out all the waterfalls.. you may find a jacuzzi or two. The staff is almost over accomodating. They leave a card in your room which you have the option to leave on your bed if you don't want the sheets changed. We thought we would save the room attendent some work by putting the card on the bed. She found us and asked us if we wouldn't prefer some fresh sheets. Wow!!! The front desk was quick to any response and the staff in the restaurants made us feel like royalty. Wonderful!!Now the spa. I can not say enough about this! I purchased the Hawaiian Rejunivation for $200 and it was worth every penny. Without a doubt, the best spa experience I have ever had. Suzanne was wonderful, and the poducts were all locally made. I never felt rushed, and the whole experience was top notch. I highly recommend spending some time in the spa. The rooms were great. Very large, beuatiful and comfortable. The beds were cozy, the room was clean and very sound proof. I never heard our neighbors or people in the hall. I really can not say enough about this resort. I highly recommend it and I am sure you will have just as wonderful an experience as I have had. Enjoy!!!
Not sure about the negative comments here on the hotel. We stayed there for 5 days in November and found it an absolute delight. From the room, to the staff, to the food to the hotel itself. Just sheer pleasure - and we have stayed at many other hotels in this high end catagory. We will be back.
There's no service here
Just spent a week at this property and there's something terribly wrong here. The hotel is beautiful - after all it used to be a Ritz-Carlton - but the grounds don't appear to be as well maintained as they should, the lack of service is appalling and they seem very understaffed. We spent 3 days trying to get two working keys to the room. Should this really be so difficult? A fax sent to us on the day we arrived got delivered to our room several days later. The AC in our room only worked intermittently. The rooms are somewhat small with large bathrooms, although there is insufficient space for personal items. There are 3 restaurants on the property. One is only open on weekend evenings, another only for breakfast. If you want beachside food and drink service prior to 11am or after 4pm you can forget about it! Some of the beachside waitstaff are surly and seem to think its too much trouble to cover the beach seating furthest from the bar. There is a small coffee kiosk but it closes at 10am. Also strange for such a large property is that there was not a store selling, magazines, books or toiletries. (If it exists I never found it!) There were a few redeeming qualities about this hotel! The Beach House restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and the food is very good, albeit very expensive, the staff are very friendly and service is excellent. There is a protected cove with a mostly sandy bottom which provides for ocean swimming and snorkeling even when the surf is high. When the sea is calm enough, the snorkeling outside of the cove on the reef is excellent. "The Beach Boys" program provides staffers to assist with beachside activities, take the guests on guided tours of the nearby fish ponds and petroglyphs, and teach native arts and crafts. This location is also great for beachside whale watching. Overall though, I don't think I'll stay here again because I prefer more choices for meals, the hotel is at least a half hour drive to local restaurants or shopping charged here.
First asked for a non-smoking room, they tried to put us in smoking. The room we recieved we found out after getting sick, had a totally clogged air filter and mildew growng inside the AC unit. Food was marginal yet overpriced. We did have a good burger at the bar. The staff in the restaurants were the only saving grace. It was so bad we spent 32K on a two week time share in Kailua. Oh yeah, the beds sucked! Don't go there!
Not Going Back
My partner and I stayed at the Orchid for ten days, and while the grounds are very nice there's not much else to recommend it. We're no strangers to travel or the Big Island (we've been there nine times in ten years), and there are a number of better alternatives in this price range.
The Orchid screwed up our reservation and we went through six (yes, six) rooms before the concierge found one that wasn't either already occupied or had the wrong bedding arrangement.
The room was very small (although the bathroom wasn't), we were awakened every morning by the sound of maintenance equipment on the adjoining golf course, and there was a constant buzzing noise coming from somewhere that drove us crazy after a week. Also it was windy during our stay and the building creaked all night, every night. All in all the experience wasn't very Hawaii-like.
For the same amount of money, or maybe a bit more the Hapuna Prince and Mauna Lani are much better values.