Review: Four Seasons Hualalai, Big Island, Hawaii

Review: Four Seasons Hualalai, Big Island, Hawaii

NAME: Four Seasons Hualalai
LOCATION: Big Island, Hawaii
DATE: March 2022
REVIEW RATING:
BEN SAYS: The Four Seasons Hualalai is often regarded as Hawaii's best resort, and for good reason. The resort has seven pools, four great restaurants, an amazing spa and gym, and impeccable Four Seasons service.
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EXTRA PERKS AVAILABLE Enjoy breakfast, upgrades, & more

Want to take advantage of Four Seasons Preferred Partner benefits, including a space available room upgrade, complimentary breakfast, a hotel credit, and more? Contact Ford ([email protected]) for more details. He may even be able to help if you already have a stay booked.

After a couple of nights at the Four Seasons Oahu at Ko Olina, our next stop was checking out the Four Seasons Hualalai, located on the Big Island. I’ve visited the Four Seasons Lanai and the Four Seasons Maui before, so was particularly curious to check out this property, as it’s regarded by many to be the best resort in all of Hawaii.

Well, I won’t bury the lede — the Four Seasons Hualalai is simply incredible, and breathtakingly beautiful. You could come to this resort for a week without leaving the property, and you wouldn’t get bored (though the issue is that the Big Island has so much to offer, so it would be a shame not to explore).

The Four Seasons Hualalai has four restaurants, an expansive property, beautiful coastline, incredible pools (including one that’s essentially an aquarium you can swim in), and the typically excellent Four Seasons service.

Booking the Four Seasons Hualalai

For our dates in March, the nightly rate for a base room at the Four Seasons Hualalai was ~$1,800. Since the start of the pandemic, rates at properties in Hawaii (and for that matter rates at so many vacation destinations) have gone way up. I’m sure rates will normalize again eventually, but we haven’t reached that point yet. As a point of comparison, the Andaz Maui (a popular Hawaiian points hotel) was charging $1,400 for the same dates for a room with no view. So context is important here.

Furthermore, I think it’s worth specifically giving Four Seasons kudos for not having resort fees at any Hawaii properties, unlike… well, just about every other property in Hawaii.

The Four Seasons does have some offers to get a better deal, like a rate with a resort credit, an unlimited golf package, and more, so keep an eye out for those. The best way to book any Four Seasons hotel is through a travel advisor affiliated with the Four Seasons Preferred Partner program. When booking through Preferred Partner you pay the same rate you’ll find directly on Four Seasons’ website, but you’ll receive extra perks, including the following:

  • A room upgrade, subject to availability
  • Complimentary daily breakfast
  • A hotel credit to use during your stay

Four Seasons Preferred Partner is generally combinable with promotions being offered directly through Four Seasons, including advance purchase rates, free night offers, and more. Note that booking Four Seasons properties through Preferred Partner is better than booking through programs like Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts. Why?

  • With Preferred Partner you have the option of room service breakfast in place of restaurant breakfast
  • Upgrades are prioritized for Preferred Partner bookings, given that it’s Four Seasons’ own proprietary program (and the value of an upgrade can be significant)
  • You can combine Preferred Partner perks with virtually any rate on Four Seasons’ website (other programs don’t allow you to stack promotions in the same way)

You can’t beat getting all of these extra perks just for booking through an eligible travel advisor. Ford is happy to help anyone book Four Seasons properties through Preferred Partner, and can be reached at [email protected] He and his team don’t charge any booking fees for Four Seasons properties.

Full disclosure — Ford got a travel agent rate for our stay. As always, all opinions expressed are my own.

Four Seasons Hualalai location & layout

The Four Seasons Hualalai is located on the Kona-Kohala coast of Hawaii Island. It’s a roughly 15 minute drive from Kona International Airport (KOA). It’s about a 20 minute drive to the town of Kona, or a roughly 90 minute drive to Hilo, if you want to go to the other side of the island.

Hualalai as such is a complex consisting of 800 acres of oceanfront property. The resort has 249 guest rooms and suites, plus there are roughly 330 houses on the complex. The property also has two golf courses, and several pools and restaurants. Below is a property map to give you a sense of the layout of the resort.

Four Seasons Hualalai property map

In many ways the Four Seasons Hualalai reminded me of the Ritz-Carlton Reserve Dorado Beach, in the sense that both are huge resort compounds located on gorgeous coasts. This is an ideal family destination, as there’s something here for everyone, where you want to swim, golf, eat, or drink.

While the Four Seasons Hualalai initially opened in 1996, the property has undergone a full renovation, which just wrapped up recently.

Four Seasons Hualalai check-in & lobby

We arrived at the resort at around 3PM, and were warmly welcomed by the bellmen. The resort offers complimentary self parking in a lot near reception, so that was nice. We first admired the view from the entrance to the resort, which looks down at the lawn, then one of the pools, and then the Pacific Ocean.

Four Seasons Hualalai view from entrance

Reception is located in an open-air, elevated building. For that matter, just about everything at the hotel is open-air, from the restaurants to the gym. Aside from our room, we were never really indoors at the resort.

Four Seasons Hualalai lobby building
Four Seasons Hualalai lobby
Four Seasons Hualalai lobby

The check-in process was efficient, and we were offered mini-mango mai tais plus leis. Within a few minutes formalities were complete, and we were driven to our room in a golf cart.

Four Seasons Hualalai welcome drinks

There aren’t many reason to visit the lobby during your stay, unless you need help from the concierge, or want some complimentary coffee and snacks (tofu muffins and butter croissants), which are available in the morning.

Four Seasons Hualalai complimentary coffee

Four Seasons Hualalai Ocean-View Room

For our stay at the Four Seasons Hualalai we stayed in an ocean view room, marketed as being 635 square feet. That’s the entry level room size, so accommodations are generously sized Rooms are generally around one of the four main pool areas, and each building typically only has four rooms, and isn’t more than two stories tall.

We were staying near King’s Pond, which I found to be an awesome part of the resort. You’ve gotta love how lush the property is, as the trees and plants are gorgeous.

Four Seasons Hualalai pathways
Four Seasons Hualalai pathways

Specifically, we were assigned room 203, a ground floor room. As mentioned above, the Four Seasons Hualalai recently underwent a full renovation, and guest rooms are well done, as they’re the perfect blend between being modern and having a sense of place. The main part of our room had a signature Four Seasons bed (the most comfortable in the industry), a couch with a coffee table, a desk, and a TV.

Four Seasons Hualalai oceanview king room
Four Seasons Hualalai oceanview king room
Four Seasons Hualalai oceanview king room
Four Seasons Hualalai oceanview king room
Four Seasons Hualalai oceanview king room

Near the TV was a Nespresso machine, a selection of tea, and a mini-fridge.

Four Seasons Hualalai oceanview king room minibar

Back near the entrance was a large walk-in closet area, which is also where the safe was located. It’s nice to see a large closet in a standard guest room, since I often have the tendency to otherwise just scatter my clothing all over the room.

Four Seasons Hualalai oceanview king room closet

The bathroom was also huge for a standard room, and had double sinks, a bathtub, a toilet, a walk-in shower, and even an outdoor shower.

Four Seasons Hualalai oceanview king room bathroom
Four Seasons Hualalai oceanview king room shower
Four Seasons Hualalai oceanview king room outdoor shower
Four Seasons Hualalai oceanview king room toilet

Toiletries were in reusable containers from Makana Honua. Not only did the products seem high quality, but these containers actually dispensed large amounts of the toiletries, which I otherwise often find to be an issue.

Four Seasons Hualalai toiletries

On the far end of the room we had a nice outdoor space with a loveseat and a dining table with two chairs. Our room faced King’s Pond, and then the Pacific Ocean in the distance.

Four Seasons Hualalai oceanview king room view
Four Seasons Hualalai oceanview king room outdoor space

Upon arrival we were provided with a welcome amenity, consisting of sparkling water and all kinds of sweets. We would’ve probably been better off without the sweets, but yum.

Four Seasons Hualalai welcome amenity

Wi-Fi in the room was fast and free, the air conditioning worked perfectly, and there was both daily housekeeping and turndown service.

Four Seasons Hualalai Ocean-View Superior Suite

During our stay we were able to see some of the premium room types, and I figured I’d share some pictures of that. To start we visited an ocean view superior suite, which is marketed as being 1,050 square feet. The suite had a living room, with a large couch that could be turned into a bed in case a family wishes to share the suite.

Four Seasons Hualalai oceanview superior suite living room
Four Seasons Hualalai oceanview superior suite living room

The bedroom was separated from the living room by a door.

Four Seasons Hualalai oceanview superior suite bedroom

What’s also impressive is that in addition to a full bathroom off the bedroom, there’s a second bathroom off the living room that even has a shower.

Four Seasons Hualalai oceanview superior suite bathroom
Four Seasons Hualalai oceanview superior suite bathroom

The suite also had a huge amount of outdoor space, with great views.

Four Seasons Hualalai oceanview superior suite balcony
Four Seasons Hualalai oceanview superior suite balcony
Four Seasons Hualalai oceanview superior suite view

Four Seasons Hualalai Ho’onanea Villa

If you’re looking for the best the Four Seasons Hualalai has to offer and price isn’t a factor, the property has a few villas. We toured the Ho’onanea Villa, which features two bedrooms, but can feature up to three, by including an adjacent guest room.

The indoor space of the villa had a large living room, a dining area and wet bar, a kitchen, a master bedroom with a king bed, and a second bedroom with two queen beds.

Four Seasons Hualalai villa living room
Four Seasons Hualalai villa living room
Four Seasons Hualalai villa kitchen
Four Seasons Hualalai villa bedroom
Four Seasons Hualalai villa bedroom
Four Seasons Hualalai villa bathroom
Four Seasons Hualalai villa bathroom
Four Seasons Hualalai villa bathtub
Four Seasons Hualalai villa outdoor shower

The outdoor space and views are no doubt the most impressive aspects of the villa, though, as there’s a dining table, seating around a fire pit, and a pool, all with direct ocean views.

Four Seasons Hualalai villa outdoor space
Four Seasons Hualalai villa pool
Four Seasons Hualalai villa view

There’s even a rooftop deck with additional seating.

Four Seasons Hualalai villa outdoor space
Four Seasons Hualalai villa outdoor space
Four Seasons Hualalai villa view

Four Seasons Hualalai pools

The Four Seasons Hualalai’s pool game is very, very strong. The Four Seasons has a variety of pools, including:

  • The King’s Pond and King’s Pool
  • The Sea Shell Pool
  • The Palm Grove Pool
  • The Beach Tree Pool
  • The Lap Pool
  • The Ocean Pool

Let’s go over each of them. At one end of the property you have King’s Pond, which is a 1.8 million gallon “aquarium” that you can swim in. It’s carved out of lava rock and has more than 1,000 tropical fish in it. There’s also the Kumu Kai Marine Education Center here, where you can learn more about the marine life, as well as join daily early ray and fish feedings.

I’m kind of scared of water, to be honest (I know, I’m weird), but this is such a ridiculously cool way to be able to go snorkeling in a safe environment.

Four Seasons Hualalai king’s pond
Four Seasons Hualalai king’s pond
Four Seasons Hualalai king’s pond

There’s also ample seating around King’s Pond, so it’s pretty cool to lounge by an aquarium, rather than a pool.

Four Seasons Hualalai king’s pond

Immediately above King’s Pond is King’s Pool, which only opened during the pandemic. This infinity-edge pool overlooks King’s Pond.

Four Seasons Hualalai king’s pool
Four Seasons Hualalai king’s pool

It’s a very nice pool, and also two hot tubs, plus plenty of seating.

Four Seasons Hualalai king’s pool hot tub
Four Seasons Hualalai king’s pool hot tub
Four Seasons Hualalai king’s pool seating

The next major pool at the Four Seasons Hualalai is the Sea Shell Pool, which is massive and also infinity-edge. This pool is specially designed for families.

Four Seasons Hualalai sea shell pool
Four Seasons Hualalai sea shell pool
Four Seasons Hualalai sea shell pool
Four Seasons Hualalai sea shell pool

There’s also a special pool for small children next to it.

Four Seasons Hualalai keiki children’s pool

The next major pool is the Beach Tree Pool, which his a more traditional rectangular pool for adults. While the King’s Pool was our favorite, the Beach Tree Pool was our second favorite thanks to the cabanas. The cabanas you see in the below pictures are available on a first come, first served basis at no extra cost, and they were a great place to hang out.

Four Seasons Hualalai beach tree pool
Four Seasons Hualalai beach tree pool
Four Seasons Hualalai beach tree pool

Next up was the Palm Grove Pool, which is an adults-only pool with a swim-up bar. I loved the view from this pool, with the palm trees overhead and the beach and ocean in the distance.

Four Seasons Hualalai palm grove pool
Four Seasons Hualalai palm grove pool

Then there was the lap pool, located near the fitness center and spa. This pool was a bit further away from the coast, and almost made feel like I was at a resort in Bali, or something.

Four Seasons Hualalai lap pool
Four Seasons Hualalai lap pool

Regardless of which pool you choose to hang out at, there’s very attentive service, including help with towels, food & drink service, complimentary water, etc. There’s also sunscreen all over the resort.

Four Seasons Hualalai complimentary sunscreen

Four Seasons Hualalai beach

The Four Seasons Hualalai has an incredible amount of coastline, and there’s a pathway along the entire beach. In some cases the beach is maybe 20 feet wide, while in other areas it’s much wider. The beach area is gorgeous — it’s swimmable, and I love the lava rock.

Four Seasons Hualalai beach path
Four Seasons Hualalai beach
Four Seasons Hualalai beach

Speaking of pools, the Four Seasons Hualalai actually has one additional pool, called the Ocean Pool. You might think it’s cheesy for the hotel to call the ocean a pool, but it’s kind of true. As you can see in the below picture, a portion of the coastline has rocks around it, which essentially creates a calm, safe environment in which to swim. I’m usually not a fan of going in the ocean, but I made an exception for this.

Four Seasons Hualalai ocean pool
Four Seasons Hualalai ocean pool

Speaking of the beach, we loved walking along the beach path, as the scenery was so varied. Below are just a few pictures.

Four Seasons Hualalai property
Four Seasons Hualalai view
Four Seasons Hualalai paths
Four Seasons Hualalai paths

Four Seasons Hualalai gym

Four Seasons consistently puts effort into having great gyms, and this property is no exception. Actually, this property might just have one of the best hotel gyms I’ve ever seen anywhere. For one, the entire gym is an indoor-outdoor space, with doors wide open.

The center courtyard of the fitness complex has some exercise bikes.

Four Seasons Hualalai gym

Then there’s a room dedicated to cardio equipment.

Four Seasons Hualalai gym

There’s another room dedicated to free weights.

Four Seasons Hualalai gym
Four Seasons Hualalai gym
Four Seasons Hualalai gym

Then there’s another room for fitness classes.

Four Seasons Hualalai gym

Then there’s even an outdoor area with more cardio equipment.

Four Seasons Hualalai outdoor gym
Four Seasons Hualalai outdoor gym

There’s also a basketball court, plus several tennis courts.

Four Seasons Hualalai basketball court
Four Seasons Hualalai tennis court

Four Seasons Hualalai spa

The Four Seasons Hualalai has an impressive spa complex, and you can find the treatment menu here. There’s everything from massages, to facials, to salon services. Treatments are also largely performed in outdoor huts, which is pretty cool.

Four Seasons Hualalai spa reception

The spa also has a beautiful outdoor relaxation area.

Four Seasons Hualalai spa
Four Seasons Hualalai spa
Four Seasons Hualalai spa

Four Seasons Hualalai Ulu Ocean Grill (breakfast & dinner)

Ulu Ocean Grill is the Four Seasons’ breakfast restaurant, and it’s also open for dinner. Breakfast is served daily from 6:30AM until 11AM, and you can find the breakfast menu here. For all practical purposes the entire restaurant is outdoors — while there’s an indoor area, the glass doors remain open, so there’s even a breeze indoors.

Four Seasons Hualalai Ulu Ocean Grill
Four Seasons Hualalai Ulu Ocean Grill

Breakfast is included for all guests booking via Four Seasons Preferred Partner, with the choice to dine in the restaurant or via room service. The hot and cold coffee were both very good, as were the smoothies.

Four Seasons Hualalai Ulu Ocean Grill breakfast
Four Seasons Hualalai Ulu Ocean Grill breakfast

The Four Seasons has a breakfast buffet, and if you select this it includes made to order eggs, coffee, juice etc. The buffet was high quality and fresh, with everything from pastries, to fruit, to yogurt and cereal, to cold cuts and cheese, to dim sum, to egg dishes.

Four Seasons Hualalai Ulu Ocean Grill breakfast buffet
Four Seasons Hualalai Ulu Ocean Grill breakfast buffet
Four Seasons Hualalai Ulu Ocean Grill breakfast buffet
Four Seasons Hualalai Ulu Ocean Grill breakfast buffet
Four Seasons Hualalai Ulu Ocean Grill breakfast buffet

During our stay we also tried some of the a la carte items, like the acai bowl, breakfast burrito, and loco moco.

Four Seasons Hualalai Ulu Ocean Grill breakfast
Four Seasons Hualalai Ulu Ocean Grill breakfast
Four Seasons Hualalai Ulu Ocean Grill breakfast

The food and service were both excellent, and it was just generally enjoyable to sit at breakfast and watch the waves crash.

In the evening, Ulu Ocean Grill serves dinner from 5:30PM until 9PM, and you can find the dinner menu here. The focus of this restaurant is described as the “flavors of Hawaii with Pan-Asian techniques.” There’s an emphasis on seafood and locally sourced ingredients, as 75% of the food served is from the Big Island.

Four Seasons Hualalai Ulu Ocean Grill dinner menu
Four Seasons Hualalai Ulu Ocean Grill dinner menu

At the start of the meal we were offered a delicious loaf of taro bread.

Four Seasons Hualalai Ulu Ocean Grill dinner

For dinner we ordered the crispy calamari, table-side ahi tuna poke, as well as some sushi rolls and nigiri.

Four Seasons Hualalai Ulu Ocean Grill dinner
Four Seasons Hualalai Ulu Ocean Grill dinner
Four Seasons Hualalai Ulu Ocean Grill dinner
Four Seasons Hualalai Ulu Ocean Grill dinner

We also (over)indulged a bit with dessert, and had the shave ice and a chocolate souffle.

Four Seasons Hualalai Ulu Ocean Grill dinner
Four Seasons Hualalai Ulu Ocean Grill dinner

YUM! What an incredible meal, with service to match. And as if the dining experience wasn’t good enough, take a look at the view from our table…

Four Seasons Hualalai Ulu Ocean Grill sunset view
Four Seasons Hualalai Ulu Ocean Grill sunset view

Four Seasons Hualalai Beach Tree (lunch & dinner)

Beach Tree is the Four Seasons’ lunch and dinner restaurant, described as serving Californian cuisine with an Italian twist. The restaurant is fully open-air, and also has a bar area if you just want to order drinks.

Four Seasons Hualalai Beach Tree Restaurant
Four Seasons Hualalai Beach Tree Bar
Four Seasons Hualalai Beach Tree Bar

Lunch is served daily from 11:30AM until 3PM, and has everything from salads, to burgers, to pizzas, to poke bowls.

Four Seasons Hualalai Beach Tree lunch menu

We ate here one afternoon and had a cobb salad with chicken and a vegan burger, and both were tasty.

Four Seasons Hualalai Beach Tree lunch
Four Seasons Hualalai Beach Tree lunch

We came here for cocktails a couple of times, which were very good.

Four Seasons Hualalai Beach Tree drinks

We had dinner here one evening, which definitely had more an Italian influence than the lunch selection.

Four Seasons Hualalai Beach Tree dinner menu

Our meal started with some homemade focaccia.

Four Seasons Hualalai Beach Tree dinner

I ordered a dirty martini, while Ford had the hotel’s twist on an aperol spritz.

Four Seasons Hualalai Beach Tree dinner

To start I had the tuna tartare, while Ford had the meatballs.

Four Seasons Hualalai Beach Tree dinner
Four Seasons Hualalai Beach Tree dinner

Then for our main courses I had the Kona kanpachi, while Ford had the market catch puttanesca.

Four Seasons Hualalai Beach Tree dinner
Four Seasons Hualalai Beach Tree dinner

Again, the food, service, and sunset views were excellent. There was even live music at the restaurant, which we enjoyed.

Four Seasons Hualalai Beach Tree sunset view

Four Seasons Hualalai Grille (dinner)

Hualalai Grill is the Four Seasons’ steakhouse, and it’s open for dinner from 5:30PM until 8:30PM. It’s located near reception, so it’s elevated a bit above the resort of the property, and offers a different kind of view.

Four Seasons Hualalai Grille
Four Seasons Hualalai Grille
Four Seasons Hualalai Grille dinner menu

We were offered some warm rolls to start.

Four Seasons Hualalai Grille dinner

As appetizers I ordered the tomato salad, while Ford had the beet salad.

Four Seasons Hualalai Grille dinner
Four Seasons Hualalai Grille dinner

For our mains, I had the tuna steak, while Ford had the steak tartare. We also had a side of brussels sprouts and fries to go along with it.

Four Seasons Hualalai Grille dinner
Four Seasons Hualalai Grille dinner
Four Seasons Hualalai Grille dinner

The meal was great, and personally I loved that the restaurant had a bit of local flair, as many luxury hotels just have chain steakhouses.

Four Seasons Hualalai Residents’ Beach House (dinner)

Hualalai Residents’ Beach House is the Four Seasons’ last sit-down dining venue, and it’s not as well known. That’s because this restaurant is technically for residents of the Hualalai complex. However, hotel guests can make reservations on a space available basis the day of. We managed to get a reservation here the last evening.

Four Seasons Hualalai Residents’ Beach House
Four Seasons Hualalai Residents’ Beach House
Four Seasons Hualalai Residents’ Beach House dinner menu
Four Seasons Hualalai Residents’ Beach House dinner menu

To drink we ordered the spiced mango cocktail, and we decided to upgrade our drinks to “BIG DADDY” status, because, I mean… how could you not with a name like that?

Four Seasons Hualalai Residents’ Beach House dinner

To eat we split the yellowtail ahi tataki, the heirloom tomato salad, and the yellow curry with vegetables.

Four Seasons Hualalai Residents’ Beach House dinner
Four Seasons Hualalai Residents’ Beach House dinner
Four Seasons Hualalai Residents’ Beach House dinner

All our dining experiences on property were very good. If you’re staying for an extended period then it’s definitely worth trying to eat here one evening, though I also wouldn’t say you’re missing out if you don’t dine here.

Four Seasons Hualalai Trading Company

In addition to the formal dining venues, the Four Seasons also has Hualalai Trading Company, open daily from 6:30AM until 6PM. Hualalai Trading Company has everything from souvenirs, to coffees, to prepared sandwiches, to acai bowls. So if you’re just looking for something quick and casual, or you’re headed out for a day of sightseeing, this is a good option.

Four Seasons Hualalai Trading Company
Four Seasons Hualalai Trading Company
Four Seasons Hualalai Trading Company

Four Seasons Hualalai complimentary laundry

The Four Seasons Hualalai has several washing machines and dryers throughout the property, which guests can use for free. This is something that’s so simple yet so awesome, given how much hotels usually charge for laundry. Why can’t this be more common at other resorts?

Four Seasons Hualalai complimentary lobby

Four Seasons Hualalai service

Service at the Four Seasons Hualalai was flawless, but then again, that just seems to be the brand standard for Four Seasons. There are a couple of things that I appreciate the most about Four Seasons service.

First of all, service is consistently attentive and timely. When you use the Four Seasons app to message the hotel, they respond almost right away. When you ask to have your room cleaned, they show up within minutes. When you’re sitting at the pool, they’re constantly checking on you. There are simply few hassles to Four Seasons service, and they almost always get things right the first time.

What I equally love about service at Four Seasons is that the brand hires awesome, interesting, passionate people. You really feel like everyone on property wants you to have a great experience, from the restaurant servers, to the pool attendants, to the concierge.

I honestly have nothing but good things to say about the service we experienced at the resort.

Bottom line

Hawaii is such a gorgeous place, and the Four Seasons Hualalai might just be the best resort in the state. From the renovated and large rooms, to the seven different pools, to the four unique restaurants, to the perfect service, to the generally gorgeous setting, this is simply an amazing resort.

If you’re a Four Seasons fan or love Hawaii and can swing staying at this property, you won’t be disappointed.

If you’ve stayed at the Four Seasons Hualalai, what was your experience like?

EXTRA PERKS AVAILABLE Enjoy breakfast, upgrades, & more

Want to take advantage of Four Seasons Preferred Partner benefits, including a space available room upgrade, complimentary breakfast, a hotel credit, and more? Contact Ford ([email protected]) for more details. He may even be able to help if you already have a stay booked.

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  1. JD Guest

    I stayed here and also the nearby Auberge Mauna Lani in February. Ben's review is good -- I had a very nice stay at the Four Seasons. The grounds, service, and food are all excellent. The Mauna Lani is also fantastic, and has a bit more "energy" and might be more suited to families. It really just depends what you want. FS is discreet and elegant, with an aura of exclusivity. Mauna Lani feels more "alive" and slightly less stuffy. Both are beautiful.

  2. Anthony Diamond

    One solution to the travel agent rate issue is for reviewers like Ben to only book widely available rates (rack rates, whatever). After all, points bookings are available to everyone, so maybe cash reviews should feature rooms paid for at rates available to everyone

  3. TheBestBlackBrent Member

    What a coincidence, at this Four Seasons they really insisted to do a tour of all the room types as well! But it is definitely not a paid review, we just paid a $5 special travel agent rate, full disclosure... ;) ;)

    Ridiculous roomrates and the whole pitch about 'no resort fees' hardly makes a difference of course. I don't know why you would pick this place if almost anywhere on the planet you can...

    What a coincidence, at this Four Seasons they really insisted to do a tour of all the room types as well! But it is definitely not a paid review, we just paid a $5 special travel agent rate, full disclosure... ;) ;)

    Ridiculous roomrates and the whole pitch about 'no resort fees' hardly makes a difference of course. I don't know why you would pick this place if almost anywhere on the planet you can get better value for money and / or better deals. But with Asia closed until now and a ton of Americans preferring domestic travel, I guess they can charge these rates, so good on them.

    1. Alex77W Guest

      There is yet another reasons to promote booking FS through a travel advisor this year. Four Season runs the following promotion for 2022: "There will be thirty (30) prizes offered to the winners of the Promotion, which include the twenty-eight (28) Participating Sales Advisors that achieve the highest actualized rooms revenue from Qualified Reservations at any Property placed using their Four Seasons Advisor ID and a Preferred Partner Rate code..." The prize " consists of...

      There is yet another reasons to promote booking FS through a travel advisor this year. Four Season runs the following promotion for 2022: "There will be thirty (30) prizes offered to the winners of the Promotion, which include the twenty-eight (28) Participating Sales Advisors that achieve the highest actualized rooms revenue from Qualified Reservations at any Property placed using their Four Seasons Advisor ID and a Preferred Partner Rate code..." The prize " consists of seven (7) nights’ accommodations for the winner and one (1) guest at no more than two (2) properties of their choice" and includes daily breakfast, one dinner, and airport transfer.
      I believe the blogger's spouse was a recipient of such a prize in the past. Thus, while FS has no loyalty program for the end customers, there is some variant of it for the travel advisors.
      While travel advisors may work fully for the interests of their clients, I am also aware of some travel agents who would try to book you into a hotel/hotel chain with the highest kickback or a promotion. These incentives work as the Loyalty programs but only for the travel agents. The only difference is that the travel agents spend other people money while receiving travel perks themselves. Of course, the latter is also true for the business travelers.

    2. hotintx Guest

      This is somewhat my thoughts as well. I'm torn on the thought of paying any more than you have to, versus having a truly "unbiased" review. I wondered previously how these reviews might be swayed a bit based on numerous factors (favorable rates, comps, upgrades), even if subconsciously. I am completely for Ben pushing some business Ford's way, but tbh, the beginning of so many reviews has started to sound like an infomercial for his...

      This is somewhat my thoughts as well. I'm torn on the thought of paying any more than you have to, versus having a truly "unbiased" review. I wondered previously how these reviews might be swayed a bit based on numerous factors (favorable rates, comps, upgrades), even if subconsciously. I am completely for Ben pushing some business Ford's way, but tbh, the beginning of so many reviews has started to sound like an infomercial for his TA business.

      Then there is the inherent benefit to "hype up" a hotel, which could/might/should increase business for Ford as someone now wants to book this property. I get that I am not the target demographic for this resort, something I am more than okay with. What I don't get is ever having enough money that the idea of paying $1,800/night for this would make sense. Then as a benefit of staying at an exorbitantly overpriced hotel, you get to pay for extremely overpriced food and beverages.

  4. Nick Guest

    When you take off or drive to KOA airport you can see the Kona Kampachi enclosures offshore.

  5. Diego Dave Guest

    Appreciate the deep detail, but agree with the last comment. Your reviews usually provide a fair amount of transparency with regards to the price you paid, whether with miles, points of cash. This is not true with your Four Seasons reviews. Saying the room was paid with a travel agent rate is fine, but wouldn't it be more appropriate to disclose the actual rate? It makes a difference whether you got the room for $100...

    Appreciate the deep detail, but agree with the last comment. Your reviews usually provide a fair amount of transparency with regards to the price you paid, whether with miles, points of cash. This is not true with your Four Seasons reviews. Saying the room was paid with a travel agent rate is fine, but wouldn't it be more appropriate to disclose the actual rate? It makes a difference whether you got the room for $100 a night or received a 20% discount off the rack rate.

  6. Michael Guest

    Your reviews of Four Seasons properties would have more credibility if you didn’t use a deeply discounted travel agent rate. Expectations change dramatically if you pay thousands of Dollars per night.

  7. Brodie Member

    You put some serious effort into this review! Nice work Ben. On a side note, anyone can enter the property and use their beaches as all beaches are public in Hawaii. Just tell the gate guard your intentions and they will let you in.

  8. Michael Guest

    I’m glad you had a nice time because this resort ruined my honeymoon. Our checkin agent abandoned us for about an hour. Our “ocean view” room was next door to a construction zone (we had the lovely view and noise of cranes). We had to fight for pool and beach chairs every single day. When I finally complained, a manager said we didn’t purchase a suite (apparently 2,000 a night isn’t a lot of money...

    I’m glad you had a nice time because this resort ruined my honeymoon. Our checkin agent abandoned us for about an hour. Our “ocean view” room was next door to a construction zone (we had the lovely view and noise of cranes). We had to fight for pool and beach chairs every single day. When I finally complained, a manager said we didn’t purchase a suite (apparently 2,000 a night isn’t a lot of money for them) so they didn’t care if we had lounges or not. Meals were pretty hit and miss.

    I will say the room renovation was nice and much needed. But the ocean view rooms are not worth 2,000 a night, especially with the construction and inability to get lounges. Maybe the resort is better when you aren’t there in summer. But ruining our honeymoon by literally giving us no place to sit on the beach and having construction (we weren’t even told about beforehand) is unforgivable.

    1. Ricardo Guest

      Feedback is an art form. Your experience sounds odd. Four Seasons is visited by "winners" in life so I can imagine being bested in lounge chair duels. But on the room You are describing a rip off.

  9. Anthony Diamond

    To all those complaining about Four Seasons reviews - you can book just about any airplane product using some kind of points, but many of the most relevant hotels globally can only be booked by cash. Luxury hotels, boutiques, whatever. VRBO, Airbnb, same thing. It’s important to get reviews of these non-points products so that readers can know what the best lodging options are at all the various price points and payment methods. Ben, keep ‘em coming

  10. Motion to Dismiss Member

    Are the Big Daddy drinks upgraded spirits, or just larger?

  11. GringoLoco Gold

    Probably not a lot of golfers among your readers but a paragraph about the golf facilities, hotel guest privileges, etc would have been appreciated...

    1. Ricardo Guest

      Kailua has more golfing than people. Check a golf site for meaningful reviews. You will not be disappointed.

  12. ArnoldB Guest

    So is Hawaii more on the tropical or sub-tropical side? Can't really tell from the pictures, as the vegetation seems to be quite "garden"-esque. Or does it vary from island to island?

    1. Never In Doubt Guest

      Rainfall varies VERY widely across the islands, as does the amount of "natural" soil & plant life.

      The side of the Big Island around Hualalai and further N, is a rainfall desert that's mostly lava rock. Effectively all the plants in that area are there courtesy of man.

      OTOH, Kauai "The Garden Island" ("The Really Rainy Island" not to the tourist board's liking) contains the rainiest place on earth.

    2. Ricardo Guest

      The hotel is in a barren lava flow that has been man made into a lush resort. Kona and much of the Big Island are an absolute waste land where development has changed the nature of things. Kona is hot and the ocean brings wind. The Four Seasons has excellent service. If you do not stay here, it is worth a visit. The guard gate will give recommendations.

  13. James Guest

    Ben- How does the food and sunset compare to FS Maui? Every time I book Hawaii I go back to FS Maui because the food is fantastic and sunrise/sunset views are incredible and I only have 10 days a year to go there. I have heard from chatting up other FS guests in the club lounge FS Maui that FS H is great for kids and/or golf but neither applies to my situation.

    1. Julian Guest

      I've been to both and the FS Maui isn't even in the same league for me as the FS hualalai. Service is of course great at any FS, but Maui feels like a resort factory while hualalai feels like true tropical luxury. And the sunsets will be similar from either spot (West facing) but the setting on the big island wins hands down.

  14. John Guest

    This has “White Lotus” (show on HBO) written all over it — I think it was filmed at this hotel as well.

    1. TravelGuy88 Guest

      White Lotus was filmed at the FS Maui

    2. FS Hawaii Aficionado Guest

      The White Lotus was actually filmed at the Four Seasons Maui.

  15. HawaiiLover88 Guest

    Thanks for all the Four Seasons Hawaii reviews. We just stayed at a Four Seasons in Hawaii this month (booked through your company). We have been fortunate enough to go to the Big Island, Maui, and Oahu properties. I have to say my wife and I love the Maui and Oahu properties. The Hualalei property is nice but is definitely our least favorite by far. The resort just seems so dated overall for the price....

    Thanks for all the Four Seasons Hawaii reviews. We just stayed at a Four Seasons in Hawaii this month (booked through your company). We have been fortunate enough to go to the Big Island, Maui, and Oahu properties. I have to say my wife and I love the Maui and Oahu properties. The Hualalei property is nice but is definitely our least favorite by far. The resort just seems so dated overall for the price. Not just the rooms but the overall exteriors and fixtures seemed very dated at Hualalei compared to peer properties. We stayed there last before the renovation you mentioned , but the rooms were like a motel before.

    Also we didn’t like the lava rock at the property (and on the rest of the Big Island). And just my 2 cents the Hualalei hotel is less friendly to kids than the Maui and Oahu properties. Always great to have a variety of views but I would only stay here over the others if you love golf or want to be in a place with less children, or love big island activities specifically. Good luck

  16. Mark Guest

    I stayed here last year, and I have to disagree quite a bit with this review.

    The pool areas are small, and they can be crowded. Being on lounge chairs in a row that are only 2' apart from each other was a buzz kill. For a "starting at $1k/night" place, I want my S P A C E.

    Ulu was a ho-hum dining experience. We had much better meals in Kona and Waikoloa for...

    I stayed here last year, and I have to disagree quite a bit with this review.

    The pool areas are small, and they can be crowded. Being on lounge chairs in a row that are only 2' apart from each other was a buzz kill. For a "starting at $1k/night" place, I want my S P A C E.

    Ulu was a ho-hum dining experience. We had much better meals in Kona and Waikoloa for a fraction of the price.

    I think this is a great example of why some reviews can lead people astray. No doubt Ben has experienced some great service from hotels in his day, and perhaps FS was off on their game when I was there, but honestly...I wouldn't get excited about a free night at the FS Hualalai. (Well, I'd take the free night probably and move to a proper hotel the following day.)

    I've been lucky to stay at a handful of FS -- Hualalai didn't come close to the impeccable service standard I've experienced at other properties. A shame, because it's in a rather idyllic spot.

  17. Maxie Dean Guest

    Just curious- what do the villas typically cost per night ? Enjoyed the review!

    1. Anthony Guest

      This Tuesday, three nights poolside ROOM—-$7600

  18. Bill n DC Guest

    The rooftop deck of the villa is over the top. We had a great time (2018 retirement trip) at the Fairmont, thought it was quite nice but not at this level. Your room look super.

  19. Carol Guest

    Unfortunately, as family friendly as the pools and amenities are, the fact that this specific property caps their standard room capacity at two adults and one child instead of two adults and two children like other Four Seasons makes the already high room rates essentially double for many families. I guess that's one way to effectively limit the number of children on property.

    1. Jesse Guest

      Carol, we stayed at Hualalai last summer with our two small kids and had an amazing time. The secret is to stay in the privately owned Golf Villas immediately adjacent to the hotel rooms, all on property. We had a beautiful 3-bedroom condo on the 18th green, not as close to the ocean as Lucky’s room, but still visible. Hotel rooms are in the immediately adjacent building, so it still feels like staying at the...

      Carol, we stayed at Hualalai last summer with our two small kids and had an amazing time. The secret is to stay in the privately owned Golf Villas immediately adjacent to the hotel rooms, all on property. We had a beautiful 3-bedroom condo on the 18th green, not as close to the ocean as Lucky’s room, but still visible. Hotel rooms are in the immediately adjacent building, so it still feels like staying at the hotel. The Golf Villas are the only privately owned villas at Hualalai from which you can order room service (due to the close proximity to the hotel). We paid the daily resort fee to access all of the Hualalai amenities, just as a hotel guest would. The cost for our 3-bedroom villa was comparable with some of the single hotel room costs. The entire family had an amazing time, and we will certainly be back!

      Lucky, I’m surprised you didn’t mention the wonderful pool and beach service, including attendants coming around during the day with free popsicles and to wash your sunglasses. Maybe not so unusual at certain high end properties around the world, but it’s certainly about as good as service gets in Hawaii.

    2. Carol Guest

      Good to know, will check that out!

    3. Julian Guest

      I've been at this resort three times with two adults and two kids and never had a problem staying in one room together.

    4. Carol Guest

      Did you book with this party size, or only book for 2 adults and showed up with kids? We really want to stay here, but I also don’t want to unexpectedly pay for a second room on the spot for the extra kid. When I looked at booking online it specified we wouldn’t fit the room.

  20. Colin Guest

    Such a great review, Ben.

    The food here looks outstanding.

    I love the reviews of the more unique non-points properties - please keep them coming!

  21. Robert D Guest

    This is an absolutely gorgeous property and pics don’t do it justice! It is just divine.

    The Beach Tree has a great affordable sunset happy hour…..or at least they used to. When staying at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel (another amazing resort and part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection), we’d come every day to Hualalai for cocktails at the Beach Tree. Very enjoyable

  22. Never In Doubt Guest

    Having stayed there a number of times, both with and without young kids, it is a great place for:

    -young kids
    -very convenient, very good golf
    -adults who never leave the FS

    Once the little Doubts got older we shifted to renting multi-bedroom houses/condos where the extra space required didn't bankrupt us, and we were closer to more varied dining options.

  23. eponymous coward Guest

    You’ve come a long way from reviewing the executive lounge spread at airport Marriotts. Congratulations and well done on the review.

    I can see someone picking this as a destination/aspiration vacation over any number of Maldive resorts which include some seaplane rides and days extra of hither and yon of getting to and from MLE over KOA.

    1. eponymous coward Guest

      Also… Four Seasons beds might be the most comfortable in the industry for a lot of people, but my back went out of sorts after a couple of nights at the Four Seasons Mumbai, just got more stiff and sore after each night. I preferred the St. Regis (as well as generally as a hotel). Not that the Four Seasons was terrible (how terrible is a $100 five star hotel?), except for that bed for me, but I’d pick the St. Regis.

  24. Jeff Guest

    Very detailed review. Thank you. Do you ever feel overwhelmed by these resort properties? It seems almost stressful trying to make the best of the experience.

    1. Clem Diamond

      Hah I was thinking the same thing! If I was staying for a couple of nights only I would be so worried about missing out on something!

  25. tuotuo Member

    Is there anything interesting to see or to eat near(by walk)the hotel?

    1. Never In Doubt Guest

      Walking? No.

      Driving, yes, but if there's a downside to the FS it's that you're a good ~15 miles, both N and S, from non-resort restaurants.

    2. FS Hawaii Aficionado Guest

      That's the pro and the con of the Big Island. It's big, so it doesn't feel as crowded as Oahu or Maui. It's also so big that everything is much more spread out. I like going to the Kings' Shops/Queens' Marketplace to the north and get dinner at Roy's or hit the hot foods bar/deli at Island Gourmet Markets.

    3. Alex77W Guest

      As already mentioned, this FS is about halfway from the city of Kailula Kona and other resorts further north (i.e., Waikoloa) - about 15 miles of driving in each direction.
      I did not stay at FS but I visited the property before the renovation and it did look somewhat dated at that time.
      Like the other higher end properties on Kohala coast, the hotel is surrounded by spanning fields of black lava rocks...

      As already mentioned, this FS is about halfway from the city of Kailula Kona and other resorts further north (i.e., Waikoloa) - about 15 miles of driving in each direction.
      I did not stay at FS but I visited the property before the renovation and it did look somewhat dated at that time.
      Like the other higher end properties on Kohala coast, the hotel is surrounded by spanning fields of black lava rocks - so you basically have a relatively small and mostly flat area of green tropics next to the beach and that is it. There is very little rainfall throughout the year so the weather is good even in winter.
      Except the hotel pools and golf, there is essentially nothing to do nearby. Personally, I do not see the attraction of snorkeling in a pool and there are no good snorkeling sites off the FS beach. In my view, the Big Island has the best snorkeling sites in Hawaii but you would have to drive from FS and/or get a tour/charter a boat.
      Finally, the beach at Hapuna or Mauna Kea is much better.
      Volcano national park is on the opposite side of the island that is about 2 h dive away. Other attractions would also require 1-2 h of driving.
      Big Island is beautiful in its own way mainly due to its unique nature. But if you are out of the hotel most the time, why stay at FS?

  26. miamiorbust Guest

    Site increasingly feels like a timeshare pitch. We now we're getting a pitch on every review but exact terms of the amazing deal are rarely clear. Every property is wow amazing and can be booked at better rates if you contact my travel agent spouse. At least on last review it was clearly disclosed a travel agent rate was paid for reviewed nights. In this review, I didn't see any mentioned of whether the stay...

    Site increasingly feels like a timeshare pitch. We now we're getting a pitch on every review but exact terms of the amazing deal are rarely clear. Every property is wow amazing and can be booked at better rates if you contact my travel agent spouse. At least on last review it was clearly disclosed a travel agent rate was paid for reviewed nights. In this review, I didn't see any mentioned of whether the stay was a discounted rate (apologies if I missed it but doesn't really change the point). All feels a little....icky.

    1. LarryInNYC Gold

      Clearly mentioned as a travel agent rate (which they get not because of Ben, but because his husband actually is a travel agent). In the minimal disclosure world of travel blogs I don't expect Ben to reveal exactly what that rate was, but I am kind of curious if food is comped on these stays. I imagine the hotel has an interest in getting their agents familiar with the dining operations.

    2. Anthony Guest

      I enjoy your site very much and with your resume of traveling—-I respect your opinion highly! You tell us you receive a travel agent rate, the opinion I would most want is “worth as a function of retail check out”

    3. MLilly Guest

      It's icky that you can't read? He disclosed he stayed on a travel agent rate.

  27. BKAloha Guest

    Hmmm, now that it's been renovated, I really need to go back and compare. Last time I was there, the Grille was the only low point, with extremely slow service- and this was in 2018. Great review!

  28. Rich Guest

    This was my first Four Seasons experience and it set my expectations for other FS properties and other luxury resorts. This place was simply amazing. I’m glad to see that it still delivers.

  29. Bill Guest

    While these hotel articles have some interest I wonder if you've deliberately moved away from the main topic of earning and using points for aspirational or outsize value. You haven't identified a way to get to these hotels without cash. Cash travel options are covered in many other blogs and publications.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Bill -- Four Seasons reviews aren't intended to replace other points hotel reviews, but rather are intended to complement them. I'm still reviewing plenty of aspirational points hotels (I've written several this year already), and have more coming shortly.

      Also keep in mind there are all kinds of different people in the points community. Some people earn points so that they can use them for airfare, and then spend more cash on hotels. I...

      @ Bill -- Four Seasons reviews aren't intended to replace other points hotel reviews, but rather are intended to complement them. I'm still reviewing plenty of aspirational points hotels (I've written several this year already), and have more coming shortly.

      Also keep in mind there are all kinds of different people in the points community. Some people earn points so that they can use them for airfare, and then spend more cash on hotels. I know that's the case with many of Ford's clients.

      So I hear you, but I promise there are lots more points hotel reviews coming.

    2. LSP New Member

      I'll second Bill. It looks like a beautiful property, but it's hard to imagine many readers are interested in $1,800+ properties that are not bookable on points. There are unlimited aspirational non-points hotels, but I come here to read about aspirational hotels (Alilas, Canaves Oia, Hyatt and Hilton Cabo properties, Calala Island, Bora Bora Marriott/Hilton/IHG properties, etc.) I can actually book cheaper than $2k/night via points. Seven out of your last 20 hotel reviews were...

      I'll second Bill. It looks like a beautiful property, but it's hard to imagine many readers are interested in $1,800+ properties that are not bookable on points. There are unlimited aspirational non-points hotels, but I come here to read about aspirational hotels (Alilas, Canaves Oia, Hyatt and Hilton Cabo properties, Calala Island, Bora Bora Marriott/Hilton/IHG properties, etc.) I can actually book cheaper than $2k/night via points. Seven out of your last 20 hotel reviews were not points properties and 2 more are Ritz-Carltons (bookable on points but basically no status recognition). I count 10 different Four Seasons reviews in the last year. I get that reviewing a non-points property like a Four Seasons can give you a good benchmark for reviewing points properties, but with 10 properties reviewed in the last 12 months, how many more data points do you need to confirm the service is good across the company?
      I understand that travel agents can be helpful in booking properties, but why not just stick to the large swath of points properties bookable via Hilton Impresario/Hyatt Prive/Marriott STARS & Luminous/Virtuoso etc. so your readers can choose to use a travel agent for cash rates or points when they prefer?
      Yours is truly my favorite points and miles blog and a daily read, it's just so disappointing to see a hotel review, then realize it's yet another Four Seasons/Rosewood/etc.

    3. Steve Diamond

      I disagree Bill, the points hotels are no longer aspirational to most, just as this community has grown up and aged so have our incomes. Im no longer interested in the best use of SPG points or HH. There are plenty of blogs about bonvoy. Sure there are aspirational blogs too but those are so biased and paid advertising. I cant get good reviews on $1k a night cash hotels from anyone but Lucky, everyone...

      I disagree Bill, the points hotels are no longer aspirational to most, just as this community has grown up and aged so have our incomes. Im no longer interested in the best use of SPG points or HH. There are plenty of blogs about bonvoy. Sure there are aspirational blogs too but those are so biased and paid advertising. I cant get good reviews on $1k a night cash hotels from anyone but Lucky, everyone else is some overrated wannabe famouse influencer. So sure i love Ben's points hotel reviews but i find more value in post like this.

  30. JetSetGo Guest

    I stayed at a similar room you guys did at King’s pond years ago. These photos brought back good memories. Maybe it’s time to visit this four seasons again. I hope you will do a post of the Big Island in general. It’s really underrated. This post really should be written by Ford but I get why he doesn’t want to post again on this website. Not sure why people like to bag on him.

  31. Donesh Guest

    So glad you and Ford got to go to Hualalai! Ford booked me and my then-boyfriend on a trip there and we got engaged! We've gone back a few times, mostly booking homes on the property.

    One thing--I know you try to be nonintrusive when taking photos but the restaurant photos make it look like the resort is empty...was that the case? I've never seen Beach Tree with an open table--let alone most of them!

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Donesh -- Happy you enjoyed the property as well! The hotel was very full when we were there, so it just looks empty because of my pictures. Maybe a post with how I go about taking hotel pictures would be interesting at some point, but I do everything I can to avoid getting people in them. That can be really, really time consuming at times.

      In the case of the restaurants, the pictures were...

      @ Donesh -- Happy you enjoyed the property as well! The hotel was very full when we were there, so it just looks empty because of my pictures. Maybe a post with how I go about taking hotel pictures would be interesting at some point, but I do everything I can to avoid getting people in them. That can be really, really time consuming at times.

      In the case of the restaurants, the pictures were either taken right at opening, or I even drop by before opening in hopes of snapping some shots.

  32. David Guest

    What temperature did you set the air conditioning to? Different people like it at different temps and "cold enough" for some people is not cold enough for others.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ David -- Hah, that's a fair point. We usually set the AC to 68 at night, and the system had no trouble keeping up.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

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Colin Guest

Such a great review, Ben. The food here looks outstanding. I love the reviews of the more unique non-points properties - please keep them coming!

2
LSP New Member

I'll second Bill. It looks like a beautiful property, but it's hard to imagine many readers are interested in $1,800+ properties that are not bookable on points. There are unlimited aspirational non-points hotels, but I come here to read about aspirational hotels (Alilas, Canaves Oia, Hyatt and Hilton Cabo properties, Calala Island, Bora Bora Marriott/Hilton/IHG properties, etc.) I can actually book cheaper than $2k/night via points. Seven out of your last 20 hotel reviews were not points properties and 2 more are Ritz-Carltons (bookable on points but basically no status recognition). I count 10 different Four Seasons reviews in the last year. I get that reviewing a non-points property like a Four Seasons can give you a good benchmark for reviewing points properties, but with 10 properties reviewed in the last 12 months, how many more data points do you need to confirm the service is good across the company? I understand that travel agents can be helpful in booking properties, but why not just stick to the large swath of points properties bookable via Hilton Impresario/Hyatt Prive/Marriott STARS & Luminous/Virtuoso etc. so your readers can choose to use a travel agent for cash rates or points when they prefer? Yours is truly my favorite points and miles blog and a daily read, it's just so disappointing to see a hotel review, then realize it's yet another Four Seasons/Rosewood/etc.

2
Ben Schlappig OMAAT

@ Bill -- Four Seasons reviews aren't intended to replace other points hotel reviews, but rather are intended to complement them. I'm still reviewing plenty of aspirational points hotels (I've written several this year already), and have more coming shortly. Also keep in mind there are all kinds of different people in the points community. Some people earn points so that they can use them for airfare, and then spend more cash on hotels. I know that's the case with many of Ford's clients. So I hear you, but I promise there are lots more points hotel reviews coming.

2
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