Travelling to Hawaii for the first time, I wasn’t sure whether to be excited or not. It’s never been on the top of my bucket list and I kinda of thought of the ever popular Waikiki as being the Gold Coast on steroids. Over the 12 years of working in the industry, most of my clients have wanted to go to the overcrowded Honolulu and Waikiki Beach but I wanted something a little bit away from the crowds.
The west coast of Oahu was where it was at, and the 2016 renovated and opened Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina was my choice of hotels for 5 nights of our stay. Arriving from Sydney early in the morning, instead of getting the usual hotel transfer, I decided to arrive in style by renting a convertible mustang and at $80 per day it seemed like a bargain compared to cars I have rented in Australia.
The first thing you notice when arriving at the hotel is that the area is a lot less developed than Waikiki. Greeted by the hotel staff and valet, who parked our car daily (at USD$40 a day, it’s not the cheapest but there are no other options), we felt a warm welcome, like the other Four Seasons properties we had stayed at. Check in was extremely smooth and friendly, with a traditional lei and chilled towel and our host upgraded us to the Prime Corner Oceanfront Room.
Rooms at the hotel are a lot larger than most other hotels in Hawaii. They have spacious private balconies to enjoy the sunrise or sunset and in the case of our room with the upgrade, we had two balconies to enjoy the views. The first looked over the lagoon, where the standup paddle boarders and snorkelers enjoyed the crystal clear water and the second balcony overlooked the ocean where you could enjoy the fresh air and amazing sunsets. A great feature to both of the balconies was the added screen doors so you could let the fresh air into the room without having to worry about flys or mosquitos. The room itself was very impressive. I wouldn’t compare it to the villas in Asia that I have stayed at, however for an American hotel it had a beautiful mix of luxury with a Hawaiian touch. The bed itself was extremely comfortable and with the American king beds being even larger than king size in Australia, you couldn’t ask for any more room. The TV in the room was large but with it sitting over on the desk, it felt like it was a little bit far from the bed.
The one thing I may like more than staying at luxury hotels is eating. The US doesn’t have the best reputation for quality food but staying at the Four Seasons, I knew that they would have a great variety and great local flavour. On day one, as we had arrived around lunch time, we went straight to Mina’s Fish House for fish tacos and the famous poke. Amazing!
Thankfully during our stay, breakfast was included, which was a buffet. All the choices were extremely tasty, from the usual omlette, to fresh chia pudding, there was something for everyone. As expected if you didn’t have breakfast included in your rate, the cost of the buffet was extremely expensive. I came to know this as they do things a little bit differently in the US. Normally you would give your room number when you get there and leave once you are done. Even if you have breakfast included in your rate, you are still required to sign the bill, which has the price on it and they take the cost off your final bill upon check out. The reasoning is that so you can tip the waiter/waitress 15-20% of what “it would have cost”, and I’m not sure that pouring a glass of water, which was the extent of the table service, was deserving of a USD$15-20 tip. (anyway enough of my tipping rant).
POOLS / LAGOON
The one thing we loved about the Four Seasons Resort O’ahu at Ko Olina was the new adult pool. It is absolutely spectacular with a huge infinity pool overlooking the ocean, with incredible service that sets it apart from other hotels. We spent most of our days here and then into the late afternoons for the stunning sunsets.
If you are bringing the kids thankfully they aren’t allowed in the adults pool area (thankfully for the adults that is)but there are two other pools to choose from with views over the lagoon. The lagoon itself is man made but don’t let that turn you off. The shallow water is great for adults and families alike and being a hotel guest you are allowed to use all of the water-sport equipment and beach chairs. The service at the beach is impeccable with the staff continually making sure you have everything and even providing sun screen if you have forgotten.
The Four Seasons Resort O’ahu at Ko Olina is definitely the place to be if you want to get away from the crowds of Waikiki. Like most O’ahu properties, it is a high rise hotel but the quality of the rooms are beautifully finished and the resort grounds are kept in great shape. The food at the hotel is expensive but all of the meals we had were extremely tasty and you expect that from a Four Seasons property. Don’t forget to head down to the adults pool, even if it’s just for sunset as you are sure to be relaxed after a few hours here where a cocktail or beer should be in order.
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