To explore the Island of Hawaii, more commonly known as the Big Island, I stumbled on the Fairmont! What really sealed the deal for me was that the Fairmont had a five piece bathroom while the Hilton and Marriott in nearby Waikoloa did not and they were all about the same price ($200 a night). Plus, with a Fairmont you can expect a half notch better with a 4.5 Star class while Hilton and Marriott’s are more of 4 Star hotels. I think the reason the Fairmont was cheaper than usual was because the pool was under renovation during my stay (which just opened the past weekend)! Now rates are in the high $200’s per night.
Short Review With Scores (Out of 5, 5 being the best):
My Overall Score: 4
5: Excellent, Highly Recommend
4: Very Good, Solid Choice to Consider
3: OK, Check other options before booking
2: Below Par, Try to Avoid
1: Terrible, Run far away
Sleep Quality: 4/5
Upon arrival at the resort, the bell desk immediately asked if we were checking in and when we said yes, they provided us with the Kukui Nut Leis. A nice gesture, as many 4 star hotels do not provide leis in Hawaii. Not as nice as flower leis, but still very welcoming!
Fun fact: The Kukui Nut Leis used to be worn by royalty in the old days of the Hawaiian monarchy.
The check-in line was short, and we were checked in quite quickly. Our room was a 2 Queen Partial Ocean View on the 5th floor. Interestingly, the hotel lobby is located on the 3rd floor so you have to go down the elevator if you are on floors 1 and 2, and up if you’re on 4-6.
About the Hotel:
There are 2 towers, the North (Kohala Tower) and the South (Kona Tower). Our room was in the South Tower, which is closer to the self parking lot and closer to the beach. The North Tower is closer to the golf course and the pool.
I was very impressed by the grounds of the hotel, it’s beautiful and a delight to walk through. It is very peaceful. It reminded me of the Grand Hyatt in Kauai just a bit.
Walking in the room, the first impression was that the room is a tad bit dated. Not too bad, but evident. The doorknobs have seen better days, and some fixtures were quite old such as the phone. Other than that, the desks were all recently changed and the TV was new!
A problem of the room was that the queen bed on the left was so old that there was no support! It would creak like crazy on the sides of the bed, while the queen bed on the right was much more sturdy. Luckily we only had 3 people, so I slept on the “bad” bed. The middle of the “bad” bed wasn’t as worn off as the sides of it.
The room was equip with a Keurig Machine which was quite handy, and the Fairmont branded tea bags were pretty good! Hawaiian Kona Coffee was given for the Keurig Machine. The room was very tech friendly with new and plenty of power ports which was really nice.
The bathroom was my favorite part of the room! A five piece bath, fitted with white marble. Beautiful. Might I add the showerhead was quite comfortable. It was weird that the tub had a shower curtain though because there is already a separate shower lol.
The negative part of the bathroom was that the towels were old! They were really rough, and definitely not a 4.5 star hotel level. Heck, I’ve stayed at 3 star hotels with better towels. Plus, about 3 of the towels we had all had stains/marks on them. That was the only part of the room that had cleanliness issues.
Problem of the sliding doors is that their is no curtain so you get woken up every morning by the sunlight! Sigh.
Other than that, the balcony/lanai was roomy, with a lounger and 2 chairs. And the partial ocean view we received was pretty good. I have read people complaining about the views at the hotel and I know that the hotel is designed poorly in the way of ocean views. Unless you have the few rooms at the oceanfront, your view will be the equivalent of partial ocean views pretty much at other hotels. Just know what to expect so you won’t be too disappointed. 🙂
The service was great, with more employees than guests lol. Everyone I encountered was very kind, welcoming and helpful. Very 4.5 star like service.
I have the point out that the grounds of the Fairmont is just amazing. From the koi ponds to the interior decoration and vastness, it really can be a 5 star hotel, it has the bones. It just lacks the upkeep. Don’t get me wrong, the hotel is maintained pretty well but if it was remodeled and kept up it could definitely be on par with 5 star hotels.
In terms of amenities, they provide bike rentals in the resort fee (the bikes were quite used though), and they have a pretty decently sized fitness center. They have over 9 tennis courts on site which shocked me, but if you’re a tennis lover this hotel is for you.
The resort fee ($30 a night) also came with internet, calls, self parking, ONE bottle of water for the whole stay (which I thought was a bit too minimal), some activities/tours and snorkel equipment for 2 per day and some other thingys.
The beach is quite small, with a small area of sand and the rest being quite rocky. Reminder that Big Island is built on volcanic rock, so many hotels don’t have the best beaches. I know that the Hapuna Beach Prince + Mauna Kea Resort have nice beaches though.
The pool was under renovation when I went, but its open now! A pretty decently sized pool for this property.
The location was great inside the Mauna Lani Resort. There is “The Shops at Mauna Lani” which had a Tommy Bahamas and Ruth Chris Steakhouse. It was virtually empty however. They had a market too Foodland Farms. But, I preferred the market Island Gourmet located inside Waikoloa Village only 5 miles south of the resort. There were also more restaurants at Waikoloa.
The hotel is about 22 miles from the main airport Kona International, 30 miles to the heart of Kailua-Kona and 70 miles to Hilo. To get to Hawaii Volcanos national park it is a 100 mile drive. No wonder they call it the Big Island haha!
Overall, I really enjoyed my stay at the Fairmont. It was very peaceful and relaxing. A solid 4.5 star hotel in its current condition. If my travels take me to Big Island again I would definitely stay here again.