Escape and Explore: Hawaii
Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina
Clockwise from top: A private cabana at the Four
Seasons Resort Oahu; an ocean view cabana at
Wailea; paddleboarding near the Four Seasons.
It took the Four Seasons nearly two decades to find the best location for its Oahu property and the search was worth the wait. With a $250 million resort transformation that took 18 months, the hotel now occupies the location of the erstwhile classic Ihilani, designed by famed architect Edward A. Killingsworth in 1993. Killingsworth’s other buildings include Kahala Hilton (1964), Kapalua Bay Hotel (1977), Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows (1983) and Halekulani (1990). Situated on one of the four pristine lagoons of the Ko Olina Resort, this new high-end Four Seasons shares a crescent-shaped white sand beach with Disney’s Aulani resort.
• EAT Mornings start with the famous over-the-top Four Seasons buffet breakfast, offering fresh island fruit, dim sum, miso soup and other treats. Sunday’s more opulent Brunch for All Seasons includes lobster and prime rib along with a mimosa and bloody mary bar. In December, Michael Mina will be taking over Fish House, the signature open-air restaurant with views of the Pacific from every table. Diners can expect Mina’s usual culinary magic, incorporating the freshest ingredients from local organic farms, ranches and fisherman.
• FIT Besides the fitness center and beach path fronting the property, Four Seasons Oahu’s #FSWayfinder program offers many unique opportunities for guests, including hula lessons and a signature guided hike with Kumu Hula Laakea Perry to the remote Kaena Point, which features tidepools large enough to float in as well as significant cultural points historically rich enough to give you chicken skin, as the locals say.
• SPA Given the proximity to the spiritual and deeprooted Hawaiian culture of Oahu’s West Side, Naupaka Spa employs a team of authentic lomilomi practitioners who will introduce you to the true essence of this ancient healing art form. A series of treatments during your stay is highly recommended.
• DON’T MISS The Yamaguchi Salon, with visits by celebrity stylist Billy Yamaguchi, is famous for his feng shui approach to beauty. Yamaguchi teaches around the planet and runs one of the top salons in Southern California, in addition to being on property every month and available to Four Seasons guests.
• PROPERTY DETAILS The resort features 370 rooms (most with full ocean views), three pools with private cabanas available, five restaurants and bars and an elegant spa with yet another pool. Beach activities and gear rentals are offered on site as well as sun-shaded lounges with amenities on the beach. Guests can also enjoy tennis courts and the Ko Olina Golf Club and Ko Olina Marina. Ocean view rooms start at $775.
Wailea Beach Resort
The newly refreshed Wailea Beach Resort has quickly become a favorite with families, groups, and couples. For years this Marriott property was known as the value spot in Wailea, surrounded by uberluxe neighbors, and with a $519 starting rate, it can still be considered priced comparably for the location. Because it is on the site of the area’s first hotel — built in 1973, before setback laws — its restaurant and guest rooms are closer to the ocean than any other lodgings on this side of the island. And since it’s in the middle of the famed Wailea Beach Path, guests can easily stroll to surrounding properties.
• EAT A pioneer of the Hawaii Regional Cuisine movement, chef Roy Yamaguchi created Humble Market Kitchin, an open-air luxe eatery, as an ode to his grandfather Henry, who immigrated to the islands, pulling inspiration from various local cuisines — Japanese, Filipino, Chinese, native Hawaiian — to create an internationally influenced, Hawaiian-inspired menu.
• FIT On the 2.1-mile beachfront path, guests can walk, jog, jump in the water and swog (swim jog) on Wailea Beach. For more focused workouts, the gym is packed with state-of-the-art equipment.
• SPA For anyone seeking wellness in Wailea, it would be a crime not to partake in the Wailea Spa Crawl. All the participating spas are world-famous award-winning stress busters. At Fairmont Kea Lani, the signature experience is enhanced with the three Hawaiian Rain Experience Showers and the Pālolo (mud) bar and a heated stone mud bench and foot bed. The Four Seasons spa is known for excellent therapists, and the Aquacranial treatment, which happens in the ocean, is a standout. Spa Grande at The Grand Wailea is the largest spa in the state, with 40 treatment rooms in a 50,000-square-foot facility, and features the exclusive Healing Waters of Maui treatment, plus such aquatic offerings as a Roman tub, saunas, Swiss jet showers, a Japanese furo and five specialty baths. The Wailea Beach Resort has the MandAra Spa, inspired by the island traditions of Bali. And the awardwinning Awili Spa and Salon at Andaz Maui at Wailea is famous for its apothecary-style spin on the traditional Japanese spa experience.
• DON’T MISS Family fun here includes the longest slide on the island (325 feet); the Kolohe (translates as rascal) Keiki Club for little ones; GameSpace, a teen (and up) venue with foosball, billiards, shuffleboard, and vintage arcade and Xbox games; and Movie House, with a 90-foot screen, thunderous surround sound, beanbag seating for 60 and cinema snacks.
• PROPERTY DETAILS Set on 22 beachfront acres, the resort has 47 guest rooms and 56 suites, four restaurants, a Starbucks, four pools with optional private cabanas, and a fitness center. Rooms start at $519.