Locals in Hawaii lovingly refer to Maui and the Big Island as sisters, and now I know why. Each has her own unique personality and vibration, yet the islands feel related and akin. I fell in-love with both islands during my recent visit to Hawaii, touching down on Maui first and then travelling on to stay on the Big Island. This Fairmont Orchid review shares all the secrets of this stunning luxury resort on Hawaii’s Big Island.
Fairmont Orchid Review
The open-air lobby at the Fairmont Orchid on the Big Island opens up to a world whispering past the first-impression space, it invites you gently beyond. This property is very different from the Fairmont Kea Lani, but they feel related in some ways.
Fairmont Orchid sits on 32 acres of oceanfront, lush, tropical gardens perfectly placed on the majestic Kohala Coast. 10,000 square feet of this luxurious hotel is taken up by the centrepiece pool which competes for attention from the ocean and small bay just beyond it. The hotel’s grand lobby opens up to an outdoor space that extends the hard floors into soft grass and winding paths with tropical trees and bushes that invite you to wander. Wandering leads you to a hidden coy pond and waterfalls, the Spa Without Walls, the Hui Holokai Beach Club, to the property’s restaurants, the golf course and tennis pavilion and more. There is a peaceful quiet on this property and island that can be felt deeply when you visit and this seems to have been honoured in the design of this hotel and the experience that it offers to guests.
Fairmont Gold Concierge Floor
There are 540 guest rooms and suites at the resort, along with the exclusive Fairmont Gold concierge floor which is where I stayed. This floor offers an exclusive lifestyle hotel experience with a private floor of rooms in the North Tower of the hotel. There are 45 luxurious guest rooms and suites on the floor, each with a beautiful view of the ocean or waterfall gardens. Guests enjoy private access to the Gold Lounge which provides a nice place to relax, enjoy a deluxe breakfast, high tea or evening canapés.
I was greeted with my Fairmont Fit package waiting for me on my bed in my room when I checked in. My generous king-sized room with balcony overlooking the golf course and ocean, was luxurious and comfortable.
Dining at the Fairmont Orchid
There is ample dining at the hotel and that leaves you not wanting to venture too far either. There are eight dining options on the Fairmont Orchid property, eight. Everything from the AAA Four Diamond award-winning Brown’s Beach House, to a more casual experience at Hale Kai can be found here. I enjoyed the incredible breakfast buffet at Orchard Court each morning, you will have a hard time deciding between many delicious options.
The Luana Lounge, Brown’s Deli and the Kahakai Bar are options for light fare, Kona Coffee and cocktails to suit your mood and time of day. Each with their own ambience and view of the grounds and the ocean.
I delighted in a beautiful meal at the brand-new, newly renovated Binchotan Bar & Grill restaurant and I highly recommend it for dinner. This new concept is serving in a modern robatayaki or fireside cooking style and what makes this dinner extra special is that everything is grilled over premium binchotan which is white charcoal. The menu consists of locally sourced seafood, meats and vegetables all grilled with this added rich flavour for a unique and authentic experience.
Related: Unique Places to Eat in Chicago
Spa Without Walls
The Spa Without Walls at Fairmont Orchid is a unique open-air experience. As the name suggests the spa spans beyond the walls of the hotel and into the gardens and beyond. This connects it to the sights, sounds and energy of the island instantly and this connection is pulled into the spa experience and space.
For me, this experience was also symbolic of the limitless healing potential too – a spa without walls offers an infinite amount of healing, and this one felt as though it did. Each ocean front “hale” or hut is nestled in its natural environment, mine was perched above one of the waterfalls on the property and this provided an absolute dreamy soundtrack for my massage. This award-winning spa boasts eight private outdoor waterfall hale, six rejuvenating ocean side hale, four indoor treatment rooms, a sauna and a steam room.
I loved how I was led to an outdoor garden area to wait for my treatment to begin. In this space I saw the most beautiful red and yellow finch-like birds who seemed so busy and happy. The walls of this space are made of lush trees, bushes and other natural island flora for privacy, but the wall-less feeling prevails and it invites you to drop yours too. My massage was absolutely perfect and I enjoyed the sauna and steam room afterwards.
Activities on Hawaii’s Big Island
Try Your Hand at Basket Weaving
You can enjoy a private hula and basket weaving class at Fairmont Orchid, part of their initiative to incorporate the local culture into each guest’s experience. Learn the popular local dance from a Hawaiian and learn how to weave your own basket using coconut fronds.
Take a Sunset Canoe Voyage
My very favourite activity was the nightly Sunset Canoe Voyage. This activity is offered exclusively for hotel guests and it is one of the most popular events. Guests embark at sunset with a Hui Holokai Ambassador by paddling a traditional Hawaiian canoe and learning the history of the Hawaiian method of transportation with the islands.
I paddled out in a group into the sunset, watching it melting onto the horizon, and it was so beautiful and peaceful. Our Ambassador shared a traditional Hawaiian sunset ritual with us, and then we paddled back and as we neared the shore we were welcomed with a conch horn and local song performed by a sweet Hawaiian couple that is part of the Fairmont team and shares Hawaiian history, customs and culture with guests. This was a really beautiful experience.
Watersports at the Hui Holokai Beach Shack
The Hui Holokai Beach Shack at Fairmont Orchid provides all types of water sport equipment for rent and use in the property’s bay. There are daily activities and classes available at this hotel as well, reservations can be made with the concierge during or before your stay.
Flow While you Float
Every morning in the bay of Fairmont Orchid’s Hui Holokai Beach you can participate in Floating Yoga with the local instructor and provided boards. The class, for all levels, is an hour-long and happens just after sunrise when the water is calm and the hotel is quiet. It is the perfect way to start each day.
Sometimes you return from a vacation and feel like you need a vacation, not this time. This stay with Fairmont was the perfect blend of wellness and fitness mixed with authentic cultural activities and plenty of time to enjoy the pace of this island destination. I returned feeling inspired, and full of energy and with a whole new appreciation for Hawaii, its people and the culture.
The Fit Traveller was a guest of Fairmont Hotels for this trip to Hawaii. As always, the words, images and opinions are authentically our own.
Pat Bailey is a certified Bhakti Yoga Teacher, published poet, writer and entrepreneur with a passion for exploring the globe. Pat is also the founder of The Hell Yes Life, where she has created her own branding academy helping to elevate brands and students through authentic and intuitive coaching.