Four Seasons Hualalai-15

Four Seasons Resort Hualalai Review: The Best Golf Resort in Hawaii?

What hasn’t been said about the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai over the past 3 decades?

“Best resort in Hawaii”

“Best Four Seasons Golf Resort in the World”

“The Ultimate Luxury Family Getaway.”

I’ve been hearing it for years, and have received dozens of people asking me about it since I began Breaking Eighty.

Everything from:

How is the golf at Hualalai?

To how does Hualalai compare to Punta Mita?

I visited the Four Seasons Punta Mita a little over a year ago and was blown away. From the hospitality to the resort amenities to the fantastic golf on the Pacifico and Bahia courses – it was all world-class.

So when I finally had the chance to visit the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai this past month, with my family no less, I jumped at the opportunity.

But the question is: Did Hualalai live up to sky-high expectations?

In this Four Seasons Resort Hualalai review, I’m going to cover everything you need to know about visiting Hualalai. I’ll share my honest feedback about my experience there, and do my best to help you decide if it’s worth the (high) price tag to visit yourself.

This is going to be a fun one, so if you’re ready, let’s do this thing.

What is the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai?

Before we go any further, let’s cover the most basic question: What is the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai?

The Four Seasons Resort Hualalai is a luxury golf resort outside Kona on the Big Island of Hawai’i that opened in 1996.

It’s generally considered to be one of the flagship Four Seasons resorts, as well as being one of the best golf resorts in Hawai’i.

It’s located less than 15 minutes from the Kona airport and has 249 rooms, 4 restaurants, 8 pools, an incredible gym, 2 golf courses (one for resort guests, and one private course for Residents Club members), and so, so much more.

Hualalai underwent an 8-month, $100 million renovation that was completed in the Fall of 2021 and it shows. The property is stunning and as contemporary as any resort I’ve been to.

If there’s one thing I learned very quickly when planning this trip, it’s that Hualalai is the type of resort where you can truly do anything you want.

There’s the requisite lounging on the beach or pool and relaxing, but there are dozens of amenities and activities that are on offer here. This is part of what makes it such a special vacation choice for families.

But as you’ll see, Hualalai does an excellent job of catering to all types of luxury travelers whether it’s the full family, a couples golf trip, or simply a romantic getaway.

Getting to Hualalai

One of the great things about Hualalai is just how easy it is to get to.

There are flights direct to Kona from most major airports on the West Coast.

So while yes, if you’re coming from say, New York, it’ll be a trek – but so will any resort in Hawaii.

But more than flights, what’s great is that once you land it’s less than a 15-minute drive to get to the resort.

Four Seasons Hualalai Lobby

The spacious open air lobby at Hualalai

The Kailua-Kona airport is small, so deplaning and getting your bags is about as easy as it gets.

We arranged for a pickup through the hotel, and we were in the lobby about 45 minutes after our flight landed – not bad.

The leis and welcome drinks were a welcome touch after a full travel day!

Four Seasons Hualalai Arrival

We received welcome drinks, cool towels, and leis upon arrival.

A lot of Mexico resorts I’ve been to are generally pretty easy to get to as well, but often with a longer drive. It was about an hour to get to both the Four Seasons Punta Mita and Pueblo Bonito Pacifico from the airport.

So the short commute was very welcome – especially after a full travel day with a toddler.

Hualalai Golf Course: The Ultimate Resort Course

Before we go any further about the resort, we should remember that we’re a gold blog at heart – so let’s talk about the golf course first.

If golf isn’t your thing, feel free to skip this section to get the lowdown on everything else at the resort.

The golf course opened up in 1996 just ahead of the resort itself. Hualalai Golf Course was designed by Jack Nicklaus and stretches out to 7,117 yards from the tips.

Each year it hosts some of the best golfers in the world in the Champions Tour Mitsubishi Electric Championship.

The Golf Experience at Hualalai

I think the best way to describe the Hualalai golf experience would be to say it’s “the ultimate resort golf experience.”

Both in terms of the golf course itself as well as the golf experience.

The course itself slants more towards fun than difficulty.

Hualalai Golf Course Hole 17

The Signature 17th hole on the Hualalai Golf Course.

Sure playing from over 7k yards with a strong wind, this course could eat you alive.

But the fairways are generous, the resort-style bunkers often seek to keep you out of them with the way they’re sloped, and the views are fantastic.

The black lava rock is a feature unique to Big Island golf, and it truly does enhance the experience in a big way.

As soon as you get to the 2nd hole, you start to get a feel for what makes this golf course so fun and special.

Hualalai Golf Course Hole 2

The second tee shot is where things get really interesting.

But more than the course itself, playing golf at Hualalai is a fun experience.

Is it Expensive to Golf at Hualalai?

The daily fee for golf at Hualalai is $380, or a twilight rate of $275.

And let’s be honest, that’s a lot of money to pay for golf!

But when you break it down, it’s actually a much better deal than it seems.

That price is the daily rate, meaning you can play as much as you want for one fee.

On top of that, it’s all-inclusive. So anything on the beverage cart or in the “Golf Hale” is complimentary.

Hualalai Golf Course Hole 3

The third hole at Hualalai looking back at the Ocean.

36 holes of spectacular island golf with all your food and drink covered is a pretty compelling package if you ask me.

The newly built Golf Hale has two Trackman bays, as well as the only TopGolf Swing Suite in Hawai’i.

There’s also a full Trackman range that lets anyone take advantage of the technology to track their practice sessions.

The golf course exceeded my expectations, and if you want to know more about the course itself, I did a detailed write-up about it here – so definitely check that out.

If you’re looking for a luxury resort that also has a wonderful resort golf course, I have a feeling you’ll be fully satisfied here.

The Unique Design of the Four Seasons Hualalai

You can’t talk about Hualalai without first giving a little context into the unique design of the resort itself.

For decades, the trend in Hawaii was to build high-rises near the water, as you see across Honolulu and Waikiki Beach.

The initial developers had planned to do the same here. In fact, they’d built 5 stories of a much taller tower before the property was sold to the group that developed the resort we see today.

They had a unique idea to go wide, rather than tall.

This would take the shape of a unique series of coves that each offer a different experience.

The way Hualalai was designed leads to a feeling of being at a “resort within a resort” when you’re in each of these coves.

Four Seasons Hualalai Drone

An aerial view of the Four Seasons Hualalai, with Kings Pond in the center.

There’s a pathway that stretches the entirety of the resort along the beach. So the fact that Hualalai occupies so much beachfront is one of the best things it has going for it.

Each cove is built around a pool and in most cases there are rooms in a horseshoe shape around the area.

What I love about this is that it allows you to select your room based on the primary experience you want to have.

If you’re looking for a family-friendly vacation, you’ll want a room by the Seashell Pool.

If you want to be near the center of it all, you’ll want a room near the Beach Tree Pool.

Looking for ocean views and a bit of a nature slant, choose Kings Pond.

Four Seasons Hualalai Palm Grove

A peaceful view at the Palm Grove adults only pool.

Are you on a romantic getaway and would prefer not to be around a bunch of families? Get a room at the Palm Grove pool, which is their adults-only offering.

Not only do each of these provide wonderfully unique experiences, but it helps the resort feel smaller in the process.

I’ll cover more about each pool later on, but it’s this unique design that I believe forms the foundation of what makes the Four Seasons Hualalai so special.

The Pools at the Four Seasons Hualalai

Since we’re already on the topic, let’s go into more detail about each of the pools at the resort and what type of experience you can expect to find at them.

Knowing a bit about each area will also help you make a more informed decision when you’re choosing where you’d like to stay on the property.

We’ll work our way from one end of the resort to the other.

Kings Pond and Infinity Pool

Four Seasons Hualalai Kings Pond

The view of Kings Pond and the infinity pool from our balcony.

On the far end of the resort is Kings Pond. This is hands down the most unique pool at Hualalai.

It’s technically an anchialine pond, that is home to over 1,000 fish, and even a Spotted Eagle Ray.

You can check out snorkel gear for free and get a close-up experience with the fish, which is a really cool experience. They even have a glass-bottomed floaty you can use if snorkeling is a little too intimidating for you.

During the recent remodel they also built an infinity pool overlooking Kings Pond and the ocean.

Even with a toddler, this was our favorite of all the pools. It was rarely crowded, had great ocean views, and you could switch between the infinity pool, Kings Pond, and the 3 hot tubs on the deck whenever you wanted.

It didn’t hurt that our room was right above Kings Pond, which made it easy to run back to the room for anything we needed.

Seashell and Keiki Pools

Four Seasons Hualalai Seashell Pool

The Seashell Pool in the morning.

This is the most family-friendly pool, and definitely the one with the most action happening.

The pool itself is fantastic. It’s big, and parts of it have ledges that are only a foot and a half deep. This was great because I could hang out here with my 2.5 year old, and she could have a proper pool experience without having to be held by me.

There’s a little waterfall that’s a nice touch as well.

Behind it is the main kid’s pool for the resort, the “Keiki Pool.” It has its own little beach, complete with kid-sized Adirondack chairs.

If you’re with your family and have any concerns about disturbing anyone else, this is the place to be.

I also want to point out you can get food and cocktails served to you at any of these pools.

At $21 the cocktails are expensive by anyone’s standards, but the $8 kids chicken strips were a big hit with our daughter (and my wife).

Beach Tree Pool

Four Seasons Hualalai Beach Tree

The Beach Tree pool is definitely one of the more relaxing spots to be. This is looking back at lobby from the ocean.

The Beach Tree Pool is located in the “Heart of Hualalai.” It’s right at the base of the resort lobby, and has beautiful ocean views.

This is the “Quiet pool.” It’s not adults only, but this isn’t a pool where you’ll find loud music or kids practicing their cannon balls.

If you’re looking for the ultimate, relaxing pool escape, this is an excellent choice.

What’s notable about the Beach Tree pool is that it’s open 24 hours. So if you want to take a moonlit dip, you can do so here.

I will say that while all of the other pools have set hours, they seem to be pretty lax. As long as you’re respectful and not disturbing anyone or making a ton of noise, we saw the occasional person in pools and hot tubs late into the evening, and no one seemed to mind.

I really liked this aspect of the resort. If you finally get the kids to bed, and you want to be able to make it out to sit in the hot tub with a nice drink at 11pm – you should be able to do that.

There are also firepits near some of the pools, which make for an equally enjoyable spot to enjoy a nice whiskey later in the evening. Not that I’d know anything about that…

The Beach Tree pool is also near the Beach Tree restaurant (shocker), which serves as one of the defacto hubs of activity for Hualalai.

Ocean Pool

Four Seasons Hualalai Ocean Pool

Our daughter playing near the Ocean Pool.

The Ocean Pool at Hualalai is another feature that makes the resort so unique. The Ocean pool is reminiscent of the ocean pools we found throughout our Australian road trip earlier this year. They built an enclosed breakwater around an area of beach, that effectively formed a natural pool.

This is an excellent introduction to swimming in the ocean, without having to deal with waves, changing water depth, or many of the other potentially scary things that can come with getting used to swimming in an ocean.

Four Seasons Hualalai Ocean Pool

An aerial pool of the Ocean Pool at Hualalai

It’s definitely best to hit this earlier in the day, as it can get a bit choppier in the afternoon as the tide comes in.

There are also a bunch of cabanas that line the beach here. We’ll talk more about this in a minute though, as it’s one of my favorite parts about Hualalai.

Palm Grove Pool – Adults Only

Four Seasons Hualalai Palm Grove Swim Up Bar

The swim-up bar at Palm Grove early in the morning.

Finally, this brings us to the Palm Grove pool.

This is a 21-and-over pool, and if you’re on your honeymoon, or don’t want to be surrounded by families, this is a wonderful spot to make your home base.

The pool is beautiful, and it has a great swim-up bar as well.

This pool was very chill for the duration of our stay.

But I can imagine if you get a couple of bachelor or bachelorette parties, this place can definitely see some activity during the right days,

Lap Pool at Hualalai Sports Club

This is different than all of the other pools in the sense that it’s not on the beach, but rather located at the unbelievable Hualalai Sports Club.

It’s a beautiful 25-meter pool located at the Sports Club which is right outside the spa. We’ll cover the sports club in more detail later on, but just know that if you prefer to exercise in a pool – it doesn’t get much better than this.

The Pool Experience and Cabanas at Hualalai

Because there are so many pools at Hualalai, they rarely if ever felt overcrowded during our stay.

Sometimes you go to resorts and have to fight for prime lounge chairs or cabanas. If you’ve ever been to some all-inclusives in Mexico, maybe you remember having to wake up at 7am just to claim your spot for the day.

This isn’t an issue at Hualalai. There are so many good spots across all of the pools, that we never had issues getting wonderful seats to enjoy the day.

Four Seasons Hualalai Cabana

The cabanas on the beach of privacy shades that they’ll setup when you claim your spot.

But what’s even better is that there are dozens of cabanas that stretch out on the beach across the resorts. At most resorts, these would require an additional fee – not here.

There are a handful that are reserved for villa guests or a few larger ones you can rent, but for the most part, they’re all first come first served.

I was surprised by this, but considering how expensive this resort is, it was nice to not be nickel and dimed here.

The Rooms at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai

Despite Hualalai being spread across 865 acres, there are only 249 rooms at the resort. 

There are a variety of different room types, as you’d expect.

In most cases, the difference in rooms has to do with proximity to the ocean. 

Ocean Golf-View Rooms are located on the 18th fairway and are furthest from the ocean. But because they’re not surrounding a pool, they offer quite a bit more privacy than some other rooms.

The “Poolside Rooms’ are fantastic if you want to easily bounce in and out of your room to and from the pool – but can lack a little bit of privacy due to being ground level around areas with a lot of activity.

Oceanview Rooms are mostly ground-floor rooms that have varying degrees of “ocean views”. But in most cases, they do have outdoor showers which is one of the cooler features of staying here.

At first, we were slightly disappointed to not have the outdoor shower, but we got upgraded to a “Prime Ocean View” room – and well, let’s just say the view of Kings Pond and the ocean made it more than worth the tradeoff.

Four Seasons Hualalai Prime Ocean View Room

The view from our “Prime Ocean View” room at Kings Pond.

But I think for most people, it’s less about what type of room you have, and more about where you’re room is. I covered all of that above, but when planning your visit, really think about the type of experience you’d like to have and book your room accordingly.

Where this doesn’t apply is if you opt for one of the 53 suites instead, which are bigger and provide more space.

What are Hualalai Rooms Like?

Four Seasons Hualalai Room

Our Prime Ocean View room at Hualalai. This was room #313

The resort got a massive overhaul in 2020, and every single room was updated. 

The vibe feels like casual tropical luxury, exactly what you’d expect a Four Seasons in Hawai’i to feel like.

At 635 square feet, the standard rooms are spacious and provide multiple options if you’re traveling with your family.

The sofa turns into a surprisingly comfortable sleeper couch, and the terraces and balconies are also large with very comfortable furniture. 

Four Seasons Hualalai Rooms

The sleeper couch, which was surprisingly comfortable when made into a bed.

There’s a desk with the requisite Nescafe coffee pods, and a massive 75″ TV screen that probably won’t get that much use considering how much there is to do at Hualalai.

Four Seasons Hualalai Nespresso

The desk area with Nespreso coffee maker.

As I’ve talked about in my Four Seasons Punta Mita and Four Seasons Atlanta reviews, their beds are absolutely incredible. I’ve recently stayed at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge and had a repeat visit to the Park Hyatt NYC, and while those have comfy 5-star beds, the Four Seasons bed continues to be the best in the business in my book.

Staying with Kids at Hualalai

This was a big factor for us, so I wanted to devote a minute to talking about staying at Hualalai with a kid.

First off, similar to our experience at Punta Mita – the resort goes above and beyond when it comes to treating your kids like VIPs.

When we arrived, Elliot had her own spread in the room complete with bath toys, a stuffed animal, and an adorable mini robe.

After a long travel day, she was very excited to see this.

If you’re staying in one of the Suites at the resort, having a separate living area makes it much easier to have space with kids.

We had a toddler with us who wasn’t quite big enough for a sleeper sofa, so we had to figure out the best crib solution.

Four Seasons Hualalai Room Bathroom

The bathrooms are spacious in a standard Hualalai room.

There’s a spacious walk-in closet in the rooms, which we figured would be perfect for her to sleep in.

I called ahead and was told the resort’s cribs would fit in the closet, but you wouldn’t be able to get the door shut.

Most families choose to have their crib in the bathroom.

We decided to bring a small pack-and-play and shoot for the closet route.

Four Seasons Hualalai closet

The walk in closet for a standard room at Hualalai

This would have worked well in theory, but there were two big problems.

One is that when you open the closet doors the lights automatically turn on. So when our daughter inevitably woke up at 3am, as soon as we opened the door she got blasted with light. Not exactly ideal for helping her fall back asleep.

The other issue is that there are no power outlets in the closet, so if you’re trying to plug in a baby monitor, there’s no obvious or easy way to do it.

However, this is one of many areas where we got to experience Four Seasons level service. We called the concierge to ask if they had an extension cord they could bring us for the monitor. Within 10 minutes we had one delivered to our door.

So while the closet route wasn’t perfect, it did allow us to continue to use the bathroom after our daughter went to bed at 8pm every night 🙂

Dining at the Four Seasons Hualalai

When you’re visiting tropical resorts, you’re usually not doing so for the food.

Resort food can range anywhere from serviceable, to bad, and occasionally if you’re lucky, wonderful.

Luckily, as you’d hope at a resort of this caliber, the food at Hualalai is excellent. 

There are five primary dining options at the resort: Beach Tree, ‘Ulu, Residents Beach House, Hualalai Grille, and the Hualalai Trading Company.

Each one provides a very different experience, which I love.  You never feel like you’re getting the same thing over and over, and I was surprised by just how good most of the food was.

All of the restaurants are “Resort Casual”, so you can pretty much wear whatever you want and you’ll fit right in. Shorts and sandals? Linen pants and a button-down? Evening dress? It’s all good, and regardless of what you wear, you’ll likely never feel over or under-dressed.

Beach Tree Restaurant

Four Seasons Hualalai Beach Tree

An aerial view of Beach tree restaurant, the large grassy lawn, and the Beach Tree pool.

Beach Tree is arguably the primary restaurant for the resort. It’s located right in the center of Hualalai, spills out onto the beach, and is always a hub of activity.

As you’d expect, all of the resorts have great seafood options, but Beach Tree describes the cuisine as California Cuisine with an Italian twist.

This was the one restaurant we ate dinner at twice, and both times it was excellent.

The pork chop was one of the best I’ve had in recent memory, and the tuna tartare was so good, we got it both nights we were there. The Cacio E Pepe pasta was the only thing we ate there that was just so-so, but the Oxtail Ravioli more than made up for this during our second meal.

The porkchop was fantastic.

There’s often live music around sunset and other entertainment that takes place here. We even had a fire show one night which was great.

One thing I loved was each night a fire dancer in traditional Hawaiian dress takes a torch and runs down the beach pathway lighting all of the torches throughout the resort. It’s tradition for kids to run along with them.

…so was the “Doppio Raviolo” or Oxtail Ravioli.

The first night we came across this, there was a swarm of about 30 kids all with huge smiles on their faces running down the beach. One kid stopped right in front of us and yelled “This is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen!” before continuing on with the throng.

The restaurant is located right next to a large lawn, so there were often kids and families running around, and Elliot loved playing here with some new friends.

If you’re looking for a romantic experience, I’d just plan to book this reservation a little bit later in the evening once some of the families have moved on.

‘Ulu Ocean Grill

‘Ulu is what would be considered the “fine dining” option at Hualalai, but that’s a loose term, as it’s still a pretty casual vibe.

That said, you won’t find quite as many kids running around here as you will at Beach Tree.

This was our splurge meal. The menu looked fantastic, and we asked our server Floyd if he could just bring us out a selection of what he thought best showed off the restaurant.

We talked for a few minutes about what we liked, how hungry we were, and he helped us put together the perfect meal.

I also want to specifically point out, that while Four Seasons service is always very good, Floyd was one of the best servers I’ve ever had. 

He was attentive, had opinions (which I love), and even made us run out at sunset to grab a family photo in the perfect spot. 

The food didn’t disappoint either.

The Smoked Pork Belly Bao was flavorful and had unique flavors, and even came with a cool “smoked” presentation. The Tomato and Charred Avocado salad was equally delicious and very fresh.

Smoky pork bao

But the star of the show was hands down the Miso Broiled King Crab leg with Yuzu Kosho Butter.

The Miso Crab was phenomenal.

It was the best crab I’ve ever had, and the leg was huge – so the portion was nice as well.

From a food perspective, this was our favorite meal and I’d highly encourage anyone visiting to do at least one dinner here.

Breakfast at ‘Ulu

Having breakfast at 'Ulu

Having breakfast at ‘Ulu

‘Ulu is also the primary breakfast option at Hualalai.

The outdoor tables provide wonderful ocean views, and coming here was something we looked forward to every morning.

I’m a sucker for a good buffet at a fancy hotel, and this one didn’t disappoint. There was an omelet station where you could get eggs however you wanted them, a huge assortment of breads, pastries, fruits, and other options appealing to both an American and international crowd.

And if you had the buffet, and there was something else you really wanted? They’d make you whatever you wanted. Elliot routinely opted for some blueberry pancakes.

The service is fantastic, and the food was very good as well.

Residents’ Beach House

Four Seasons Hualalai Residents Beach House

This is the most unique restaurant offering at the resort.

As you may or may not know, there’s a residential membership component to Hualalai. Club members have their own separate clubhouse, access to an additional golf course, as well as access to all of the restaurants and amenities at the resort.

This membership is comparable to what you get at the Kohanaiki Club down the street.

The Residents’ Beach House is at the far end of Hualalai and is the restaurant that is closest to the ocean.

Despite the name, resort guests are able to dine here, and if you visit Hualalai, I definitely recommend you pay the Beach House a visit.

Four Seasons Hualalai Residents' Beach House

The Yellowfin Tuna Tataki at the Residents’ Beach House.

The vibe here is much more casual than any other the other restaurants, and it does have an element of feeling more like a private club than a resort – in part because it, well, kind of is.

Many of the people around us clearly knew each other, and in many cases, hadn’t seen each other in some time. It served as a central meeting point for the membership community and thus was a decidedly different crowd than the other resort restaurants.

On top of this, everyone was extremely friendly and loved seeing our daughter here.

The food was great as well. Think more casual tropical fare. We shared some fish tacos, delicious spare ribs, and a Yellowfin Ahi Tataki – which was our favorite.

Hualalai Grille

The other primary restaurant at the resort is Hualalai Grille. This is the only one that isn’t located near the water, and is more of a traditional steakhouse.

On our last night, we were trying to decide if we should eat at Hualalai Grille or head back to Beach Tree.

While I always love a good steak and felt like it was my duty to experience all of the restaurants here, I shunned my professionalism and we went back to Beach Tree.

Considering it was our last evening, it felt right to have a place Elliot could run around, as well as have one more sunset. It was the right decision, and we had a very special evening.

I do wish I had a chance to eat here, but you can expect high-end steakhouse fare with an island vibe.

Hualalai Trading Company

The last of the 5 eateries at the resort is Hualalai Trading Company. Located near the resort entrance and the Sports Club, this is the place you go for anything else you need.

Coffee and pastries in the morning? Check.

Ice cream or smoothies in the afternoon? Check.

Bottles of alcohol? Check.

Souvenirs or gifts? This is where you get em.

Inevitably we ended up here at least once a day for one reason or another.

Elliot loved making late afternoon ice cream trips a thing, and I usually got up first thing in the morning for some coffee and snacks before a proper breakfast.

There’s a large deck here as well, and it’s a nice place to hang out in the afternoons if you’re looking to get away from the busier areas of the resort.

Overall the dining experience at Hualalai was excellent. 

As you’d expect, it’s not cheap, and in particular glasses of wine seemed to be particularly egregious with many glasses costing $31.

But one thing we loved is that kids under 4 eat free at Ulu and Beach Tree.

It’s not like it’s a huge amount of money, but considering there was a 50/50 shot our kid would take 3 bites of pizza and be done – it was another great example of not nickel and diming at a place that is already very premium priced.

What Do You Do at Hualalai?

One of the things that makes Hualalai so special is the simple fact that there is so much to do. Whether it’s at the resort, through excursions, or through exploring the island of Hawai’i – you could be here for weeks and not do it all.

For the purposes of this post, we’re going to focus less on the regional activities/excursions and talk about some of the specific activities you can do on property.

The Hualalai Spa

Four Seasons Hualalai Spa

The lobby of the Hualalai spa.

The spa at Hualalai is widely regarded as one of the best in Hawaii, and in my experience, I very much understand why it gets this reputation.

I didn’t get a treatment, but I did spend time in the locker room and using the spa facilities.

Hualalai has the full quadfecta (is that a word?) of hot tub, steam room, sauna, and cold plunge.

Four Seasons Hualalai

A look at the men’s spa facilities at Hualalai.

It always surprises me how often 5-star resorts are missing one of these 4 elements.

But having them all allows for a circuit that is both revitalizing and energy-restoring.

The facilities are beautiful, and the steam and sauna both have a unique design that felt both modern and fitting for its place on an island.

Even if you don’t do a treatment, I highly recommend carving out an hour to yourself to go take advantage of this.

Hualalai Sports Club

The Hualalai Sports Club might be the most robust set of fitness facilities I’ve ever seen at a resort before. 

This is one area where resort guests really benefit from the fact there’s a residential membership club. If it weren’t for that membership, I doubt they’d have built such a comprehensive set of fitness facilities.

Four Seasons Hualalai Sports Club

Part of the tennis facilities at the Sports Club

Fortunately, it’s there, and if you’re an active person, then I’m not sure you’ll find a better resort in the world to continue your fitness regimen. 

At the Sports Club, you’ll find:

  • 8 Tennis Courts (with beautifully landscaped grounds)
  • 3 Pickleball courts
  • 2 Bocce ball courts
  • An outdoor basketball court
  • 25-meter lap pool
  • No less than 6 indoor/outdoor gyms each targeting things like strength, cardio, yoga etc.

Bocce ball courts.

Walking through the Sports Center, I continually found myself saying “whoa, that’s cool!” “Man, I can’t believe they have that!” 

Four Seasons Hualalai Gym

The indoor Cardio Gym at Hualalai. (Yes, there’s an outdoor one as well.)

And so on.

They even have a handful of Peloton bikes, so if that’s your thing? You’re good to go.

The Cultural Center at Hualalai

This was one of the bigger surprises of the resort for me.

Tucked below the Hualalali Grille near the golf pro shop is the Hualalai Cultural Center. Here you can learn all about the history of the island, the land the resort sits on, and anything else you’d like to know about Hawaiian Culture.

The woman who runs it (I wish I could remember her name), was so enjoyable to talk to, and she was wonderful with our daughter Elliot showing her around the Center and introducing us to some of the more kid-friendly elements of it.

Every day there are free classes at the Center where you can do things like make your own leis, and it’s all free of charge. You just need to sign up ahead of time. 

We really enjoyed the time we spent here, and just wished we’d signed up for the lei making class earlier!

Kids for All Seasons

Another wonderful feature of many Four Seasons Resorts is Kids for All Seasons. Kids aged 5-12 can spend the day here where they’ll be treated to all kinds of games, experiences, and activities.

Whether it’s a nature walk to go feed the Eagle Ray at Kings Pond, a swim in the ocean pool, or any number of arts and crafts – all of the kids we saw throughout the resort doing Kids for All Seasons seemed to be having a blast.

Alas, we’re a few years out from getting to experience that one – but I look forward to when we’ll be able to.

Classes and Excursions

Most families who choose to come here will spend at least a day or two doing something more active than just sitting by the pool.

Regardless of what you’re into there are classes and excursions to explore.

Here are just a handful of activities you can participate in:

  • Charter boat for snorkeling and/or sea scooters
  • Stand up paddle boarding 
  • Outrigger canoe excursion
  • Kids marine biologist tour
  • Manta ray night snorkeling
  • Helicopter tour
  • Waterfall hiking tour
  • Zipline adventure

Not to mention a bunch of seasonal more specialized classes and experiences, among many other things.

It’s worth noting that many of these experiences are pretty pricey when you book them through the hotel, but you aren’t coming to Hualalai because you’re on a budget…

Final Thoughts on the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai

I’d been wanting to take my wife here for years. So when we finally got the chance and were able to bring Elliot along with us, I couldn’t have been more excited.

And as you can probably guess, we weren’t disappointed.

This is one of the flagship Four Seasons resorts for a reason. The service, facilities, setting, and the experience were all world-class.

I will say it was a bit different than I was expecting it to be.

The 18th tee at sunrise.

I was thinking it would pretty much be the Four Seasons Punta Mita with a Hawaiian flare. But the two resorts actually quite different, while both catering to a similar audience.

Hualalai felt bigger, yet more private at the same time. It was easier to have a wider variety of unique experiences each day.

Not only was the golf course excellent, but with the addition of the Golf Hale and Trackman range, the options beyond just playing 18 far exceeded what you’ll normally get at a resort like this.

So if that’s a primary reason for considering a visit to Hualalai – never fear, you’ll have all the golf you need to stay satisfied.

This is a resort that can truly cater to just about any type of traveler. Honeymooners, families, friends, retirees – you name it. Whatever you’re into, you’ll find a way to explore it and enjoy it in a spectacular setting at Hualalai.

Simply put, the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai is one of the finest resorts I’ve ever visited, and anything from here on out will have a tough time living up to what are now very high standards.

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  1. David Scholl

    Great review! I’ve been to this resort 3 times with and without kids. It is truly a great resort for all family members. However, if you want to the top 4S Hawaiian experience go to 4S Lanai. Manele Golf is a spectacular course and the service is at least the equal of Hualalai.

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