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Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii
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Reviewed 26 May 2014

My wife and I just travelled here on our honeymoon, and I'll detail our experience below, but to save you some time here are some overall thoughts:

- I'll echo some other reviews: the Fairmont Orchid feels a bit dated. It's nice enough and the grounds are lovely, but there are elements everywhere you look where that look like they need updating, or scrubbing, or just more (or sometimes less) light.

- Be careful when selecting a room, and thoroughly read the descriptions (check their accommodations page for the most thorough) . The "partial ocean view" and "ocean view" rooms both have "partial or angled views of the ocean", but they charge you $70 more for the latter. There appear to be only a handful of rooms that actually fully face the ocean. Otherwise you're leaning over the balcony to see it.

- They charge you more for 'deluxe rooms' (another $25 on top the the 'ocean view' room - which gets you a higher floor). The resort only has six floors. We were on both the sixth floor and the second floor (more on that below), and I assure you there's not much of a difference.

- Definitely don't fall for the "Fairmont Gold" offer. $200 more per night for any room type with questionable incremental value. We were told we were upgraded to the 'gold floor' (i.e. the sixth floor), but did not seem to have access to any of the 'privileges' they list.

- They charge you an additional $25 resort fee, which is listed on their site but is difficult to find.

- The service is a mixed bag. Sometimes good, sometimes poor. Inconsistent information depending on who you speak to.

- The food is also a mixed bag. Brown's restaurant is solid (if you eat meat), and the dessert was excellent. The breakfast buffet was depressing and we didn't eat there a second time. Brown's deli is also solid, but definitely plan on eating multiple meals offsite.

- The activities are good overall. The snorkeling and nearby golf are both excellent. If you want to stand up paddle board in the ocean, don't plan on doing it here (they only allow you to do it in their lagoon).

Here's an account of our personal experience, which may or may not be helpful to you:

My wife and I arrived here on the third leg of our honeymoon, having just come off two wonderful experiences at the Grand Hyatt in Kauai and the Andaz in Maui. The Andaz in particular was amazing as they had upgraded us to a beautiful suite with a full ocean view. Our travel agent had informed us that her contact at the Fairmont requested to upgrade us as well, so we were very excited upon our arrival.

The upgrade turned out to be a room on their 'gold floor'. As we were checking in we were told it was one of their most 'beautiful rooms' with an 'amazing view.' By all appearances it was a standard room on a high floor, and you had to walk out onto the balcony to see the ocean. They did give us two passes for equipment rentals through out our stay, but otherwise we were a touch disappointed.

This was exacerbated by the fact that - as we were informed during check in - they were having air conditioning problems in many of the rooms, but was in the process of being fixed. Sure enough our room was a warm as it was outside. If you've read other reviews, it's true that the Fairmont's response to this situation was to offer free shaved ices and bottled water to affected guests. That's it.

My wife decided to take a shower and was standing ankle deep in water by the end because of a slow drain. Clearly our first impression of the Fairmont was not going well.

We decided to go to dinner at Brown's restaurant, which was recommended by multiple friends. This was around 6:30 pm and we did not have a reservation. We were told they didn't have any seats available and the first available reservation was at 8pm, so we put our name in for that. Having an hour and a half to kill we walked around the grounds (which are very nice), but we walked by the restaurant a couple times (it's entirely outdoors) and there always appeared to be seats available. We waited until 8pm, and were seated promptly (because you know, there were open tables). Our server was great, except when a bug had crawled out from under my steak right after landing on the table...I explained this to him and received sort of a blank stare and nothing else. It's the tropics and bugs are expected, so I moved on. My food was good, my wife - who is a vegetarian - did not love hers, but we both really enjoyed the dessert.

They were apparently not able to fix the A/C that night, and it was not a comfortable night of sleep.

We went to breakfast the next day - I did the buffet and my wife ordered french toast. The french toast was excellent, as was the service, but the buffet was depressing. It's a weird layout, doesn't feel clean, and when I opened up the tray of bacon, flies came out. So that was the only time we had breakfast there. The rest of the time we went to brown's deli for baked good and coffee, or went offsite altogether.

On day 2, before we left the room to go to the pool, it did appear that the A/C problem had been worked out and our room felt somewhat cooler. We were hopeful that the problem had been resolved, but when we returned to our room it was as warm as ever and the A/C appeared to have broken again. We called downstairs and they sent up an engineer. He did a number of checks and changed the filter - which in his words "was pretty caked with dust". He said the air was blowing out at the right temperature, and that was that. We left the room to cool down (at the coldest possible temperature) while we went to dinner. When we came back, the room was the same temperature as it was outside (i.e. not cool). So this time my wife went to talk to someone at the front desk. She initially received some pushback but they eventually relented and offered us a new room, in the other tower on a lower floor. Whatever 'upgrade' we'd initially received had just been lost, but moving rooms did resolve the A/C issue.

The rest of our stay there was relatively uneventful, but the first 28 hours with the fairmont left us generally disappointed and had thrown off the momentum of an otherwise perfect honeymoon to that point. We very seriously debated moving to another hotel and 'starting over', but ultimately decided against moving our bags yet again.

To their credit, they did follow up with us after we had moved rooms to check in and see if there was anything they could do. We're not the type to actually ask for anything in that situation, and nothing concrete was ever offered.

We left there and will definitely not be returning. We recognize that some of our disappointment was a product of a high expectations that fell woefully short. This is ultimately a decent resort that may have decent value if you book the right room and go in with low expectations.

Room Tip: Don't bother with the 'Fairmont Gold' - it's $200 additional for questionable value. Make sure you read the room description so you understand the difference between partial ocean and ocean (hint: there isn't really one). Plan more meals offsite.
  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank mcbain220
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
TheFairmontOrchid, Guest Relations Manager at Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii, responded to this reviewResponded 9 June 2014

Aloha, and congratulations on your recent marriage. Thank you for choosing to stay with us and letting us know about your experience. It is very concerning that your honeymoon stay at The Fairmont Orchid got off to such a rough start and that you experienced numerous shortcomings in just over 24 hours. It is disappointing that the upgrade provided to our premier accommodations on Fairmont Gold (private key-accessed floor, lounge with morning breakfast and afternoon hors d'oeuvres, dedicated concierge, and more) did not turn out as intended. Please accept our sincere apology that we failed to meet your expectations. The hotel-wide air conditioning problem we experienced was rectified in approximately 12 hours - we are so sorry that you continued to have problems in your guest room, and had no choice but to change rooms. We are glad that the rest of your stay was uneventful, and that you enjoyed Brown's Beach House, the resort activities, snorkeling and golf. Thank you again for your feedback. Should you return to Hawaii Island in the future, it would be our pleasure to welcome you back and provide you with a more positive overall experience.

Mahalo,

The Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 May 2014

My husband and I just came back after 12 nights stay at Fairmont Orchid Hotel. It was our first trip to Hawaii and neither of us knew of a good place to stay and what to expect. We could have not asked for anything better! Beautiful beach, friendly staff, open space in the hotel and good service! Loved every single minute of it! I was a bit worried after reading few comments about the food, but have to say both of us enjoyed every meal we had there.

  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Denys I
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
TheFairmontOrchid, Guest Relations Manager at Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii, responded to this reviewResponded 9 June 2014

Aloha,

Thank you so much for your wonderful review. Please come back and visit us again soon!

Mahalo,

The Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 May 2014

We stayed 4 days at the Fairmont Orchid in May 2014. We stayed on the Gold floor, and it was perfect in every way. Check-in was a breeze -- we arrived around noon, and our room was ready. We booked this trip through Pleasant Holidays -- and we were not disappointed! The resort is beautiful. The staff is wonderful. We took advantage of the beach recreation package and were able to snorkel, paddle board, etc. throughout our stay. We had breakfast each morning on the Gold floor, which was excellent. Lunch out by the pool was perfect too! The Orchid has beach service -- so that was nice to be able to order drinks and food from the beach! We went to the Spa and did the waterfall massage, which was great. Every employee that we dealt with was professional and such a pleasure to deal with -- don't have a single complaint about anything. We did the Blue Hawaiian helicopter tour, and it was fabulous. My only complaint is that we could not stay longer!

  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled with family
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3  Thank Lucy G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 May 2014

This is a lovely resort with beautiful décor, friendly staff, fantastic gardens and pool area, with a fantastic outlook that includes Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles right in front of the resort every day we were their - absolutely fantastic experience.

  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled as a couple
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Review collected in partnership with Fairmont Hotels & Resorts
Thank Ruth H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 May 2014

Nice grounds and comfortable rooms.
Service good - complaints.
Little beach lagoon was a fun spot for swimming, snorkeling and sea turtle spotting.
Drinks, very inconsistent from bar to bar. Really should be able to order a drink and get somewhat the same thing...
Food, terrible. I did not experience a good meal at this hotel. I should in all fairness mention that I attended on a conference so yes there was many of us and all our meals were catered. But, this is certainly no excuse for bad food. I cant comment on food from the restaurants only from the catering dept. Again, terrible and mostly lacked flavor.

  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled on business
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Thank rizan22
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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