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Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii
Ranked #2 of 4 Hotels in Puako
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
Lisbon, Portugal
Level 6 Contributor
490 reviews
130 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 410 helpful votes
“Much Better Options”
Reviewed 7 December 2009

Hotel is in a good location, but most hotels in Hawaii are. Hotel needs to be renovated. The furnishings, service, food is tired and it shows. Not a modern updated hotel at all. I feel when a hotel doesn't care to modernize and keep itself up to date, its a disrespect to their guests. Assuming they do not know any better and never travel. Anyone who travels internationally would consider this a 3 star hotel aside from the location.

Food is Ok, nothing amazing. Service is Ok, nothing amazing. Feels like your dealing with US flight attendants. It's more "No" than "Let me see what I can do for you"... and actually follow through. Rooms are dated. Few rooms have ocean or partial views unless your a giraffe. They might tell you its a "view" but its only a play on your intelligence and your wallet. What makes this a 5 star category hotel is the cost nothing else. They must think if you pay top dollar it's got to be good in all respects. This is not the case. For a honeymoon, vacation, or anything else, there are much, much better options.

  • Stayed December 2009, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank A M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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nny
Level 4 Contributor
35 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 December 2009

There are pros and cons with this property. First, the good. The beach has an excellent coral reef about 2OO ft offshore and you can see plenty of sea life without having to travel. The beach staff are helpful and friendly. The property is pleasant to walk around and you certainly feel like you are in Hawaii when at the Fairmont.

The bad: One of the hot tubs wasnt functioning for a couple of days but there were no out of order signs. Our room was worn and dated. Frankly, it was dirty as well. We're not the sort to complain but it was noticeable. I asked the conceirge for info on the Volcano and they directed me to a tour operator. They had no valuable information at all. Thus we drove an hour out of our way to see the lava. For those interested, the lava is not flowing inside Volcano National park. Save yourself $1O and find the correct location to see the lava starting at five pm. I heard a number of other guests have similar complaints about the concierge.

The beach is only set up once in the morning and by the afternoon it looks like a tornado has blown in. It seems like they've cut back on staff, but that's just a guess.

The business was frequently closed and the gym is crowded with dated equipment from the nineties.

As many others have noted the cost of meals at the hotel are very high.

All in all, it was an average stay, but the Fairmont is clearly not in the class of the Four Seasons or Ritz Carlton.

  • Stayed November 2009, travelled with family
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Helpful?
3 Thank thousandislands2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chicago, Illinois
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 December 2009

I split my Thanksgiving vacation betwen the Hilton Waikoloa Village and the Fairmont Orchid. While the Hilton is a great property with lots of amenities, features, and things to do, the Fairmont is clearly in a different class---it's an elegant resort for folks with discriminating tastes. I loved it and would stay there again. Fairmonts are not typically very cheap, but I got my room at a decent sale price, still more expensive than the Hilton, but well worth the price difference.

At the Fairmont, everything was effortless, from check-in to elevator access to getting internet access in the room. We all got kukui nut leis upon arrival, the room was spacious, and the happy hour at Luana's has half price entrees and drinks (very very good, by the way). The the pools were warm (unlike Hilton's, which were freezing). At the Hilton, getting around is an ordeal (especially with a stroller), the many pedestrian bridges are not stroller friendly--I had to lift mine many time to cross). Not so at the Fairmont---I loved the automatic doors that led to the beach--convenient for my stroller.

Speaking of the beach, the Fairmont's beach is nice. Easy to get to and the staff was very friendly and helpful. When I asked them to blow up my inflatable tube (for my baby), they said they'd do it and bring it over to me on the beach or pool. Nice touch!

The Island is pretty big, so it's not a convenient drive to Volcanos national park from the Kohala Coast, but all the major hotels have that problem.

If I go back to the Big Island, I would stay again at the Fairmont. And this is coming from a Hilton Gold member who got a suite upgrade at the Hilton.

  • Stayed November 2009, travelled with family
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Helpful?
4 Thank tiggitytsh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Prince Rupert
Level 4 Contributor
30 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 November 2009

My wife and I stayed here for one week in September 2009. We had a 1 BR Oceanview Suite.

Our room was nice with a decent view and a comfortable bed.

Meals at the breakfast buffet, the casual outdoor restaurant and the more fancy Brown's Beach house were enjoyable.

The pool was large and uncrowded. The grounds were pleasant.

We did a couple of day trips, one to see the volcano and one to go snorkeling at Kaleakua Bay. Otherwise we mostly stayed around the resort and relaxed.

Overall we had an enjoyable time and we will come back again.

  • Stayed September 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank trilinearmipmap
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
central NJ
Level 3 Contributor
8 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 175 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 November 2009

As a Vacation, Cruise and Honeymoon Specialist, I am always more critical of hotels and resorts than your average traveler. I am always on the look out for properties that will fit the needs of my clients and to know which property to recommend to which client. I also make a point of not reading reviews of the resorts I am visiting so I can give an honest opinion of the property.

The Fairmont Orchid on the Big Island has quickly become one of my favorite resorts in all of Hawaii. We arrived late (our flight from the East Coast was delayed) and we drove up to the resort in the dark so we really had no clue how stunningly beautiful the grounds are and we also had no idea of the great view from our balcony.

In the morning, we were in awe of both. We were in a deluxe ocean view room on the 5th floor of the North Tower. Tower is not the word I would use since it is only 6 stories high. The view was spectacular- ocean to the right, pool and waterfalls in the front, lush tropical gardens to the left. I felt relaxed just looking at the view!

The room itself is a good size- over 500 square feet with a great bathroom- double sink vanity, separate shower, good size tub, and the toilet was separated from the main section of the bathroom. Great bath amenities are a Fairmont trademark. The bed was comfortable and I am a bed snob so for me to say that, it had to be good. Since I am highly allergic to feathers and down, I emailed my contact at the resort and the room was down free when we arrived. The balcony- my favorite part of the room had a lounge chair, 2 chairs and a table. The only negative to the balcony was that there was no outdoor light- so if you wanted to eat outside or read at night, it was a bit too dark.

Upon arrival, we were greeted with an orchid lei, promptly checked in and escorted to our room by a bellhop who explained some of the amenities of the resort- restaurant, spa, fitness center and more. What amazed us even more is that he refused to take a tip.

The room had an empty refrigerator, large safe, coffee maker, bottled water and enough storage. It is a very comfortable room. We had a king bed with enough space for a table and chairs as well as a comfy chair and ottoman for relaxing or reading.

The resort is divided into 2 “towers”- the North (Kohala) tower which had views of the courtyard or ocean or a combination of both, or the opposite side of the building has golf mountain views. We had fabulous sunset views. The rooms opposite us had great sunrise views. The South (Kona) Tower has either courtyard/ocean view rooms or views of the private homes and trees which back the property. We didn’t see the rooms or views in the South Tower but I’m sure all rooms are similar- it is the view that differs.

There is an air conditioned fitness center- open 24/7 with individual heat sets for TV’s on each piece of equipment. Sorry to say- I didn’t use this at all. The lagoon style pool is 10,000 square feet, gorgeous and heated. There were lounges and cabanas (additional daily charge) around the pool but not enough shade if you didn’t want to rent a cabana. The one day when we actually had time to relax at the pool, it was too windy to open the umbrellas and since I can’t sit in the sun, this presented an issue. We ended up going down to Coconut Grove, at the edge of the property in a treed area just off the swimming beach. It was lovely and quiet there but I was hoping to sit by the pool.

The beach is a swim-able lagoon. Please realize that most of the resorts on the Big Island only have small beaches due to the lava rocks that surround the island. The Fairmont’s beach is more of a cove which makes it very safe for swimming, children and snorkeling. There is bar service on the beach area so that you can get drinks while lounging by the beach, as well as by the pool. The Fairmont offers an activity pass that includes free outrigger canoe lessons (which we took advantage of) and a host of other water sports, hikes, lessons and classes but we were so busy that we didn’t get a chance to take full advantage of them. For those guests who were not out and about every day, as we were, this Fun and Sun Activity Pass is worth looking into. The current price is $65 for adults and $50 for kids and is valid for your length of stay. It includes an introductory scuba, snorkeling and outrigger canoe lesson, complimentary tennis drill, aqua aerobics plus free snorkel equipment, floats, kayaks, boogie boards, games, books, and more available to borrow.

One of the amenities of this resort that is unique and such a great feature is the Spa Without Walls. Outdoor hales (huts) are throughout the property (both Oceanside and in the gardens) that are private spa treatment rooms. This is probably one of the most relaxing ways to take a spa treatment. There are indoor treatment rooms as well, if you prefer. The Paradise Within is another great concept that the Fairmont Orchid offers to help relax both body and soul. This program offers classes and lessons from outdoor yoga, relaxation techniques, pilates, meditation, art classes, and so much more. You can take these classes individually or sign up for a package. According to their brochure, the Paradise Within is “well being you can take home- a toolbox of skills for living a joyous life of energy and flow.” I met one of the instructors, Callie, and she was so incredibly passionate about what she does that she almost had me convinced to join her for an 8am yoga class! The entire concept of the Spa Without Walls and the Paradise Within, makes the Fairmont Orchid one of the perfect resorts for guests who want to relax and rid themselves of the stress of every day life.

I would highly recommend the Fairmont Orchid to honeymooners, couples, golfers (forgot to mention that the property has 2 golf courses within the Mauna Lani complex), and certainly those guests who want a great spa and to relax and de-stress. There is a beautiful wedding gazebo and the Fairmont is a great resort for destination weddings. Families are certainly welcomed and there are many complimentary activities to keep the kids busy, in addition to the pool and ocean.

While we were in the Big Island, we toured many different hotels and the Fairmont Orchid is definitely up at the top of my list of favorites. Five nights was definitely not enough time to spend at the Fairmont Orchid and my next visit will be longer.

Just one other point to make—we never saw an employee who didn’t greet you with a smile and an Aloha—from the maids to the valets to the concierge and front desk. Whether it is the Hawaiian culture or the Fairmont culture, happy employees will certainly make happy guests.

If you have specific questions about the resort or some of the others on the Big Island, feel free to contact me.

  • Stayed November 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
7 Thank myvacationlady
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
PA
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 17 November 2009

Went there for our honeymoon. From the time we pulled up the staff couldn't be any more friendlier. The place was amazing, clean, welcoming. They made you feel like they have known you forever from the front desk, pool station and wait staff. I'd def. recommend this to anyone looking for a laid back vacation. Besides food, they also have water activities, spas, salons, gym etc... right at the hotel. No need to leave! GREAT TIME!

  • Stayed October 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Jesbensen-Kelly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Australia
Level 5 Contributor
66 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
Reviewed 31 October 2009

Great hotel with excellent service. We stayed in a Garden Terrace room and thought that we hadn't missed out on any luxury at all. The food options are great and if you take advantage of the happy hour every day at the Luana Lounge you can get half price cocktails and appetizers which are a meal in themselves. Also the early bird dinner at Browns is well worth it. It has been 18 years since we have been on the Big Island and when we return it wil be back to The Fairmont. Excellent location. Not too many fellow Australians which we were surprised about - we would recommend this to anyone from "Down Under". Become a Presidents Club member for complimentary in room internet access.

  • Stayed October 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Rooms
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Helpful?
Thank EmmCeeAustralia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii

Property: Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii
Address: 1 N Kaniku Dr, Puako, Island of Hawaii, HI 96743-9731
Phone Number:
Region: United States > Hawaii > Island of Hawaii > Kohala Coast > Puako
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Family Hotel in Puako
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Puako
#2 Luxury Hotel in Puako
#2 Spa Hotel in Puako
#2 Romantic Hotel in Puako
#2 Green Hotel in Puako
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii 4.5*
Number of rooms: 540
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii is a Kohala Coast Hawaii oceanfront luxury hotel and resort with white sand lagoon, Hawaiian Spa Without Walls, golf, tennis, five restaurants, extensive meeting and event facilities, and a year-round children's program. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii Hotel Waimea
Fairmont Hotel Kamuela
Fairmont Orchid Hawaii
Fairmont Kamuela
Kamuela Fairmont

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