Ranch & Coast Magazine

May 2023

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Page 57 of 91

T HE GOOD NEWS: IT'S EASIER THAN ever to vacation on the Hawaiian Islands. Budget airlines have added service, nudging prices down and expanding flight options and accessibility from airports countrywide. New resorts are cropping up all over the islands, and many tried-and-true destinations that have been welcoming guests back for years have gotten their own makeovers to retain their loyal base and attract new visitors, too. Now the bad: As any longtime Hawaiian traveler can attest, the islands are more crowded than ever. e solution? Go small. Or more accurately, this is the time to get a little more exclusive. Where mega-resorts can lack intimacy with more than 1,000 rooms, packed restaurants, and the barbaric 7am pool lounge- reservers, those that cater to a reduced number of travelers can mean fewer crowds, better service, and a more refined experience overall. is isn't news to anyone who's visited Four Season Resort Hualalai on the island of Hawaii. e resort has long welcomed celebrities and savvy travelers who enjoy — and can afford — a more urbane Big Island experience. Now, following a recent $100 million renovation that included the redesign and expansion of three ultra- luxe villas, Four Seasons proves its ability to raise its game even though, as the #1 resort in Hawaii according to U.S. News & World Report and the only Forbes Five-Star and AAA Five Diamond resort on the island, Hualalai is already the bar-setter. "Small" is a relative term, of course, when it comes to Hualalai. Yes, at 249, its room count is a mere fraction of some of the giants on this island and others, but it sits on a vast 865 acres, a dreamy oceanfront oasis amid rolling black lava fields. It's as spectacular in person as can be imagined when it's spied from the air on approach to the Kona International Airport — the view from above of lush grounds, white sand, and impossibly blue water is a tease of what's in store. e Four Seasons ethos makes virtually any property under its umbrella an easy favorite among travelers, and Hualalai is no Hawaiian Sophistication Four Seasons Hualalai lives up to its superlative reputation BY DEANNA MURPHY PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF FOUR SEASONS RESORT HUALALAI ranchandcoast.com 58 MAY 2023 RANCH & COAST MAGAZINE The swimmable King's Pond is home to Four Seasons Hualalai's famous resident spotted eagle ray, Kainalu The swimmable King's Pond is home to Four Seasons Hualalai's famous resident spotted eagle ray, Kainalu

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