Ranch & Coast Magazine

May 2023

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Page 58 of 91

exception. What makes Hualalai so spectacular is the pervasive calm and peacefulness that envelops you from the moment you step on property. No crowds, no echo-y lobby, no stuffy check-in process standing at a desk. Instead, a quick and efficient check-in takes place in an open-air sitting area at the resort's entry, a much appreciated fast track to the vacation that follows. Classic Hawaiian architecture blends seamlessly into the abundantly landscaped resort, the site of an ancient fishing village whose waters still weave through the property, respectfully tended and preserved by a dedicated Four Seasons crew. All guestrooms have unobstructed ocean views that take full advantage of the truly stunning coastline that stretches before the resort, and nearly all sit in sequences of semicircles ("crescents") that surround its several beachfront pools, each one unique from the others and separated from the ocean beyond by only a walking path and a pristine stretch of sand dotted with cabanas. A family-friendly destination, several of the pools appeal to kids, including the 1.8 million- gallon King's Pond, stocked with thousands of fish including the resort's beloved spotted eagle ray, Kainalu. Since my kids, now in their teens, have graduated from keiki status, we were able to leave them to explore on their own and sample the pools and protected beaches while we sipped icy drinks at the Beach Tree Pool, a designated quiet pool surrounded by a wood deck with attentive service. Even the sleepiest of pool-goers perked as attendants circled the area at regular intervals with refreshing treats to beat the heat — a signature Four Seasons touch I've loved at its other properties, as well. Frozen face cloths and smoothie samples as the mercury soars? Yes please! Our two generous guestrooms adjoined and provided ample space for our family of four, but travelers seeking added space and privacy can book one of the resort's 53 suites or, for true indulgence, choose from three villas, the largest of which, the Hawaii Loa Presidential Villa, is a magnificent two-story, 5,253-square-foot, toes-in-the-sand home for up to eight guests. Each villa has its own spa, and the 4,605-square-foot Makaloa Villa, which can host up to ten, also has its own plunge pool. Dining at Hualalai is an occasion, and though things can be tricky sometimes with kids' finicky palates (devastatingly, we have one who won't eat fish, even in Hawaii), remember this is a Four Seasons, a place of "yes," which means the items that don't necessarily jibe with the chef-driven culinary offerings on the main menu are still available; all you have to do is ask. But for more discriminating tastes, Beach Tree and 'Ulu Ocean Grill are equally spectacular. ere are fewer options if it's the more ubiquitous American fare you seek — burgers, fries, and the like — but the elevated cuisine at Hualalai is a perfect accompaniment to the overall experience. Even the buffet breakfast, while admittedly steep (but really, what isn't in Hawaii?) is superior to others you'll find at neighboring properties. e malasadas (Portuguese >> @ranchandcoast RANCH & COAST MAGAZINE MAY 2023 59 The quiet Beach Tree Pool is a perfect place for a tranquil afternoon The two-story Makaloa Villa sleeps ten and has a private plunge pool and spa The open-air lobby provides a picturesque welcome to Hualalai

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