The Fairmont Orchid – Hawaii – ☆☆☆☆
Date of Travel: December 2009
I have been living in California for about 10 years now, but am from the Big Island, so we decided to stay at the Orchid while home for a visit with family. We had spent part of our honeymoon at this resort back in 2004, and quite liked it. I’m reviewing our December ’09 trip in case that was confusing..
Upon our arrival, we were warmly greeted with a kukui nut lei. Check-in was relatively quick and easy, and we were then leisurely escorted to our room. This second floor room was overlooking the spa bungalows and some water features.
A footpath leading from the hotel to the pool area somewhat compromised our privacy, as everyone who took a stroll down that way had a direct, just above eye level view into our room. There are however large wooden shutters you can draw if concealment is desired. Upgrading to a room with ocean, or golf course view may be the way to go if you plan on spending a considerable amount of time in the room.
The room, bathroom and balcony were all clean, but showed distinct signs of wear and tear compared to our visit 5 years prior. At one point during our stay, I overheard a man asking if they had any recently renovated rooms he could change to. They did not, but I’m hoping they have plans to do so in the near future. Some of the dresser drawers and TV cabinet doors had big gash marks and didn’t close flush. Grouting and wall treatments in the bathroom also needed a little freshening. It’s a nice hotel, so I hope they do put some money into it.
After taking some photos of the sunset, we headed over to Brown’s Beach House for our anniversary dinner. It’s close proximity to the shore and live local guitarist offer a beautiful ambiance. The wait staff really went out of their way to make sure a lovely vegetarian dish was prepared to our satisfaction.
Breakfast at the Orchid Court was not bad. We did like that they had a great variety of a la carte menu items to choose from. Spending around 30.00 USD per person for a buffet breakfast isn’t always the most prudent decision.. especially when we aren’t big breakfast eaters. The wait staff were a little slow. They were used to people having the buffet, and would forget to come over and take our food orders post beverage order.
Out in front of the hotel is a small beach/cove area with chairs, and you have the cabana rental option. There are also kayaks and water toys available for rent as well. Sheltered from rough surf by natural rock barriers, this sandy coastal access point is a great place to bring the kids.
Unfortunately, 2 days of our 3 day stay happened to be the scheduled renovation of a poolside restaurant. Caterpillars/big machinery were moving back and forth through the pool area wafting saw dust in our faces while we sun bathed and ate lunch. This renovation is great for future guests, but we were disappointed with how the hotel handled the inconvenience. When we asked for a complimentary (or at least discounted) beach side cabana due to this disturbance, they denied our request. The hotel was almost a ghost town, and just about every cabana on the premises was empty. Dozens of unoccupied cabanas, and no love for us loyal Fairmont visitors.
If you’re planning a visit to the Big Island, I truly believe that you would be able to find a better (or as good) hotel for a more affordable price. This opinion is based on the way we were treated, so there is a good chance that things have changed.. I have no way of knowing. Overall, we had a relatively good experience at the Fairmont Orchid. Aside from those few aforementioned hiccups, our anniversary trip was fabulous.