I knew Hualālai was special from the moment I arrived, although tired and jet lagged after a long flight from the mainland. But, as soon as I stepped out of my taxi at the welcoming entrance of the Four Seasons Resort, I felt like I was home. And as I would soon come to learn, that was no accident.
Nestled along the legendary Kona-Kohala coast of Hawaii Island, the Hualālai Resort is more than just another resort community. It boasts 865 acres of lush oceanfront, two world-class golf courses, the luxurious and award-winning Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, and some of the most spectacular oceanfront homes in the world. It’s got soul.
Hualālai’s location and amenities are spectacular, but what I found that sets this place apart are the people who live and work there. They shower members and guests with an overwhelming feeling of warmth and welcome that is inherent in the Hawaiian culture. Hualālai feels like home because everyone is treated like family.
The Hualālai Resort itself is on par with even the most opulent home on the mainland. The Four Seasons Resort Hualālai is consistently ranked among world’s best hotels resorts. My ocean view suite provided just the right combination of privacy and luxury. And the fine dining at the ‘Ulu Ocean Grill, the casual, barefoot elegance of the Beach Tree, and the club-like ambience of the Hualālai Grille overlooking the 18th green are all a foodie’s delight. Tucked in just beyond the Waiakauhi Pond and 18th tee box of the Hualālai Golf Course, is the Residents’ Beach House. With casual lānai dining and a menu of simple seafood dishes, this is a great venue to whale watch, take in an amazing sunset, or relax and sip a signature cocktail.
Meanwhile, golfers have two world-class golf courses that wind through the Big Island’s black lava fields to choose from. For those who crave the ultimate in exclusivity, the private Ke‘olu Golf Course is a Tom Weiskopf design and only open to resort members. Its challenging holes and breathtaking ocean views are legendary. Meanwhile, the Hualālai’s spectacular Jack Nicklaus-signature designed championship golf course is open to hotel guests.
And what is the best resort golf amenity that I’ve seen in a while? The newly opened Four Seasons Resort Golf Hale is designed to bring golfers and nongolfers together under one roof for hours of golf instruction and entertainment. It features three bays filled with high-tech equipment that on-site pros can use to analyze and measure your swing in 3D.
Since there is so much to do at Hualālai, most guests say it’s about finding a balance between activities and relaxation. And for me, there is no better way to connect with the ocean and spirit of Hawaii than outrigger canoe paddling. The Hualālai Canoe Club that overlooks Uluweuweu Bay and offers dining, a large pool, shaded lounge chairs, and lawn games, is open to members only.
While base of operations for the Alaka‘i Nalu (that’s located close to the club and staffed by local watermen and waterwomen to help both members and guests get out on the ocean) is where I teamed up with the amazing Randall who took me out for a two-person outrigger canoe paddle. My memorable paddle with Randall reinforced my love for this special island because he loves it so much—and loves sharing it with people like me.
But Randall is not unique. The foundation of the Hualālai Resort’s community is the compassionate people who live there. Nowhere is this sentiment more alive than within the Hualālai ʻOhana Foundation that was started by a small group of Hualālai homeowners to send an unwell employee to the mainland for medical services. The nonprofit helps all Hualālai residents contribute to the well-being of the community’s most valuable asset: its employees.
No wonder I felt so good when I arrived and was so sad when I had to leave. Lots of resorts and developments say they care about their community but few do it as thoroughly and authentically as Hualālai.
And that’s just one of the many reasons why Four Seasons Resort guests often return to be Hualālai homeowners and club members. It’s a luxury resort community that has amazing views, world-class amenities, and gourmet dining that will restore your body, and, most importantly, a spirit of family that will feed your soul.
For more information, visit hualalairesort.com.