Honolulu| Four Seasons Halekulani & Ritz-Carlton

I recently returned from Hawaii where I checked out most of the top luxury hotels in Maui, the Big Island and on Oahu (Honolulu and area).  Here are my thoughts about Oahu, from Waikiki to Ko Olina.

LOCATION*

Four Seasons Oahu at Ko Olina | On the beach, 20 miles west of the airport and 27 miles west of central Waikiki.

Halekulani | Bascially on the beach in central Waikiki, 8 miles east of the airport.

Royal Hawaiian | On the beach next door to Halekulali

Ritz Carlton Residences | A few blocks from the beach in central Waikiki, right up from both Halekulani and Royal Hawaiian

* Location: Why does it matter?  Ko Olina is pretty far from everything except the Disney hotel next door, some other time shares in the area and a small shopping center. You’re pretty much going to spend your vacation there, enjoying the facilities and their restaurants.  A  half-day trip to Pearl Harbor would be logical.  Waikiki is insanely busy with a lot of high end shopping geared for mostly Japanese tourists. But with that you get lots of restaurants and street buzz. There is also the very SOMA/SOHO type neighborhood in Chinatown  (very close to Waikiki) which is great for hipster bars and restaurants. This was a highlight of my trip, actually.

THE HOTELS AND RESORTS

Four Seasons Oahu at Ko Olina | I loved this place.  Other than being brand new, the rooms are large, bathrooms huge and sexy, balconies have views, great design throughout and they have Nespresso machines, the best type of pod coffee out there. Highlights include:

  • This is a fairly big resort (371 rooms) with a lot of floors in a 70s building which they’ve done a very good job of ‘lightening up.’ It’s a real 180 from the Four Seasons in Maui, Lanai or the Big Island, especially Hualalai.
  • Views facing east toward the pool, beach, ocean and the hotels down the beach or views facing west of natural beauty and the nearby  evening luau’s at Paradise Cove (which might be the only downside of this view, but I’d risk it)
  • Several restaurants to choose from including Italian (yum, I enjoyed) Fish, Asian & Pool (yum, I love my burgers and friendly bartenders)
  • Fitness.  Tennis – lots of it.  And a gym which is currently being expanded
  • Spa. I thought the spa was just OK as it’s not be redone.
  • Beach. This is shared with Disney’s Aulani next door and there is a rope separating the two.  The Four Seasons has beach chairs and beach service and that’s great. Nearby pool is fine.
  • Adult pool.  Super nice.  This is a brand new very quiet infinity pool on the side of the resort away from the beach. I could have spent all day here. Tres chic.
  • Rooms.  Huge contemporary rooms with huge bathrooms.  Very modern. Very sexy. Overall my favorite rooms between the other Four Seasons (but I haven’t seen the new rooms at Four Seasons Manele Bay in Lanai yet and I hear they’re incredible.)

Halekulani | The history of this hotel goes back decades and has a prime location with truly spectacular views of Diamond Head from some of the rooms and from the pool.  The current building is from around 1980. My thoughts:

  • Service is exceptional and very old fashioned. It’s almost like you’re not in Hawaii though. No Aloha shirts here   – it’s dark suits.
  • They put a lot of effort into their restaurants, and the view from Orchids is pretty wonderful. Of course, any view of Diamond Head is wonderful.
  • Their signature Orchid pool is elegant with their ‘famous’ sunset cocktail hour with hula and ukulele right there. I even had a view of this (& the ocean) from my 15th Floor room.
  • The beach is accessible from the pool area and is right there, so you can walk as far as you’d like to.
  • I’d strongly recommend that I book you a Diamond Head view.

Ritz Carlton Residences | A few blocks from the beach in central Waikiki, right up from both Halekulani and Royal Hawaiian sits the first of two combination residence/hotel towers of the Ritz-Carlton.  It just opened in July 2016.

What I liked: If you want to be in Waikiki, the rooms (which all have a kitchen or kitchenette and washer/dryer) are really nice.  They’re brand new, very light and airy  and have a contemporary theme.  The views, either toward the ocean or mountains, are wonderful. They have the first acclaimed Sushi Sho outside of Japan but it’s $300 a person.

What I didn’t like:  Architecturally, it’s attractive but massive, and it’s only half built! It appears out of place, even for Waikiki.   And because it’s only half built the facilties for its 307 rooms aren’t really ready for prime time. The pool is tiny and restaurants are minimal (just one other than Sushi Sho). But it is Waikiki and there are plenty of places nearby.

Royal Hawaiian | I didn’t see the rooms here, but the public areas are truly unique and a throwback to the early 20th century when the hotel was built.   It’s called the Pink Palace for a reason.  Even with 528 rooms, it didn’t seem overwhelmed or too commercial like the nearby Moana Surfrider, a Starwood 4 star property down Kalakaua, the main drag.

The Kahala | I did not visit.

 

Other Reviews from my September visit to Hawaii:

Maui / Four Seasons at Wailea
Maui / Andaz at Wailea
Maui / Hotel Wailea Relais and Chateau
Big Island / Four Seasons Hualalai
Big Island / Mauna Kea

f o r   m o r e   i n f o r m a t i o n   &   t o   b o o k

josh friedman luxury travel
in san francisco
415.987.0372 | joshfriedmantravel.com
an independent affiliate of travel experts | a virtuoso agency

facebook  twitter  flickr  you tube
four seasons preferred partner

Josh Friedman is an old-fashioned travel agent offering highly personalized 24/7 service. Specialties include high-end and bespoke luxury travel for small groups and individuals.  His areas of expertise include ultra-luxury cruises, customized vacations & luxury hotel stays.  He also plans spectacular honeymoons, anniversary and birthday celebrations and completes trips that clients have started and just can’t quite figure out how to finish.

His relationships built over twenty years with the world’s top hotels, cruise lines and local agencies will ensure your successful vacation. As a client you get exclusive and complimentary perks that you can’t get on your own — from VIP introduction to the hotel’s management to upgrades, scrumptious breakfasts and hotel spending credits.

Call Josh for details, the ultimate in service & exclusive luxury hotel amenities with Virtuoso.

4083 24th street, #460250,  san francisco, ca 94114 cst# 2080753-40

Josh Friedman Luxury Travel | San Francisco

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Mauna Kea | Big Island

We were at Mauna Kea a few years ago, and really loved it.  It’s a classic 60’s mid-century masterpiece that looks even more fabulous after a recent makeover.

Built by Laurance Rockefeller on the best beach on the Big Island, it shines in its individuality.  And like any resort, it’s not for everybody. And neither is the Four Seasons Hualalai.

Highlights

  • It’s one easy to navigate building surrounded by oceans and gardens.
  • The beachfront building is a later attachment with rooms opening directly onto a lawn facing the ocean
  • Views are awesome.
  • Classic artwork is everywhere. Their Buddah is particularly wonderful.
  • Their main restaurant has a great view as well and is wonderful. It’s not directly on the beach like at the Four Seasons, but it’s nice. (Not being inches from the beach helps it weather storms better though)
  • Rooms are really stunning (see pictures). Mid-century meets Hawaiian, but not too mid-century.
  • Bathrooms are huge and very indulgent.

Enjoy! And we include complimentary breakfast daily, an upgrade if available and a spending credit (subj to change at any time)

f o r   m o r e   i n f o r m a t i o n   &   t o   b o o k

 josh friedman luxury travel
in san francisco
415.987.0372 | joshfriedmantravel.com
an independent affiliate of travel experts | a virtuoso agency
facebook  twitter  flickr  you tube
four seasons preferred partner

Josh Friedman is an old-fashioned travel agent offering highly personalized 24/7 service. Specialties include high-end and bespoke luxury travel for small groups and individuals.  His areas of expertise include ultra-luxury cruises, customized vacations & luxury hotel stays.  He also plans spectacular honeymoons, anniversary and birthday celebrations and completes trips that clients have started and just can’t quite figure out how to finish.

His relationships built over twenty years with the world’s top hotels, cruise lines and local agencies will ensure your successful vacation. As a client you get exclusive and complimentary perks that you can’t get on your own — from VIP introduction to the hotel’s management to upgrades, scrumptious breakfasts and hotel spending credits.

Call Josh for details, the ultimate in service & exclusive luxury hotel amenities with Virtuoso.

4083 24th street, #460250,  san francisco, ca 94114 cst# 2080753-40

 

Josh Friedman Luxury Travel | San Francisco

 

Four Seasons Hualalai | Beach at Night

Big Island Hawaii| Four Seasons Hualalai

Aloha!

I’m finally relaxed after a week in Hawaii. Amazing how much time it takes. Used to be 5 nights was good.  Now it’s clearly 7.  I’ll just blame in on my urban lifestyle. A successful business I will admit adds to that. But all’s good.

On this trip, I’ve now seen 3 of the 4 Four Seasons Resorts in Hawaii – Maui (Wailea), Big Island (Hualalai) and Oahu (Ko Olina).  Just arrived Oahu so that post will follow.

Hualalai is the opposite of the other 3 (including Four Seasons Lanai which I saw 2 years ago). Instead of high rises there are 2 story bungalows spread out on a fairly long stretch of coastline, and bungalows behind them.  Several swimming pools, from adults only to kid friendly to tres chic to “swimming with fish” dot that coastline. Same with the restaurants. There’s a huge gym/spa and lap pool set back, next to tennis courts, a wonderful store for an early AM coffee and pastry. The lobby is back in there as well.

Service is very Four Seasons which is over the top super friendly and accommodating. On an island with zero percent unemployment this is not easy to accomplish but it’s done well. Maui continues to be more cosmopolitan and things run fast and on LA/NY time. You won’t find that pace here, in the more relaxed Hawaii.

At Hualalai, I adore the gym/pool/spa.  It’s really damn gorgeous and huge. You could spend the entire morning or afternoon here. Outdoor his & her gardens are wonderful, so shed it all if you like.

I also truly love love the main restaurant here which sits directly on the beach. Amazing that the waves don’t come up to the table. I’ve been here before and it’s probably the most romantic restaurant I’ve ever been to. If I can think of another one, I’ll update. The breakfast buffet (free if you book with me) is unreal. Beats the FS Maui (sorry). Yesterday I had lots of papaya and bacon, a balanced meal ?

My room was actually pretty great. The big question clients have about Four Seasons Hualalai is should I take a room downstairs with the outdoor shower, or upstairs (prime) with the ‘better’ ocean view and balcony.  From my downstairs ocean view room in the Palm Court section, I had the best of everything – ocean view (with the waves at eye level not far away), an outdoor shower (yes, very very cool) and very close (30 second walk) to the adults only pool, with its own bar.  Yes, heaven.  So downstairs or upstairs? If you’ve never been to a beach resort or if you just love the (higher/better) water view, go upstairs. Otherwise, I really loved that lower location.

And thanks Four Seasons Hualalai for meeting me (and every guest) right at the Kona airport, even though I had a rental car. That’s a super nice touch.

And one last thanks to my contacts here who take such great care of my clients. We’re a Four Seasons Preferred Partner agency. This is their highest level program which flags bookings at a high VIP level. And of course any bookings from me usually puts a smile on their face too.

Aloha & Mahalo!

 

f o r   m o r e   i n f o r m a t i o n   &   t o   b o o k

josh friedman luxury travel
in san francisco
415.987.0372 | joshfriedmantravel.com
an independent affiliate of travel experts | a virtuoso agency

facebook  twitter  flickr  you tube
four seasons preferred partner

Josh Friedman is an old-fashioned travel agent offering highly personalized 24/7 service. Specialties include high-end and bespoke luxury travel for small groups and individuals.  His areas of expertise include ultra-luxury cruises, customized vacations & luxury hotel stays.  He also plans spectacular honeymoons, anniversary and birthday celebrations and completes trips that clients have started and just can’t quite figure out how to finish.

His relationships built over twenty years with the world’s top hotels, cruise lines and local agencies will ensure your successful vacation. As a client you get exclusive and complimentary perks that you can’t get on your own — from VIP introduction to the hotel’s management to upgrades, scrumptious breakfasts and hotel spending credits.

Call Josh for details, the ultimate in service & exclusive luxury hotel amenities with Virtuoso.

4083 24th street, #460250,  san francisco, ca 94114 cst# 2080753-40

Josh Friedman Luxury Travel | San Francisco

Maui | Four Seasons at Wailea

Aloha and Good Afternoon!

Day Two of our trip to Maui is nearing cocktail hour. But more about that in tomorrow’s post. If you missed Day One, click here.

Yesterday started off with drive in nearby Kihei to try a local breakfast and meet the townspeople. Kihei is a fun basic surf town with a very beautiful beach, grocery stores, surf shops and a few good restaurants.   In the past we’ve enjoyed the 808 Bistro for breakfast, but i’m going back anytime soon. Looking forward to trying the Kihei Caffe before we leave. That was always fun.

We enjoyed another tasty lunch in our (complimentary) cabana at the Hotel Wailea before heading off to the Four Seasons.  Forgot to mention in yesterday’s post that the bathrooms in our suite (they’re all suites) were pretty breathtaking and sexy.  A huge shower with no doors sits adjacent to a nice big white freestanding tub, all right off the bedroom.

Four Seasons Maui at Wailea never disappoints, but not sure why they replaced their L’Occitane amenities with what appears to me to be an off brand made in China. Need to investigate. Beyond that, the service levels at this hotel are really unparalleled anywhere in the world. Not sure how or why that is but everybody is amazing here.

The rooms are now going through a major refresh with about 12% of the rooms closed. We’re in a new one and it’s very nice.  Classic luxury like you’d expect.  A little Italian modern thrown in with some subtle Hawaiian patterns in the carpet and a beautiful hard wood floor in the foyer. The views in this hotel will not win any prizes so as long as you know not to expect much in that department you’ll be fine.

We ended the day with mai tais in the incomparable lobby bar with dinner overlooking the beach at Ferraro’s, the resort’s Italian restaurant and just a wonderful place to hang out. Atmosphere is relaxed but classy. Live music is always welcome. It was dark but the moon lightly lit up the horizon and my caccia e pepe was fine, but maybe not like you’re in Rome.

 

f o r   m o r e   i n f o r m a t i o n   &   t o   b o o k

josh friedman luxury travel
in san francisco
415.987.0372 | joshfriedmantravel.com
an independent affiliate of travel experts | a virtuoso agency

facebook  twitter  flickr  you tube
four seasons preferred partner

Josh Friedman is an old-fashioned travel agent offering highly personalized 24/7 service. Specialties include high-end and bespoke luxury travel for small groups and individuals.  His areas of expertise include ultra-luxury cruises, customized vacations & luxury hotel stays.  He also plans spectacular honeymoons, anniversary and birthday celebrations and completes trips that clients have started and just can’t quite figure out how to finish.

His relationships built over twenty years with the world’s top hotels, cruise lines and local agencies will ensure your successful vacation. As a client you get exclusive and complimentary perks that you can’t get on your own — from VIP introduction to the hotel’s management to upgrades, scrumptious breakfasts and hotel spending credits.

Call Josh for details, the ultimate in service & exclusive luxury hotel amenities with Virtuoso.

4083 24th street, #460250,  san francisco, ca 94114 cst# 2080753-40

Josh Friedman Luxury Travel | San Francisco

Maui | Hotel Wailea Relais Chateau

Aloha and good morning!

We’re up enjoying our first morning of vacation. Back on our patio here enjoying the lush plants and green lawn. Haven’t had a room with a lawn since the Himalaya and it’s nice.  And with Nespresso it’s even nicer.

Maybe because Relais & Chateua has a huge European presence or ‘just because’ there are a lot of Europeans here. Of course there are only 18 little buildings here, each with 4 units, so ‘a lot’ is relative.

We enjoyed our first day yesterday.  Set up directly up the slope of the volcano 3 minutes by car from the Four Seasons, we’re enjoying this different kind of non-beach experience. After arrival we went directly to the pool for a couple of hours of super friendly chat with the 2 young ladies running the area. They manage the food, the cocktails, the beer, the smoothies and towel service. They seem to love working here.

The pool area is quite chic, just redone a year or so ago. It’s Hawaii so nobody’s really sure when it was done. Several ‘first come first serve’ giant cabanas line one side of the pool and that would be quite a way to spend a good part of your day. And by night there’s a romantic hot tub, last night used by one of the non-European honeymoon couples staying here.

The food at the pool bar was a bit unusual, fresh and perfect for a warm day. We shared an ahi wrap in a spinach tortilla with sweet potato fries. I had a very Hawaiian smoothie and John a “refreshing” mojito he told me.

At 5pm we returned to the pool area for some complimentary wine (choice of red or white), a friendly daily occurrence.  The bar was still active with a Brit or two.

Dinner a couple of hours later in their new restaurant, formerly known as Capische, was enjoyable, peaceful and romantic. The entrance is quite dramatic with South Pacific inspired art and the restaurant itself is all outdoors, a narrow sliver against a balcony with a very nice view of Maui’s west side. Relais and Chateau is known for their food (a requirement for membership) and this did not disappoint. I had a combination chicken breast and chicken sausage from a specialty farm (in California) with baby carrots that melted in your mouth.  Always love a great bread basket as was there’s. John’s snapper

Off to explore today!

 

f o r   m o r e   i n f o r m a t i o n   &   t o   b o o k 

josh friedman luxury travel (a relais and chateau partner of course)
in san francisco
415.987.0372 | joshfriedmantravel.com
an independent affiliate of travel experts | a virtuoso agency

facebook  twitter  flickr  you tube
four seasons preferred partner

Josh Friedman is an old-fashioned travel agent offering highly personalized 24/7 service. Specialties include high-end and bespoke luxury travel for small groups and individuals.  His areas of expertise include ultra-luxury cruises, customized vacations & luxury hotel stays.  He also plans spectacular honeymoons, anniversary and birthday celebrations and completes trips that clients have started and just can’t quite figure out how to finish.

His relationships built over twenty years with the world’s top hotels, cruise lines and local agencies will ensure your successful vacation. As a client you get exclusive and complimentary perks that you can’t get on your own — from VIP introduction to the hotel’s management to upgrades, scrumptious breakfasts and hotel spending credits.

Call Josh for details, the ultimate in service & exclusive luxury hotel amenities with Virtuoso.

4083 24th street, #460250,  san francisco, ca 94114 cst# 2080753-40

Josh Friedman Luxury Travel | San Francisco

Four Seasons Lanai Review from a Preferred Partner Agency

If you ‘ve been following my trip through Hawaii, you’ve already read my reviews of Maui’s luxury hotels.  Now are are my thoughts on Lanai and the two Four Seasons resorts there  — Lana’i at Manele Bay and Lana’i, the Lodge at Koele.

Lana’i in General

The beauty of Lana’i is that it’s remote.  Just look at the picture below from our room.  While not in the middle of the Indian Ocean, up until now it might just as well have been.  I’ve been to Hawaii many times over the last 15 years since the hotels were built but it’s the first time I’ve been here, except for a 1 day snorkeling trip in 1985.  This island is either a 45 minute ferry ride from Lahaina (Maui) or a short flight from Honolulu. *

From our balcony at the Four Seasons Manele Bay the view is of the water, the rocks, a bit of the resort’s landscaping and that’s it. One feels one has gone much further than about 20 miles from Maui!  If you want to relax — this is the place.   Main activities include snorkeling from the hotel’s beach, horseback riding up on top of the island, tennis and golf (2 courses) . You can also rent a jeep and visit the remote beaches on the island. Unfortunately I didn’t have time for that.

* The island was purchased a year ago by Larry Ellison, the founder of Oracle.  He bought the airline flying there too and Four Seasons is planning a meet and greet at the Honolulu Airport for early 2014  to make the transfer easier.

View from Room at Four Seasons Manele Bay
View from Room at Four Seasons Manele Bay

Four Seasons Lana’i at Manele Bay

There are 2 hotels and one small inn on the island. Manele Bay is Four Seasons’s resort on the water.  Barely spoken of in the same breath as Four Seasons Wailea in Maui, or Four Seasons Hualalai on the Big Island, Manele Bay has been the ‘cheap’ Four Seasons in Hawaii at about 60-70% the price of the other two. And Koele has been even less expensive.  And staying there now, it’s clear why that’s the case: It’s harder to get to, the rooms aren’t as nice, the service isn’t as sophisticated and the facilities aren’t as beautiful.  But significant changes have begun with the purchase by Larry Ellison and I’m told by the hotel’s General Manager that by July of 2014 the renovations at Manele Bay will be mostly completed and the hotel will have turned about a 180 from where it is now.  And I believe him.  The opening of Nobu is one sign – with World Class cuisine firmly in place, a total renovation of the lobby about done,  and “test” rooms completed, analyzed and retooled.

Four Seasons Lodge at Koele

About 20 minutes up the hill toward the center of the island , adjacent to downtown Lanai City, some nice stables, and many many acres of open land and forest sits the Lodge.

The temperature has cooled off a few degrees, the ocean view has vanished and now it’s almost as if you’ve arrived at Yosemite’s Ahwahnee Hotel, but slightly smaller with 102 rooms. (Manele Bay has 236 but it’s going down to about 209). Even though the hotel looks storied, it only opened in the 90s.

Being a Hawaii regular I was pretty shocked by the transition – and I’m not one who likes surprises. Plus I like beach! But my partner John immediately wanted to check-in and open a book once he saw the hammock out in the very green backyard.  Since our visit I’ve spoken to others who really like the atmosphere.  It’s great for hiking, riding and relaxation and with less heat and humidity than down by the beach. It’s also harder to snorkel.  While the look and feel of Manele Bay is becoming quite contemporary, for now Koele remains rather traditional.

For dining outside the Lodge, the Lanai City Grille is a very good option. It’s technically walkable but the walk isn’t that nice so the hotel runs a shuttle. The restaurant is by the main park where you’ll find other small businesses like gift shops and coffee shops. But don’t expect much – it’s very minimal.

The Lodge at Koele
Four Seasons Lanai – The Lodge at Koele

Visiting Lanai Thoughts

I’d recommend an overnight stay now on Lanai if you really want to get away from it all and if you have a realistic expectation on what to expect of the two hotels. For me on this last trip I really enjoyed the solitude and the fabulous balcony with the sound of ocean and nothing else.  I enjoyed the food very much at all 3 restaurants at Manele Bay. I was also OK with the typically slow and not very sophisticated service levels in the restaurants.  If that’s not OK for you, then I’d suggest waiting until next August  (2014) or so to visit when renovations are finished at Manele Bay and the staff has had more training a la Wailea and Hualalai. I understand the Lodge is slated for renovations for 2015 but it’s really fine now.

Photos from the trip.

Dog at Stables on Lanai
Dog at Stables near Lodge at Koele

Next Steps for Booking Travel to Lanai

Call Josh for details, excellent pricing, the ultimate in service & exclusive hotel amenities as a Four Seasons Preferred Partner — for perks you cannot get on your own.

josh friedman luxury travel
in san francisco
415.987.0372 | joshfriedmantravel.com
with travel experts, a virtuoso member agency

twitter  flickr  facebook   you tube  tripadvisor

Josh Friedman is an old-fashioned travel agent offering highly personalized 24/7 service. Specialties include high-end and bespoke luxury travel for small groups and individuals.  His areas of expertise include ultra-luxury cruises, customized vacations & luxury hotel stays.  He also plans spectacular honeymoons, anniversary and birthday celebrations and completes trips that clients have started and just can’t quite figure out how to finish.

His relationships built over twenty years with the world’s top hotels, cruise lines and local agencies will ensure your successful vacation. As a client you get exclusive and complimentary perks that you can’t get on your own — from VIP introduction to the hotel’s management to upgrades, scrumptious breakfasts and hotel spending credits.

affiliated with travel experts, a virtuoso agency and four seasons preferred partner,
201 spear st., ste 1100,  san francisco, ca 94105 cst# 2080753-40.

Josh Friedman Luxury Travel | San Francisco

Luxury Hotel Reviews in Maui

Here are my quick perspectives on some of the top hotels in Maui. I’ve been to Hawaii many times including several visits to ths wonderful island. Hope you find this helpful while working with me to plan your perfect customized luxury vacation in Hawaii. Reach me in San Francisco at 415.987.0372.

The Ritz-Carlton Kapalua

A most amazing hotel and I’m sorry I waited so long to see it.  Typically when we travel to Maui we stay in Wailea. Force of habit, and the Four Seasons (see below) is a great place.

The Ritz is nothing like the Four Seasons, or the other hotels in Wailea mentioned below. It’s its own world in the northwest corner of the island. Whereas other resorts are lined up on the beach, this place sits on a gazillion acres and is all by itself.  The beach is a very good size, and private (not technically, but might as well be).  You can have a fabulous pulled Hawaiian pork sandwich just steps away which the day we were there was perfect. Strangely in Maui, it’s not easy to find a place where you can practically be in the water while dining, so this is a big deal.

The rooms are absolutely beautiful. I’d call it classic Hawaiian, and fits in with a 21st century sensibility. So it’s not your grandma’s classic — it’s yours.  The rooms aren’t big, so I’d recommend a suite, and since the hotel is priced so well, that’s within reach of all of my clients. And of course, we include the Josh Friedman Luxury Travel/Virtuoso amenities of free daily breakfast for two, a room credit of $100 per stay and an upgrade if available. (All subject to change.)

The hotel is large with about 450 rooms, and this affords several swimming pools, restaurants, a spa, tennis courts and more. And for kids (and adults) Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ambassadors of the Environment.

Fairmont Kea Lani

In Wailea, this 350 room resort has a more typical layout and because it’s not huge like the Ritz it can feel a bit busy. The rooms however, are huge and all are suites which is really nice when you wake up before your partner and want a cup of coffee from the Keurig.

It’s a great family hotel with pools, slides, the big rooms & kid friendly everything. Service is fantastic with a very authentic and sincere feeling. I got the sense that the staff honestly meant what they said, and said it in a way where it was not forced.

We include the Josh Friedman Luxury Travel/Virtuoso amenities of free daily breakfast for two, a welcome amenity valued at up to $100 and an upgrade if available. (All subject to change.)

Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea

We’ve stayed here twice before and love this place. They’re all family friendly — you kind of have to be these days because nobody leaves their children at home any more!  But this resort is geared toward sophisticated adults, similar to the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua. Because it’s smaller at about 250 rooms (there are less groups than the Ritz)  and because the grounds are a fraction of what’s in Kapalua, it has a more intimate feel.  And the adult pool is heavenly, but it is hard to find a seat there.

Service is through the ceiling as Four Seasons is known for.  But sometimes I do wish they’d lighten up and relax a bt on the job. We had a wonderful house Mai Tai in the lobby bar, followed a romantic Italian dinner down close to beach at Ferraro’s.

As a top producer for Four Seasons we include the Josh Friedman Luxury Travel/”Preferred Partner”  amenities of free daily breakfast for two, a room credit of $100 per stay, an upgrade if available and basic Internet. (All subject to change/some restrictions apply.)

Andaz Maui at Wailea

This resort just opened up and we stopped by for a sunset cocktail. And they have a great location and set up so you’re facing the ocean dead-on for this traditional daily activity.  The resort is clearly targeted to the well-to-do  30s-40s crowd.  Although I’m no longer in that demographic I loved the contemporary design. It’s stunning: very sexy. Very fun. And the service was very real, similar to what we experienced at Kea Lani and at the Ritz Kapalua.  There’s no check-in deck which is great, so it’s handled more casually in the lobby.

I didn’t see the rooms, so can’t comment there.

Photos from the trip.

A L O H A !

Call Josh for details, excellent pricing, the ultimate in service & exclusive hotel amenities with Virtuoso

josh friedman luxury travel
in san francisco
415.987.0372 | joshfriedmantravel.com
with travel experts, a virtuoso member agency

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Josh Friedman is an old-fashioned travel agent offering highly personalized 24/7 service. Specialties include high-end and bespoke luxury travel for small groups and individuals.  His areas of expertise include ultra-luxury cruises, customized vacations & luxury hotel stays.  He also plans spectacular honeymoons, anniversary and birthday celebrations and completes trips that clients have started and just can’t quite figure out how to finish.

His relationships built over twenty years with the world’s top hotels, cruise lines and local agencies will ensure your successful vacation. As a client you get exclusive and complimentary perks that you can’t get on your own — from VIP introduction to the hotel’s management to upgrades, scrumptious breakfasts and hotel spending credits.

affiliated with travel experts, a virtuoso agency and four seasons preferred partner,
201 spear st., ste 1100,  san francisco, ca 94105 cst# 2080753-40.

Josh Friedman Luxury Travel | San Francisco

Adventures in Maui

Sorry for the delay in posting – just too much to do in Maui. And this is a vacation after all.

Dinners | It’s all about the food

Night #1 / Coconut’s Fish Cafe.  A dive joint in Kihei, of course in a strip mall, and with a line out the door. We split some fried coconut shrimp – a tropical specialty from Ft. Lauderdale to Maui apparently.  Fish sandwiches with coleslaw. Fantastic.

Night #2 / Mama’s Fish House. We’ve been several times over the years and this time was probably the best. Although the rain storm two years ago was fun. We split a half grilled papaya stuffed with beef, followed by Ono and Opakapaka.  Didn’t even try the mudpie for which I’m sorry now! Next time we’ll try Mama’s for lunch so we can see the ocean.

Night #3 / A progressive dinner at the Four Seasons Maui at Wailea.  We started off in the bar with a mai tai, topped with bing cherry foam. Amazing. Then had some pot stickers, enjoyed the sunset and then moved downstairs ocean side to Ferraro’s. This was a real treat. Service through the roof. We split both a salad and a beet & goat cheese risotto.

Night #4 / Pizza. Since we knew we were going the Four Seasons Lanaii and would have limited access to street food (and a car) this was the night for simple. We didn’t realize that the restaurant was 100% gluten free, but it didn’t stop us from enjoying it very much. Try Maui Brick Oven in Kihei.

Maui  | Sightseeing

Had never been to the Iao Valley before, and it’s beautiful. If you’re not going to Kauai, this is a little bit of Kauai’s Napali Coast brought to you.  And of course Makena Beach, which  I still think is one of the most beautiful (fairly) long beaches in the world.

mamas fish house
This is Ono at Mama’s Fish House in Maui!

And this morning before heading off to Lanai we went whale watching with one of Pacific Whale Foundation’s zodiac type boats. Saw some awesome humpbacks! Alas no pix but what an experience – a great value for $50 for 2 hours. Leaves from downtown Lahaina – 10 yards from the ferry to Lanai.

Photos From the Trip!

Call Josh for details, excellent pricing, the ultimate in service & exclusive hotel amenities with Virtuoso

josh friedman luxury travel
in san francisco
415.987.0372 | joshfriedmantravel.com
with travel experts, a virtuoso member agency

twitter  flickr  facebook   you tube  tripadvisor

Josh Friedman is an old-fashioned travel agent offering highly personalized 24/7 service. Specialties include high-end and bespoke luxury travel for small groups and individuals.  His areas of expertise include ultra-luxury cruises, customized vacations & luxury hotel stays.  He also plans spectacular honeymoons, anniversary and birthday celebrations and completes trips that clients have started and just can’t quite figure out how to finish.

His relationships built over twenty years with the world’s top hotels, cruise lines and local agencies will ensure your successful vacation. As a client you get exclusive and complimentary perks that you can’t get on your own — from VIP introduction to the hotel’s management to upgrades, scrumptious breakfasts and hotel spending credits.

affiliated with travel experts, a virtuoso agency and four seasons preferred partner,
201 spear st., ste 1100,  san francisco, ca 94105 cst# 2080753-40.

Josh Friedman Luxury Travel | San Francisco

We’ve Arrived in Hawaii

Can you see our hotel below? No, you can’t since this air shot is the north eastern end of the island where it rains alot. Not a good place for a resort..

If you could move the photo to the right, you’d see a big volcano east of the Hana coast and then a very nice resort. The volcano is Haleakala and the resort is Wailea.  Sandwiched between the Four Seasons Resort and some condos, you’ll find The Fairmont Kea Lani. That’s where we are.

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Call Josh for details, excellent pricing, the ultimate in service & exclusive hotel amenities with Virtuoso

 

josh friedman luxury travel
in san francisco
415.987.0372 | joshfriedmantravel.com
with travel experts, a virtuoso member agency

 

twitter  flickr  facebook   you tube  tripadvisor

Josh Friedman is an old-fashioned travel agent offering highly personalized 24/7 service. Specialties include high-end and bespoke luxury travel for small groups and individuals.  His areas of expertise include ultra-luxury cruises, customized vacations & luxury hotel stays.  He also plans spectacular honeymoons, anniversary and birthday celebrations and completes trips that clients have started and just can’t quite figure out how to finish.

His relationships built over twenty years with the world’s top hotels, cruise lines and local agencies will ensure your successful vacation. As a client you get exclusive and complimentary perks that you can’t get on your own — from VIP introduction to the hotel’s management to upgrades, scrumptious breakfasts and hotel spending credits.

affiliated with travel experts, a virtuoso agency and four seasons preferred partner,
201 spear st., ste 1100,  san francisco, ca 94105 cst# 2080753-40.

Josh Friedman Luxury Travel | San Francisco