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New Review: The Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii

Sun, sea, snorkelling and spectacular sunsets await...

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Fairmont Orchid Brown’s Restuarant

First impressions

After landing in Big Island’s open-air airport and driving down the only highway past endless fields of black volcanic rock and Muana Kea, the world’s highest mountain, you’ll arrive at The Fairmont Orchid. Situated on the island’s sunny and stunning Kohala Coast (it can often rain on the west) within the luxury Mauna Lani resort, breath-taking and totally unspoilt natural beauty surrounds you. You’ll be greeted on arrival with a smile and a traditional Hawaiian lei made of beads (cream for you, brown for him) before being shown into the enormous marble lobby to check-in.

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Room for romance

The guest rooms are very spacious, and home to an enormous King-sixed bed, a deep tub, an array of Miller Harris toiletries and a large, private balcony. What’s not to love? Most look out over the Fairmont’s lush gardens, though there are also a few stunning Oceanfront suites. Our choice, however, would be to bag a room on the Fairmont Gold floor. Billed as a ‘hotel within a hotel’ guests here are treated to the world’s most helpful concierge, and every day at 5pm, complimentary canapés and drinks are served in the lounge. Bliss!

Wine & dine

You’re totally spoilt for choice. For a toes-in-the-sand informal lunch or dinner,
the Hale Kai Restaurant serves up low-key, but v. tasty favourites – and is conveniently located next to the open-air cocktail bar where you can pull up a stool, order a mai tai and stare out to sea. The Luana Lounge has live local music nightly, serves up cocktails and pupus, (Hawaiian tapas) and its veranda offers an unbeatable view of the out-of-this world Big Island sunsets. There’s also a top-notch Sushi restaurant, but the real star of the show is Brown’s Beach House. Serving up island-inspired treats made using locally sourced produce, this restaurant is seriously romantic. You’ll dine on the freshest Hawaiian fish while the waves lap the shore – just feet from your candlelit table – and the palms rustle in the evening breeze. It’s certainly not cheap, but price aside, there really is no other way to fault this fabulous experience.

We love…

The Fairmont’s private beach. This beautiful little palm-fringed bay is everything you imagine Hawaii to be. And what’s more, its crystal clear waters are home to hona turtles, a spectacular coral reef and technicolour tropical fish. You can hire snorkel gear from the ever-helpful Beach Boys for a small fee, but there are also bags of complimentary activities such as turtle spotting, snorkel and surf introductions, paddle board lessons, canoe trips and more.

 
We don’t love

The fact that there aren’t any sun umbrellas available on the beach – only by the pool. Yes, you want to go home a tantastic goddess, but the rays here are very strong indeed, and seeing as your sun cream might not stay put when you’re dipping in and out of the turquoise sea, an umbrella or two wouldn’t go amiss.

 
X Factor

You’ll be pleased to know that the totally wow-sounding Spa Without Walls is every inch as wonderful as you’d expect. As the name suggests, this spa is a whole lot more than a sauna and some treatment rooms crammed into a hotel’s basement: here you choose where you’d like your pampering– in a hut next to a waterfall, perhaps? Beside a koi carp pond, maybe? Or in a cabana that’s open to the ocean? The choice is yours. We recommend the awesome lomi lomi couple’s massage (one hour of unadulterated bliss) but there’s a whole host of treats to pick from. And, relax…

Go there

Nightly rates at the Fairmont Orchid in a Fairmont Garden View room start from £104 per person from Nov – Dec 2011 and £116 for Jan – Mar 2012, Kuoni. Visit kuoni.co.uk for more info, or call 01306 747008.

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By Gemma Hughes.