For Travel Thursday, I am pleased to welcome Hallie Sawyer. Hallie has a novel in process which will hopefully soon be reviewed here. Hallie’s website chronicling her novel’s process is here.
Hallie enjoyed a fabulous trip to Hawaii. The Big Island of Hawaii is my favorite too. Here’s her journey:
Our arrival to The Big Island was bee-yoo-ti-ful. We were coming from Maui, and as we flew over the island, we had the most perfect view of Halekala volcano. A magnificent thing to see for this Kansas girl.
As we descended, the deep sapphire water gave way to aquamarine blue, revealing a maze of coral beds below the barely rippling water As our shuttle headed made its way to our hotel, The Four Season Hualalai, I couldn’t believe what I saw, or what I didn’t see. Where was all the flora? The lush vegetation lining the roads as far as the eye could see? This was Hawai’i right?
It felt more like I was on the moon! There was black rock everywhere. Not one palm tree! Our shuttle driver began to explain the landscape, which sparked my brain to start firing on all cylinders. We were driving on a volcano, one that is overdue to erupt mind you, and all of the rock we saw was from the lava flow a couple of hundred years ago. That’ll put things into perspective. The island even had it’s own version of graffiti. Washed up coral, smoothed over by the a daily power wash from the unrelenting waves, were dotted here and there. They left sayings like, “Sara was here” or “Peace” or hearts telling us of some guy’s abounding love. It was sort of pretty. Strange, yet beautiful.
We approached the resort, the black winding road flanked by an elaborate golf course and cozy villas that blended into the vegetation. We were impressed that the Four Seasons used lava rock for walkways-smoothed of course-, retaining walls, and woven golf cart paths among the fairways. I guess they used the old “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” idea.
Our hotel had a sprawling layout with the rooms set up in two-story buildings, tucked into the lushness of the landscape. Each room’s balcony faced the ocean and if you were lucky, the first floor rooms boasted an outdoor shower, walled in by, you guessed it, lava rock. Sort of glad we got the second floor or I might never have seen the beach. Ahem.
The rooms were spacious, inviting, clean, and relaxing. What did it for me were the box of goodies on the corner coffee table. There were some chocolate covered macadamias but my favorite were the ginger coated ones. Oh. My. Gosh. Heaven! We weren’t in our rooms much, but when we were, it was wonderful.
I have to tell you that our trip was a sales conference because of my husband’s hard work, not one we would have booked on our own. The Four Seasons is not on our budget plan, but it was definitely one I would recommend. They go above and beyond in amenities (which explains the prices) and we felt very pampered.
They had two pools, one for adults and one for families, as well as a snorkeling lagoon. There were staff coming by to mist your face with Evian water as you relaxed by the beach watching the turtles bob their heads for a peak. Evian mist. Who does that? Four Seasons does! They had a marine biologist giving mini-lessons on the ocean life that could be found right off the beach. There was a activity director and crew to give you paddle board lessons.
The walking trail throughout the complex was fantastic! I ran every day, feeling like a kid discovering new things on each jaunt. The tidal pools, the preserved authentic Hawaiian hut, the native plants, and cute little geckos were just a few of the treasures I found.
The spa and workout facilities were to die for. The workout areas were three separate buildings, all set around an open courtyard with wide sliding glass doors. I worked out every day because it was that inviting. One building was for yoga classes or the like; it had exercise mats, bosu ball, and racks of free weights. One building was strictly nautilus machines and the other was all cardio equipment. The spa was a slice of heaven with it’s outdoor showers and outdoor private relaxation room. Working out was never so pleasant!
We were able to take an excursion and we opted to do the waterfall hike on the North end of the island. We rode in military open air Hum-vees (way cool!), saw taro fields, learned about the Hawaiian culture, and swam in a FREEZING cold pool at the base of a waterfall. And trip ended with snacks and drinks all while looking at this.
The Big Island was spectacular and the Four Seasons Hualulai gets 5 stars in my book!
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