Sometimes, you do get what you pay for—and that’s just about anything you could desire at this serenely welcoming resort, only a 15-minute drive from the airport but definitely worlds away from anything resembling hustle and bustle. The 18-hole Jack Nicklaus signature golf course, award-winning spa, and multi-room fitness center are open only to hotel guests and members, while a series of renovations before and after the March 2011 tsunami have only increased the sense of quiet luxury in and around the small clusters of two-story guest-room buildings and villas. Rooms start at 635 square feet, with private lanais and large bathrooms outfitted with glass-walled showers and deep soaking tubs; ask for one with an outdoor lava-rock shower. All have views of the ocean or one of seven swimming pools; the newest is the adults-only Palm Grove Pool, with a swim-up bar and daybeds, but snorkeling in Kings’ Pond amid rays and tropical fish remains a top draw. Dinner at Ulu Ocean Grill or the Beach Tree are consistently excellent, if costly; but it can be hard to tear yourself away in search of cheaper options nearly a half-hour away.
Kudos to the Four Seasons for continuing to buck the resort-fee trend, for not charging for its children’s or cultural programs, and for committing to numerous environmental measures, including the support of the Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods’ koa reforestation.