The hardest part about staying at Four Seasons Resort Hualālai at Historic Ka‘ūpūlehu on Hawaii Island (aka the Big Island) of Hawaii is leaving, as this resort takes tropical bliss to a whole new dimension. You can effortlessly create a family vacation with as much… or as little… activity as you want. And because the property is spread out across a gorgeous stretch of coastline, there’s room for everybody to find his own slice of heaven—poolside, at the beach or on the oceanfront golf course—the epic places to “chillax” are limitless.
With 11 different climate zones and one of the world’s most active volcanoes, Hawaii is fascinating to explore. Note: the Hawaii, the Big Island is just that—big—so prioritize family excursions worth leaving the resort for.
*The oceanfront setting: an eye-popping lava-strewn coastline. There’s nothing like the otherworldly look of Hawaii Island.
*Exotic, but easy. Hawaii has all the enticing cultural and visual elements of a remote beach holiday—without the inconvenience; i.e. you can eat and drink everything; the locals speak English; no vaccinations required.
*Heavy on culture. Plus, the warmth of the “aloha spirit,” stunning and diverse topography, and so many activities (see below).
*101 things to do. Between golf, swimming, tennis, fitness classes, an insanely divine spa, eating and drinking, not to mention off-island, land and water excursions, you can call Hualalai home for weeks and never get bored.
*Beachside swimming pools: serenity at the adult pool; games and giggling in the family pool; a beach-like play-zone for toddlers.
*Snorkeling with thousands of fish and rays in King’s Pond.
*Playing tag in front the Beach Tree Bar and Lounge.
*Joining a Kids Night Out movie on the big screen under the stars.
*Checking out the on-property tide pools brimming with life.
*Spending hours in Sea Shell pool with children from around the country.
*Sunset. Watching the sun go down in front of the Beach Tree restaurant is the ultimate family-friendly cocktail hour scene, where kids have space to safely run and play while parents happily sip libations.
*Guilt-free downtime for parents. Kids For All Seasons* at Hualalai does what few kids’ clubs do: it actually entertains a variety of ages successfully.
*Quick in and out. Four Seasons is 10-minutes from the Kona International Airport.
*Exotic gardens. A sea of color and tropical beauty envelops guests at every turn.
*A historic path for strolling or jogging through lava fields on the ocean. Epic.
*Pupus, fresh sushi or dessert by the oceanfront firepits at the new island favorite, ‘ULU Ocean Grill.
*You time. A fitness class followed by a state-of-mind altering treatment at the resort’s Zen-like Hualalai Spa.
Hawaiian sea turtles napping on the beach.
Beach Tree is filled with families enjoying the open-air set-up with nightly live music and Mediterranean-inspired fare. Also island specialties, pizza and burgers. Our 10-year-old loved the grilled Mahi Mahi fingers with steamed veggies and the organic turkey burger with avocado. We were addicted to the Mahi taco with mango relish.
Perfect for date night, ‘ULU Ocean Grill and Sushi Lounge is modern with a hip vibe. Right on the ocean, it features sustainable, farm- and ocean-to-table ingredients from 160-plus famers and fishers on the island. The made-to-order Hawaiian ‘Ahi Poke, prepared tablesideis a must.
Bamboo Restaurant in the lush town of Hawi in North Kohala serves classic Hawaiian and Asian fare in a fun and funky atmosphere filled with locals and tourists alike. Save room for Shave Ice and fresh fudge upstairs at the Kohala Coffee Mill.
1. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Hike around Kilauea, which has been steadily erupting since 1983. Better yet, try a 360-degree adventure. Paradise Helicopters will take you and the kids on excellent two-hour tours where you get otherwise inaccessible views of Hawaii’s outrageously diverse topography. If luck is on your side, you may see Kilauea spewing lava into the ocean.
2. Beach day. Spend time together playing in the waves and bodysurfing at the breathtakingly beautiful Hapuna State Beach, with an enormous stretch of soft white sand and turquoise water.
3. Sightsee. Learn about the seven historic and spiritual Kalahuipua’a Fish Ponds at Mauna Lani Bay.
4. Stop in the old-school Hawaiian town of Hawi, Hawaii’s northernmost town, for a stroll. Peruse the galleries, have lunch, treat kids to a giant multi-flavored Shave Ice.
5. Take a short but steep hike (recommended for school-age and older kids only) to gaze at a breathtaking black sand beach set against steep, rugged cliffs at the mouth of the remote Pololu Valley.
*Babies: Swim with Mom or Dad in the Sea Shell Pool, play with the sand on the beach or stroll down the walking path. Ride in the carrier for relaxing walks along the sandy beach with mom and dad. Take advantage of the resort’s babysitting service.
*Toddlers: Dip into the sand-entry Keiki Pool, complete with toys and pint-size beach chairs. Beach time. Blow off steam along the historic oceanfront path. Search for creatures in the tide pools. Take advantage of the resort’s babysitting service.
*Kids 5-10: Spend an action packed day at Kids For All Seasons* kids’ club. Take lei making, hula or painting lessons at the Ka‘upulehu Cultural Center. Join a touch tank talk followed by snorkeling and fish feeding at King’s Pond. Learn to surf or golf. Beach and pool time.
*Tweens & teens: Join like-aged kids at the Ka Hui Teen Activity program for games and lessons in canoeing, rock-wall climbing and tennis. Zip-line through lush forests on the north part of the island in Kohala. Hike around Kilauea volcano. Learn to surf or golf. Beach and pool time.
*Kids For All Seasons (KFAS) is a Four Seasons complimentary recreational and educational program for children of resort guests. Most KFAS clubs are designed for youth four to 12 years old, and open daily from 9 to 5. (Younger children can often join KFAS with a nanny or parent, or resorts can arrange for babysitting.) But details vary from property to property, so check the resort’s website for more information.
Kids can go all day or just for an hour or two. Activities inside and out include games, sports, music, treasure hunts, swimming, arts and crafts, cultural education, environmental preservation work and yoga. Not your average camp, the VIP offerings are pretty extraordinary—for example, at Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo, there’s a Dive-In Movie Night where kids watch a film from inflatable seats floating in the pool with the screen suspended between two palm trees. The fun roster includes Spanish lessons, mini golf, pizza making with the chef and—on special occasions—traditional Costa Rican nights with live Merengue and Salsa, stiltwalkers, traditional garb, acrobats and drumming.
Read more on Hualalai in Four Seasons Magazine.
Read our Concierge Recommendations for Hualalai in Four Seasons Magazine.
Amie O'Shaughnessy manages Ciao Bambino, an award-winning family travel resource, from the San Francisco Bay Area where she lives with her husband and 10-year-old son. The experience of planning her first international trip with a baby inspired Amie to dedicate her career to providing parents with all the essential information they need to explore the world happily with children in tow.
View all posts from Amie
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