Which is the best hotel? Four Seasons Hualalai or Kona Village, A Rosewood Resort? The ultra-luxury hotel group Rosewood Hotels & Resorts® recently announced that it will be managing the newest luxury resort on Hawaii’s big island, Kona Village, A Rosewood Resort, which is set to open in 2022 after a complete renovation of the property.
Located on the Kona Coast of the Big Island of Hawai’i, luxury travelers will be curious to compare this newly refurbished resort to the unique and highly rated Hualalai, a Four Seasons resort. The nearly-perfect Four Seasons Hualalai will be hard to beat. That said, the Rosewood will also have plenty of facilities to attract the luxury traveler, spread across 81 acres of stunning geologic landscape.
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Located less than 10 miles north of the Kona International Airport, Kona Village, A Rosewood Resort, will debut 150 unique, standalone guest hales with locally-inspired décor, spectacular views, and a privileged sense of seclusion. This iconic Hawaiian retreat offers another luxury option for guests who love the location of the Four Seasons Hualalai. The Rosewood Resort is only a mile or so up the coast from the Four Seasons, and just a 5-minute car drive away. In terms of location, there is little to choose between these resorts.
Style & Character
Kona Village, A Rosewood Resort, draws inspiration from the history of the site, local culture, and natural elements in a distinctive Hawaiian setting. Conceptualized and developed by intrepid explorer Johnno Jackson in the early 1960s, the original Kona Village Resort was best known for its free-standing, palm thatch roof hales and tranquil location. However, the history of the Kona Coast dates back long before it became a one-of-a-kind vacation destination. Inhabited nearly 1,000 years ago, the site was once home to migrating settlers from Polynesia. Navigators and sailors by nature, the village became a place of trade and commerce due to easy access by the coast. Memories of the destination’s renowned deep-sea fisherman are immortalized in the petroglyphs that can be found in and around the boundaries of Kona Village, A Rosewood Resort today.
The tranquil location is matched by the Four Seasons Hualalai, offering a laid-back, low-rise design with numerous pools and beaches. For families, I suspect the Four Seasons will maintain top position not least because of the picture-perfect beaches and pool full of fish that you can snorkel in. But couples looking for privacy may prefer the free-standing, palm thatch roof hales at the Rosewood, which may offer more privacy.
Spearheaded by Hawai’i-raised architect Greg Warner of Walker Warner Architects, each accommodation at the Rosewood will offer a private lānai and outdoor shower. This follows in the footsteps of the ground-floor rooms at Four Seasons Hualalai, which also offer outdoor showers. If you don’t like outdoor showers, the Four Seasons is the one to pick, as you can avoid showering outside. For now, it seems you can’t shower inside at the Rosewood, but more research is needed to ensure this fact.
Service & Facilities
Guests will have access to new leisure facilities, including Sense, A Rosewood Spa, a state-of-the-art fitness center, as well as multiple pools and tennis courts. A diverse outdoor recreational program will include ocean sports and activities designed to inform, inspire and excite travelers of all ages.
Four Seasons Hualalai has offered many luxurious facilities, a fitness center, and multiple pools and tennis courts from the outset. Golf is also a major attraction at the Four Seasons but is not mentioned in the news releases about the Rosewood, so I think golfers are likely to prefer the Four Seasons resort.
Food & Drink
The Rosewood offers an array of distinct dining venues, including the original resort’s beloved Shipwreck Bar and Talk Story Bar, will offer elevated yet relaxed food and beverage experiences. The Four Seasons also offers excellent dining venues so there is likely to be little to choose between the dining at these two hotels in this respect.
Four Seasons Hualalai has a loyal base of regular guests. Just try to book a room over New Year’s, and you will see what I mean. Rooms here are extremely hard to come by, particularly in the high season. This means that Kona Village, A Rosewood Resort, will offer a new crowd a New Year’s Eve venue and regulars to this area of the island, another hotel option, which will be particularly useful when Hualalai is fully booked.
Both of these hotels are exquisite and lucky guests will enjoy the highest level of luxury. There will most likely be little to choose between them. The stand-out service offered by the Four Seasons brand will continue to attract seasoned travelers but the romance of the free-standing, palm thatch roof units at the Rosewood may tickle those who are inquisitive about trying something new.
Expect a soft opening at the Rosewood for the first few months while staff are trained, and teething troubles are ironed out. At this point, Four Seasons is probably your best bet with its almost faultless service. Then again, if Rosewood offers any discounted opening rates, they may offer a way to experience this part of the world for less.
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