Families are welcome at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii, with suites that offer plenty of space for a family of 5, gold floor access that provides breakfast, drinks, a stellar concierge, appetizers in the evening, a luxurious but comfortable vibe.
We were guests of The Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii where the gardens are lush and calming, the views are spectacular and the spa “has no walls.” The spa treatment rooms are open-air huts around the property. There are “Places of Calmness” which are comfy areas to sit or lay in the sun, overlooking the bay.
If you are traveling with kids older than 10, request the Gold floor. It will add $250-$300/night to your room cost but save you plenty in food cost. That’s because guest on the Gold floor get a continental breakfast and evening appetizers like steamed clams that my kids couldn’t get enough of. There are drinks, recent books, board games and various exotic fruits like mountain apples and Brazilian cherries available all day. One of the best features of the Gold Floor is the concierge. Stacy helped us organize our stay, recommended a zipline adventure that my kids will never forget and then printed it out a plan that we could easily follow. Our teenagers enjoyed the independence of going to the Gold Floor lounge alone, without parents. We enjoyed the money it saved us on eating at restaurants the whole time.
Fishing is not really my thing and I wasn’t sure how it would go over with three easily bored teens. The Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii offers a fishing expedition that included all the gear and a guide. We paddled out about ½ mile off shore in an outrigger and learned to bait our hooks with squid, how to cast a reel and how to wait. Turned out that fishing is still not my thing but the kids liked it and were very competitive about who would catch more fish. I liked the no texting part. This excursion is easily arranged at the concierge desk.
From The Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii, we took the free shuttle to Shopping Village where we found shops and restaurants and a small grocery store. We ate there every night. Just Tacos had good food at a reasonable price (the pork burrito was delicious); the noodles and teriyaki chicken at Monestra were a hit with the kids but my teenager said to skip the New York strip. We did not make it to Tommy Bahamas but were told that the happy hour was a great deal because of their fish tacos.
It took a while for it to sink in that I could expect terrific Japanese food in Hawaii because of its proximity to Japan and the number of Japanese tourists who frequent Hawaii’s islands. Norio’s Japanese Restaurant is outstanding – some of the freshest sushi and most delicious meat dishes I have ever eaten.
Even the cocktails were unique – the bartender created a bourbon drink based on my favorite choices that was out of this world. Chef Darren Ogasawara came from the Fairmont in Kenya and has turned a more traditional Japanese restaurant into a formidable steakhouse as well. The sashimi and sushi rolls are top notch and now that is accompanied (or trumped!) by the highest quality steaks and other beef selections like bison. I was treated to a tasting menu of sushi, NY strip steak, bison (which I was sure I would not like but LOVED), vegetables and a dessert sampling.
Overall, the vibe at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii is upscale family friendly. Calm but not pretentious. Comfortable but still luxurious.
A night out on the town meant dinner at the infamous and award winning Bamboo in Hawi (pronounced Havi), a cute restaurant in a groovy little town about 30 minutes north of The Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii. Our waiter knew everything on the eclectic menu and all of his recommendations worked out perfectly for us. From the coconut crusted fish to the Thai Hawaiian fish, everything was delish and super fresh. But what topped it off was the live music to go with the kitschy décor. Make a reservation because it does get packed.