I'm a self-admitted hotel snob, but I'm comfortable living by the vacation mantra, "If it's good enough for The Real Housewives of Orange County, it's good enough for me." That's why it piqued my interest when both Heather Dubrow and Shannon Beador spent some down time at the new Four Seasons Oahu at Ko Olina. (Nick Jonas, Flo Rida, Matthew McConaughey, have all been spotted there recently too.) Now about five months old, it's the first hotel on the island for the luxury hotel chain, which has been looking to build there for years.
The location on the west side of the island — right next to Disney's Aulani — is way outside of the hustle and bustle of Honolulu. Get there by car... or try a baller-level boat transfer. The hotel arranged the Moana Express for me at the harbor, the same Miami Vice-like luxury speedboat that took Heather out for a spin at sea.
I arrived at the dock and the Four Seasons picked me up in a house car... a Maybach. Always a sure sign you've come to the right place.
I got all checked in and settled into my room: At an average of 640 square feet, the Four Seasons' hotel rooms are super spacious... and the TV over the desk was so large I literally mistook it for the wall. And then of course, there were the sweeping ocean views from my lanai (gorgeous, but surprisingly not the best seat in the house when it comes to watching the sunset — I'll get to that later).
First order of business on my first full day was, naturally, a visit to the spa. Now, I have almost never met a spa I didn't like — just the smell of scented candles and the soothing music alone casts a spell on me — but this one is over the top. It's truly massive, sprawling over four levels and encompassing more than 35,000 square feet in a detached building with a pool on top.
Treatments are inspired by ancient Hawaiian healing traditions, and I would enjoy many hours here — but my very first treatment was the one to beat. It took place in a private salt chamber — meant to provide respiratory ease, anti-inflammation, and stress relief. It included a ceremonial hand and foot cleanse, sea salt and coconut oil foot exfoliation, reflexology with heated Himalayan salt stones, and a relaxing massage... all done while I wore an eyemask and listened to a guided meditation through headphones. When it was over, I wasn't sure whether I'd been in there for 15 minutes, three hours, or three days. (True story.)
Another highlight (among so many) at the spa? I had my hair cut by celeb salon owner Billy Yamaguchi — NBD, but he's a fave of Oprah — who makes his style choices based on an individual feng shui consultation. And then of course, I'd never say no to an oceanfront scrub and massage...
Naturally, I didn't spend the entire visit in the spa (much as I might have liked to). Of course I logged the requisite hours at the pools, including an adults-only pool surrounded by cabanas — where I drained the mini-fridge of its kombucha stock. This is also where Shannon set up shop during her stay.
The family pool was tolerable too:
Now, I generally don't like much getting in the way of my relaxation on a trip like this, but I was pleasantly surprised by a couple of resort-offered activities that I hopped into because they were so well executed: As part of its ongoing and rotating series featuring art, culture, history, and workshops, I took a flower-crown-making class (from artist and Instagram star Pamakane Pico) as well as an indigo sarong-dying workshop (with designer Island Bungalow Hawaii) on the lawn at the oceanfront. These were no hokey arts-and-crafts projects — more like festival fashion come to life in the tropics.
When it came time to eat, I found all three main restaurants outstanding: I'm not usually one for fine dining (I have no attention span), but in this case my standout experience was at Noe. The high-end but unfussy restaurant comes from Chef Ryo Takatsuka — a Japanese chef, trained in Italy, with two Michelin stars — and has an Italian-Hawaiian bent. Don't miss the bruschetta with tomatoes from a local farm, or the savory gelatos for a light dessert.
Beyond that, the hotel's main lagoon-like beach is divine...
But it's actually the nearby "Secret Beach" that is among the standout features of the whole experience. It's not really so secret after all, so just ask someone to point you in the right direction. You'll follow a rocky path along the water to a pair of small beaches (depending on the tides) that truly feel like remote paradises. You'll probably share them with a couple of amateur photographers at sunset — because it's the absolute best place to enjoy that time of day — but the vibe is serene and the view is stunning.
You might even call it Real Housewives worthy — and that's just my speed.
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