The Leeward (West) coast of O’ahu doesn’t get much airtime compared to the frenzied tourism factory of Waikiki—but it used to. It was said to be a favored retreat of Kamehameha The Great and his Queen, Ka’ahumanu, who often swam in the sheltered coves. The Kingdom’s last monarch, Lili’uokalani is also said to have enjoyed time in the area away from the palace intrigue of Honolulu.
It’s not difficult to see what drew them and successive generations of visitors and locals to what is now the master planned community named Ko Olina. Shimmering oceans wave into tranquil jellyfish-shaped lagoons, while the natural shoreline alternates between dramatic lava rock shores and secluded, sandy beaches.
Hospitality industry watchers know that when Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts opens a property, it must be in a distinctive location. Four Seasons Resort O’ahu at Ko Olina certainly fits that bill.
During the renovation and reflag of the building from another hotel brand, it was important to design the spaces to take full advantage of the surrounding environs and color the arrival experience—which is of utmost importance for a luxury brand whose attention to detail is legendary.
Entering the lobby is a sensory delight.
The multi-story atrium pours natural light into the lobby, while fresh flower displays delight, ocean breezes cool and the sound of far-off surf calms. There’s a distinct sense of place—you’re clearly in a Four Seasons, with its understated luxury and immaculate, lux design, but there’s also no mistaking you’re in Hawai‘i.
It’s almost as if the destination has been sustainably harvested and brought indoors to enjoy during registration.
Guest rooms are oversized and gorgeous. Only a small fraction of the resort’s rooms do not boast an ocean view—most look out over the lagoon or north over the Waianae Coast. The most coveted suites, of course, have wraparound views of both.
Standard rooms, like the oceanfront one I enjoyed, have spectacular beds that melt away even the longest of travel days, luxuriously large marble bathrooms with double vanities and separate shower/tub arrangements and little niceties like effortless lighting and climate controls.