Our favorite family destination is Hawaii, and my top choice for a Hawaiian luxury resort for kids is the Four Seasons Hawaii Hualalai resort on the Big Island.
We have visited the property a few times, and during one memorable visit in mid-December— before the holiday rush— we felt like it was our own private island paradise for the week.
The hotel sent someone to collect us at the Kona airport— which is an entirely outdoor airport. My children were so excited, and the hotel driver was very informative and answered their many questions about the island. Hotel staff greeted us with leis and a tasty Hawaiian drink. We were ready to go offline and relax as a family for the whole week.
Best Rooms For Families
In 2022, the property undertook a major renovation of all guest rooms and suites, including the construction of a brand-new bungalow that houses six ocean-view rooms and a grand suite with private pool. Stylistically, the upgrades have retained their prior Hawaiian design aesthetic but now provide modern technology in addition to muted furnishings with teak wood accents.
We had originally booked a standard room and were told it would accommodate four people with its pull-out couch. We ultimately upgraded to a suite to enjoy privacy and closing doors between our bedroom and living area.
We loved our suite with its enormous closet, and I thought it was a sweet touch when I opened it to see two child-sized and two adult-sized robes. I also loved soaking in the enormous tub and the kids loved the outdoor shower. The bathroom and closet area was large enough for me to escape to when this mommy needed some alone time to read at night.
The resort’s standard rooms can accommodate three guests, or two adults and two children, and are 635 SF in size and feature a king bed and a sofa bed.
The New Four Seasons Hualalai Villas for Families
The property’s most exclusive lodgings are the free-standing villas, all with unobstructed views of the Pacific Ocean.
For families wanting to splurge and spread out, the Ho’onanea Villa accommodates six guests, including up to two children. The master suite can provide a “third bedroom option” and there is a 2nd-level roof deck and a private plunge pool, as well.
The Makaloa Villa hosts up to ten guests with its five bedrooms spanning a 4,600 SF footprint. This two-story, stand-alone structure features a private plunge pool.
The grandest offering is the Hawaii Loa Presidential Villa. Spanning 5,200 SF, its four bedrooms can accommodate up to eight guests, including four children. This two-story, stand-alone bungalow allows direct walk-out access to the beach.
The Beach and Pools
We love lying on the beach with our kids on vacation and were very happy with the pampering poolside service. In addition to wonderful food, the staff come by each day offering complimentary sunscreen, fruit, sunglass cleaning, and ice cream. The lounge chairs felt like beds; one could choose to be completely shaded or exposed to the sun.
There is also an adults-only pool that we used when our kids were at the Kids for All Seasons but we found the main family pool to be just as nice, a testament to the relaxed vibe here. There is also a baby pool with sand for toddlers.
The Kids Club
Kids for All Seasons, the Four Seasons kids program, is complimentary and accepts children 5 to 12 years old. We love that we can drop our kids off for just a few hours and not be committed to a full or half day program.
They take the kids to Kings Pond for a fish feeding, to the pool and on walks. For an additional fee your kids can canoe or rock climb. The kids’ center also has video games, televisions, board games, foozball, and a pool table for families to play together. You can also order food for your kids while they are there, and the staff will double-check if they eat it.
My kids mostly just hung out with us, and we enjoyed walks on the beach (there is a terrific ocean front walk that is doable for kids). One benefit of the walk is that you will see many large turtles sunning themselves.
There are also different Hawaiian cultural classes for both adults and children. My daughter took lei making but we missed the dancing class because it filled up. Book that one in advance!
Seasonal Teen Club
During peak family seasons (spring and summer), kids 9 to 17 can participate in special special programming in partnership with Camp Monitou. This is a day long program with a flat This program is also available at the Four Seasons Maui property.
A cool feature is that the service also offers a limited number of family days where they will create a custom itinerary of adventure. This will need to be booked in advance because only a few are offered.
Four Seasons Resort Hualalai Restaurants
We never left the property during a week-long stay, so we tried every food option. For breakfast we ate at ULU where they serve a buffet or full menu. I loved the omelette with smoked salmon and avocado.
We were traveling with friends who bought food in the sundry store and ate that for breakfast before joining us for ULU’s complimentary tea and coffee. ULU is appropriate for children of all ages for breakfast; at dinner, it is a little quieter— but still okay for kids. There is also a very good steak restaurant, Hualalai Grille, that we enjoyed with our children.
My son liked that the bar had televisions so he could watch sports from our table. The Residents’ Restaurant is also open to hotel guests, and they were very accommodating to our kids, but it is a very quiet and romantic place, so I would not take a squirmy toddler. So, you might ask, where do I take my squirmy toddler? Well, they have a very nice casual restaurant, Beach Tree, where live musicians play each night, and I spied many a toddler dancing to the ukalele.
Our children had dinner with us nearly every night, but we needed to hire a nanny the night of a wedding we were attending. (The kids club closes at 5, and the wedding started at 6 pm so babysitting was really our only option). We used Big Island Nannies and were very satisfied. Our friends had toddlers and were also very pleased with the nannies they were assigned.
The centerpiece of the resort’s new Marine Activity Center, the Kumu Kai Marine Center, is the renovation of King’s Pond, its saltwater aquarium pool. There are over sixty different species of fish within King’s Pond and guests may feed the fish daily under the direction of one of the resort’s five full-time marine biologists.
Our kids loved King’s Pond (the water is a little chilly) but they could snorkel in the safety of a closed ecosystem versus being in the great ocean. We fed the rays almost every day because we enjoyed it so much.
A unique Four Seasons Hawaii Hualalai opportunity is the chance to swim with the resort’s resident eagle ray. An additional option is touring the area waters with one of the resort’s naturalists via private charter, paddleboard or canoe.
Of course, guests may also choose to just lounge at one of the property’s other eight pools.
Things to Do on the Big Island
We feature some of the best private experiences for families on the Big Island, but there are many more!
Wellness Options at the Four Seasons Hualalai
The resort offers an outstanding array of spa, fitness, and health options—practically rivaling a destination spa. In addition to the standard luxury spa menu, you can book acupuncture, yoga therapy, and energy healing appointments.
For fitness, beyond the well-stocked gym, you can arrange private Pilates reformer and yoga sessions, personal training, spinning, and Barre Fusion classes. It is clear the resort wants to help you maintain whatever routine you do at home for exercise.
A family’s stay can be so comfortable. The beach has a sea wall so that kids can swim in the ocean without big waves. That being said, some might not appreciate the beach at this property because you cannot surf or body surf. This is a mellow beach made for relaxing.
And a relaxing family vacation this is.
Getting Upgraded at the Four Seasons Hawaii Hualalai
Did you know Luxe Recess is a magazine and an exclusive Four Seasons Preferred Partner? What does that mean for you? It means that as both a luxury family travel magazine and travel agency, we can give our clients numerous amenities.
Our rates at the Four Seasons properties always include complimentary breakfasts for two and resort credits and —based on availability— upgrades and early check-in and late check-out. If you would like to add these amenities to your stay at no cost to you, please complete this hotel booking form.
Do you need more help planning your Hawaiian vacation? Reach out for a proposal or itinerary support and we’ll talk.