Fairmont Orchid Hotel: Come For The Gorgeous Landscapes, Stay For The Unique Experiences

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Everything about taking a trip to Hawaii is magical. The scenic nature, pristine beaches, untouched wildlife, and beautiful weather are all major draws. But what if there was something even more ethereal to add to your Hawaii bucket list trip? Enter: an underwater ballet. As someone who takes any excuse to get out of the cold New York winters, I hopped on the opportunity to see what it was all about. After a quick 30-minute car ride from Kona International Airport, I arrived at the Fairmont Orchid and opted to spend my first afternoon swimming in the assortment of private pools to soak in all the sunshine before enjoying a sunset dinner. The multi-course meal highlighted the local ingredients and even included berries that were foraged by the chef herself.

At the end of the night, I retreated to my room. It was filled with neutral tones and had a balcony perfect for viewing the sunset (or sunrise). The custom-scented Le Labo amenities and large soaking tub were a welcome refuge after a day spent in the sun. Not to mention, the service at the resort was top-notch, which made my stay all that more memorable.

Waking up with the sunrise the next morning, I headed down to the beach on site, grabbed some snorkeling gear, and hopped into the crystal clear blue waters of the private Pauoa Bay to snorkel. Sea turtles bobbed their heads up and down beside me while I watched multi-colored fish swim into the brightly-hued corals below. The backdrop of Hawaii’s beautiful landscape whenever I peeped my head up only added to the experience. This was how my entire stay went, serene experiences, made even more magical by the nature around us.

Next to the bay, a little honu (Hawaii sea turtle) viewing spot waits for you. Just a bit off from the shore, you can sometimes spot pods of whales and dolphins jumping about through the sea. Walking about the grounds, on and off the trails was a feast for the eyes as well. All the pathways were lined with pastel-colored orchids, koi ponds, and little waterfalls. The resort also has two golf courses and an entire tennis complex with ten courts.

The Spa Without Walls, a spa with treatment rooms that are entirely outdoors, is another highlight. Treatments are filled with the serene sounds of the ocean as your soundtrack, and it’s unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before. For a blissful 60 minutes, I closed my eyes and fell right asleep while a special technique was used to get rid of all the tension built up in my muscles.

The seven restaurants onsite offered delicious fruits and vegetables, along with Hawaiian specialties, and tons and tons of fresh fish. For breakfast, Orchid Court was a popular spot with a-la-carte and buffet options. Hale Kai, the poolside restaurant which focuses on fish dishes like a poke bowl and fish and chips, was a lunchtime favorite, whereas Binchotan Bar was a fabulous dinner option. We experienced a traditional Hawaiian Luau experience, which is one of the resort’s most popular dining experiences.

To make my time at the resort even more special, I experienced the limited-edition underwater ballet experience. For 60 minutes, I watched ballet dancer and renowned underwater performer Kristina Makushenko perform synchronized swimming movies inside and outside the water. It was entirely in the water with a stage set in the middle of the ocean, and the music was able to be heard for the duration of the program, regardless of whether you were watching it above or below the water. To put it frankly: It was a scene right out of a movie. It opened my eyes to experience Hawaii in a new way and made my stay at the Fairmont Orchid all the more memorable.

The underwater ballet performance itself was hosted at the hotel as part of a larger campaign called Beyond Limits. It was launched by the hotel group that owns them, Accor, in order to break boundaries and give guests (like myself) memorable experiences that are out of the ordinary and highlight the unique facets of the destination. For example, they also had a symphony within a cenote (natural pit) in Mexico, an oxygen bar perched at 7,000 in the Canadian Rockies, and other experiences for different properties in their repertoire on the way.

But this show was the cherry on top of an already idyllic trip to paradise. Not sure how my next visit could beat perfection, but I’m already planning my return.

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