Renewed Fairmont Orchid can't wait to show off

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KOHALA COAST -- The Big Island's Fairmont Orchid completed major renovations and additions, rendering the Kohala Coast luxury property ready for the increase in tourism it expects, according to a spokeswoman for the resort.

The 32-acre hotel boasts 540 rooms, each with either sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean or Mauna Kea, one of the island's two towering volcano mountains.

There are 18 meetings rooms with 30,000 square feet of space, 76,000 square feet of outdoor functions space and a 10,000-square-foot swimming pool with lava whirlpools, a lagoon and a Beach Activity Center that offers a variety of water sports.

On the property are two 18-hole championship Francis I'i Brown golf courses. The Tennis Pavilion at the Orchid offers guests 10 secluded courts (nine are lighted for evening play) including a stadium-type court for high-profile matches.

Richard Stumpf, former professional touring athlete and coach of the Hawaiian state team, manages the Pavilion.

His development of an instructional program that involves mind, body and spirit as much as the technical aspects of the game not only gives the Fairmont tennis experience a Hawaiian twist but has earned the resort a ranking within the top nine tennis resorts by the likes of Tennis magazine, according to the spokeswoman.

The pro shop arranges matches, instructional clinics and private lessons. Ball machine, racket and shoe rental also are available.

The Pavilion hosts various tournaments and exhibitions that are often a draw for repeat clientele at the hotel, the spokeswoman said.

The Beach Activity Center arranges petroglyph preserve and historical fishpond hikes each morning, led by a Hawaiian naturalist.

Probably the most noticeable change in the property is the construction of 10 waterfall hales -- or gazebos -- that are used by massage therapists for treatment settings.

Each gazebo is positioned away from public walkways and aside one of the many waterfalls that add to the tranquility of the property.

There are five oceanside massage gazebos for those who prefer the sounds of lapping waves.

For dining, Norio's sushi bar and restaurant is a newcomer to the Orchid property and is located in the main building, near a newly designed koi pond and indoor water feature.

Chef Norio Yamamoto was lured to the Fairmont family from the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua. Now with complete reign over the menu, Yamamoto is drawing on his Japanese heritage to create authentic and diverse dishes.

"What I make you might find in the some of the best Tokyo restaurants. It is not this recent fad of 'westernized' Japanese cooking," Yamamoto said. "Many of my Japanese loyalists are surprised at the quality of fish I have been able to acquire."

In addition, Brown's Beach House restaurant has been renovated, and the new, adjacent Brown's Deli has been a successful draw for family visitors, who occasionally prefer prepare their own meals to be eaten on the beach or in the rooms.

The deli offers an array of traditional American snacks, lunch meats and panini sandwiches, baked goods, chips, gourmet coffee and beverages.

In addition, the new oceanfront masagrils are ideal for the family that wants to barbecue at its own pace, without the hassle of purchasing and preparing foods, said the hotel spokeswoman.

The gourmet staff at Brown's Beach House will set up the grills and offer guests choice marinated meats, seafood and vegetables with a variety of dipping sauces to grill at their leisure.

The Fairmont Orchid has packages valid through Dec. 25. A sampling follows:

• The Ohana Twice as Nice package gives guests who book four nights a second room at half price plus daily breakfast buffet and activity passes for two per room.

Activity passes give holders access to the fitness center, guided historical hikes, ocean equipment, outrigger canoe rides, bicycles and yoga classes.

In addition, the package includes baby-sitting services Friday and Saturday nights, enabling mom and dad to enjoy a romantic dinner or oceanfront massages while the kids meet other kids participating in age-appropriate activities.

The Ohana Twice as Nice package begins at $439 per night for a Fairmont standard room ($220 for the second room); up to $1,039 per night for a one-bedroom oceanfront suite ($520 for the second suite). There is a four-night minimum.

• The Exclusively Yours package, with a five-night minimum stay, provides guests with a daily choice of any two featured activities, including a round of golf at the Francis I'i Brown golf courses, spa treatments or dinner at any of the hotel's restaurants.

Activity passes and daily breakfast buffet are included. The package starts at $579 per night and is based on availability.

• The Make Room for Romance package will transfer guests to and from the hotel to Kona Airport by limousine and will treat them to a romantic dinner for two, a daily breakfast buffet, two oceanside massages, activity passes, robes to take home, fresh orchid arrangements and iced champagne in the room.

The Make Room for Romance package starts at $549 per night for a Fairmont room, has a four-night minimum requirement and also is subject to availability.

For all packages, agents can book online at www.fairmont.com/orchid or by calling the hotel at (800) 845-9905.

To contact the reporter who wrote this story, send e-mail to [email protected] .

Gold Floor caters to the upscale visitor

KOHALA COAST -- The Fairmont Orchid completed its Gold Floor, which has 45 rooms, eight suites, a lounge, an honor bar and a breakfast room for continental fare, afternoon tea and evening cocktails.

The floor has four full-time concierges to ensure that every need is met for the upscale traveler.

Rooms are equipped with feather beds and duvets, oversize bathrooms with upgraded amenities (Gilchrist & Soames products); lanai with lounge as well as dining furniture; walk-in closets; full showers and Jacuzzi tubs.

Guests are treated to preferential reservations at restaurants, the tennis facility, spa and activity center; and wireless Internet access from anywhere on the floor is complimentary.

Room rates for the Gold Floor are rack rate plus $150 per night. Rack rates for an Ocean View room is $559 per night; Executive Ocean View Suites are $889 per night.

Gold Floor guests have unlimited complimentary access to all executive boardroom facilities within the hotel.

The hotel has one Presidential Suite (rack is $5,000 per night). It spans the entire oceanview side of the Gold Floor and has a full kitchen, a bar, a dining room, a balcony with various seating areas, views of the golf course and the option of a second bedroom add-on. -- B.B.

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