Traveling is a necessity to living fully, to expanding your horizons and partaking in life, if ever so briefly, beyond your immediate surroundings and perhaps beyond your own country and continent.
Traveling away from home and to new places can change your thoughts, sharpen your senses, introduce you to wonderful people and places, and create a remarkable experience in the process.
If you ask me, which you haven’t but I’ll say it anyway, it is imperative that you travel. And once in a while, staying in the lap of luxury in your far away destinations will make all the difference.
Between me and my husband, I am always the one arguing that we should really not spend the extra money to upgrade to luxury here or there. I used to see intangible luxury as a waste of money. Examples would be airline lounges versus sitting at the terminal, expensive hotels versus the average and the comfortable, private car versus the bus, and so on and on. (A Cartier ring for instance is different because it’s tangible!) He naturally disagreed with me (not about the Cartier).
Needless to say, I lost the argument once in a while – and it felt so good to be struck with this ferocious wind of luxury that lately, I have been notorious about losing the argument on purpose!
There is a concept called Diminishing Returns. It is a price point beyond which, as a consumer, you will no longer notice the value added to the product or service so it makes sense to go with the less expensive option.
This concept does not apply to the Four Seasons in Wailea in Hawaii’s beautiful island of Maui. The luxury resort measures up to its name and reputation even in the critical and hard-to-please eyes of a frequent traveler such as me.
With enough advance planning and research, using the right tools (especially Expert-Flyer), and a little luck, you never know the deals you might strike at luxury resorts. And this is how our short stay at the Four Seasons materialized from dream reality.
We had never stayed at the Four Seasons but this was our fifth return to Hawaii, which I will henceforth refer to as paradise. We have usually stayed at the Maui Hyatt Resort & Spa and the Maui Sheraton, both of which are fabulous places and rank among my favorite resorts. But the Four Seasons outranked them all.
The Check-in Experience
We drove into Wailea early afternoon. The entrance to the resort is lush with greenery, flowers, and the intoxicating Hawaiian air. As soon as we had pulled up into the Four Seasons front entrance, no less than 4 men from the bell desk ran over to our car. They opened our door, placed every piece of our luggage in a cart, and drove our car away to a safely hidden place – not to be seen or inquired about by us for 2 days! Another hotel attendant greeted us with a special Lei for each of us, welcomed us most warmly, and walked us over to the reservations desk.
We were too early for check-in but not for being pampered. With a couple of cool scented towels to rinse our hands, and a most delicious blend of cool tea, we examined the details of our unready room.
We had been upgraded. Ok then! (as though we would have known the difference!)
Since we had to wait a couple of hours before seeing our room, the nice lady offered us a lounge area in which to change, shower, and freshen. We declined as we were still very clean from having done all that only an hour ago after leaving the Maui Hyatt. (That would have been nice if we had just arrived in Hawaii though!) She promised to call when our room was ready (which she promptly did in 2 hours on the dot).
The Staff Experience
Exclusive service is a curse and a blessing. You enjoy being treated with utmost care and attention and then dread life afterward for a while until you return to normalcy. It is one of the main reasons we dread returning home from Japan. Every time, it feels like being thrown to savage beasts from the bosom of reverence but alas, a week later, it becomes the way of life and we are left only with the dim memory of how fabulous it felt to have been in the presence of unmatched service.
And so we were treated at the Four Seasons, with unmatched service by the most wonderful staff. Every single request of ours was met with the utmost attention and sincere care. We did not have a single encounter that was just mediocre.
Everyone knew our name. At the restaurants, even if one server served us, all of them knew our name. They remembered where we had dined the previous day and asked if we wanted our usual table. It sure seemed that they were spying on us and we loved every minute of it.
The Room Experience
Room #447 had a long narrow hallway with plush carpet, a beautiful closet equipped with the usual safe, shoe cleaners, umbrella, and more than enough hangers!! The bathroom was filled with L’Occitane bath & shower products, robes, soft big towels, clean slippers, and excellent water pressure. The fridge was filled with complimentary water. The bed and the furniture were exquisite. The balcony had two big lounge chairs which we never had a chance to use. The view overlooked the garden with an Italian pool in the center (not meant for swimming). Our room had it all.
Shortly after our first dip in the pool, we found the most delicious treat in our room as a welcome gift, along with the evening turn-down service. Every bite of the pastries was delectable, and we were naturally disappointed when we did not receive a similar gift the following day! We still got the turn-down service.
The Pool Experience
The Creme de la Creme of the Four Seasons comes down to the pool experience. There are two pool facilities. The main pool, with two hot tubs surrounded with the cabanas and pool chairs, is the central family pool and the Serenity pool upstairs is the other pool open only to adults. We visited both but much preferred the infinity pools upstairs.
The pool staff welcomed us to the pool right as we arrived, asked us where we like to sit, and based on availability, gave us the best seats either in comfortable cabanas or out in the sun. They would set us up at the most favorable spot with towels and in the case of upstairs serenity pool where the wind was blowing one evening, with covered seats. They would walk around with fruit snacks once an hour, and spoil us with any extra towels, a glass of water, and we could even have requested a complimentary Kindle.
Of course, we thought we had seen it all until my husband went to get extra sun-tan lotion at the water-lotion station and the pool attendant offered to pump it for him. He declined politely and pumped his own lotion, and I am very proud of him for that.
The second day, we finally asked for our car which appeared in under 3 minutes. When they found out we were headed to a kayaking and snorkeling trip, they handed us proper beach towels and bottles of water. And no one, not the bell desk attendants and not the valet staff, looked at me strangely when upon our return, having absent-mindedly left my only pants on the boat, I walked into the Four Seasons with nothing but my soaked bikini and a wet T-shirt!
So if you ever find yourself dreaming of a Hawaiian vacation, think about splurging a little for a lifetime of memories and a longing to always return. Think Four Seasons.
“It is impossible to overdo luxury” -French proverb.