Big Island Bound: The Fairmont Orchid in Hawaii

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You know that one trip you always keep coming back to as the one by which you measure all others? That was our 2011 vacation to Hawaii.

During our 12 days there, we stayed in a bevy of Hawaii hotels—four to be exact, and toured five others—and we saw as much of the Big Island and Oahu as time allowed.

While it’s true, I travel more than your average person—and to places as far off and exotic as the Cook Islands and Borneo—Hawaii will always remain one of my favorite spots. Maybe it’s because the Big Island is where SVV and I got together—finally, after a year and a half of doing a relationship polka—though I think it’s rather because a more perfect vacation destination does not exist.

Hawaii has it all, really: sun, nature, adventure, volcanoes, ridiculous beaches, diving and snorkeling, delicious food, waterfalls, surfing.

Oh, and the hotel pools? Out of this world—particularly at the Fairmont Orchid, one of my favorite resorts ever.

There’s no lack of “wildlife” either—we saw wild goats, donkeys and even ferrets on our hikes. While it’s a far cry from the tortoises and iguanas I unearthed in the Galapagos last week, at least it’s something, right?

The best part, in my opinion, is how easy it is to locate long, deserted stretches of coastline with no one else anywhere nearby.

I think it’s safe to say: If I could teleport to anywhere in the world right now, I’d want to go back to Hawaii. Where would you choose?

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COMMENTS
  • May 25, 2012

    These photos are absolutely stunning!

  • May 25, 2012

    As much as I agree and love Hawaii, I’m surprised at you! You have been to soooo many unusual places and had so many interesting experiences. But I guess, when it comes down to beauty, comfort, safety, and relaxation, you really can’t beat Hawaii.

    • May 25, 2012
      Kristin

      I think there are plenty of places that are wildly popular for a reason. Hawaii is one of them that I don’t find a bit overrated and that definitely lives up to the hype. Plus, I’m a tropics girl so I’m partial to any and all islands! Give me a beach over a city any day.

  • May 25, 2012

    Don’t tell your lucky husband but.. you look SooOooo cute next to the yellow flower.

    • May 25, 2012
      Kristin

      There should be a note on that photo that details just how large my head is…that flower is even more impressive once you realize it overshadows my giant noggin!

  • May 25, 2012

    We’re huge Hawaii fans as well. We, too, think of all the places we’ve been and our minds always go racing back to Hawaii. You two have to get to Kauai. Make a plan – we’ll meet you there 🙂 Only half-kidding.

    • May 25, 2012
      Kristin

      That sounds like a great plan! Only one component missing–Ella. With those silly quarantine laws, she can’t come to the islands! Guess we’ll have to do part two in bourbon land–Tennessee, Kentucky or the SF Tenderloin at Bourbon & Branch 😉

  • May 25, 2012

    Hawaii does look inviting for a winter trip yet it’s low on my list. I’d be whisked back to South Africa in a heart beat.

  • May 25, 2012

    Beautiful photos – the first one should be a postcard. From the time I was a teenager my dream destination was Hawaii. We finally went about four years ago to Maui and Oahu. It was wonderful and I would love to go back to Maui and to the Big Island BUT if I could teleport anywhere in the world then I’d be landing somewhere in Europe right now. I’m a Europhile and I just can’t help myself!

    • May 26, 2012
      Kristin

      Oh, Europe has my heart, fully. But sometimes I just want to go lay on a beach and bask in the sun, and that’s where Hawaii excels =)

  • May 25, 2012

    We’ve only been to Kauai (and the weather was terrible) but we really loved it and would love to go back to Hawaii and explore the other islands. Random question, though — why were you touring so many hotels? Is hotel touring a new thing I don’t know about?! =P

    • May 25, 2012
      Kristin

      Because when you’re a travel writer, there’s no such thing as a vacation—they’re all workcations–and unfortunately site inspections are a huge part of any guidebook or magazine assignment. So, you know, comes with the territory =)

  • May 25, 2012

    I’m so excited that you did this post! I’ve been wanting to get there for awhile now and will hopefully be making my way there this summer to visit a friend in the Navy stationed there! I can not wait! I always hear how amazing it is!!

    • May 27, 2012
      Kristin

      Having friends or family living in Hawaii is the best excuse to visit! SVV’s cousins all live on the Big Island, so we use that as ours =)

  • May 26, 2012

    Stunning, gorgeous photos, as always! You Never fail to impress!

  • May 26, 2012

    I’m sold!

  • May 26, 2012

    I wouldn’t say no to Hawaii! I had a similar experience on our trip there last year – despite some of the more exotic-sounding places I’ve been, I’m not so much of a travel snob that I can’t recognize how great Hawaii is for so many reasons. Nothing wrong with being mainstream when the mainstream has it right!

    • May 27, 2012
      Kristin

      Nothing annoys me more than people eschewing a destination because it’s “too mainstream.” Mainstream places are just that for a reason, right? Though I’ll be the first to admit there are cities (like Vegas) that I *do* find overrated–not Hawaii, though!

  • May 26, 2012

    We’d love to have you back anytime!

    • May 27, 2012
      Kristin

      First, we need to get you all to Tennessee!

  • May 27, 2012

    Wow, your pictures are amazing! We are heading to Maui next month..can’t wait.

    • May 27, 2012
      Kristin

      Hopefully, that will be the next island we visit! Scott’s been there, but I haven’t. Dying to stay at Maui’s Fairmont resort.

  • May 27, 2012

    What a beautiful place. I might pick Hawaii as well. It’s the last state I haven’t visited, and I think I may be saving the best for last.

    • May 27, 2012
      Kristin

      Good choice! My sister’s 50th was Hawaii when she was 21. I’ve been at 49 states for a year now and still have one to go…Iowa. How anticlimactic!

      • May 28, 2012

        Haha, Iowa is a funny state to finish with! They have a couple of weird attractions, at least – like the Field of Dreams movie site and the National Farm Toy Museum. Neither is worth going out of your way to see, though!

      • June 1, 2012

        Go to Iowa during State Fair time! It’s awesome–fried everything on a stick. 🙂 And the butter sculptures! (Though the woman who made the butter sculptures recently passed away, so I’m not sure if they still have them.)

  • May 28, 2012

    That pool really glows at night. 🙂 I haven’t tried traveling out of the country yet. But if I’ll be given the chance, Hawaii would be my first destination.

    • May 28, 2012
      Kristin

      Seems like you’ve got a pretty spectacular country in which to travel yourself–though Hawaii is relatively “close” (at least for North America) so it would definitely be a great first trip abroad. Dying to travel the Philippines myself, particularly for the diving and beaches.

      • May 29, 2012

        Thanks. I really plan to travel the whole 7107 islands of the Philippines before I visit other countries. You should really visit Philippines, Boracay is the best place for swimming!

  • May 28, 2012

    We saw the opposite islands, yours look beautiful as well!

    • May 28, 2012
      Kristin

      I know! I’ve so enjoyed your stories, as I’ve never been to any of the others. Next time, I’d really like to see Molokai, Kauai and/or Maui. Scott’s cousins all live on Big Island, so we seem to keep going back there so we can see them!

  • May 29, 2012

    Beyond gorgeous! Love the donkey crossing sign!!!

  • May 29, 2012

    I did a Hawaii cruise with my family a few years ago and it was amazing. It’s my favorite place and I’m determined to take Andrew there at some point. It’s just such a unique and beautiful place.

  • May 30, 2012

    By looking at your photos, you have inspired me to visit Hawaii right after I have been in Iceland, so I could tell the difference.

    Cold, volcanoes and rocks VS sunny, beaches and nice wildlife

    • June 12, 2012
      Kristin

      The odd thing is that when I went to Iceland, I stayed with a geologist and he said that many of the geos there are sent to Hawaii to study the landscape, and vice verse, as apparently it’s quite similar!

  • May 30, 2012

    I’m so in love with these pictures. I have never been to Hawaii (wish us luck one day!) and for a while Shaun and I were trying to figure out how we could work there to spend copious amounts of time there.

    • June 12, 2012
      Kristin

      Now that you’re (temporarily?) home, I’m pretty sure you could figure out a way to make that happen!

  • June 1, 2012

    Very beautiful sunset on first picture.

  • June 10, 2012

    i love hawaii too!!! Kauai was amazing last year! I would love to go back and also visit Big Island and maui someday

    • June 12, 2012
      Kristin

      Next time we go, I think it will be a Maui-Kauai combo, as I’ve never visited either of them!

  • June 19, 2012

    Lots of breathtaking places… and fun activities too. This is paradise indeed. Love the photos, seems like you made the most out of your trip in Big Island.

  • June 19, 2012

    I can’t wait to go back and visit my family!!! The photos are stunning!!! 😀

  • June 20, 2012

    Amazing shots !!! 🙂

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