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Villa vacations are having a big moment, thanks in part to the mantra of social distancing that's stemmed from the pandemic. Luckily for the loyal fans of Hawai'i Island's Four Seasons Resort Hualālai, on the famed Kohala Coast, the property has just finished a total renovation. And its top villas are the final piece of the puzzle in the hotel's multimillion-dollar reimagining. 

Four Seasons Resort Hualalai's renovated villas
Credit: Courtesy of Four Seasons Resort Hualalai

"The resort saw an opportunity to deliver an incredible residential product that caters to multiple generations of families traveling together," says Michael Booth, principal at San Francisco-based BAMO, the firm in charge of the interior renovations. "Part of this replanning consisted of doubling the amount of the bedrooms and bathrooms. And the only way to do that was to go up, so we added second levels." The greater square footage at the resort's three villas — Hawai'i Loa Presidential Villa, Makaloa Villa, and Ho`onanea Villa — means that families can have the experience of a super high-end house rental, but with all of the amenities of a Four Seasons. Among these amenities include King's Pond, Hualālai's 1.8 million-gallon swimmable aquarium, which added a new, elevated swimming pool, lounge deck, and Kumu Kai Marine Center (home to six on-staff marine biologists); and experiences like the Only at Hualālai series — curated adventures like a guided tour of native Hawaiian flora at 'Iliahi forest on the slopes of Mauna Loa volcano (the largest on Earth). 

Four Seasons Resort Hualalai's renovated villas
Credit: Courtesy of Four Seasons Resort Hualalai

Among getaways in Hawaii, the Four Seasons Resort Hualālai has a significant percentage of repeat guests, some of whom have been visiting annually since the resort opened 25 years ago. So it follows that the BAMO team was careful to add in new ideas while respecting the essence of what has earned the property such loyalty. "A few key elements that we kept were the slate floor, and the existing mahogany wood that wraps the spaces," says Janet Mercier, a BAMO associate. "From there, we layered textural wall coverings and developed color schemes to highlight and differentiate each suite. The palettes are different, and each villa offers its own individual personality, but all work together and don't conflict with one another." 

Four Seasons Resort Hualalai's renovated villas
Credit: Courtesy of Four Seasons Resort Hualalai

The updated product is undoubtedly modernized, with a lighter, airier interior. One thing that hasn't changed, though, is how the villas relate to the outdoors. Says Mercier: "We wanted to enhance the indoor/outdoor aspect of the villas and push the connection to the water. We took advantage of the villas' locations by adding sliding glass pocket doors to the new upper levels, which lead to an open deck. This means villa guests get a second, outdoor living room with phenomenal views."

Four Seasons Resort Hualalai's renovated villas
Credit: Courtesy of Four Seasons Resort Hualalai
Four Seasons Resort Hualalai's renovated villas
Credit: Courtesy of Four Seasons Resort Hualalai