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Thursday, June 29, 2017


The Four Seasons Hualalai first opened in 1996.  U.S. News and World Report's 2017 ranking of U.S. hotels:
  • #1  The Langham (Chicago)--$300
  • #2  Four Seasons Hualalai--$900 (but, kamaaina rate near $500)
  • #3  The Jefferson (DC)--$300
  • #4  Montage Kapalua Bay--$2000
  • #5  The Lodge at Sea Island (Georgia)--$550
A few others listed include:  #11  The Peninsula Beverly Hills, #12  Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas, #13 Four Seasons Lanai, #16  Four Seasons Wailea, #21 Hotel Bel-Air Los Angeles, #26  Trump International Chicago, #30  St. Regis New York, #33  Ritz Carlton Kapalua, #48  The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas, #50  Halekulani Waikiki, #57  The Broadmoor Colorado Springs, #65  The Kahala Honolulu, #66  St. Regis Princeville, #69  The Encore at Wynn Las Vegas, #71  The Inn at Little Washington (near DC), #74  The Phoenician Scottsdale, #78  Bellagio Las Vegas, #91  Grand Hyatt Kauai and #101  Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay.

Did you know Bill Gates owns 47.8% of Four Seasons?  The chain was started by Issy Sharp of Canada in 1960.  He still owns 5% of the company, accepting a takeover bid in 2007 of nearly $4 billion by Gates and Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who also bought the Fairmont system for $4 billion.

In any case, a prime feature of FSH is the sunset, left above, to the right and below.

So with all that hoopla, why waste your time comparing 15 Craigside, where I live, with the Four Seasons Hualalai?  Well, this contrariety will be attempted in the spirit of Trump vs Takahashi and Musk vs Takahashi.  Sure, they're richer and of course FSH is lavishly swanky, but there is more to life than extravagance.  

While I concede sunsets to FSH, I do enjoy my end of the day meals on my lanai with these sorts of view, left and below:

While aliens to Hawaii pay $900 for one night at FSH, and I'm not sure they even get any break for breakfast, my cost was $535, with a $90 credit for breakfast, bringing the price down to $445, half that of malahinis (those not from Hawaii).  That would be $13,350/month.  

I pay 15C $4000/month, including three free meals/day.  My FSH bill was $742.84 for one day, including taxes, lunch and dinner.  Thus, FSH would cost $22,285/month.  

Sure, I had to invest $400,000 just to move in, but those with residencies at the Big Island hotel site, just for golf, start at $200,000 and still have a hefty monthly bill.  My Ala Wai Golf Course monthly card is $90, giving me ten free rounds.  Oh, there is a new offering now at Four Seasons Hualalai, where you can move in only for $4 million, although a prime location increases the tab to $4.8 million.  On pure economics, 15 Craigside has FSH beat.

We both have beaucoup activities.  15C daily has several exercise classes, films and documentaries, craft gatherings, hula and ukulele lessons, live entertainment, including the Royal Hawaiian Band, regular parties with free wine/beer, tours, bridge, scrabble, and poker.  Well, I average a regular loss of a couple of bucks for poker, but a good share of the winnings goes to a pot for a group dinner a couple of times/year.  FSH?  Yoga, spinning, lei-making, tennis clinic, meditation, eco-tour....but there is an added charge for just about everything.  Again, advantage 15C.

FSH has a good beach with spectacular views.  15C has a tiny pool and a panoramic view of graveyards.  Actually, my apartment can't see graves.  Instead, from where I'm seating creating this blog, I just took photos of my Makai (to the ocean), Ewa and Diamond Head views:

That bottom shot is of Punchbowl, in which is located the National Cemetery of the Pacific.  Not as good as FSH, but okay.

Service at FSH is about as good as it gets.  I expressed some mild annoyance of my steak and salad at the Hualalai Grill, and they reacted by deleting these items from my bill.  The Dining Committee gripes all the time about the attitude of our chef, but the administration seems overly protective, resulting in what is looming like a wholesale resignation of committee members.    I, for one, have made a decision to live my way.  However, just about everywhere else, service at 15 Craigside is as good as FSH.  

All in all, it so far appears that Four Seasons Hualalai might have the edge on 15 Craigside.  But, the difference maker is something called people.  While the service at FSH might be commendable, I have a family here at 15C.  My dinner tablemates are good friends.  Our floor is a close community.  My three neighbors go out to dinner, and, maybe soon, perhaps golf.  When I return from a trip, I get dozens of welcome homes.  We look out for each other.  At Four Seasons Hualalai I was alone...which, too, I can be good.  That could well be the final advantage of 15C, for I can also be as independent as I want.

If Heaven turns out to be like Four Seasons Hualalai, that would be no surprise.  Not sure if the Almighty would allow such ostentation, but no harm in expecting the best.  15 Craigside is closer to Purgatory, not perfect, but a good place to purify yourself.  Which is better?  Four Seasons Hualalai if you can afford it.  15 Craigside is more realistically suited for a greater percentage of Humanity.  Most of us feel blessed to have made it here.


1 comment:

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